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"

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