Saturday, 15 October 2016


Popped back to a crag I'd been saving for a 'dry week followed by cool temperatures'. It arrived on Saturday which was fortuitous, though it was a really soggy Saturday. A horrid heavy dew. I still managed to get some folks keen and we lugged the pads in. I didn't think it would go to be honest, Sam and I kept falling off the last move, its a reachy little 6c+/7a number, but it went with the last effort before the toys were thrown out the pram.

A heavy dew cannot be-sodden the soul from Dave Warburton on Vimeo.


Short and sweet this one... I've had a few 'semi-nemesis' over the years, mostly things i've looked at and not got on or things i've been on and not finished. This year saw the slaying of a few of these routes.

1. Metal Guru 7c at Kilnsey. It took a session to work it and a second to come back to tick it off. Tricky pocketty crux and a route i'd tried in the past. Glad to do it, an old school number and Fawcett route. Great stuff.

2. Stratagem E4/5 6b, Ravenscar .... SHOULD HAVE FLASHED THIS! Fell out of a jam at the top while chalking up. Went second go ground up. Many many years of ignoring its existence as i thought i'd get shut down...

3. Terrorist E4 5c, Wainstones. I belayed Franco on this years ago and never fancied it. Though it always narked me as its a proud little line on the Sphinx. I want to climb it all! Anyway, one way too hot, greasy day I just about managed to get up this line with Francs belaying. I was wearing newly resoled shoes with zero sensitivity, the rock was iron-rich and very hot, and the crimps were laced with green, damp lichen. It was a close run thing - fear inducing.

4. Mutton Dagger E3 5c, Giggleswick South. I've driven past this crag lots of times and never bothered dropping in. Anyway, a quick tick off of this and 'Fine Speeding' E5 6a climbed pretty much all the ground I fancied. Didn't do the layback on Broad Sword but one to go back for.

5. Black Knight E6 6c, Wainstones. Franco has always been psyched to do this sans pegs. Probably hasn't seen a second ascent, I was less impressed with the route really. How wrong I was. A great sequence was found on a top rope and a couple of tri cams were pushed into the peg scars, and thus, a brilliant, brilliant route it is. Magic.

Black Knight from Dave Warburton on Vimeo.

6. Powerplay E5 6b, Yew Cogur. Another crag i've not got around to getting to and a route i've thought "that sounds good". Too many years forgetting and remembering about it. Anyway, a birthday route this year with Matt F and also boshed the classic 7b Cruising for a Bruising. Stupendous rock.

7. Ch-Ching E6/7 6c, Ravenscar. Franco did this a few years ago and I fell off and slashed my back on the boulder. Never wanted to go back... But I never forgot about it and I was feeling strong and bold so thought it was worth a re-match. It's a brilliant super highball Font 7a but the E6 6c grade is warrented I think? Brilliant pad party route.

8. Wellington Crack E4 5c, Ilkley. I really have avoided this route. But this was the year to put aside the egotistical fears and just get on it. It's full of large holds and jams, more gear than you can shake a stick at. I did get pumped and I thought i was off at two points when I was on shit feet in my soft anasazi's as i needed a bit of an edge. Great stuff, worthy classic.

Randall's Cringle Crag Classic from Dave Warburton on Vimeo.

Smuggler's and Maidens

The Moors....

Back to the Moors for a bit of new routing and old enemies. It started with a couple of new routes at Smuggler's Terrace with Katie, and a re-acquaintance with Maidens' Bluff. Katie and I popped in for an afternoon and ticked off the big groove which has been ignored for years. It took me a day and a half of cleaning mind you, but Katie dispatched the VS 4c quickly and I added the E2 5c up the arete and wall to the right. Good additions yet again.

As for Maiden's, the gap between Archaeopteryx and Futuristic has always been 'worth a look'. I abbed and brushed the line and found some pockets and edges. The typical Maidens cleaning work began, tooth brushing the holds and features. Some really don't inspire me confidence and others begin to take shape and 'clean up'. Both becoming less sandy and solid. It took a few sessions to work out the sequence and a bit of supergluing to stop the holds from shedding too much. But all in all, its another great highball, on good holds for the wall. The line is just a tad steeper than the walls to the left or right. It went at a similar grade to the rest of the routes to the left, probably E6 6b/c. Not sure on a name, dubbed it Jihad It Coming for the time being.

00003 from Franco Cookson on Vimeo.

Catching up on 2016 Part 1

2016 has seen a fair bit of climbing and saw the ticking of a few classics and a few FAs. It was a nice change from my Moors-centric years previous and it was brilliant to finally get on a few 'wish list' routes.

Chalking >= Climbing from Dave Warburton on Vimeo.

The spring saw ascents of grit routes Calvary (E4 6a) and Psycho (E5 6b) at Stanage and Caley. Two routes i'd thought about doing but never really bothered with. However, there's only so much esoterica you can do before you need to do the routes everyone else does. It's weird. They're great routes, but i've certainly done plenty of forgotten, or unfashionable routes and boulder problems which are equally as good. Also ticked a few pleasant routes like Carnage (E2 5b) and the first pitch of Mulatto Wall (E3 5c) at Malham.

During this time Katie also did her first real headpoint, Ephedrine E4 6a at Caley. A pleasant route on pockets and smears. A just about paddable landing and no reachy or hard moves really. Katie liked the moves and as a result was happy to take the risk. Only a few TR's were required before she got her first taste of the subtle mix of danger and difficulty. More to come i'm sure!

Katie and I also had a great three days in North Wales, with some Holyhead, Rhoscolyn, Gogarth and Ogwen routes. The best being Dream of White Horses (HVS 4c) which we inevitably did wrong, as its a classic. I enjoyed it, it was probably about E2 5b whatever we did, but a bit of a shame we got it wrong. Nice being the only people in Wen Zawn though on a golden sunset evening. I also got on Warpath E5 6a down in Rhoscolyn. It was swelteringly hot, rank, but I was pretty psyched and it went without much issue. Scary abseil to get the gear mind you!

Tumble E4 6a. A route I have wanted to do for years. I'd pulled onto the start years ago and it was damp so i retreated. This time around it was a cruise, a climb I seriously enjoyed. Very glad it was wet a few years ago, as i doubt i'd have done it back then. Brilliant line, sustained and one of the few routes that truly lived up to its expectation, to be honest, it probably surpassed it. Also did Nimrod E1 5c while we were up there. A classic E1 of the Lakes which I think it certainly deserves. Tricky customer?

So a year of ticking classic routes and not really grade chasing, a pleasant change...

Friday, 15 April 2016

A super highball

So, Franco climbed the big, obvious scoop on the west face of Barry. It had been a 'project' for many years, since we'd first visited the crag. However it was only recently that attempts were made to climb the line. There was interest as well from outside the area, notably from Tom Randall.

Franco had a few sessions on it over the spring but nothing like his usual time invested in cleaning, and refining sequences. He declared it might go. I happened to be home that weekend and fortuitously so did Luke Hunt. The perfect plan.

So Franco, Anna, Si Litchfield and I packed two cars with as many pads as was possible and headed to Stoupe Brow to meet Luke. Franco practiced while the rest of us warmed up on the bouldering; Piton Crack (6c***) and the 2nd and 3rd ascent of the newly established Chuckie Egg (7B**) were the notable ascents. The latter was a line i'd thought 'needed doing' but having Steve Ramsden to the FA first meant we could fully enjoy the ground up knowing it was possible. It's fairly high, but the landing is flat. Perfecto! The highballing on the Moors really is superb.

Shouldery moves on Chuckie Egg 7B**
Franco then declared himself ready. We popped the pads under the scoop and set up several cameras. He was off. The easy start leads to what appears to be the crux, a rank looking mono and some extendable arms.... and legs (it turns out). He was up to the shield in but a moment or two. Unsure where he'd land given a slip i grabbed a pad ready to move it quickly if required. He made a large reach for a sloper, puffed out a slight squeak and boshed the top. Done. Complete. H8 7a apparently something in the order of 7C/8A. The climbing looks great and maybe not impossibly morpho?

Out of the Shadows. MYXOMOP H8 7a ***
After 5 or 10 minutes standing around looking at the line and comparing our version of events, Luke left and the remaining four of us head back for a pie and pint via a stop off at the Mallyon prows (Grey Earths Scar).

The big prow has been a project of mine for a while, though i've actually only tried it on Christmas eve 2014. I 'found' the crag around that time and over the Christmas period cleaned and climbed a few bits and bobs. Some excellent 7A's of thereabouts plus a pleasant 6A+ and a bold 6C/E5 6b. I climb is half way between being a standard boulder problem and being a highball. It feels higher than it actually is I think. I had dug the landing out flat and cleaned it. I'd also checked if my span was large enough to link crimp to the sloping top - it was.

Armed with the pads from Franco's ascent of Barry, and armed with a team of photographers. I set about giving it a go. Several attempts saw me providing adequate reach, though it was poorly controlled. I felt rushed, I was the only person trying the line and I wanted to get it done. I told Franco to get his shoes on. We were both keenly aware that if he did, he'd do it. He's a fair bit stronger than I, plus his fingers will fit the incut but narrow crimp a bit better and he has a couple of inch or two in height and arm span. Sure enough, it took him just three goes to dispatch the line via a traverse in from the left along the break. Up to this point I had been trying it from standing up the arete - the standing start to Pussy Riot which is about 6B. I decided to traverse in - as it doesn't really decrease the difficulty but does allow you to chalk up a tad easier.

I still failed.

Si Litchfield inquired about the offwidth crack just left. "Unclimbed" was the reply from Franco and I. "Well that's an obvious line, i'll do it!". He did. Eventually. The quick solo turned into something of a minor struggle with good jamming leading to a wide, offwidth and shelving finish. Franco and I had no idea what was happening above, but Si eventually climbed the line. Hilarious.

Last of the Moorhicans 7B/7B+ (?)
I wanted one more crack at the wall so i popped my shoes back on, traversed the break and chalked. An unbalanced left hand movement gains the incut crimp which felt good. Right up and bosh. Easy. Alas, I needed a rest! I was glad to get it done, even if the FA had been foolishly gifted away. The sit start might add something - provided you can't rest under the roof(?) so i might give that a go in the future.

I wasn't sure about the grade. In 2014 it felt nails, but the crimp wasn't clean, nor the top. On Sunday it felt doable every time but still took a fair few attempts to latch it - though dynamism, however small is not my thing at all! It is certainly very basic, indeed it is a one mover. We settled on 7b/7b+ as it felt harder than Chuckie Egg earlier in the day - though that is a much longer, sustained problem so not a great comparison. I also feel like if the move was off the deck it would be piss! Can't fault the bloc or the location though.

So a good day out. Witness to a great FA, a repeat of another excellent highball at Stoupe and a new addition to the gem that is Mallyon. All with good company. Can't beat that.  

More pads required please

Friday, 8 April 2016

The Moors List

Over the past couple of days we have created a fairly comprehensive list of North York Moors climbs from E3 to H10 plus all the projects we're aware of. We're not quite finished yet, but its probably about 90% complete. Photos and videos to be uploaded to it in time. We might develop a bouldering one too, in time.

Monday, 14 March 2016

Early year success - Strapadictomy and Indoor Fisherman at Froggatt

It's been a very hit and miss start to the year, though recently the weather has improved. I am a tad annoyed I didn't manage to get out on many cold, crisp winter days. There were a few for sure, but alas work usually got in the way. I managed to get one such day, which provided me an excellent haul at Whitehouses. I'd never been before, it didn't really look my style and I thought everything there would need to sessioned. So, I was as surprised as anyone when I arrived back from my first visit with a fairly decent haul... Fat Punters' Roof (6c) flash, Fit Punters' Roof (7a+) 3rd go, Rageh Omaah (7a) flash, Bush Bully (7b) 4th go,  Conehead (7b) onsight, Under Rumsfeld (7b+) 5 or 6 goes, Whitefinger (7c) 5th go. I also made good progress with Conehead Sit (7c) and Kenny Boy Lay (7c). Great visit... and shows what I can climb in good conditions!

Funnily enough, for the next two weeks my fingers were damaged - too much pulling I think. The skin wasn't too bad but they were so painful I think they must have been tissue damage. I still managed a few taped up ascents at Carrock Fell and Kentmere, with Ghetto Style (7b), Negative Reality Inversion (7a) and the hard to grade Middle Earth... (6c to 7b+) depending on what sequence apparently. Felt about 6c+ to me once i had sorted my feet. Katie also managed to break the font 6a 'barrier' - more mental than physical I think with a change of scene to the Lakes.

Katie on a Carrock classic 6a

I was getting a touch bored of sub-standard conditions bouldering however, so a slightly warmer weekend allowed a spot of trad climbing. A psyched team of Will, Huw, Karl and I decided to pop to the Peak. Strapadictomy and Indoor Fisherman were touted as suitable targets for ground up ascents. With the team mostly consisting of players interested in safety-first, me with a trip to Mallorca in just a few days and Karl keen for owt, these two classics seemed ideal.

Will made the first moves on Indoor Fisherman, discovering that the boulder problem start was a poor warm up and tricky. He stepped back, so I had a bash. Carefully flashing the start I placed some cams (a bit rusty after my winter without doing so) I then committed to the vertical crack above. Ping - I was off and down by the boulder problem start again. I'm not sure why I pinged off, I blamed conditions and a lack of warm up. Quickly jumping on again I made better progress before finding the slopey, in-the-sun top out a little thought provoking. Karl followed my lead and ran up the line clipping the runners on the way (after a false start on the boulder problem). Will and Huw elected to second the line following both our admission that the line was a bit pumpy towards the top and required a little more than the Depot or Shipley Glen bouldering circuit fitness....

Indoor Fisherman E4 6a ***

I wandered off to watch Katie show Tody's Wall who's boss. Katie had previously successfully downclimbed the route after struggling to pull through the overlap. This time there was no such issues after a good winter of bouldering. I predict a few E1's this year from Katie.

Pleased with that display, I discovered the team had got started with Strapadictomy. Will had been up and placed a couple of cams in the crack of Strapiombante. I said i'd go up and try to place the wire in the flake. I guessed at size 7, climbed the lower arete and realised its a blind placement. With a hilarious bit of direction from the ground team "up a bit, up a bit, bit more... up.." and a struggle to hold myself in I wiggled in a good nut "Yeahhh! Sinker!". I dropped back to teh break and rested on jams. I'm not sure why I didn't downclimb to the ground. I decided to just give it a bash. Heel-toe, press into the flake and then match. Juggy! I was surprised. Good feet. Oh, ok, this seems a bit too straight forward. Feet smeared still feel ok with enough time to chalk. Reach to sloper... not great in the sunshine but holdable as a pinch. Cam toe in the crack. I heard Karl shouting "go on Dave the break is best on the left!". I ignored this 'beta'. Not because I knew any different but because I was climbing happily without thinking very much and continued up the arete. I was worried my feet would ping, as my fingers were greasy, but, successfully I continued to the top. Then laughed at Karl at his woeful beta.

Will committing to the flake on Strapadictomy E5 6b ***

The whole team cemented the day as one to remember. Will boshed the route third go, with Karl and Huw both succeeding after both initially struggling to gain the crack. All very impressive after such a struggle at the start.

A great first trad day of the year for me and a route I never thought i'd flash, let alone actually bother to get on.... It's easy to say "another day when I'm.... fitter, stronger, better conditions, done a few more routes, done a bit more bouldering etc etc"