Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Rushing back to form?

I felt like my best climbing days were towards the end of my degree, when I was using the full spectrum of climbing variety, including indoor walls, sport at Malham and Kilnsey and trad trips. Usually, I end up doing just one thing for a set amount of time. Living on the Moors, the nearest wall is a 1hr drive and its 1 1/2hrs to a good one, but you're surrounded by rock, so you can't bring yourself to do it. Leeds on the other hand is far simpler to hit the wall and get pumped - something which is incredibly hard to do upon the Moors...

Anyway, i've started as I mean to go on, climbing regularly at the wall on evenings and taking any free time to head outside and now even more confident to just go and shunt (with the possibility of a solo involved) if there's no partners, i should be back up to fitness in no time?

Anyway, a brief recap of my recent days...

After my solo trips to Halton Heights and Windgate Nick, I returned to my alma mater(?) for gritstone shunt soloing - Hawkcliffe. Perhaps my favourite venue consisting of the fabled gritstone. I went knowing it had the potential to be damp and cold following some rain the day previous. It wasn't.

I stuck a rope down Pigeon E6 6b, a Ben Bransby 'micro-route' with a horrid landing. After a quick scrub to clean some of the upper pockets (certainly would have fucked you up getting the wet mud in the top pocket!) I gave it a shunt. Tricky...
It's a big reach and at full reach off smears I knew it would be a bit 'iffy' on solo. The rest is no harder than 5c but probably E4. Anyway, I decided i'd give it a miss today perhaps a bouldering mat below would provide a bit of encouragement? Well, a spotter anyway.

So what to do. I was at a crag, perfect conditions, no partners and two routes i'm desperate to do. Blood On The Shamrock E6 6a *** and Driveby E6 6b ***. I decided to abandon my pretty ropey ethics these days (which was that I was saving BOTS for the flash) and shunt the beautiful and terrifying looking arete. I flashed it. Just. Happy with that, I refined a sequence which actually felt pretty secure with a crafty heel, to allow a breather before the smear of doom. A trouser shitting move to get your feet on the ledge follows and you're standing there 15m? off the deck. It's an absolute gem of a route. Short and sharp but set way up above the branches. I'm sure its safe with gear?! Regardless, full on as a solo even if it was a headpoint. AMAZING.

Sunday was nice; sunny & breezy so I teamed up with Yorkshire Waters eloquent junior employee Will and headed to Simon's Seat. I was looking forward to returning to the most perfect rock in the Pennines south of Healheugh and I wasn't disappointed.

Arriving at 'I'll Bet She Does' we found a team already plundering most of the excellent highballs and bouldering in the vicinity. Making full use of some additional pads Will quickly warmed up on the left arete "And She Was" E3 6a (font 6B+) despatching it with ease in the chilly breeze. I too warmed up on the highball wall, with a couple of false start getting off the ground on the central line of 'I'll Bet She Does' E3 6a (font 6C?), I was soon climbing this brilliant but somewhat eliminate feeling(?) direct up the wall. Great holds at the top and after totally missing the good holds, a bit of sloper-fest at the top. Good stuff.

Will repeated Galaxy font 7A and I tried it as its something I'll do in the future but my finger tip skin cried a little which was worrying for the second route of the day so i sacked it off. To Hen Stones!

A short session on the gloriously situated buttress with about 6 or 7 immaculate problems. I finished up with Hen Arete font 7A and the crack line font 5, while Will repeated Hen Pecked font 6C+, Hen Arete and made progress with Bird Flu Font 7B. I'll be back for this one also, as after initially wanting to get it done, I decided to save my rapidly deteriorating right fingers for The Naked Edge E3 6a.

With the afternoon drawing in, and the temperatures just dropping slightly we called it a day and wandered back toward the car, via The Naked Edge. I re warmed up, had a good look at the line and then set off. About 1/3 of the way up I felt like i'd made a mistake, I was starting to sweat up the only hand hold available at that height. I didn't want to lose the onsight of this one. Fortunately a bit of clear thinking allowed an arete side swap and a continuation to the top. Which isn't at all as scary as the guidebook made it sound, finishing on good holds. Got me fairly psyched to try Dino-Mania E5 6b to the right as well. I felt fairly comfortable at that height so if i'm there with a glutton of pads or a mere towel i might give that a go. Great crag, can't wait to get there bouldering this winter - though by the events of today, perhaps my tips can?  

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