Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Gorple, Scout Hut Crag, Hawkcliffe, Stanage & Eastby - A Recent Roundup!

Jacob is strong at the moment and we decided to wander up to Gorple to give Eternal and Carmen Picasso a look. I was happy to look and either play on a TR or give it a bash GU on Eternal. Unfortunately it was far too windy, it was ripping past the crag. We decided to walk all the way back to the car and save the day with a afternoon hit of Scout Hut Crag.

I reckon Scout Hut Crag probably saves the day for lost Widdop and Gorple days and sure enough it was dry and the friction was fine. We all warmed up flashing or getting second go the classic Needle of Dreams (E4 6b *** / Font 6c) and then quickly turned our attention to the harder twin on the left, Strone Road (E4 6b / Font 6c+). Jacob and I onsighted the route, which I thought was host to some great holds and moves, with Will and Huw getting it shortly after. Two great short solos/highballs down and with plenty of energy left Jacob quickly lead Loogabarooga (E3 6a ***). I however couldn't turn the lip safely so I didn't bother. I didn't like the gear and it felt greasy. Jacob was still keen so we pointed him at 'Lie Down Dave' E3 6b** which he cruised and I repeated this very short, but very fun sloping top out. Job done, day saved.

The next day was humid. It didn't stop Jacob flashing Cindy Crawford (Font 7c ***) at Ilkley but myself and Billy chose Hawkcliffe. I fancied looking at the Pigeon (E6) and Stepmother Jag (E4), as ive only a few of the harder routes left to try after getting Blood on the Shamrock, but also wanted Billy to do Squirrel Crack (E1 5b ***). We warmed up on Syrett's Slit (E1 5b*) and then I tried to climb Crack of Dawn (E3 5c *) which I couldn't do! I took a couple of falls and sacked it off. This felt nails?! I bouldered out Stepmother Jag and found I couldn't quite reach the bottom of the v-groove - a bit more height i'd get it but I wasn't strong enough at my dimensions.... We warmed down climbing RIP (E1 5b *) as Squirrel Crack was wet. It's worth mentioning that RIP is a terrific little climb, well worth popping in to the crag for the E1 leader. Squirrel, RIP and Syrett's would be a good haul at E1.

A crisp, sunny Saturday was forecast and a plan was hatched to head to Stanage Plantation with a stack of pads to ground-up things. I don't usually like popular crags, time for them when i'm old, but anyway I thought this sounded 'goose' and filled my Volvo with other peoples bouldering mats.

Unfortunately, people didn't really fancy grounding things up and started doing things like Captain Hook, Green Traverse and what-not. Shame, being at the crag with like 17 pads or something and not putting them ALL under things. Jacob and I managed to get hold of about 10 and proceeded to try The Unfamiliar (E8) ground up (unsuccessfully) and instead turned our attention to Ullyses Bow (E6). We were joined by Matt Ferrier and both Jacob and Matt managed to get through the crux at the top of the big arete with myself not committing, being unable to gain enough purchase on the arete, so I took the big jump. Fun jump, wish i'd done the route...

Not To Be Taken Away (E2 / Font 6b)

Sun setting loveliness above a stack of pads.

I finished up with some nice solos, Big Air (6b+), Not to be Taken Away (6b) and Satin (6b+) and thoroughly enjoyed my day in the Peak, I might return, its not far from Leeds.... Rivelin is close, Wharncliffe too.

Billy on Big Air (E6 / Font 6b+)

And finally, I managed to get back to Eastby to ground up Dead Babies E5 6b **. I'd tried this a few weeks ago and fell off slipping on my bouldering mat and narrowly missing a rock. I decided i'd head back with a chum. Anyway, I didn't have any friends, so I went on my own. It was a warm, sunny but only 75% humidity at about 5-6oC. It wasn't perfect but it was nice enough. I warmed up on the pebble slab of 'A Pair of Teeth' which is a pleasant, bold-feeling outing which is well worth seeking out at about font 6b I think? The arete then went with little issue. I fell off first go landing on the rocks(!) and smashing my elbow. I mopped up the blood and then went again before it seized up, this time not missing the foothold and, after standing below the last move for 5 minutes, managed to top out without standing on the important pebbles!

Dead Babies E5 6b ** - Eastby Crag from Dave Warburton on Vimeo.

I then quite quickly worked out the 6c direct, which if your tall or start off a pad feels 6b, so i did it without and sure enough it adds a fair pull from the ground which is probably 6c? Not sure, I don't climb many. Worth doing the direct, it adds 3-4 moves to the arete at about Font 6c+? and you get the rest to chalk up before the E5 / highball 6b+.... If I was doing the guide I put it in as E5 6c ** with an option to step in from the right at 6b.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Smugglers Terrace (November 2013)

 A couple of new additions to Smugglers Terrace. A cracking crag providing shelter from battering (and cold) westerlies.
Ben and Nick provided Anniversary Climb, HVS 5b, while Dave Richards, Peter Holden and Chris Woodall got in on the FA act, rolling back the years, with 'Six of the Best', Severe. Dave Everett and Ben Pearce then added 'Consolation Climb' VS 4b while my bro and I quickly started the development of the low to mid-grade Extremes of which there appears to be plenty adding 'Porpoise Economy' E3 5c and its sister route 'A Plaice Lost In Time'.

Starting groove - better protected than the arete direct

Moved back left to the arete - good rest with a toe hook (gear can be found here...if you're not blind)

Eyeing up the holds
Balance... facing a ground fall

Hope to get back to the Terrace sometime over the winter for some more photos and hopefully it'll be warm enough to climb! Pink/green lines are done, blue is musing for further development.

Easter Island Buttress

Aurora Buttress

Contraband Buttress

Evasion Buttress

Illusion Buttress

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Healheugh - Sinn Fein

I'd been to Healheugh before, on a windy grey and cold day when we stopped off driving over to the Lakes. We'd just quickly soloed a couple of the E-grade slabs and then ran away. I always wanted to go back on a crisp windless day. Today, was sort-of one of those days...

The frost meant we were not that stoked to return to Smugglers Terrace, so a sun trap was favoured. I fancied looking at Steve Crowes bouldery arete Sinn Fein (E5 / Font 7a) as well as Emerald Isle (E5 5c) and Blood Red Streets (E6 6c). Nick was also interested in the venue as he'd never been or considered going.

We warmed up on a few boulder problems and I quickly sorted out Sinn Fein, failing to latch the break when I first went of it. Damn! Next go, no problems. Then again for photos. A great sequence and it does feel higher than it is, especially as its smeary. I think you could fall quite nastily off it, if your foot blows from the smear. Anyway, a joyous bit of climbing on perfect rock. Bliss.

We led the routes West Face E2, Toil Arete HVS and Nikki (E2), but by now it was already starting to get dark, the 1 1/2 hour drive and late set off meant the day was over, so Emerald Isle and Blood Red Streets will have to wait. 'Their Glorious Wealth' E5 6b might need a bit of training for - has the block slipped as that looks SERIOUSLY steep! Jeez.

Dovestones (Raven's Peak) - The Great Santini (E4) and Full Throttle (E4)

A crag i'd seen from a school bus years before I was into climbing. I remembered the unusual angle and its position across the 'ravine'. The whole position felt epic. I then drove past the crag a year or so ago while at Uni and was hit by a huge wave of deja vue. Anyway, I didn't make it to the crag during my undergrad years however, my second coming at University provided me with that opportunity.

I picked up Will from Bingley(!) and drove via dark grey cloud and a stiff breeze to the crag. It was certainly windy. We warmed up on August Arete (E1 6a) both getting it second go in the howling wind. We both then also climbing an eliminate wall at about 5c.

The main target was The Great Santini E4 6a and Full Throttle E4 6b. Based around the same line on the main and tallest part of the crag. I led up placing gear, traversed out to a friend, pulled up via crimp and was in the process of standing up when I totally lost my bearings/crimp strength/balance? Anyway, I fell off. Will flashed the line on my gear and after ANOTHER stupid fall, I too completed the line. A great climb and a nice soft touch at E4.

Will and I then looked at the brilliant looking bouldery arete which provides the start of Full Throttle, before the climb joins the crux of The Great Santini. Will flashed the boulder problem, truly in his element on these technical but protected moves. I struggled with the start, blaming my down-turned footware/the wind/conditions. Eventually however, I made it up to the crux, via 'the reach' which felt like the absolute end of my reach on the day (though i'm sure I was climbing badly!) and then proceeded to fall off The Great Santini...

Allowing the frustration to totally take hold, I got angry and a bit upset and ended up cruising up the line with no difficulty and wondered what the frigg had been going on before. Conditions, definitely conditions...

Two great routes, well worth dropping in for - Full Throttle is up there with the best routes on Yorkshire Gritstone that i've done.