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.

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