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

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