Monday, 31 December 2007

Ode To A Fine Year

The blood is spilt, the routes are climbed and lessons were learnt. It is finished. Poor, wet trips to Round Crag and the Wainstones did not do justice to such an excellent year. I wished to get up an E3 onsight before the end of the year, but considering I have barely consolidated E1 it was a quest for the impossible. Needless to say i looked up some sodden E4 6bs in awe- not climbing them. Perhaps next year, with more strength, technique and a bit of hieght. Dry weather Is what I wait for. Friction climbing seemed like fiction climbing today.

Wednesday, 26 December 2007

New Dimensions (short version)- Tis But A Boulder

A Classic of the moors. The Perfect overhang of the Moors. I have wanted to do it since i saw the picture of Steve Crowe, effortlessly reaching the jug.- Which was much worse than i imagined. I had only tried it twice before and this time i was determined. The first moves were the most fluid climbing I had ever done- even Dave Commenting on the fluidness. My Hands were constantly slipping from the poor Holds. High feet on the layback cured the problem, but there was still the dyno to do.

I was already Pumped by the steep strenuous moves, but then came the real test. I leaped up and reeched the hold. Although this was not the whole route done, I had done the tradtional Problem.

There's just the top bit to do now. My meegre achievement was upstaged by Luke nearly completing the whole route. - a 'pro' at work. I'll try it again at the next CMC meet. Definitely One For 'the wish list'.

Sunday, 25 November 2007

Dental Slab- Rylstone

We had our eye on a Few Es, but when we arrived it was raining. Despite this, the ever possitive Ian, attempted some E1. He didnt even get up to the crux. He retreated and we wandered over to some easier stuff. I was with two Ians- Big (moore) and Little (Jackson). On the walk over to Dental slab we lost little ian (who had the gear), so i started climbing this 'easy' Severe with only a SIG bottle for gear. Surely the top of it would stay on? ( I was determined as I had failed on a diff next to corvus- Raven crag-in a storm the previous week.) I passed the crux and then Little Ian arrived with the gear. He lobbed me a nut and i continued. It was a greesy friction climb and many-a-time i nearly fell. But i got to the top. And it were reet. I belayed the Ians up. Then the rope was weighted, this mid-E-grade climber had fallen on a severe- this didn't make me feel so bad at using a rope on this 'easy' Severe.

Sunday, 4 November 2007

Harlot's Face

This was more Dave's achievement than mine. We had failed on Triermain Eliminate a few days before due to a rain shower, but we came back to try a new line.I wasn't on form having just craped myself up an HVS 4c round the other side soloing. But we went round the North crag after a recommendation from a friendly guy.
I lead the first pitch struggling, looking for an easy line- using some pendulum tactics. Then with my gear being round a suspect four foot flake and my only holds being on it- a novel experience, I made my bid for the top. My part was done. Dave flew up in His 5.10 rock boots and got equiped for the crux pitch.

He climbed up the E2 crack of Triermain Eliminate and then traverse rightwards with a brilliant hold round the arete (remember that if you ever do it). He cruised up the last stretch and then belayed me up.

According to the guide book it was all over now, a nice 4b pitch. It wasn't 4b a difficult crack lead to the only gear- a sapling (an inch thick). I was terrified, 150ft up with only a sapling ten metres back for gear. green and grassy, I finally reached a holly tree. The end of the climb. Safe.


Friday, 2 November 2007

Susan- gowbarrow

(Top of susan, after a hard days climbing, looking down to home- the CMC Hut.(only a hitch away) taken on a 1 MGPix camera phone)

After Walking up ulswater fom patterdale- some unsuccessful hitching. we arrived at gowbarrow Knackered. We Started on a nice roof crack and then moved up to the bigger buttress. It was my Turn to lead.

We walked through the jungle untill the bottom of susan was reached. An obvious, easy looking line (i must stop thinking things look easy). The start was hard and it got no easier, i ran out of cams quickly, then the hexes went. Just as i was about to fall i saw the miracle, an in situ- nut (an old one). This saved me. I rested for a minute then climbed the difficult exit crack. This was the climb of my life. Dave followed me up in true style, enjoying the moves that had been my torment.
it was only given HVS, but i had found E2s easier. Sandbaged? or inexperience on rhyolite? Who knows.
But I felt like a true Climber now.

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Soloing A Classic

Little Chamonix had been recommended to me since i had started climbing at 13. Regrettably i had missed the chance to climb it when it was at the edge of my ability. It was not until I was sixteen that we ventured to Shepherd’s Crag. The line was not as obvious as I had assumed it would be, but never the less the climbing was amazing. The first pitch was damp so I went up a slightly more difficult bit to the left. The polish wasn't too bad.

This was Diff Climbing at its best. The Jugs kept coming giving a feeling of saftey, but the 250ft drop game a sense of freedom on the rock you never get using ropes. The block was interesting, followed by some small holds, that at one point made me start to worry. It seemed hard for VD, but I was committed now. I passed the saddle, and then came the exposed bit, hanging off some insecure-feeling holds over a Large drop. I have since heard of someone who fell off Little Chamonix, relativly unscathed.

I see why it's a classic now.

Saturday, 22 September 2007

The Battle With Extreme

E2 is the grade of my focus at the moment, despite that on some days i cant even climb HVS. I did my first E2 with Ian Jackson, It was Triermain Eliminate at Castle rock in the lake district. After a good season i felt experienced and good at climbing. We went to Castle rock and ventured up this E2. I was seconding, but it was still scary- one move involved your hand and foot holds being on the same loose flake. It was a Don Whillans route and i was proud. Ian onsighted it with ease. We then moved left and attempted Rigor Mortis, Ian struggled on this Hard E2 and so did I (only seconding).
I had lead the first pitch- at 4b or something daft and was reasonably tired , by the second i was exhausted, this bold traverse was a nightmare, with a stuck nut i hung on a layback (knowing if i got the nut out and then fell i would have a nice big swing in to a wall- thinking of Doug Scott on the Ogre). I couldn't get it out so i uncliped and took my own line up the rock. We abseiled down for it later.
My first E2 lead (onsight) was at Oak Crag- Hungry Heart. It was bold but easy, an HVS really. Since this i've done various sandbaged 'E1s' and some proper E2s. Hope to do some E3s (E4 maybe) next year.

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Eve- Scugdale

I approached it with confidence. Luke and Ian had been talking about the Grading of it. I heard Ian say, “I’d like ta see an Hard VS Climba Do tat”.

So I though ‘let’s see if one can’

It was a solo as there wasn’t any gear. It was Probably the boldest thing I’ve done in my life. The initial scramble to the crux was easy, but then a crimp and a one-finger pocket led to a big, balancy reach to a good hold. Exhilaration and merriment filled my Blood Stream as the High-ball (unprotectable with a Boldering Mat) ordeal was over. I reached the top with praise and surprise from Luke- This fool had climbed a 'hard' HVS. I'm still yet to do the unprotectable E2 on the right hand side of the arete.

Monday, 3 September 2007

Ling Arete- Wainstones - Our First Good FA

Me and Dave Warburton had had a season of chossy first ascents and we were keen to Climb something half-decsent. We had gone to Park nab to 'have a ganda', but there was not an inch of rock left unclimbed, so we made our way to the Wainstones. I was under an illusion that it would be posible to climb the Arete of summit buttress, but an illusion is what it was. The over-hanging roof turned into a featureless arete- i doubt Dave Macleod could have climbed it. So we walked round untill we saw another arete, so obvious, why had we not climbed it before? it looked easy, but something about the Strata of the rock made it not so.
We set up a top rope as this was harder than anything we had done before. It felt hard top roping- i wasn't looking forward to a lead. We lead it with pre-placed gear, then wittled it down untill we placed every piece. I was the first to do so, then dave repeated it.
I have never Worked a Climb so much, but an onsight, for us, would have proved imposible. I'm yet to hear of a repeat, but would be glad to hear if the HVS grade was Accurate.
(have recently tried to solo it with Ian and we both failed)

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Clapham Junction- Polldubh Crags, Glen Nevis- My First HVS

I realy liked the rock up there (mica Schist). A really nice Crack line, up a otherwise featureless wall. I found it difficult, but not as difficult as it was scary. It looked like an aid route there was so much gear. It was my first real lead. I had lead stuff before but this felt like not any-old person could do it. My first experience of pollish. A lovely trip was ruined by Dave Dislocating his knee and carrying him down Ben Nevis. I really Want to get back there.

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

The Alps- Arolla and Zermatt

Probably my best Climbing experience. I went with my Dad by plane and slept on a bench the first night. We had some tuition on cravase rescue ect. Then we wandered up a nice PD ridge up Mount Blanc de chillion (in the picture). My dad suffered a little due to altitude and being knackered, but we got to the top and got down in good time. This gave me a good view of what mountains were around and am planning to return next year.
Zermatt was not to my likiing really, although the mountains are supurb, It's a hastle getting to them, with me being a penny-less teenager. Despite this though we attempted the Breithorn (the easiest 4,000 metre peak). We didn't take the cable car up to kleine matterhorn though- seemed like cheating. Instead we stayed in the Teodolu Hutte. It was Cold and stormy so we set off late, we climbed Kleine Matterhorn, by the steep side and then traversed over to the Breithorn. we got to about 4,000 metres then realised that the last cable car left in about 15minutes. It was a decision between a four thousand metere peak and a huge walk down or nothing. In the true spirit of alpinism, we chose nothing. running back to the cable car.

Thursday, 5 July 2007

Esklets- A Hidden Treasure

Although it was our local crag, we didn't vist it untill the back end of this year as there wasn't a picture of it in the guide and we assumed iy would be crap, we were wrong. A Local Wise man recomended it to us, so we went. It turned out it was one of the best crags in the area. Hopefully the new guide will inspire some more people to venture there (with our picture- you can see my head behind the rock to the right of the bag). We soloed a few routes then realised many of the routes were not at the standard of an HVS climber (which we were), so we started on some first ascents.
There was a large expanse of rock that had no routes on, so we led a few VSs. Dave completed his scoop project a few mounths later, at HVS 5a, and i've since returned to solo some Routes in the Snow in November(a sevre; a Vs; and two HVSs). I Really recomend it, if your in the area.

Monday, 2 July 2007

Lion King- Park Nab- A Childhood Dream

I had seen Luke solo this difficult arete in the past and marvelled at how amazing he was. I had tried it before after soloing 'Bow String' and Top roping 'Zero Route', but had barely got off the ground. I had purchase my new DMM Highball bouldering mat from Needle Sports, it was clean and yellow below Lion King, protecting that rock that looked so dangerous.

I climbed up untill i was straddling the nose. I move my hand up to pinch the Arete and then pulled up and continued on good hold to the top. Got it in one i thought. It was not much more than a boulder problem, but it was a subconscious target. This made me think that maybe if i could climb this, I could one day be a 'good' climber. (I'm yet to find that out.)

Thursday, 12 April 2007

My First Lead

'twas a frosty morning and we'd been pottering for many-a-year, but climbing properly and consistently, for but a few months. Park Nab was the place. The overhanging buttress of Lion King was prominent on the Skyline. I felt experienced - until I gazed upon the obvious, but unconquerable looking crack of Parallel lines. It was an eliminate, although I didn't know what that meant. I assumed it was to do with being killed. I forget how old I was - perhaps my sixteenth summer; perhaps my last. I wished not to indulge in this half-understood game of leading, but the all-piercing eyes of the clan of which I was a part, pushed me on. The gear I started to amass; looking at it so thoughtfully; was gathered in a haze - thinking only of a way to escape the peril of the almost inevitable doom that awaited me.

I started to scramble up to the base, then the hauling of the mass of shiny friends behind me. The weight was like nothing that I had felt before. If these did hold me they truly would be my greatest friends. Better than that menacing belayer at the bottom. The cold sandstone pieced my skin, giving it the friction it required. Before I knew it I was eight feet up, and it was time to place the first bit of gear. A size 2.5 friend I believe, locked me to the rock. I continued placing gear frequently. Then what had been described as the crux move came.

The crack steepened until I looked up more than ninety degrees; this truly was severe. Another piece of gear was placed. The awe grew; a shiver of determination, summoned by unadulterated fear, rushed through my body like morphine (something I would later experience due to my appendicitis). The move pulled me so my head protruded above my arms. The gear was by my feet. Would it hold? I was certain of a fall; I was imagining the description of the route in the next guide book - follow the trail of brown. This pushed me further, then the clasping hand of an infant was seen to grasp the summit of the monumental line. Then another hand, followed by a head and a mantle-shelf. A foot, and then the entire body, was on the rock above. It was over. But this: the fear, the torment, the closeness to death, was only the beginning.