Friday, 25 October 2013

Weather Beating: Wharncliffe, Bird Flu (7b) & Daytona Wall (E5)

Every day seems to bring a bit more rain. Either a constant drizzle or heavy showers. It's pretty grim. The last three crag visits have been 'bold' outings hoping to find rock dry enough to climb.

Huw and I departed mizzle in Leeds and drove to Wharncliffe, with the forecast for 'proper rain' at 3-4pm. We managed to get a couple of solos, a lead of the classic arete E1 (which was wet at the top providing a harder sequence tip-toeing direct up the arete) and then a lead of Banana Wall (never E4!) and the pretty sweet October Arete E2 5c. I've got a few lines in my mind from there, Into the Air (E5), An E3 through a small roof and October Wall E4 6a all looked well worth returning for - plus Desolation Angel E6, if I get a bit bolder.

Rain that night, with rain forecast for 3pm the following day provided Jacob and I enough stimulus to head for Trollers Gill... It was wet. No seepage just entire crag condensation. We only had ropes and draws and one pad so we decided to run up to Simon's Seat to see what was what. Everything was wet... but there was a breeze. We sat around, talked and ate some food and eventually, after a little bit of dabbing with a tea towel, Hen Arete 7a and Bird Flu 7b at Hen Stones were dry. Jacob onsighted Hen Arete before very quickly dispatching Bird Flu via a strangely powerful move on a slabby arete. I how struggling, I couldn't seem to lean my body far enough away from the rock to get my feet high. I couldn't do anything having got my right foot on the nubbin'. So eventually, started to work on a step through move, which, with some refinement from a now bored Jacob, provided me with a pleasing tick of a tricky arete on a day where I could have done nothing! We had a quick look at The Naked Edge E3, but it was wet, so we walked down and got soaked by a thunderstorm... Heated seats FTW!

The following week saw more of the same. Except, amazingly the Thursday forecast seemed to indicate SUN...all day! Being at Uni, i allowed myself Thursday off to take full advantage knowing full well i will almost certainly end up working weekends in the future. Huw and I raced to the Lancashire/Yorkshire boarder and walked into Cow's Mouth Quarry. A route that had been on my wishlist for years was Daytona Wall E5 6a, but i'd never driven over to look. Huw however lives quite close and said it would be dry and clean. We walked in through wet mist looking at gopping wet walls. I was a tad disheartened. The crag however was dry and I proceeded to flash Daytona Wall after Huw had a quick play and clean of the holds on a rope. Efficient. Huw repeated the trick and I bouldered out the direct start - which is worth doing for an extra 6a move before the 5c/6a move through the overlap. Great route, loved it. Perfect solo. We had a bunch of pads, but I really wouldn't approach the line with a 'highballing' mentality, its a solo.

After eating our weight in donuts, pies and other stuff bought from Morrison's en-route we decided it would be a good idea to drive to Summit Quarry. It was starting to get towards sun set so we raced up, and found the crag. IT was wet. However, the buttress that has recently seen some attention from Nik Jennings and AK Hughes was dry. I didn't know what any of the routes were so, in what felt like fading light, I climbed the left crag of the bay, which climbs nicely via a couple of wire slots to the break. Small fiddly gear and a powerful feeling layback (bit iffy when wet!) leads to the top of what I later found was a E2 5c "First Circle". Probably a tricky one at this grade? but it was all a bit rushed. What this visit did tell me was that I want to go back... Jaggernath E4 6b and its associated routes (E5 6c & E7 6c) look brill, as does Jim's Route E6 6c. The mono-wall of Summit Quarry (E7 6c) also looks attractive, but mono's aren't my thing otherwise i'd love to give it a bash.

dayton wall flash from huw goodall on Vimeo.

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