Monday, 30 September 2013

Moors Round Up & Windgate Nick

Franco recently wrote a Summer trad round up which can be seen below, added to this the FA of Damascus and the recent repeat of the White Scoop by Steve Ramsden and it's been a fairly fruitful year on the Moors.

Before departing the Moors for Leeds to continue my studies, I had a quick prospecting day at Thorgill. After discounting the right hand finish to Parochial Dream as being 'a bit whack' and another buttress as being too eliminate (but with good climbing), I set my sights on the tall red wall. This untouched buttress was scoped out last visit, but a tricky looking start and lack of gear made us shift our attentions elsewhere. I rapped and cleaned the line, then shunted back up. The start is a tricky 6a? move on small crimps to a lurch for a sidepull, smears for feet, above a ski-slope landing. From here, another two tricky 5c/6a moves lead to gear in a break. From here its a bit of a shame, as you follow the easiest ground to the arete, up which it finishes with a bold feeling 5a/b move. There is a continuation of hard wall to the left but there is no point.

Grade is a guess, but i've already stuck it on my wishlist at E6 6a - cooler conditions might make the start feel less grim as i didn't like the crimps the other day. Good climbing, looking forward to putting up the hardest non-highball at Thorgill.

Windgate Nick:

Returning to Leeds in order to study for an MSc, i've picked up where I left off climbing wise; venturing to forgotten and often excellent esoteric gems, which are dotted around close-to the more well known venues. A bright sunny day, I fancied somewhere north facing; Hawkcliffe? Guisecliffe? I'd forgotten my crag beta from last year, I wasn't sure how dry or wet it had been inland compared to the dry NY Moors and I fancied somewhere with a view as it was such a nice day to be out of the sun. I flicked through the pages and found Windgate Nick - a crag i'd fancied going to previously.

The guidebook speaks of parking below the crag and needing a chairlift to get to it - or alternatively walking in from Ilkley with a 40 min approach. Me, not really knowing the area, decided it would be easier to park as close to the ridge of the Ilkley Moor hills as possible, so I did so and walked in pleasantly in around 10 mins... No wonder folk don't go!

The crag is green in general, except from where the very obvious signs of cleaning holds is apparent. Green/red gritstone is steel grey and clean in little patches. What the fuck did they use? A solid 'tick mark' is also beautifully clean - not the work of chalk alone surely?

Anyway, I rapped down the E3 5c ** and cleaned the top out which was lichenous, before having a bit of a warm up and dispatching. Starting on the right of a jutting buttress, it climbs up pleasant flakes with the use of the arete for a move or two before a bit of heel jiggerypokery allows a reach to a crimp and top out. Good route, if a tad bold. I then took a second to look at Pans Meadow, E5 6b * which climbed the arete of the same buttress, however I couldn't really make sense of where it went - the guide says start on the left and move around to the right at half height, but does that mean half buttress height or half arete height and is the right hand side joining the high moves of the E3? Not sure so i sacked it off - not keen on the unknowns.

Next up was a rap down 'Tell Mick Ryan Nowt', E4 6b **. This was one of the 'very clean' walls up to the break above which its disgusting severe grade territory. I decided the best course of action would be to climb to the break and escape. So, after a false start trying to reach the crimps from the chipped footholds (which are useless), I got it second go 'outside edging' and reaching... bugger. E3 6a for me, the upper move is bold solo but could be protected and probably only 5c/6a? Good conditions today though.

I then gave Red Alpha a shunt. Not really sure about this, as i don't climb the arete at all, tackling the wall. The reach at the end is tricky and a shunt gets in the way, so i hope it will feel a tad easier on solo - managed it anyway, so one to go back for E6 6c? Gets E7 6c which i won't argue with but I believe that climbs the arete? Not sure, great moves anyway.

I finished the day, with a quick abseil down 'Ariadne's Thread', E5 6b which I knew was an interesting name. The blunt rib looks fine, i thought? Looking from the floor the bottom section looked easy, it was the top which looked very blank/big moves. I abseiled and found I was possibly correct - negative holds with nothing on the left wall and no feet above the sloping layaway. I checked the span I'd perhaps manage to span it with a millimetre to spare... OK, so it's either a massive span to finish or the route is hiding something, which judging by the name is probably true. Still good for the ground up on this (looks ok with 2-3 pads) but might wait for my arms to grow a tad...

Good day out. The grand plan is to get a train my fitness (very difficult to do in the Moors with very little longer than 10 - 12m and no wall) and hopefully get some good bouldering/highballs in this winter and pick up the trad again come spring.  

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Stoupe Brow - The shorter walls

Stoupe Brow is home to a large expanse of rock, some of which are still untouched. Today, Sam and I went back for a scoping trip and also to climb an FA on the left hand 'shorter buttresses'.

The line which climbs on the buttress immediately to the left of the first line of glue-in bolts, "Drilled Sacrilege", struck me as being a possible highball - until i actually looked at it... its 10-12m i should think.

I have previously abseiled down it and found it was extremely clayey, so after a good clean, I shunted the moves as they didn't look too easy...Knacky climbing but fortunately very well protected - should make an ace ground up climb/all guns blazing onsight!

After a lovely start to a pocket which takes gear, a very tricky move gains an OK break and another gear deposit. From here climb straight up the 'headwall' via good crimps/edges. I originally thought it would be E6 6c from the floor however the gear is perfect after I spent an age cleaning out the clay from the pockets, however I subsequently decided its 'only' 6b, albeit a tenuous one, which will provide a hard onsight. The upper wall adds some pump. E5 6b?

Stoupe Brow in morning sunshine (8am) - its shady for the rest of the day

Central Crack E2 climb the middle of the buttress, Fire Dance E6 / F6c climbs the large arete
I warmed up and upped and downed the lower wall twice to get some strength in the old fingers. Then, managed the move first go without re-rehearsal, which surprised me. I plugged some cams in and raced up the upper wall just about avoiding a crippling onset of flash pump. Nice one.

Sam then logically set about disecting the crux move, via very intricate upping and downing until fortunately slipping during a backing out maneuver... He didnt't get it flash or, after the fall, ground up - I think i've got a tad more reach than the young upstart - and obviously I headpointed it !!
The lower walls - The new E5 6b climbs the right most flat buttress of rock in this photo.

Beyond the main buttress, there is much, much more rock

Saturday, 7 September 2013

There are no more crags

The question has been asked - is there any more crags to be found on the Moors? I suspect not, though perhaps if you count one of the forgotten crags being 're-opened'. There is certainly scope for crags such as Rud Scar to get a more modern look?

Anyway, what I do think is that the Moors still holds some 'one climb crags' and short buttresses and this has been proved this week, with the Moors still giving in the form of three separate 'craglets' or 'buttresses'.

Gill Wath, visible from Round Crag was developed by Sam and Matthew with the creation of Gill Wath Eliminate E2 6a * and Wang(?) Wall E3 6b **. Gill Wath climbs a short 5m, vertical wall with a tricky sequence to a break and protectable top out. Wang Wall, tackles all together more technical terrain to the right with poor sidepulls leading to a lurch for a crimp. Both providing explosive short outings ready made for the more boulder-orientated climber... there are a few easier lines to be claimed here too.

Matt making the crux move of Wang Wall  E3 6b **

Matt on the final tricky moves of Wang Wall - E3 6b **

I went to search some rock in Rosedale, which may provide something for the future (its not futuristic climbing, I just can't be arsed to go back) but while there spotted some rock near Middle Ridge Crag. I checked with the oracle of the Rosedale area that is Sam Marks and he indicated there was indeed a piece of rock containing an arete of quality... Tailor made for an after work drop in parking at the Lion Inn. Anyway, after a false start on a dark and midgey horror-fest the main arete was despatched the following evening with a logical easiest-ground following E2 5c and a more strict, but equally as good E3 6a which tackles the right hand side throughout. A great feature. Similarly the central wall, which stands around 6m, is going to provide a tricky route with a long reach to finish!

Hillhouse Nab from Mirage Crag

Hillhouse Nab - King of the Hill E4 5c ***

Finally, while prospecting a weekend or so ago with Sam and Matthew we checked out Hillhouse Nab. A cracking arete sat, untouched and I knew it would provide 'lonely solo'. I returned, on my own, on a windy and chilly afternoon and abseiled the line to clean the holds and have a good look at what was on offer higher up in the hand and foothold department. I was pleasantly surprised and after a good scrub, to remove the stubble-like lichen from the important looking holds, I got psyched for my lonely solo.

Hillhouse Nab - E4 5c *** from Dave Warburton on Vimeo.

It climbs like a dream. Really excellent. I gave it 3 stars, even though its only about 6m or so (maybe 7?) and a grade of E4 5c. I gave the central wall a quick check too... ooh yea, another test piece at E7 7a? with a 6c variation coming in from the arete... Not sure i'll be racing back for that one though, might need cooler conditions! - that said, the recent temperature drop has seen a drastic improvement in my psyche! Autumn is here!
A poor lamb, whose demise can be attributed to the stoat(?) trap it has attached to its rear leg.