Saturday, 27 April 2013

Ravenswick Proj... + some recent activity....

Clemmitts morons from Dave Warburton on Vimeo.

Round Crag - Side Kick & Variation from Dave Warburton on Vimeo.

After a couple of nice sessions at Thorgill climbing the right arete of 'The Diamond' block, Torsang 6c and then managing to tick Derailed 7b (which had stumped me previously), then we popped over to Body Torque 7a+ which Sam quickly despatched after working out some good beta that worked for him.

However, my attentions have now turned to Ravenswick. Once the 'training venue of choice' for myself and Franco - often during shitty weather - I now drive past this most nights on the way home from Scarborough... I have done most things there, with the exception of some of Lees additions which are on the lower portion of the main wall which for some reason i've never bothered with... Anyway, I had read there there was a 'Winter Traverse', one of the original circuit that i'd forgotten about and this got me thinking...

I rocked up with Sam, to find fellow local activists Phil and Dave resulting in a fairly crowded Ravenswick session...!  After warming up I climbed the Winter Traverse 6c+/7a which is all about matching on a sloper/blind layaway thing. It climbs well and made me twig that the whole Black Wall area is now traverse-able... The Black Wall Traverse (Gutter Crack to Flake Crack) is around 6c+/7a and this can lead into the reverse of the Main Wall Traverse (Destroyer Traverse) which is around Fr 7b or say font 7a+. Then after negotiating the very thin holds at what is now the finish of that particular traverse, you get a slight rest before launching into the 6c+/7a sloper which is totally droppable... Can't wait to get this done.

I rocked up yesterday and manged to make it 2/3 of the way along in a single push, but this is probably only 1/3 of the difficulty as there is still the very thin holds just after Black Magic and then the crux sloper moves at the end. No idea what grade it would be, but if feels harder than the sport 7c's i've tried so i'll give it a pop for Fr7c+ or Font 7c??? No idea its not really a boulder problem as there isn't any hard moves per say but it does all add up and the cross throughs are the cruxes throughout with a background pump...

Always look forward to dropping in to the 'wick now - so stovked for this.

After work sessions - Clemmitt's...

The clocks going back and generally dry weather has allowed me a couple of sessions on the local crags after work. Thorgill, Clemmitt's & Ravenswick are all high on the list for crags achieveable for an hour or so's intensive effort.

I decided I would go for some of the boulder problems that had never previously interested me on previous day-hits. First on the list was The Lip 7b at Clemmitt's, a traverse on the Liberate Block. I warmed up on the 6c  Liberate which is a powerful starting and finish up a steep pocketed but short wall. I then quickly linked the traverse but failed to latch the final hold twice. Frustrating. I returned, after a 3 day period down in Leicestershire where I climbed some easy stuff at Beacon Hill and quickly despatched The Lip which is a good little problem...

While there I was astounded by the friction afforded by the 3 degree temperatures and strong winds. So I wandered over to Seal of Approval 6c, which is a bit contentious as there's a block you can start on but the problem starts without - stacked pads will also make a difference. Anyway, off one pad I felt the arete and it was positively sticky. I'd held this arete before and found is shockingly bad so i simply pulled up and was soon matching the higher arete and mantling it out. Cool little problem with a high foot or a heel...

More importantly, this got me thinking that In The Bag 7b+ which climbs the same arete from the right, would probably be OK. I have tried this a couple of times before but mainly the right hand version, as I didn't really understand why it finished on the left in an illogical fashion. Anyway, I pulled up and soon found myself suction cupping the arete in a quite positive manner... I fell off, but I knew it would go. Several attempts later I was matching and scraping my way up the higher arete quite boxed. It feels good to do it, I have no doubt that the perfect conditions helped immensely.

Tired, but still psyched to make the most of the conditions I sat down under Jabba's Butt 7b. I couldn't quite do this a while back, trying it backwards to Mike Adams the FA. However, I soon reverted to the original beta, but starting one move earlier with both hands in the pocket. It's a cool little problem not to be overlooked.

I was pretty stoked about this evening and left with battered hands but brimming with confidence. I'm not the strongest by a long shot and 7b/7b+ is pretty good for me. I can definitely climb harder but at this moment in time its excellent for me.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Finkelstones - Auroras Encore

A lonely day was spent walking over to the newly discovered Finkelstones. I was tired, the Boro game was on the radio and the Grand National was on the box, but it was too nice a day not to get out, so I got stoked and said to myself I would definitely climb the project from the last visit, a direct variation to Labyrinth.

After warming up on the Chain Gang block, home to a terrific 6a+, I returned to the quarry walls. On the last visit I felt ill, dizzy, so decided not to try anything on this wall due to the sloped, rocky landing and slopey tops. I also couldn't fit my fingers or thumb into a useful mono hold. However, my week long thumb-toning exercises worked wonders and this time is slotted right in... Obviously my fingers were a bit puffy in the colder conditions last trip?

A quick direct start to the wall, which is around 6b+ and then the mono start to 'Bambino' which is around 7a. Both really good. Bambino is eliminate in nature but feels fine and packs a punch. I fell off a couple of times but managed to stich a video together having failed to catch a full ascent in between battery changes.

After this, I returned to the Labyrinth boulder and got cracking on the project. Franco and I got really close last visit with a left heel and crimp beta. I warmed up but soon lost interest in this method as my fingers began to hurt. I tried the lock off jam method and surprised myself with the results. However, I was still open to other methods and uncovered an excellent feeling right-heel method. This was hard, probs 7c, and i didn't manage it. I knew there was a 7b+? method somewhere and I eventually found it.

Chuffed to bits, I said I would call it whatever the winner of the National was; walking back to the car I was really hoping it wasn't 'Sea Bass'. Fortunately it wasn't and Auroras Encore was born.

Cool stuff.

Finkelstones - Auroras Encore 7b+ from Dave Warburton on Vimeo.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Limber Hill

Went to check out Steve Phelps Limber Hill boulder discovery on a warm, sunny day. After initially struggling to find the boulder and aimlessly walking around for two hours, i eventually found 'The Cutter' block. This was pretty much the boulder problem I wanted to do, an excellent 7a+ with what looked like a powerful, reachy move to a small crimp.

I arrived, tried to push as many of the pine needles off the holds with a stick from the top, and then set about flashing the line. I had seen Lee's video so knew the beta; so i warmed up and set to work. A short prelude, quick step up and I was soon up top in the pine needles... Felt closer to 6a+ and that was with all the holds having been wetted by soggy pine needles. Who knows? Perhaps it was the infamous 'sticky-damp'... Must have really suited my style, perhaps it was 6c or something?

After spending two hours finding the block and then 1 minute climbing it, I cleaned and climbed the short wall to the left, which if started low in the recess, gives a tricky first move. Could be easier if you start with your finger in the mono, or sat higher up the hill, but I gave it 6c? for the way i did it. A pleasant slopey top out awaits.

EDIT: Betaguides/Steven Phelps have already done the second problem, presumably from sit, at 6b and continued following the feature rather than direct. The crux is the low start, so there must be a 6b way of doing it!

Limber Hill from Dave Warburton on Vimeo.

Monday, 1 April 2013

More Fryup Dale Bouldering

Franco had returned from Manchester psyched as usual and quickly made his way to Danby Crag to his Mono Wall project. While there he checked out the rest of the hillside that splits Little Fryup from Great Fryup, and discovered a collection of bouldering venues. He was quite excited.

It has been good weather over the Easter weekend, however work commitments with the on going drilling program at York Potash, meant i didn't want to be too far from a road, my phone and Doves Nest site! That meant this local bouldering venue was the perfect balance between getting something done on my two days off and also not being uncontactable.

The location is top notch, a further continuation of the oft-eyed Freyr's Nab and together the 3 venues compliment each other well. First reached on the path from Little Fryup is 'Fairy Cross' which is home to two short buttresses with a collection of easy boulder problems and short solos. An unclimbed clean arete is the pick of the lines but requires non-snowy conditions for an ascent.

Gallop 6a+

5+ upper arete - Finkel Arete

From the top of the hill, where the troops of mythical wild moors horses dash about in and out of impressive Scot's Pines, you can either head north east to the Finkelstones or due south to the jutting Freyr's Nab. We wandered down to the Finkelstones, so called due to the proximity of Finkel Farm. This pleasant collection of boulders is in a medium-thick deciduous woodland and offers a view straight onto the hamlets of Great Fryup. Occasional wintry showers would pepper the slopes adding to the atmosphere.

Brainwashed Tory - 6b+

Brainwashed Tory - 6b+

The problems vary from bunched sit starts on small blocks to large, impressive roofs and craglets. We climbed a range of problems from 4+ to 7A+/7B on many of the blocks, with slabs, walls, aretes and jamming cracks, with gaps and new boulders surely still available. The odd project has been noted and will be dutifully returned too at some point.

Labyrinth - 7a+. Excellent compact arete

The highlight for me was the slopey arete, tackled from sit which became 'Labyrinth' 7A+. This looked when I first saw it and thought it might give a gentle 6-grade from sit. However it soon became apparent it had more to offer. Starting from sit with a jam in the roof, several height gaining slaps, toe hooks and high feet unlock the rising and curving arete-line. A direct through the roof also appealed and soon, after initally feeling impossible, turned out to perhaps be around 7C. I'll head back at some point with fresh arms and tips to give that a proper go i think.

Pocket Wall 6a+ / 7a for a right and direct finish, respectively

Some excellent stuff really, top notch location definiately a pleasant place to be in winter/spring but the bracken might cause some problems in summer? Certainly on the approach over the top but the Fairy Cross boulders will be OK and perhaps the Finkelstones will avoid high bracken in the trees?

Stone Wall 5+