Sunday, 15 July 2012

Esklets - Chilled out cragging

I haven't been to the Esklets for many years, it was infact of the first places Franco and I did some 'FA's and we've always regarded it as a decent crag. I still want to climb Slip and Fly (E3 going on E5 6b), plus i wanted to sort out the crag grades, stars and climb a few of the routes i'd not actually done yet.

Right Unconquerable VS 4c **

Sam and Jack, who joined Franco and I at the crag, warmed up on the crag classic Right Unconquerable VS 4c **. Franco and I chose to climb the good looking Esklets Eliminate HVS 5b *. Both climbs were are spot on and well worth doing.

Esklets Eliminate - HVS 5b *

Recent ascents of Waiting For An Alibi MVS 4b and No More Heroes VS 4c last year, resulted in votes on UKC of ** and ***, respectively. I reckon they both deserve a * for sure, as they follow good crack systems.

I then tried to repeat Eskrement HVS 5b **. This was one of my first 'proper' FA's but i remembered placing a side runner in the crack to the left (before i knew what side runners were). So i fancied climbing the line without the runner, thinking it would be around E2 5b? I set off up the scoop, passing a small cam placement before reaching a slot. I cleaned the slot to find a good nut placement. From here it's pretty easy to place a cam in No More Heroes, which is a bit of a shame, but it's not actually higher gear and it's further away from the moves. You could reach the break above, by climbing the crack, but the slightly eliminate line of Eskrement tackles a mantleshelf on the right side of the ledge/rib. I couldn't commit to the move... Oh dear!

Realising i'd sandbagged myself, hilariously, i checked the move out on a top rope... Jesus. I really must have not known anything about grades. The move is certainly 6a territory, but a small crimp was pretty greasy in the sun. I'm not the best at mantleshelves, but regardless the move is harder than 5b! It's a strange one, it feels awkward, hard, unbalanced and a tad scary but then it's all over. A solid one mover! I was glad to have re-lead it and sorted this little issue in my mind out. I knew deep down i'd sandbagged this, but i thought it was just adjectively, not technically. I'm quite amazed i lead this climb when i did, as the top rope practice won't have been extensive!
The line itself is ok, but it is eliminate. One could place a side runner (i don't think it would make much of a difference) but then also lay back up the crack. But i suppose you could argue that about many climbs. Certainly not a ** line, as i gave it when i did the FA 4 years ago, but i think it's worth a * for the moves and the feature which is followed is good.

Sam, Franco and I climbed the HVS 5c, Eskhew, which we felt was closer to E1 5c * for the fact the route starts with a tricky 5c move, with 5b at the top with an unprotected and dodgey fall. Franco and I then climbed the HVS 5c to the left, which starts with a massive 6a span, before unprotected 5b climbing to the top. E1/2 for effort, i thought.

Franco tried a slab project, but conditions deteriorated and I had a look at Slip and Fly. The peg looks shit, it's a massive move. I reckon this is E4 6b at least, as although gear below the peg will keep you off the deck, it's going to put you into a unpleasant roof. The peg could well hold, a good chance it will if you tie it off (on abseil first?). Either way, it looks good and i'll go back and do it, as it's reachy and powerful - something i shy away from on trad.

Franco and I then soloed a few short walls on the right hand buttresses, about 10m to the right of the main buttress, which afforded some nice moves and positions.

A choppy arete, around E3/4 5c.
A quick potter at a crag without access, allowed some lovely micro routes to be ascended. I donned full colours for the event. The arete direct is around Font 6a+ or E1 5c *. The left wall provided a terrific font 7a span. The right wall provides a nice HVS 5b and a sit down rounded prow finished the short session with a font 6c. We were shouted at to leave, so we did.

Arete Direct - E1 5c *

High Feet

HVS 5b

No comments: