Sunday, 30 March 2008

West Sphinx Direct E3 5b And SesameE1 5b- Wainstones

Both lines I had wanted for a long time. I started on West Sphinx, It went well and a crap friend (over-cammed and with half its teeth sticking out) in a pocket 'protected' the lower crux. I had failed here before, but shouts from Luke down below spurred me on. I pushed and got my foot on the 'dinner plate' where my hand was and then pushed again to reach the beautiful break. A ground fall was on the cards and the juggy crimps were truly beautiful. I arsed about with opposing nuts for a while, but then decided just to ram a 0.5 cam in my good hand hold. It was an oright placement and might have held a fall.

(the picture shows the Supper, Supper direct. West Sphinx is slightly to the right, past the roof and up to the eye)

The feet were called on again to serve their host one last time. A simple move of quickly 'popping' up feet was an epic with this chasm down to Luke- the belayer who was eating a pie. He caught me looking and quickly springed into action with encouragement and belaying. I said I was thinking of trying to escape, but he pushed me on for the direct. I summoned that last bit of strength and pulled for the 'Eye' of the sphinx - a pocket. A slopper! A bit further. There, a jug, but filled with water. Jesus, I panicked for a moment, but then realised only a couple of crap cams stopped me hitting the ground. I sorted my self out, swapped hands and then pulled the easy last foot to the jug an 'forehead of the sphinx'. Scrambling away I smiled and shouted in celebration. The epic was over, the Sphinx was beaten. I stood triumphant on his forehead and looked down at my smote enemy, then had some pie. –nice.

I had certain aims to get my head in for this year’s season of hard slabs. One of those was to solo Sesame. It’s not a slab, but the exposure is good training, on balancy moves. A truly brilliant line – that also provides a warm up for the future epic of Ali Baba. The groove feels over-hanging and with no gear is a truly bold climb. I was not afraid of the groove, but the crack above. I cruised the groove as expected, with a little difficulty on the crimpy pinch and the jugs were reached- over? The easy traverse led to harder ground and a precarious layback and then an awful ‘barn-dooring’ reach to a good jug. Again, ‘Jesus’ was shouted around Wainstones. A truly brilliant day and two brilliant, classic ticks

Saturday, 22 March 2008

UKC Article Dash

I was asked a few months ago by the editors of UKC to write an article on Moors climbing. I got to work pretty quickly and finished it in a couple of weeks, at about 2,400 words. The deadline loomed- with only a week to go and I still needed pictures of Ingleby and Highcliffe. I planned on the Monday to go to both places what ever the weather. I needed photos and there was no alternative. When I was woken at 2 in the morning by hail being smashed against my window, my heart sank and I crawled back under my reindeer hide. I woke to snow and trotted down to the train. Lewis Dale and 'Mini' Cooper-who I had pressed for the expedition were waiting on the half-an-hour late train for me. We got to the wind-blown hell hole of Ingleby in good spirits and set out on a couple of verglassed routes. A heart-in-the mouth moment was had on Cosy Corner as I slipped and managed to quickly grab a break that was covered in snow and ice. It didn't feel 3 stars! We grabbed a few pictures, in the worsening conditions and then ran back to the train for a good training session on Dave’s indoor wall.

On the Sunday we ventured to Highcliffe. The snow had set in and Highcliffe crack was badly iced up. I sent dave up Scarecrowe crack- E1. It went well untill the crux move was gained and a cloud of mist and a gust sent spindrift in to his eyes. He battled on and I got the picture I needed.

With Dooge's new-found confidence in the day he moved on to Stargazer- E3 5c. He managed the initial traverse but failed to get much higher.

The plan for the monday was Raven's Scar. We had to get a shot of satchmo and the only way to get it was to get a train to battersby and then walk the 15ish mile round trip to Raven's Scar. I wasn't looking forward to it, but was determined. An early call to Dave in the morning crippled the plan. He was busy and most probably did not look forward to the hellish walk for no reward. So I waited untill a call from Luke Hunt- eager for some Moorland action invited me to Camp hill. I took the oportunity and Ian agreed to pop along. Dave then decided he fancied a local trip and joined the three-strong party. So we set off, Luke on his new 125 CC Harley and Ian, me and Dave in Ian's 125cc Corsa. We arrived to a snow flurry and this put Ian off some what. We bouldered around and made our usual solos then trying a new variation on Cling Wrap- without the lay-back flake. The conditions were good for friction and we had a good session- later retreating to Dave's bouldering wall.

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Physical Graffiti

Since it's discovery two weeks ago there has been little else on my mental Ticklist. It appears from a distance as a friendly wall at the left edge of Hunter's buttress- Ingleby. Only on closer inspection does one realise the blankness and severity of the beautiful wall. It is as far as i'm aware unclimbed, as it has no mention in the guide or internet. It is gearless and does not sink in technical difficultly much below 6b.

For those of you who know the moors well, the move is very similar to eve left-hand at scugdale, only with worse holds and the foot at near-chest height.I had previously failed to get much off the ground, but today worked the start out. The move still requires the use of a mono (1st green) to get established, then two poor sloping crimps (1st red and blue) and then a high foot (brown) with the left foot trailing on the pink hold. A powerful crimpy pull and then a snatch for the big pocket (2nd green) makes it possible. After the second green is gained, some good footwork would mean a reech to a poor sloper (red) would be possible. Then easier climbing to the top, I imagine, via a few breaks. I've worked out the bottom i just hope that i'll get back strong and the slopers will be good enough to pull on. It's looking like a solo on 6b moves. A good landing though so grade- wise? E3? We'll see, but i hope to get back next week and finish it off. It's a great route and the start its self deserves a star.

Sunday, 2 March 2008

Brimham and Ingleby- beginning of summer - Acme Wall E3 6a

A windy, but good weekend. I got up some proper E2s at Brimham and got up my first good E3. Although I’ve climbed an E4 before i was yet to onsight a solid E3. Acme Wall is regarded by many as a highball, but without a boulder mat on the thin crux above a few rocks, it is a serious proposition. The heckling by many for using a mat on such routes, led me to leave it- unopened- far away. I soloed up and did the crux, but then panicked and came back down. Another more composed attempt aloud for a good clean ascent of a fine E3 6a.

A trip to Ingleby was made on the Saturday and a few E1s were ascended although the wind hindered the climbing some-what. A few good lines and possibilities for first ascents were also sighted for a later date.

(I appologise for the picture. When I got the last rail dave had to run from spotting me off some boulders to the bottom to take a picture- whilst I was hanging on crimps above no boulder mat. Once he shouted "got it." I quickly got over the top and I celebrated more than I ever have on a successful climb.)