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.