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.  

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