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?