Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Kiln, relaxed trad and Totally Free II...well, nearly!

A rest day at Kilnsey saw me warm up and eventually redpoint, 'Hardy Annual' (7a+/7b) which contains really nice, pretty easy groove climbing which is barred by a disappointingly annoying boulder problem start. I enjoyed the climb though, well worth doing. I then belayed Jacob on 'Ecstacy' (8b) which is just plain wild!

Andy Lawrence seconding the excellent 'Gronff' - E2 5c***
With no partners the following day, i was delighted to receive a text from Billy telling me that he and his dad were heading up to Chevin for a bit of trad. I'd never managed to get there with a belayer in my 2 1/2 years in Leeds, only soloing up the VS's which are excellent. I arrived at the crag to find Billy and Andy had already done 'Chevin Buttress' (VS) and that Billy was on with 'The Waster' (E1). After a valiant attempt at avoiding to jam the starting crux (!), they passed the lead to me as a warm up... This was good, as it was one of the climbs i'd come up to do, having backed off soloing it last year at some time. I enjoyed a safe ascent, with some sustained and tricky climbing. Definitely solid E1 pushing into E2, but its not quite the same level as 'Earl Buttress' (E2) at Earl Crag. Amazed this isn't more polished, it's a terrific climb and only 8 miles from Leeds!

The reach to good crimps

The excellent upper wall
I then quickly lead 'Gronff' (E2), which starts up a groove to a couple of poor-looking but adequate undercuts. From here a big span left to some nice crimps leads into a bold pull and some gear at about 6 metres. Lovely climbing on good holds leads to the top. Another climb well worthy of it's 3 stars. Billy repeated the climb on my gear (not that it matters as it's all about the unprotected start!). They finished up with 'Vampire Ledges' (VS) a route i soloed and thought was excellent a while back and then it got midgy. A fortuitous day out for me, pretty thankful Billy gave me a heads up!

Rain was forecast for Tuesday so Jacob, Luke and I travelled to Malham. We drove over passing large, wooden cut outs of safari animals leading towards the 'Malham Safari'. Odd. Arriving, the place was rammed but the crag wasn't bad at all and after a warm up utilising an insitu top rope on Consenting (7a), we turned our attention to 'Hartley Hare' (7a+) after a recommendation by Dan, James and Chris. Luke climbed first and was quickly pulling through the bulge and lowered off. He spoke favourably of the climbing and i was soon flashing the climbing too, which i was happy about. I'd never seen anyone on it, but it's an excellent little climb on perfect rock.

Jacob decided today was the day for redpointing 'The Groove' (8a+) so as he got that sorted myself and Luke watched James quickly dispatch 'New Dawn' (F7c). Luke then had a go flashing the line, but unfortunately fell off the boulder problem start. He cruised the upper wall which is a real shame. I was interested in having a look at the line but was worried about how much the climb looked my anti-style! Still, i didn't have to get all the way up as Luke would go again. After a tough, technical boulder problem start i dogged my way up to the steepness and worked out a pretty decent sequence i think. I failed to commit to the ledge move, after getting a bit pumped thinking what i was going to do and not finding a good hold. A fall into space away from the line, i decided i'd hand the initiative back to Luke, who quickly redpointed the line first go.

While cleaning the route, we realised that Jacob was at the top of 'The Groove' - was it a successful redpoint? Jacobs really interested in doing 'Totally Free II' (8b), Steve Crowes mega route up the height of Malham, and Jacob had already redpointed, a while back, 'Free and Easy' (7c) into 'Breach of the Peace' (7c?) which together is around 8a? After realising he was stoked to keep going Luke and James ran around to the higher terrace and traversed out to tie him into a second rope. He then made progress up Free and Easy commenting how he couldn't remember any of it and was almost a retro-flash! A short, wild roof lay between him and top. He pulled on and made huge moves on good? holds to the lip. A slightly faulter, but he kept it together, 'go on Jacob'... but no, he was off! Gutting! Massive effort though; i can only dream of what it must be like to link 8a+ into 7c into a huge roof. Must be outrageous!

He was delighted with his effort and he and Luke both had goes repeating The Groove while i had a few laps on Consenting, after losing the onsight on the last tricky move of 'Apatite' (7a+), which was frustrating. A good day at Malham, really really stoked to go back but i'm heading home for the rest of the week as partners looking thin on the ground and weather looks a bit shit (though probs excellent for Malham!).

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