Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Smugglers Terrace Mini Guide

Ready for the winter season. An excellent winter venue, quick drying and sheltered from Westerly winds. Around 40 routes from HVD to E7. Go there!

Monday, 13 October 2014

Connoirs return along with the rain

The heat has broken, humidity dropping nicely and temperatures around 9 - 15 degrees. Perfect Moors trad connoirs. Unfortunately the rain has joined this temperature drop, which makes sense, but i'm also splitting my time between the Moors and Leeds.

After Sanctuary at Eskdale Crag, I was somewhat unsure what else I really fancied. I'm not as focused on projects as Franco, rather, I like to rattle off easier stuff as there is so much. Thus, my time spent around Castleton have seen me add to my tally of E4 - E7 headpointed FAs. Part of me thinks I could 'save' or leave some of these climbs either for the next wave of Moors developers, or to a time when I could do them in 'good style'. But, then I come to my senses - I enjoy climbing, and I enjoy climbing new things on the Moors in whatever style.

I soloed the groove right of Osiris, which provided an interesting E4 5c/6a. It starts up Osiris HVS 5a ** which is a cool hand crack, before stepping right into the bottomless groove (gear) and then up. Unfortunately it ends up by a large tree in a crack but its straightforward to climb up clean rock to the left with gear so its not a bad route. Osiris, incidentally is a sustained though somewhat unloved crack - well worth seeking out seeing as there are now 3 or 4 VS to E1 cracks at Danby which are great! I also found a cool, powerful and bold FA. It climbs up on slightly creaky flakes, powerful undercuts and then long reaches, all with poorish footholds. A final very bold highfooted rock over adds the finishing touch. It'll be one of my harder lines when I get it done ~ E7 6c.

Ravenswick is somewhere I see myself spending a great deal of time. I still very much want to bosh the big traverse, however I also spotted the 'pit' which has somehow gone unnoticed. It provides some of the highest climbing at the 'Wick but was shrouded by ivy. Fortunately however, Ivy is piss easy to remove and I soon had a blank canvass to climb. There is probably room for another route or two, however I climbed the central bulge direct at E3/4 6a. Classic Ravenswick stuff, decent holds if you find them but there is a plethora to choose from and that may be your downfall. A solo, though not ankle-breaky with some pads.

I finished up with a quick hit of Danby after commuting back from a lie-in at Leeds - so not a very long day! I was going to jump on my Anubis Project, but decided to check out the buttress between the Polish Jungle and Osiris. I looked at it from below; a central scoop with a left and right arete. Three possible routes with the central scoop very attractive. My guesstimates were E3 5b to E5 5a/6a sort of terrain. I rapped down and soon realised that half of the buttress is an easyish plod, but then, with no gear hard moves reach the top. Interesting. No star stuff, but interesting. I shunted the central line attempting to style it up the central groove. No chance. I laybacked but this was insane. However, a good hold was just about spannable to, so I figured out a sequence with that. Jeez. OK, so its easy up to the groove then a bit balancy to reach across to the crimp. A lurch right to the good hold then powerful moves with poor feet allow a desperate rock over lock off move to reach the top. E7? E8?? 6b. I don't know. It's a classic Danby scarefest; i'm annoyed that the start wasn't sustained 6a or something, or that there isn't any gear. The top moves are excellent but I doubt anyone would bother repeating it; a three/four move boulder problem with a 10m fall? It's less bold than Howl Psyche (20m fall), though certainly harder physically. They're certainly bold. The left arete was a 'fun' E6 6a.

Elsewhere with Katie we've been exploring the area covered by the Over the Moors guidebook. Marsden and Chew Valley and all that. Had some nice days out, trying to balance crags with lower E grades with nice VS/HVS's. Generally been fairly successful, with my highlights being Necronomicon (E3 5c 1pt ***) & Godspell E2 5b ** (this would be amazing if it didnt have a massive easy slab in the middle) at Pule Hill and The Connection (E3 5c *) & Longwall Eliminate (E3 6a *) at Den Lane Quarry.

Loads of interesting stuff around there to explore, i've got unfinished business at Running Hill Pits, Pots and Pans Quarry looks interesting, Chew Valley, Shooters Nab all have stuff that Katie and I can do - loads of stuff to look at and a COMPLETE CONTRAST to bold, lonely days out on the Moors. 

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Au revoir West Yorkshire - a return to the Moors

With my Masters finishing at Leeds Uni, I boshed a couple of days out i'd meant to do for years. Heptonstall to climb Forked Lightning Crack (E2/3) and a visit to Running Hill Pits.

'The Pits' are excellent and I might return in the future, couple of E4/5's that are geared which look ace. However, I made do with a ground up of Iguanodon (E5), flashes of Phaestus (E4), Weavers Wall (E3), Wind Breaker (E2) and Yarn Spinner (E4).

Forked Lightning with Katie was a bit of a treat. We'd spent the day at Standing Stones (my first trip to the Chew Valley) we're we'd boshed a couple of VS's which were very nice. However, I requested a quick trip to Heppy and Katie obliged.... Some cams, a no-hands rest and a bit of jamming/laybacking and I was at the top. Sweaty. Lovely evening, if a tad warm. Great route a true classic. Shame it's not a bit longer!

Eskdale Buttress from Dave Warburton on Vimeo.

Finally, after some more VS bashing around and about, I got a quick shunt and solo in at Eskdale Crag. A crag i've been meaning to start developing for years, I was belayer-less so just decided to wire it and go. A bold, technical start up to around 6m above a steep, but soft landing lands you at a hand ledge. From here, gear is placeable in a vertical crack, but with no friends I soloed the bold and exposed 5c finishing moves. I can't decide if its E5 6b ** or E6 6b **. Basically the finish is E2/3 5c with gear or like E5 5c without but the start is the 6b part. A 6b pull to get onto the arete, then some easier moves to get established ready for a 6a/b sequence which is slightly dynamic. The route is moderately pumpy as well actually. I had a pad attached to a rope but I decided falling off would be unpleasant and no one will hear you scream. Could have felt more serious due to this lonelyness factor?


Friday, 5 September 2014

A long overdue roundup

I haven't updated my blog for a while, because I haven't done any FAs on the Moors until recently. However, I have managed to achieve a couple of targets recently, which while not my hardest or indeed 'best' accomplishments they are non-the-less important to me.

First things first, I FINALLY got myself up Jurassic Scarp (E3 5b **) at Whitestonecliffe. It's been there for years. Ian had done it and Franco and Luke had done it after the traverse but i'd never bothered. I knew it was one of the best long pitches on the Moors. Anyway on a lovely sunny, perhaps too hot day, that I skived off University, I made a quick dispatch of this excellent route. It's pretty intense, quite harrassing I felt in the lower reaches, before an excellent roof and then a pumpy and sort of committing headwall. It probably does need doing sans threads. Don't think it would be E4 5b though...? Hard E3 5b then, I suppose.

Around the same time, after running some errands in Guisborough ran up to Highcliffe and shunted Magic in the Air (E7 6b ***). IT felt fine, bit reachy on the crux but nothing to bad. I could see the rain rolling in from the Pennines so after 2 and a half shunts I ran up it, with spots of rain beginning to fall. Quick whoop at the top and then I legged it down to pack everything up before running back to the car. Still got a soaking but it was worth it! Not a bad couple of hours - if that!

However the news worth writing about is the Smugglers Terrace. Matt has tirelessly been working his way through de-vegetating the crag and bush-whacking paths through the bracken - which this year has been flattened by an easterly wind. Even so, we decided if this crag was to become as popular as it should be, it would need to be less adventurous, as folks just aren't into adventures these days.

Over the period of a couple of weeks this summer a fair few routes at a variety of grades have been boshed. This crag has so much to offer its obscene, but we're slowly working our way through it. It's a shame, I can't understand why people don't go there to do FAs? I'd much rather do 1 FA than 20 soulless routes at Stanage, but each to their own decision.

Smugglers Terrace Aug 2014 from Dave Warburton on Vimeo.

The new route list from the summer is now;

Mullet of Cocktail E2 5c *
Emersion E4 5c *
Privateel E5 6a
Ai No Barramundi E4 6a **
Krill Zone E5 6b *
Clew Garnet VS 4c *
Leviathan E5 6c **
Porpoise Economy E6 6b **
The Swordfish of a Thousand Truths E2 6a
Hake Shake E2 5b

There must be around 20 or 30 more routes to be done on the 7 or 8 buttresses that exist. Some would require a brief effort to clean and others a mammoth effort. I'll steadily be working my way through them, but considering the majority of the lines left will be easier than E1 it would be nice if folk who climb around that grade did them!

It's getting close to being make or break time too, with the easier lines holding the vegetation better than the harder lines only regular visitation will keep the VS's etc in good condition. The harder lines are fine and will be forever. It's a shame people don't venture off the path a bit more but what will be, will be!

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Another couple of walls and a topo (Maidens Bluff)

A hot weekend before the perfect weather bubble bursts. First up a re-match with the wall right of Harbinger that I didn't want to do last time as we had no pads. Three pads on the ledges and a quick re-rehearse and it was done. It's got poor-ish but interesting hand holds and quite poor feet. I wasn't sure if this was 6b or 6c as it feels quite hard until your limbs are in the right place, but its steady away if they are. So probably E5 6b, rather than E5/6 6c. Either way, its only short and certainly not worth the walk in just to do, but over the next few years I can see the amount of HVS and above routes quadrupling.

Franco was busy with his GF, so I walked three pads down to Maidens Bluff and headpointed the wall between Jugendstil and Archaeopteryx. It's not really a squeezed in line, its difficult to explain. Basically its far harder to go sideways on the wall than it is to go straight up, so even though you'll probably on a metre or so right of Jugendstil, I never thought it would be easier to 'jump ship', however you might be able to hang on to push a cam into a thin break which is on Jugendstil - would box your fingers on the hand hanging on though, so i'd still probably solo it!

Its always interesting when climbing a wall like this, it needs some ascents and people to work out what the tech grades are (are they sustained 6b or 6c?) and also what are the best lines? I for example much prefer Archaeopteryx E6 6c (hard start) compared to Mullet of Cocktail (E6 6b). Both lines share the same bold, 6b/c finish but Archy has a harder start (I think). So Archy isn't the 'line of weakness' but it follows a cool flake feature which looks like it SHOULD be the line of weakness? I dunno. I just love the wall. Every route is sort of similar, a hard start, then easier moves leading to a high crux, but the moves are all wicked!

It's a bit of a play ground really, easy approach, simple shunting set ups on stakes and an easy walk up and down from the crag and only 20 minutes drive from home. Bon.

E5 6b * - Jugendstil
E6 6b - Gates of Tomorrow
E6 6b/c * - Living on a Razors Edge
E6 6c ** - Archaeopteryx
E7 7a * - Plasticman

The four other lines are not lead.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Riding The Wave

The perfect weather recently has allowed a gluttony of new routes and repeats from both myself and Franco. I'm going to condense this post to a mere list and some photos, but it's fair to say some of the routes I've done in the past ten days are amongst the technically hardest and best that I've managed to haul my carcass up. Loving climbing at the moment, try to get the most squeezed out of this weather wind and 'free time' before a hard finish to the Masters. What a week, all about riding the wave of momentum and not just mine, Franco's smashed some projects too.


Elysian Fields AKA Death Arete

The 10 days provided the following:

Archaeopteryx E6 6c ** - Maidens Bluff (Headpoint, Second Ascent)
Splice the Mainbrace E5 6a * - Maidens Bluff (Flash, First Ascent)
Harbinger E4/5 6b/c * - Kay Nest (Headpoint, First Ascent)
Elysian Fields E7 6a ** - Danby Crag (Headpoint, First Ascent)
Franziskaner E6 6c * - Glaisdale Rigg (Headpoint, Second Ascent (should have done GU but it was sooo hot))
Gnedl Maedl E6 6a * - Glaisdale Rigg (Headpoint, Second Ascent)
Powerslave VS 4c ** - Danby Crag (Seconded, First Ascent)
Wheat from the Chaff E6 6c * - Thorgill (Headpoint, First Ascent) (Would be E7 without any pads)

Franco in the same space of time added: Plastic Man E7 7a ** (Maidens Bluff, Headpoint), Fly Agaric E9 7a  (Danby, Headpoint) & Parochial Master E7 7b!

Fly Agaric
Awesome, hopefully I can add to this over the next couple of days, with a couple of lines on my mind at Kay Nest E6 6c, two at Maidens Bluff E6/7 6c and maybe even Rump de Stump E9 :-/


Sunday, 6 April 2014

A Blowy Blakey Project Sesh

It was a windy Saturday. The weather has been pretty iffy recently, with low cloud clag and occasional drizzle. Either way, we knew if the wind picked up then Hillhouse Nab would clear up straight away and to there we ventured with a couple of mats each.

I 'found' Hillhouse Nab last year while oft wandering around Blakey after driving home from work in Scarborough. I soloed the exquisite (if i do say so myself) arete which went at about E4 5c ***. Pretty bold but not very long and after the start all on fairly decent holds. It's a strange buttress. Perfect moorland sandstone, awesome holds and moves and it would certainly 'just' be a bouldering venue above flat pasture - but alas, it's perched above steep ground.

The concentrated gem that is Hillhouse Nab

On my first visit I also shunted the arete into the hanging scoop - I wanted this line and also was aware of a direct which I made a mental note of thinking would be right up Franco's street. Last month, it was apparent it was right up Cookson's street, when he soloed the main wall starting just left of centre and attacking it with lank and guile. Present Perfect E7 7a *** was born and he noted that a super direct was also available.

So we both had projects in mind as we approached. I was more interested in Present Perfect than my arete to groove climb, but I quickly found it super reachy and crimpy powerfulness... I couldn't do it. So while Franco slid off down the hillside a couple of times from the nails start of the super direct I shunted the top section of the groove. A strange transitions between overhanging and slabby, on smears for feet and crimps for fingers. Enjoyable climbing to say the least.

I managed to do lots of moves and but felt far from wired. However, it's a strange line to shunt and Franco was asleep after completing his super direct; which adds a 7a/7b move to the start! Fucking nails! I couldn't top rope it either as a result, so I decided i'd just go for it and hope for the best. I new I could do the crux so provided the starting moves didn't impact on my strength or unchalk my tips then i'd be OK...

Up the arete for a couple of metres before stretching left to juggy crimps. The feet are fairly abysmal, so toe hooking around the arete bounce out to another flat crimp... I near fell off this move but it wouldn't have been too serious. From here you replace your toe higher up the arete feeling quite horizontal and go for a sloper with left...'Fall through' to get your foot on a smear, deadpoint a sidepull crimp and then stand up from over hang to slab to reach the top off a very insecure smear. Woops abound.

Hillhouse Nabbb from Dave Warburton on Vimeo.

Committed through the roof heel-hooking a smear

We left and bumped into Sam Marks and chums on the walk back to the car. We decided to go and take a look at the Duck Roof. A project of Sams, which we'd visited a couple of times but i'd yet to pull on at all. Franco had always been fairly close and it was a bit of an annoying route which we wanted to tick off the list of Moors FA's still to do! With our four pads plus one additional small pad, Franco carefully climbed the slightly damp roof taking a few jump offs. I also got involved for the first time and surprised myself with the reach through the roof. Unfortunately though, i was beyond total stretch and so was completely immobile when trying to reach through to the higher crimps... Too hard basically! Franco nailed it on his 3rd go a solid ground up effort with no cleaning, at a grade of E6 6c **... Safe to jump off, but don't fall!


Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Thruscross & Hawks Stones (aka Hugencroft)

Suffering from an apparent bout of Swine Flu, I felt somewhat under the weather this weekend. Even so, it was dry, if a little misty. I really needed to get myself back up to Hugencroft to have a look at the trad but I just couldn't be arsed to drive out beyond Halifax and so chose somewhere far closer.

Thruscross is a crag i've been to twice before. I'd climbed everything of note, as far as I was aware with the exception of Rewind, E6 6c *. This is a John Dunne solo, climbing the dual arete on the right of the impressive Thruscross boulder. I knew it was fairly OK with pads, though not fully 'safe' with a few rocks and uneven landing to add a bit of spice.

I turned up to a damp, seepy crag with my two pads... Balls. I wandered back to the car to get my shunt rope and had an abseil down the line. The wet was residual, not seepy, and I could tell it was starting to dry so I got my towels and chalk and started to repeated towel dry the various obvious holds. The climbing looked pretty interesting but fairly readable I thought.

Anyway, I slipped off the start twice, before eventually getting stood up on the break. A couple of damp, slippery slaps and I was on a good undercut/sidepull thing. Crimp - smear - lurch to top hold. Yes. A quality sequence and most unlike lots of gritstone routes in so much as it has good holds! I topped out and disturbed a Barn Owl (Which i'm positive happened to me last time I topped out on this boulder!)... Fortunately while i was packing up below the Owl swooped back into its lair.

Brill problem, probably font 6c/7a ish and still felt spicy with two pads. Would be a good route to add to the list of highball routelets where you turn up with a bunch of mates and pads.

The Sunday was more organised and this time i did get my arse to Hawks Stones. I shunted the majority of the trad lines at the crag. Rams Head Slab is a chipped central route on the slab at the far right of the crag. It is easy on chips up to a blind flake and zero friend. Then rock left twice to finish up the slab. Felt bold at E3 5c or so but you could stand and get rescued from any move I think. There was another line which started similarly up to the pocket, before moving up the groove and then out right to the arete to a junction with Pulse Racer (E6 6c **). A strange climb, obviously on solo it felt full E6 6a, but i'd have probably graded it E5 6a to lead with the zero friend -  However that would then require routes like Walk With Me upgrading - so I decided this was probably E4 6a - unless this was Rams Head Slab !!

I shunted Eagles Nest, which was green and slippery in the crack, so no soloing that one! An impressive route which actually isn't a horrendous sandbag - its a good HVS 5b *** and deserves to get some attention! Trending left from the base of the crack, again on chips, is a solo finishing up the left headwall. I decided this was probably no harder than 5b or 5c. I think I gave it the grade of E3 5c but it is probably E3 5b on rethink and retrospectively called it Chips and Gravy...

The direct to this is Not My Stile E4 6a. A good addition straight up on pockets and crimps joining the previous route at the start of the old chips, soloing above a wooden stile - great landing!

I couldn't set up a rope down Walk With Me as it was windy as hell on the tops, so I went to try the very cool highball on the left side which again I couldn't quite do. More pads, colder conditions!

Great crag, lots to do there now its at least half documented. Hopefully a few people will check it out in favour of digging out more holds at Kebs.

Monday, 24 March 2014

A weekend on the Moors - Video.

I didn't make it home this weekend, so had to endure the torment of knowing the driest cragging in Britain was being enjoyed to the full by Franco, Neil and Mark. Looks like they had fun!

Escaping The Rains - Into The Moors from Franco Cookson on Vimeo.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Tarn Hole & High Crag

Franco and I walked up to High Crag to check our progress on Australia Crack... It's possible but it'll be mighty hard! I had a project in mind up at Tarn Hole, something highball i'd previously not committed too. The line breaks left through steepness from a junction with A Reach Too Far (E4 6b ***) and probably adds a notch or two to both of those grades with a guess of E5 6c.

E5 6c * - Excellent steep moves

Slopey boldness

The landing isn't great, but we did have a couple of pads. Some great heel-based moves on slopers, crimps and pockets. Not too high but not bouldering really either - or not enjoyable bouldering in any case! The wind was a bit harassing like.

A Reach Too Far - E4 6b ***

Brilliant moves
We finished the day with some bouldering and it's all in the video below... enjoy.

Tripsdale - worthy of a guidebook of its own from Dave Warburton on Vimeo.

Turbulent Cascade - Thorgill

A project of mine for about a year. I stuck a stake in and shunted the line a while ago but it was a tad damp and I considered it a bit bold to just 'do'. However a windy day suited an East facer and I asked if we could return to polish this 'back of the mind' climb off. Franco was psyched to look at Parochial Direct which i'm also pretty stoked for.

Parochial Master
It didn't take long to remember the sequence and get ready. It was still damp but only on the 'E2 5a' section at the top so I was happy to go for it. It starts on two small crimps, from where a big span out right leads to a good hold. From here smeary feet allow a second big reach and hold match above a landing which doubles the distance you fall due to its steepness. At this point you can get a small cam in, which while not being excellent is certainly OK. An easy step right then gains the arete. This is unfortunate, if the line forged away direct up the wall it would be * or ** but it just doesn't it rocks right and up the easy but bold arete and groove you finish. There is a ferny ledge to the right but it's a 'hollow' ledge! It just sort of bridges the gap in a strange chimney.

I called it Turbulent Cascade, as that's what I envisage if you fluff the crux and fall down the steep gully landing! All in all certainly not the best route i've put up but that's definiately not to say it isn't good! We're just finding some absolute gems at the moment...  it was strange it felt almost old school, a bit like some of the harder solo lines from the previous generations like Moonflower or Peel Out etc etc.

Turbulent Cascade E6 6a - Thorgill from Dave Warburton on Vimeo.


The Basstard & Turbot Charger - More Smugglers Terrace additions

Franco and I escaped the brisk westerly down at the Terrace. It's absolutely perfect this time of year, the bracken is down and its warmer than being out in the wind. Franco had cleaned the central wall of Illusion Buttress - This buttress means a lot to Franco and I as it was this that we first spotted when walking along the cliff top years ago. However, early development focused on the crags to the left.

Illusion Buttress
I'd previously developed a lot of the lower grade stuff with the best route to date being A Plaice Lost in Time E3 5c **. After a quick shunt by Franco, while I soloed a couple of new additions near the walk down at E4 6a and E1 5a. Both of these need properly cleaning as i had to yard on a rope to top out...

Cross bedding

Cross bedding
Anyway, Franco lead the central wall. Easy moves lead past a 6a undercutting move to good gear. From here a 6b sequence on crimps deposits you at a crimpy seam from where, athletic feet raising allow a huge reflexing rock over which allows you to grab a juggy rail! It's a massive move, but you're not going to hit the ground so you can go ground up on it! So I did, and I failed miserably. Disillusioned I tried to TR the line and couldn't touch it, so i worked quickly a traverse right along the seam (which was the line i'd originally envisaged as i presumed the direct would be nails....).

Wave ripples
I got psyched and lead it quite quickly, with only a minor scare coring my feet up on to the arete towards the end. Another fun E5 or so, which is safe with the small cams in the break. I want to get some photos of these two climbs... I'm also going to upload this again at higher res and with better music...

The Basstard & Turbot Charged - Smugglers Terrace Additions from Dave Warburton on Vimeo.

Maiden's Bluff - Another new venue on the coast!

The coast is a treasure trove for the North York Moors climbing scene... Boulby bouldering, Stoupe Brow, Smugglers Terrace and now near the village of Goldsborough harbours a crag unlike any other on the 'Moors'. A collection of natural sea craglets and just off vertical slabby quarry faces... akin you might say to Pex Hill (but not urban). Matt Ferrier was the first of our group to get reconnaissance on the area and his time spent came up trumps.

Franco has been there a fair bit, just cleaning and shunting stuff. The rock is scrittly, but it soon cleans up and the main quarry wall provides 8m solos on crimps, pockets, nubbins, smears and usually involves 'popping' for a break at the top of the wall - exciting!

Maidens Bluff - Looking slightly more slabby than it is...

After a couple of days getting more samples for my ongoing university work, I dropped in on sunny afternoon to meet up with Franco. It faces East, so it doesn't get the sun during the day, but this means the conditions were grand. The easiest line on the wall climbs up a series of pockets on the left hand side. A tricky start deposits you at some juggy pockets. A lovely set of moves jugging between these pockets allows a scary rock over on a crimp and mono to be made and thus the top to be gained. There is gear, though its in a slightly hollow pocket. We both elected to solo the line which is excellent and weighs in somewhere around the E5 6b mark - quite tricky but hopefully it will clean up nicely with time and repeats! It was an absolute joy to climb this route!

The tech. 6c/7a routes are all wicked. I shunted a couple which I reckon i'll be able to solo at some point but may have to become long term projects. It's not all going to be in the mid to high E grades either, some easier lines could be achieved, plucked from the cliffs high above the North Sea. 

Birk Crag - Harrogate: A chance to repeat some new additions

I like to repeat peoples new climbs, whether they are bouldering or trad, if it's in my 'grade' range!! The weather was beautiful, I only had half a day and had been at Bridestones the day-previous and was aching somewhat. I decided i'd drop into Birk Crag, near the garden centre in Harrogate. I must admit, I am a tad odd when it comes to climbing - i'm just as happy ticking at pretty esoteric crags or Kilnsey/Malham etc. I chose this venue as it was only me and i'm feeling a bit skint at the moment so the 15min drive was good - only 2 minutes past Almscliffe.

I wandered down with a single pad and a shunt rope. However, I arrived to a pleasant looking wall with the grade E6 6b **. I lobbed my pad down, did some pull ups on the sloper and then set to looking at the holds, giving the ones I could reach a good chalking. It looked like a cool rock over, a Moors sort of move. Swing low, right heel and sit with big left flag. Pop up twice on sidepulls and I was soon at mono pockets... Sweet. A quick solo up the top wall, with a drop knee finish and I was done pulling through the roof at the top. The clean rock leads up the main wall, though the right arete is totally in reach tho it's wet through and green as fuck - perhaps it's always like that? Anyhow, E4 6b for my money as even without a pad I think from the tricky moves the flat landing would be 'ok'. The start felt like a tricky, excellent font 6c+, however the previous day i'd been bouldering with Will Hunt who is a sand-bag personified! So perhaps my opinion was skewed!

I couldn't look at the other E6 as it was wet, though it's a tad eliminate at the top where the crux is, but it looks like a bold move. I'd certainly recommend 'Centre Stage' as either a boulder problem or as a slightly defined highball donning blinkers and ignoring the arete to the right. Good stuff.    

Two weekends in a row on Kebs Road

I returned to Bridestones (W. Yorks) after an absence of many years. My first visit in first year at Uni was unfortunately a claggy, misty day when nothing was climbed - we just sat around waiting for it to clear. This however early March blue skys brought a lovely day of relaxed climbing. I warmed up along side Andy Hobson on Cleopatra 7a, which after a couple of false starts I ended up flashing it much to my pleasure - a lovely boulder problem and really 'my style'. Andy finished the job quickly too and we re-convened under Horror Arete 6c. This area classic is a stonking line and high enough to add some spice. Still not actually warm, I watched Andy and James climb up to the arete before bailing. I really wanted to flash Horror Arete, i'm not sure why though, I mean it's not sentimental to me it must just have an aura. Anyway, I was fortunate and I was soon getting my feet high on the arete and slapping to the ledge - My arms actually felt a tad dead topping out - presumably because it was only my second bit of climbing for the day - however the jump off quickly got the heart racing to get everything warm.

I tried the roof crack/pocket and ledge 7a+ problem on the otherside of Horror Arete boulder. A great move but that ledge is pure sand! Never mind.

We moved back over and quickly, maybe 4 or 5 go's saw us climb the brilliant, devious Out of Sight 7a. Another cracking problem. And a short, sweet day was complete.

The following weekend, Will Hunt, Billy Lawrence and I ventured just down the road to Hugencroft AKA Hawks Stones. We had a task of wading through the myriad of boulders, craglets and highballs trying to suss out the bouldering - which was clearly going to be excellent. After a dog shit start to the day, with high winds and clag (we went down near Todmorden for a cuppa and some 'sick' good food - as proclaimed by a local delinquent) the weather soon turned and we were afforded a few hours to get stuck in. As we suspected some brilliant bouldering and highballs on only slightly scrittly rock - which makes it all the more interesting!
The highlights for me was the centre of the far left wall at about 6b, the area we dubbed 'undermined by rabbits' which is home to an easy font 5 slab / twin aretes climb, a pillar with a pocket in the middle which provides a perfect rockover/mantle and the left arete 6c+ of this which is gritstone wizardry at its finest (at a moderate grade) with finally a hanging groove at around font 6c providing the icing on the cake... Oh wait, there;s also two perfect 6b/6c aretes on the far right side past Rams Head Slab. Great stuff.

Flounder - 6c 
I'll be back to look at the trad I reckon, there's two lines which i'm not convinced have been done previously, but the rest of it looks well worth another pop across from Leeds - maybe just with a shunt to kick start a bit of life into the venue.

Vive le Tour! - 6c *

Which leg is which...?

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Castleton Rigg bouldering and a new addition in the Eastern Moors

A nice sunny day out on some rocks close to home. A few new problems for me and a nice re-acquaintance with some old friends.

Castleton Rigg from Dave Warburton on Vimeo.

The following day, Franco and I returned to another venue soon to find its way into the guidebook. We'd previously developed a clutch of boulder problems in the first quarry bay from Font 5 to 6c+/7a, but the larger 'solo walls' demanded some attention on this warmer, sunny day.

A short clean and removal of any loose holds by Franco, allowed a quick ground up ascent above two alpkit thud pads. An easy start leads to a small overlap, which is turned via some small crimps and a high rock over. The upper wall is scary but steady on hard to spot crimps and ripples. A quality addition which we graded E5 6b *** as the wall is about 7m tall. It isn't really a boulder problem. The rest of the afternoon was spent on a great 6c/7a solo - a future E6/7?

(Edit: Franco returned 4 days later and polished off this class bit of movement, a fine addition climbing direct up the 'groove' ever so slightly left of centre of the wall. Excellent.)

Ivanhoe - E5 6b ***

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Another Goathland addition

This crag has turned out to be a very useful find. Super fast drying, which is an absolute must at the moment! With Franco home from Germany and Matt Ferrier and I returning from University for the weekend, we got a good afternoon in at Grey Earths Scar trying to understand the remaining projects. After an hour or so warming up and attempting The Prow Project, which Franco is certainly closer to getting than me, we turned our attention to the other project I had in mind.

The imposing, steep 'ships bow' arete is found a little way down stream from the big angular prow and I thought it was going to provide an E6 6c / Font 7a+/b. After a bit of a clean and chalk, we struggled to negotiate the top section for fear of falling off and not stopping til the river was met. However, eventually a final lunge for the top was unlocked and overall a grade of E5 6b / Font 6c was decided upon. Absolutely top line, great climbing and an excellent highball above some pads which certainly keeps its spice.

Goathland, quite the crag.

Monday, 6 January 2014

Smugglers Terrace & Goathland Guides

I decided to make a couple of mini guides to Smugglers Terrace and the newly developed stuff at Goathland
Should be accessible from the following links:

Smugglers Terrace - November 2013

The Smugglers Terrace guide is already out of date, with the addition of a few lower grade routes, notably Mackerel Crack MVS 4a *, Chiasso E1 5c * and the Salmon of Doubt HS 4b *.

Goathland - Grey Earths Scar


Thursday, 2 January 2014

The Huntsman

An aesthetic block in beautiful countryside and next to an ancient Roman road, which has three problems on perfect rock. Good stuff. I say three problems, they are all variations on a theme - the theme being traversing from left to right, which is 7a+ and called The Hunted...

Lee 'Betaguides' Robinson added the first line, an obvious traverse on good crimps with big feet which started at a flake crack. Lee then returned with Steve Ramsden, who added the 'extension' which is one move to the left, but does add a little bit to the original traverse. I decided it would be nice to tackle the holds on the lip without getting ones feet up onto the slab, so a lower level traverse was established.

The Huntsman 7a, The Hunted 7a+ and Blood Sport 7a+ from Dave Warburton on Vimeo.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

2013 Round Up - Highlights and proving myself wrong...

2013 was a mixed year. I was employed full-time and didn't have access to a wall or convienient bouldering centre, however, once the nights pulled out a bit I was able to get some Moors bouldering in on the way home from work.

Early season highlights saw 7b's, two 7b+ and also a 7c (defo soft done as a crimp problem not a dyno) ticked at a variety of crags such as Clemmitt's, Round Crag and such like. There was also a bit of exploring, with the discovery of the Finkelstones where my 7a+ and 7b+ additions of Labyrinth and Aurora's Encore were particular highlights. I really enjoyed In the Bag (7b+), mainly due to me thinking it was crap with awful holds and not being a good line. Anyway, I totally retract all those statements - it's good!

Pussy Riot SS - 7a **

Early season trad also started in a similar vein with some highballs classics like 'A Reach Too Far', another route that's been on my hit list for far too long! Similarly over the summer we opened up some new routes at Kettle Howe, Hillhouse Nab and so on. Just highballs, but King of the Hill E4 5c *** was exquisite in my opinion.

A couple of harder routes were added too, Franco despatching the difficult and sustained Panda to the Masses E6 6c * at Stoupe Brow and I later added Damascus Waits, which I began to clean just as the U.S were planning to wade into the conflict in the Middle East. It was just the 'project name' but I never got around to changing it and it's stayed as Damascus. Two great routes at Stoupe Brow which added hard and safe to the Moors - the number of these routes is increasing now - which is good!

The Chain - A nice eliminate arete - 6a+

The season ended with me returning to Leeds University. I've been ticking a few routes I never got around to at my first time at the Uni, routes like Blood on the Shamrock E6 6a, Naked Edge E3 5c, Great Santini and Full Throttle, both E4 6a, Daytona Wall E5 6a, Dead Babies E5 6b - all routes i'd fancied doing first time round!

A Plaice Lost in Time - E3 5c 

I finished the season with some bouldering on grit and sandstone, with a few first ascents - I reckon they are from the cleaning and rock removal - at Goathland.

Goathland from Dave Warburton on Vimeo.

Also a couple of additions at Smugglers Terrace, with some more lower grade routes from HS to E3.

I remember in September writing the following blogpost... Anyway, a bit of psyche and poor weather has resulted in some walking around and map scrounging. The current high moors team have gone and found another three crags, which were much more than just 'one climb buttresses' that I believed was all the Moors had left to offer... Oh, I do hope I can remain in the North East following the completion of my masters, hopefully a a second opportunity at YP will result. A lot of crossed digits for the next few months.

Here's to a productive 2014.

Sinn Fein - 6c+ / E4 6b