Sunday, 27 January 2008

Hasty Bank

A Direct Finish To A Wainstones VD






A trip to Hasty Bank saw some attempts of difficult routes and some equally spectacular failures. A great day, that couldn’t be lost. We started on Jackdaw Wall (E2 6a) (Wainstones) and were at the beginning unsuccessful. We attempted a Solo, but with large angular shelf below a fall would have meant serious injury. I elected for a lead and rummaged through my sack for a piton I had brought. This was against Ian’s ethics, but it was hand placed and damaged no rock so I was content. The peg pushed in and then some precarious wires were placed. I still decided to retreat though- after some dithering, although nearly went for it. We later climbed it solo, but was extremely scary.

My god, what a climb. Dooge shall be witness of my terrible failure upon this. Psycho Syndicate(E4 6b), described as a ‘test piece’ in the guide, it climbs the peg-scarred crack for 6 metres and then another couple of metres up a blank face. Again I tried on the blank wall. My lack of skill being punished with horrendous falls down the hill. No serious injuries were had though and I’m nearly there!

Whilst I munched on my tin of nuts, Ian (chubby/little) decided to waltz up West Sphinx Direct(E3 5c). It went smoothly until the ‘Eye’ when he had a ‘wee bit of a tumble’. He was alright though and finished it off. He wasn’t too bothered though as he’d previously onsighted it-not loosing his tick. Me and Dave attempted to climbed the Direct Start to west sphinx (E2 5c) , although the last move was repeatedly failed, the beginning was worked out and hopefully the rest will be done next time.

Then there was a crazy solo attempt at Satchmo, which resulted in a nasty fall and then a tumble; and a kamikaze attempt at a roof at the Wainstones, resulting in some more interesting falls. So there was only three successful attempts and many more leg-braking falls. –A good Day out!

Thursday, 10 January 2008

First Ascent Projects

There's nout better than a crooked hand clasping the top of a previously unclimbed line and then the whale over. Then discoverng that that knarled hand is yours and you've achieved a feat that noone else has and you shall always be the first to have done so.

Achilles Last Stand (Mowgli Direct) is one of My best F.As, crimpy, reachy, tiring, insanely high foot holds- chest height and very bold. I was really Psyched that day. I've tried it since and failed miserably. It ascends the featureless-looking wall to the right of 'Forked Crack' at Park Nab. The main reason why i loved the experience so much was because of the mental significance. I had looked at it since i started climbing, thinking it was impossible to climb. Not only climbing it, but being the first ascensionists was a major thing for me. I'll always remember it.

Some of our best First ascents were in the lakes. Me and Dave discovered this slate outcrop, on our first climbing trip to the lakes together. It's undoubtebly been climbed on before as its ten yards from a path, but it was good rock and an adventure. Dave led an amazing HVS (funny Friend placement) called Stormbringer. I attempted an arete at about E3, but i was no E3 climber and only managed to top rope it. We named it Durple Gill as it had no name on the map- no doubt the real name will come from the natives eventually. It's a nice evenings climbing and we hope to do the bulk of the ascents next time we go- don't be knicking them!


Another plan is to do the face at Turkey nab. Last time I looked at it, it looked imposible, but i've progressed since then, so hopefully it will fall. I recon it'll be at least E2+. Don't knick that either please. Ian Jackson mentioned The wall at Roseberry topping a while back- loose, hard and probably not there anymore, it would be good, but even he reconed it would be well in the Es.

Meeting Tony Marr inspired me to do some more routes. I thought it was a hastle sending the First ascents in, but he seemed quite possitive about it.

Sunday, 6 January 2008

At long Last- The Rain Retreats- A Fine F.A -Achilles Last Stand



After a Winter of awful weather, it came. Many-a-good forecast had been made, but non had been proven to be right. Again a possitive weather window was forecast. I felt doubtful, but still determined to climb some good grades I made arrangements with Dave 'Dooge' Warburton to go climbing. On arrival it was windy, but lack of rain and the appearance of the Sun made a smile on even dooge's knarled face.
We started by attempting the direct start to mowgli. It was unclear from the guide whether it had been climbed before and it looked like a good opportunity for balancy, fingery climbing- our speciality. The first moves were bold and technical, and reechy meaning I was forced to retreat from the solo. After various attempts we rigged up a top rope (or Tope- as we say). It felt easy on the top rope, but unclear as to how much help from the rope I was getting, I ordered Dooge to give me a lot of slack. I found It not too difficult the second time, so I went for the solo once more. The first move i had struggled on went easily, but rather scary. Then the second reech came. Some good footwork dispached this, but then came the crux.
High above the boulders that would be my gate to valhalla if a fall occured, I stood. A Leg at near-chest height and then pressure steadily applied pushed me to reach the joyous crimp. My hands- numb with cold- riggled along to find a better hold. Then the last biscuit of energy was summound to reach the safety of the larger holds. I was pleased with myself as I hadn't wasted the first good day of winter. We found out later that we were the first people to climb Achilles Last Stand.
We then procceded to climb Pessimist Variation Finish, bold and scary, but not the epic of Achilles Last Stand. It had been on Dave's ticklist for sometime- as had mowgli been on mine. It was getting dark and we wished to investigate our mate, Luke Hunt's Boulder (NOS Boulder). We found it easily, then tried some of the boulder problems. We were impressed with the quality and the similarity to grit and enjoyed our selves for around an hour. A fine outing and A good one of the New Year.

Tuesday, 1 January 2008

Targets For 2008


The alps is the main goal for my mountaineering. North Face of the 'Pigne D'arolla' (that can be seen behined my head on the Title Photo) has taken my fancy along with the unconquerable-looking spire of 'Aguille de la Tsa' (above).

I also want a 'ganda' at some F.As:

*Turkey Nab Face. I think it's going to be hard as I had an attempt at bouldering the start and it's atleast 6b. The gears not good either and a fall off the top wall would be scraping the ground with rope extension and the placement's not good. I just hope the top's easier than the bottom.

*The 'E3 Arete' at Round Crag. Dangerous and needs a clean. A local top roped it and reported it as E3 6b although with the evident lack of gear I doubt the E3 status.

*Child In Time- Durple Gill. This is one of the best un-climbed lines at a slate quarry we descovered near patterdale.

*Roseberry Direct. One of the last big moors walls and an epic is garrenteed.

*Complete the 'Middle Head Project' . An under-developed crag that needs some time allocating.


Aswell as this want to get to the lakes more and and really get BOLD. I used to be bold, but am not anymore for some reason. Once i get my head right i'll probably atempt some harder stuff locally.

It seems like high-hopes, but last year's hopes were to consolidate VS (which seemed optimistic) and we infact did a lot more. Hopefully these targets will be vanquished and improved upon.