Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Coastal F.A's - Psychosis E5 6b ***

With some good weather forecast and strong westerlies, we decided the east facing coastal escarpments were a prime venue for a two-day hit. The team of Franco, Sam and I was joined by Matthew Ferrier and we made our way through the 9ft high bracken towards the base of the crag...Jurassic Park indeed. It would have probably been best to abseil in, but we enjoyed the bracken-bashing, as it was a fine warm up!

Sam and Matthew got to work on the left arete of Contraband Buttress, a route Franco reckoned would be around VS. Franco and I geared up to try the ace-looking splitter crack right of Contraband Crack (HVS 5a **). I had cleaned the line in the winter but Franco wanted to try to onsight the route. A few ups and downs placing the starting wires and working out the moves, provided him with a good warm up. Ready, he pulled on via the bold feeling sequence past a good/flared (depends on hand size i think) jam. He managed to get some more slightly fiddly gear, but then floundered on the hard sequence above. He worked out a powerful sequence utilising a mono and climbed the perfect finger crack to the top. I was delighted the line had turned out to be a quality pitch.

Sam trying to onsight what would later become Pi Arete - E3 5c *

Franco fighting with Psychosis - E5 6b ***

Taking advantage of the situation, I said I would give it a go on flash, on Franco's gear. Too good an opportunity to miss really! I pulled onto the lower wall and made the moves up to the jam. Pulled over the overlap and found a comfortable position in a slight bridge. From here, a big move off a mono was apparently the way forward. I however, tried a different, hopefully more static sequence and found one which resulted in a large cross through. Ace moves. Boshed up the final crack, milking the really good locks until the final move which is sweet. Really cool route!

Shorter mans method...

Franco repeated the line placing the gear and I did too. It's a really good route, solid climbing and a strong line. Excellent gear the whole way which can be fiddly in parts which really adds to the work the arms have to do! Delighted with this climb. Franco thought it was worth E5 6b and I thought it was pretty similar to Chain Gang (E5 6b)...but Conor and I thought this was worth E4 6a? Perhaps we were going well, but regardless this is a little harder so E5 6a/b seems right to me. I think my crux sequence was easier than Franco's but he didn't try my method so we'll see. With that, Psychosis was born.

Cross through

quality finger locks to the top

During the same time, Sam and Matthew climbed a short but nice looking unprotected HVS 5b slab on the left flank of Contraband Buttress and then went on to lead a good looking crack system. The route starts at the left most crack of Evasion Buttress, before climbing up and right joining the continuing crack systems and gaining a fair amount of milage on good quality rock. Well protected, enjoyable climbing. I really enjoyed a quick repeat and felt E1 5b ** was a fair reflection. Sam decided to call this Sea King, as a helicopter whizzed by during the day.

Matthew on the second ascent of Sea King - E1 5b *

Franco checked a potential super route and Sam soloed an E1 5b slab between his HVS slab and the unclimbed arete. I rapped, cleaned and checked the arete then lead it with this knowledge. A good one mover, which is an uncomfortable height above wires in a slot. Possibly tricky to read, but easy enough when you know how... Sam managed a good flash. The route is made up of 4c climbing up the lower, juggy arete before a 5c rock over to reach the top out. The rock is lichenous, but it's uncleanable lichen which is the odd stuff that basically coats the rock in a hard plating. It climbs fine. I enjoyed the move, as did Sam so we decided a star was worthy for this shortish route. I called it Pi Arete, an excellent name that Franco came up with.

Sam Marks with a quick repeat of Contraband Crack - HVS 5a **

Day one over!

Day two was a little less full on, with Sam and I climbing a new E2 arete I called Eidolon before, Sam and I climbed Fire Dance using the bolts which is about F6c+ I think... Franco rapped a crack which is another good looking route, so plenty of future potential.
Central Crack, White Scoop and Fire Dance on Walrus Buttress

Low down on the Eidolon arete - E2  5c

Barry the boulder with a lovely view

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