Sunday, 8 July 2012

Roseberry Bouldering and a New Route - Rivers of Sand E4 6a

With poor weather being the bane of the UK climbing community at the moment, we've been clinical with our crag choice of late...That said, it would be nice to be able to stick to plans and involve more people, but at the moment it's hit and hope and don't plan anything in advance! For today, the quick drying, oft windswept crag and boulders that make up Roseberry Topping seemed a perfect choice for the foggy, windy conditions. The team was Franco, Sam, Sophie and I and we arrived to light drizzle and fog, but it didn't affect anything and soon the sun burned off the morning greyness, which was a surprise. The wind was evident from the clouds, but the aspect meant we were totally sheltered.
We warmed up with a spot of bouldering, quickly flashing a 6c+ version of Mike Adams' Asgard (7a+), which we started from a dual incut crimp and right heel, rather than in the depths of the cave... Seemed logical to us. Didn't care much for the wire brushed foot holds, like. Then attentions turned to Stegosaurus (7b) and T-Rex (7a+). Unfortunately, the thin and eliminate nature of Stegosaurus put me off, i was also most displeased by the level of wire brushing that had taken place on the crimps. The yellow, newly exposed rock was weathering to a clayey texture. It's really not good, who ever is wire brushing these holds needs to know it's ruining them, it looks shit and it's totally unnecessary! It's basically vandalism and it might improve the hold for you on the day, but it knackers them for anyone else. And with news of chipping at Scugdale, sounds like some pretty serious education is required!

Franco and I flashed T-Rex, so again probs cleaned up a bit from the F.A as it felt more like 6b+... that said, i'm not sure how 'strong' I am at the moment, having done no established bouldering for some time... but the best i've flashed in the past has been 6c+... i know i'm probs able to onsight 7a or above, but this felt too easy... Not sure really.

Edge of Glory - 7b+
(Foreshortened slightly!)

Sam cruised our own The Shelf 6b+/c and then Franco lanked the 7b+ wall to the right, that i knew he'd be able to do, having watched Mike Adams lank it too on a video. Then as the sun baked the rock i tried Edge of Glory 7b+, which was too hard for me and my fingers got sore with the sweat peeling the skin off... so we turned our attention to a trad line we'd thought about for a few years but never got around to.

7b+ Wall right of The Shelf

The route climbs the wall to the left of The Shelf, continuing up the headwall above. The rock looks ok, if a little iron-y so we elected to top rope it... A few ascents to clean the sandy, friable rock up and suss some gear and I felt i was ready to go... The start, up a slim ramp feature leads to a cool rock over and then a high, 5c/6a move which is scary on slightly friable feeling rock.

Starting ramp of Rivers Of Sand

The break allows for some nut placements in a crusty break, providing relief from ground fall and then a move into the niche provides a rest. Phew! I noticed i could see my heart beating in my chest, so i chose to take a chill out in the niche and focus on my breathing... Incidentally, from this point it would be possible to tackle the arete direct from here, which actually looks entertaining with a large reach or pop i.e bolder than the wall climb so certainly not an 'escape'...Anyway, a minute or so later, i followed the line of monos and sandy crimps rightwards... Feet feeling sketchy, even on big holds in the break, the dual mono rightwards move feels ace. Some better holds arrive and a good nut slot eases any anxiety regarding the first break. A reversal back to the left to a crimp, allows a high rock over (such a good move) which gains jugs, sand and the top out! I named it Rivers Of Sand...

Top rock over - cool move! 

It's a good route, bold and pretty serious at the start before gear and a rest. An entertaining, tricky traverse gains good gear and then a 5c, perhaps 6a? rock over gains the top. It retains a sketchy, scary feeling throughout and the rock in parts demands respect, but the gear is good. We felt the start was not actually hard, but just bold which makes the move to the break feel harder than it is... it might actually get 5c if it was on the ground perhaps? E4 5c/6a describes the climbing well i feel, well worth taking a look at if you fancy climbing on the main face of Roseberry... The Pasghetti Alpinist (E5), Accelerator (HVS), Rivers Of Sand (E4) and The Shelf (E1/2 6b) are all well worth doing, the higher grades possibly best suited to prior-inspection style ascents!?

So basically, a good mix at the moment. Some easy and testing bouldering below the crag, some nice highballs on the right hand main face, with some 'adventure' style routes on the main face and right hand main face.. with the smaller, enjoyable solos in the south-east alcoves... Go and enjoy it!

Got a video and some photos of the stuff from yesterday will get them up at some point...

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