Monday, 11 February 2008

Grit- Stanage, Burbage and Lawrencefeild- A first E3 and E4

I had been persuaded by Ian to venture away from Woden's own rock and to sample some heathen grit. I had seen pictures of these fine outcrops and liked the idea of hard, featureless slabs- my style of climbing.

On arrival at Stanage I was amazed at how steep it was. Any extreme seemed to have a roof on it and be a crack. Me and Dooge trotted down to the plantation end and left the two Ians (Jackson and Moore) and the droves of city folk who, like vermin (not the bouldering grade system), nested upon the most impressive outcrop I had seen. We found some slabs and I lead my first grit route- Hybrid. It was good although unprotected and over graded. We moved further left and I spotted my dream route. The red circle in the Rockfax guide indicated it was an extreme I scrambled through the disorganised pages to find it was an E2 5c. 'Keep Pedalling' it was called. A really good solo and my favourite grit route so far. We then proceeded to climb a few more E1s and then lead an over graded E4 5c. It was exposed 5b/5c climbing, but I don't think it warranted E4. 'Don't Fluff It'rose up a crack via a difficult move to a slab and then some slopey delicate moves lead to a top at 15 metres- It was a scary route, but a good one.

We bivyed at Burbage car park. After a visit to the pub and stocking up on jelly supplies we settled. I hadn’t brought a sleeping bag as I assumed it would be quite warm- being on a near tropical latitude and all. It was a mistake. The boiling hot days were contrasted by freezing nights and Ian and dooge’s sleeping bags were coated with ice.

At morning I went for a quick jog and then trotted down to Burbage north. Me and Dooge were trying E2s, as although we are bearly E1 leaders, I facilitated the idea that if we tied E2s/E3s we’ll consolidate E1 as a by-product, plus have experience of harder climbs. This sort-of worked at Stanage, although Burbage was a different matter. We failed on all the routes and the morning was only saved by a very thin ascent of ‘Artificial Stimulant’. A Glorious E2 5c that ascends a featureless slab. Gear was sparse and, after a retreat from the under-graded route, a side runner was used for the successful ascent. It was amazingly thin, unbelievably polished and using some microscopic holds, Dooge even struggled on the second. So I was 'chuffed'.

After a trot back to the car we sped off to Lawrencefield (next to Millstone). I tired my self out seconding Ian up a crazy E2 5c (Suspense), which seemed stiff for me, although it was very hot and I had no chalk and was knackered- resulting in a fall. After this I tried to restore my pride by soloing ‘Meringue' It went well, and after a bit of thinking, the top section was worked out (with a 40ft drop to help focus the mind). Ian then attempted another E2. Something happened that resulted in a 30ft fall head first. He was ‘reet’ though, and claimed it was a ‘rest’ not a fall. It then started to get dark, but then came Ian’s entourage of abuse about how I couldn’t jam and I’m not a Yorkshireman if I can’t jam. This challenge caused me to be assessing the prospect of a night Solo of ‘Great Harry'. I soloed up, rather effortlessly (for me jamming). When I got to the ledge it was getting seriously dark. I decided to stay on the ledge for a bit and then escape off the VDiff. Good route and would like to do it in the light.

This concluded a fine trip- even though it was on grit.
The weather in the south is truly amazing and look forward to more voyages.


Dave Warburton said...

That was the funniest, i took the pic of Ian, and then there was just this pink blob lying on the floor in the background, unknown to me because it was soo dark.

Franco Cookson said...

iy, twas hilarious, but a rough night and a bit gravely.