Saturday, 11 August 2012

Grand Master Flash...A Dream With Wings, innit?! Who know's but where did Cannonball Run come from?

A strange 10 days or so for me, with some good ascents but also some failures and poor decisions. It started with some bouldering at Thorgill, where I grounded up an E5 and managed a 7b dyno and 7a+. This suggested I was going well, but still struggled on 'deadpointing' small pops and lacked that couple of inch (or less) required to static these moves. Anyway, a painful fall off Ch-Ching and a total shut down trying to pull on the monos of Psycho Syndicate left me feeling a bit down, however these were balanced by enjoyable ascents of Peel Out, Stargazer Direct, Slip and Fly and i suppose you can throw in the enjoyable dyno-solutions to the North Buttress at Cold Moor there too, as i hate dynos!

The dyno unlocking the left side of 'Impossible Wall', which we named Footless Crowe. Named after the first developer of the buttress, Steve Crowe and the fact its a dyno, as well as the obvious reference!

Franco on Psycho Syndicate

Anyway, Grand Master Flash has always been the scalp I wanted at Scugdale, for me it's the centerpiece of the crag (even though it's off to one side) and, although I don't feel at my strongest (or fittest anymore) the cloudy day seemed right to have a highball on the The Master. In reference to the title, this route has been claimed as several different routes by Dave Paul, Monty (maybe?) and most recently Richard Davies. Oddly, a Dave Paul traverse (Cannonball Run) suddenly appeared on climbonline, which i'll have a look at next time I think.

Originally headpointed, it has seen repeats in this style as well as at least one onsight. I was stoked to onsight or ground it up. However, arriving at Scugdale it was sunny so Franco quickly utilised the newly chipped hold on Humbug, which was in the shade, to climb this bit of wall. Obviously the original Humbug has been awfully damaged by this chiselling-moron, but the move that remains is an interesting spring from the sidepull to the top. The Shelf has also been chipped, by the same person. Certainly a case of someone bringing it to their level, as they haven't created buckets, they've just improved pre-existing holds, with two finger edges. The person in question must have about Font 7A strength though, if they even managed to do 'Humbug'?

After swanning around in the sun, we made are way to Grand Master Flash, which was thankfully just in the shade. Still very warm, we had a look at the buttress from the ground and it looked sandy. Franco rapped and cleaned the holds quickly and I set off ground up. A few powerful moves low down, that are pretty easy to read from the ground, leads to a couple of poorer crimps. I made a move up but i couldn't yard on the left most crimp and i was soon plummetting to the ground. It's high! Fortunately, my usually debilitating left knee has a mind of it's own at the moment and didn't seem to hurt, so spurred on I went again. I reached the same point and 'manked' off it, blaming sweating fingers. Franco flashed the line, enjoying the warm rock of the head wall in slightly scared fashion! Disillusioned by the the events, I elected to abseil down the line and check the crux. I cleaned the crimps and felt the hold above. I found a different crimp which when combined with the original meant didn't have to pull on the sloping number - great! Back to the floor, i powered on up the steep wall for a 3rd time and quickly found myself on the scary headwall. Great route and moves!

I was slightly disappointed by the fact I had lost my ground up, trading it for a far less satisfying 'inspection of route' but theres too much to do and what feels like too little time. A great problem and one I feel is deserving of its E5 6b grade, perhaps feeling E4-ish with pads. Interestingly, I don't think it's 6a, as touted by Ram Man (at about the same time as he did a two finger one armer off the starting hold of New Dimensions!), but the crux feels like it should be a hard pull on a crimp, when in actuality, it ends up being much less powerful...but does involve finding said crimp! Oh well, I'm sure most folk are better at hold finding than I am.

Great route, protectable these days with pads though perhaps not really a good idea to go 'Gung Ho' on as the crux is quite high. Certainly comparable to The Parochial Dream, in terms of feel, perhaps being a tad easier, but more crimpy and harder to read?

No pictures or videos for a while, as my camera got drenched last week by a massive thunderstorm :-(

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