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Tuesday, 21 December 2010
Friday, 3 December 2010
Monday, 29 November 2010
My new aquatic friend asked me this: "what is your greatest weakness?"
To which I replied that I was weak. Not being able to climb steep ground. His advice rung pure, "To climb the Fou, your greatest aim, you must conquer your arms. Be fit. Lock off. One-armers are unnecessary, but lock off and campus and you shall next summer the pure granite walls onsight."
So the Haddock has given me the key. Depression was quashed and now I am ready for a year of devotion for the Fou.
Monday, 22 November 2010
After climbing to the highpoint on the E5 (3 metres above a cluster of ok gear), you break out onto the wall. The first hard move is rocking over on the jug of the E5 and you then have no holds bigger than a matchstick for a further 4 metres. 4 metres doesn't sound a long way, but it'll be about 10 utterly desperate moves; Most of which involve laybacking off razorblade edges with nothing for your feet and popping (or wildly jumping) for the next razorblade.
The end of the difficult climbing is about 8 metres above your gear and the gear is about 10 metres off the deck. The idea of linking it on a top rope is pretty out there at the moment and massively beyond me, but the wall is truly beautiful and I really hope somone with suitable ability and stiff shoes gets on it.
Saturday, 13 November 2010
After a tip off of an unclimbed direct finish to an E3, I headed off out with Dan Lane for a look. It was soaking wet and looked like a minor route, so set out to have a look for other new routes.
Pretty Nails, and a great line. I was well stoked. The available gear made the line appear even more classic, with a good cluster at around half height (on a 20 metre wall!) and the crux at the top. 50 foot whippers await...
Unfortunately on my return home I discovered that the line had already been climbed at a reported and unrepeated E5 6c. The description relies heavily on very out of the way side runners, which must of been pre-placed to have almost offered a top rope for the crux.
A quick search appears to cast doubt as to whether the route has been climbed at all with
"Looked at the direct finish to ***** that ******* "climbed";) May be "delightfull" on a top rope;)", but after a chat with the FA it's pretty obvious he climbed it.
And others have obviously seen the appeal of climbing the line without the side runners:
"E5 6c, just a thought, but the real route is still there to be had anyway. Loose the side runners and get the proper line. Now that would be a route worth writing home about!!! That would be historically significant "done without side runners", Joe Bloggs xx/xx/200x E8/9 6c.;)"
Regardless as to whether it's been done with gear on route or not, the challenge of freeing that desperate slab's lethal potential is really enticing. To be on that wall, with gear 15 foot below and nothing but fear driving you forward is what I'm psyched for.
Sunday, 7 November 2010
Friday, 5 November 2010
Monday, 25 October 2010
Sunday, 24 October 2010
After a full day of rain me and Luke got out in the two hours of dry weather available. It was horrendously cold, windy and rainy every now and again.
Saturday, 23 October 2010
If I were Dave Macleod, I would have been running about, dieting, doing one armers, running some more and writing a book. Unfortunately this isn't the case. When the Doctor said my Hand would be knackered for a few Months, that imediately meant 6 weeks of sitting around an eating.
Thursday, 21 October 2010
Saturday, 16 October 2010
I have to go back to the motherland that is the moors for a few days next week, to see a consultant, so I imagine I’ll be tootling about and getting on some pleasant routes, weather permitting. I'm properly psyched for 'Kepwick perfecting', and hopefully the weather wont stop me getting out.
There's no doubt in my mind any more that I will get on this route. The only question is when. Time, weather and ability are unlikely to coincide, but surely there is no hurdle to such obsessive devotion to one route?Luke at St. Bees
Saturday, 2 October 2010
Saturday, 11 September 2010
Friday, 10 September 2010
Friday, 27 August 2010
Saturday, 21 August 2010
Me shunting it previously
Dave was psyched for Fresh Arete without side-runners, which was good as I couldn't really justify it, with the number of fluffable moves and the fall of certain injury. It was probably the most intense belay I've ever had, with the jump into the blocks below being the only way I could have stopped Dave hitting the deck, with the ludicrously low gear (2 metres).
To be honest I think it was mainly psychological as the run-out was immense and the fall terrifying. Dave dispatched the route with ease and seemed very happy. Good effort from a guy on top-form. He's yet to name the route, but consensus from the people working the route previously indicated a grade of around E7 6b, which is about right.
Next up was an untried route. It takes the wall to the right of Honey Arete (E5 6b *** (more like **) ). Dave rapped the route and cleaned, chalked and tried some moves. He gave me some beta and then I went for the onsight flash. It took me a while and I eventually figured out the crux and boshed up via slappy side-pulls and horror-show tree-route pulling above the swamp.
I called my new route Vampiric Obsession and it goes at about E6 6b, or a DWS grade of F7a. I had a small boulder mat on the bog below to keep my feet dry. Pretty glad i didn't take the leg-breaking fall onto it like.
The day was finished by some forced-pot holing, attempting to find some lost nuts down some turfy boulders!
An amazing afternoon out in a beautiful place, with a psyched dooge and climbing some good routes. Happy as.
Vampiric Obsession is the Red line.
Wednesday, 11 August 2010
I'm getting really torn at the moment between being conservative and safe or just going for it on routes which I know I should be fine on. Routes like 'Fresh arete' without side runners which I have shunted a fair few times and never fallen off the crux. It should go, and it will go, but today I just looked down from the crux at the boulders below and thought about what I was gaining.
In the grand scheme of things it's a good new route at an esoteric crag, that will probably make me quite happy to look back at as an adventure of my youth, but it's hardly a 1000 metre new route in the karakorum. It was spitting a bit today, so I suppose i'll have to see how I feel on a day with perfect conditions. Interesting to ponder though.
Saturday, 7 August 2010
It didn't take long to realise why Steve had used the side runners- amazingly slappy climbing. He's managed to create a great little safe testpiece with big moves from bottom to top and gear just out left, with moves which are very hard to onsight.
I managed the route via a hard and insecure sequence and then managed to figure out a way to do the crux in a far more reasonable fashion, which felt like E5 6b climbing, rather than F7c.
Whilst Steve's route will be one of the moor's E5s of the future to try, it definitely needs an ascent 'sans' side runners, which is going to be a horrific E7 at about F7b. I'm not massively psyched for an insecure solo like...
Friday, 6 August 2010
Wednesday, 4 August 2010
Monday, 2 August 2010
Monday, 26 July 2010
Tuesday, 13 July 2010
Saturday, 3 July 2010
Comparing this to the Kepwick groove scares me. When I topped out on 'The Moose' I felt like I could have soloed it, which is good, as the crux of the groove is about as hard as the moose and above a lone Skyhook. Unlike 'The Moose' though, the groove has a lot of difficult climbing before the crux, which is sort of worrying. There was no worry about pumping out on the Moose, but a lack of juice for the final move on the Groove would leave you trusting the skyhook above an extremely serious fall. I'm starting to understand the difficulty of headpointing now- I can do the moves, but it's a big commitment to set out on a route where you can't hang about for rescue.
It will all have to wait now anyway. Tomorrow is the start of mine and Dooge's grand voyage to the Alps and we're pretty stoked. Dingey Kepwick will be swapped for sweeping granite features, good food, mountains and hopefully some sun. Chamonix is guaranteed to be amazing once again and i'm stoked for some ace routes. I'm not even that concerned with pushing the boat out, just getting on some amazing routes with cool people and cheap baguettes. Peace.
Wednesday, 30 June 2010
Copyright Rebex Earnshaw
I managed to place the skyhook whilst climbing and do the following moves, but it does make it feel seriously pumpy and makes the other moves harder. A better inspection of the pocket also revealed it's a bit rubbish and looks like it might snap. F7c soloing doesn't really appeal, but nor does F7c+ climbing protected by a skyhook which is massively scary to place- smearing wildly with a lone gaston. O well...
Tuesday, 29 June 2010
(U) = Unclimbed
The Hypocrisy of Moose- H7+ 6c *** (F7b+)
(U) Kay Nest Arete- E7 7b (F8?)
(U) Gehenna Wall- E7- 6b/c (F7b)
(U) Roseberry Direct- E6+ 6b (F7a)
Chi Ching H6 6c (F?)
Monday, 28 June 2010
Saturday, 12 June 2010
Luke Hunt, Tom Ripley and Hamish Dunn are attempting a new route up the Tahu Ratum NW ridge this summer. They're reasonably experienced alpinists, but have no experience of the greater ranges and have chosen a big objective for their first trip. The mountain looks ace and will no-doubt prove tricky. You can follow their progress via reports from Pakistan on their new blog. Good luck chaps!
Thursday, 10 June 2010
Thursday, 3 June 2010
Friday, 28 May 2010
It’s the Cleveland MC meet at Danby crag- a dirty crag with very few good routes, a lot of undergrowth and many dangerous moss-covered boulders. Me and my new favourite belayer decide to leave this new route, as it’s a bit suicidal, and elect to wander round, looking for some more cool lines. And then I see it. The blunt arête: slabby on one side and slightly overhanging on the other. A gear flake at just under half height seems to invite; with a wall that looks like it offers holds.
I return for an onsight attempt with Dooge and I fail, ripping a zero cam and hitting the ground again. Dave abseils down the line and tells me that on no account should I try the upper arête ground-up. So it began; months of waiting for it to dry out before I managed to get three or four shunting sessions on it. Finally, with the upper part linked, I set out on the lead.
Guarded by the cushion of pre-inspection, the route seems strangely friendly. The un-practiced bottom moves are as hard as I remember, but I arrive at the flat hold with little issue. Tricams and RPs in, I move round to do the tricky rockover, followed by the crux and now out of reach of the gear. I know just how to do the move and I feel solid, my body clamping around the arête. The top rockover is spicy, but I’m showboating now and the line is beaten. Back home for potatoes and beer.
Monday, 24 May 2010
A bit scared as the pictures of this amazing smooth wall make it look absolutely hideously hard. Apparently it is as hard as it looks. I have a dream of freeing it, but maybe a little aid will be used- let's see.... Inspiring mountain though.
Saturday, 15 May 2010
Tuesday, 4 May 2010
First route of the trip was Starwars, which is basically just beautiful sustained climbing at about F6c. The gear was a lot worse than I expected, but the moves were straightforward and despite the very warm temperatures it felt well within my abilities.
I decided I'd tick a classic before getting on something hard, with a recommendation of Pleasure Dome (E3 5c) I mooched round to Stennis Head. Roper warned me that it was easy to get lost, but I didn't listen and thought it might provide me with a nice clean whipper even if I did get lost. I left the flake going more or less straight up, where the route is meant to go right apparently. Joining the crux of the E3 after doing something strange and now with my hands gradually sweating up (20 foot above my gear), I slapped for the holds near what looked like the last move. O No!
I was in the air for a while; being out right and far up and not having the last runners that pleasure dome is meant to have. I could feel the wind on my face and apparently looked jack (my belayer) straight in the eye, with a look of horror as I finally came tight on the rope. Swinging into the ledge, at the end of the fall out zone, I managed to put my hand out as I swung sideways into some sharp rock.
After that I was pretty knackered and bloody, so just got drunk. We managed to tick the classics of the Hole **** (HVS 5b), Sunlover (E3), Youth on Fire (E3), Lundy Road (E2), Joy Bringer (VS) and Fulmar Pants (HVS). Fulmar Pants was particularly entertaining with gulls and feeling heavily drunk.
Friday, 30 April 2010
Getting a bit off route on Magic crack made me realise that climbing technical ground with leashed axes is not only sketchy, but pretty dangerous. Hence I have now modified these beautiful tools to try something hard this winter. They feel good and I fancy my chances of putting up something tricky.
Tuesday, 20 April 2010
I suppose I should briefly explain why I called the arete 'The Hypocrisy of Moose'. Rather simple really- the ascent showed me for the Hypocritical Moose I am. Anyway, a big gap now and everything else I was trying in the moors seems a little easy and chossy in comparrison.
So the list of LG(perhaps not that great)Ps in the Moors currently stands at:
*The Arete at Ravenscar direct - H9 7a? *** (attempted on shunt)
*The Groove at Kepwick- H8/9 6c ** (linked on top rope)
A few routes that need doing but aren't really amazing (although quite good):
The finger Crack at Clemmitt's - E4/5 6b **- abed
Porcupine Arete, Snotterdale- E6 6b *-climbed a tree next to it
The Aid Line Kay Nest- E6 6c? - ground inspected
On crack Stoupe Brow- E5 6b ** - ground inspected
Choss not worth doing:
Mongol wall- E9?
Death arete- Danby- E8 6b?
The Roof crack at Middlehead- E4?
The wall at Oak crag- V9
Monday, 12 April 2010
Saturday, 10 April 2010
It felt easy on lead- without the pull from the shunt unbalancing me on the super tenuous crux. A real classic I reckon, with sustained 6b climbing leading to a couple of moves of hard 6c. Feels a bit strange to be headpointing, but it's probably harder than anyone could onsight anyway and it's good to try new things.
Grading is difficult as it depends on how bomber you think the RP flake is. It's definately a lot harder than the few E6s I've done and very blind and sequencey. For the onsight i'd say it's worth E8, but for my effort probably a little less. Hopefully someone can come and repeat it and tell me if it's soft or stiff. I'm happy now :-D.
I must thank Victor Scott, who supplied me with RPs and a new chalk bag- most kind and Lee Robinson for filming it. We had a great day, with a little bouldering and then arete magic.
Friday, 9 April 2010
Tuesday, 6 April 2010