Tuesday, 22 April 2008

New Dimensions E3 6a And Prowess E3 6b

We joined the Cleveland M.C for their meet at Scugdale. Perfect whether aloud for a fine ascent of Prowess. Beautiful laybacking up the arete, that leads to a reachy, crimpy finish. The finishing jugs came well received. We had met up with Jason Wood again and then proceeded to boulder most of the routes at Scugdale untill he left and me, Dooge and Lewis ventured over to the New Dimensions buttress.
I had previously got the top but had been unable to top out and had to downclimb the crux move. I today managed Eve- HVS

(in unusual style) to get to the top and then perform the Whale of a lifetime. My beautiful moves on the route were destroyed by the cretinous thrutching that finished it off.

(we await a good video. Sorry it's on it's side- just tilt ye old head.- if anyone knows how to rotate videos on Quicktime, then it would be much appreciated)

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Ali Baba - E3 5c

I'll start by saying: my current form is taking the piss. I had a brilliant session a few weeks ago getting West Sphinx and Sesame. A trip to the Ben proved I had luck in living- not only climbing well and the trip today was incredible. We arrived at the Wainstones for about 2 O'clock and I made Dooge belay me straight

(Click to make the pictures bigger)

away on Ali Baba- I was determined not to get psyched out. I trotted up the E1 groove of Sesame rather easily and was surprised at how, what had seemed 'cutting edge' a few weeks ago was now a gentle stroll. I got a bit knackered threading the chockstone and then got a little put off by the hollow sound of the flake. I had a rest on the jugs though and got ready for the ‘E3 bit’. The climbing was forgivingly simple though- jug after jug of powerful reaching. I got to the last jug and gazed up at the last impossible metre. The wall was blank and was headed by a roof. Jesus! The rope trailed to my chockstone, way beneath me. Bloody hell. A fall would probably not have been ‘a decker’, but bloody big. I was glad we were using Dave's ropes.Then, out of the beautiful moors light a crystal of quartz twinkled. There it is! The hold. A pinchy crimp out right aloud for some higher feet and then a blind- trouser browning reech for a slap to the top. Sorted! Or was I? The top was awful, a weird conglomerate irony thing that was just slopey. I traversed a little right and managed to get enough for a bold mantel. Done it!
A few bellows across 'the rocks' were heard, but it was a little disappointing.

Two or three stars? yes! But it was by no means as difficult and epic as it looked from the ground. It's one of those routes you just need to get on, ignore the intimidation. I don't understand where the 5c comes into it. Although very hard to figure out when onsighting, the top move is 5b at most. It is nicely sustained and very Pumpy, the gear is bomber (if not run out), after the initial solo, E3 5b?- harder than West Sphinx anyway.

Dave then lead the route with a little encouragement and then went about leading all the routes I had previously led- Jackdoor Wall, West Sphinx Direct, Sesame. I soloed all my usual stuff. Dooge then went for the Bulge Direct. I couldn't really be arsed and didn't want to push my luck with Woden.

Jason Wood truned up a bit later so we got some pictures and had a boulder about.

Friday, 11 April 2008

Munro Bagging- Point Five V 5

Me and Dave had joined Ian for mine and Dave's first Scottish Winter on the Ben. We set off on the Sunday and arrived late for a good Bivi at the North Face car park. We set off at sevenish on the Sunday and were at the CIC hut for around 8:30. We chose Green Gully for our first winter route and a delicate traverse led to the bottom of the snow slopes. We kitted up and I set out, up the slope, first. I was wandering up, with a rope over my shoulder, when I noticed the snow had changed slightly.
I was only a few metres from the bottom of the route though, so continued. My axe placement slid and then I noticed the other axe had as well, then I realised the whole slope in front of me had moved. The next thing I remember was flying towards Dave and Ian as the wave of snow took them out, clipping Dave’s crampon with my groin. I realised the slide was lasting a long time and becoming serious so I took action to try and surface. I remembered the old 'swim in to it' theory. Just as I started the 'front crawling' I ceased to move. I shook myself and stood up. Ian was facing up the slope- about ten metres up from me shouting my name. Dooge was another 50 metres up looking down in an odd gaze. I replied to Ian’s shouts and he rotated in surprised. He must have presumed I was buried. I lost my axes in the slide, despite looking for a couple of hours. Being involved in a minor avalanche, taking my mates out shall make me very avalanche aware for the rest of my climbing career.

This unfortunate event meant I sat out climbing for a couple of days. Dave then let me borrow his axes and I got up to Point Five with Ian. The first tricky IV/V pitches soon lead to some nice but tiring III pitches to the top. Ian led the first couple of pitches and we moved together on the rest. The crux pitch was in brilliant condition, which meant it wasn't the crux pitch. Beautiful setting and an exhilarating route. It was my first Munro and first winter climb, a great tick.

The next day Ian and Dave went for a VI variation on Smiths route. They climbed the first 6 pitch with relative ease, but then they moved on to the grade 5 finish. Dave fell seconding, ripping out an ice screw of Ian’s belay. This shocked Ian who lost control of the body belay letting Dave fall 150ftish to the deck. Dave was reet, but Ian broke his hand slowing him down. Ian’s wind shirt and rope burns are testimony to what he did to try and save Dooge.

With no driver me and Dave have been forced to bivy in the hospital car park until Ian's parents turned up to drive us home. This was a three day epic, hiding from doctors and searching Glen Nevis for a sub-£10 Hostel. This does not exist.

The trip was finished with a fine trip to Polldubh. A few classics bagged including Dave's ascent of the great Clapham Junction.

Dooge showing his sigg that undoubtably saved his spine on his many bounces down Smith's route

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Moonflower E5 6b

Yet again, tomorrow's vague plan turned into a determined effort. I had thought I might be able to get up moonflower this year, but found myself making a attempt in April. The moves were worked out up to the break and I think the crux is low, but I failed when my finger ripped off a hold taking a huge callasse of skin with it. Alot of blood made it look alot worse than it was. But I won't be trying Moonflower agian for atleast a week.I returned to the ground for a future attempt at the rest of the route. It's brilliant climbing, following an amazing series of tiny layback flakes and bodily contortions. I got to over half height and shall return after my trip to Scotland. I'm determined not to work it.