Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Just been on fryup head, doing a spot of tooling. Lots of the falls are in and the left hand side of the big one is in. The less steep side is still a torrent. Stoked for some moors action if it stays cold.

--- Sent with Mobile Mail by Orange

Friday, 3 December 2010

Fight Or Flight (VII 7) and The Jaberwock (VII 7)

The First Pitch of tech 6
Some mid-week Lakes action entailed me, Jack and big Steve heading for the lakes. A last minute call to Pete Graham meant we had a knarley lakes local to show us about and some comfortable lodgings in Coniston.
Frozen Face
Day one was windy and cold and started with a quick walk up to Bowfell. Steve, being violently ill all night, had to sack the days exploration off; meaning Me, Jack and Pete were climbing as a three. Pete fancied giving the recent edition to North Buttress (Fight or Flight VII) a go, which is exactly what we did.
A wintery North Buttress
The crux pitch after Pete's cleaning
The route is comprised of three pitches; an easier and bold start pitch, an easy traverse pitch and then a difficult, but well protected top pitch. After 50 metres of grade II soloing we got to the first belay and I got sorted for the first bold pitch, after loosing a game of rock, paper, scissors with Pete to get the better-protected pitch.
Steve on Engineer's Slabs VI 7
The first pitch went fine after I got an OK cluster of gear low down and just ran it out and onto some good tech 5 turf. Jack lead through to the last belay on the route and then Pete styled up the beautiful crux pitch, taking his time to clear the hoar off the wall. I was pretty jealous he got the hard and safe pitch, which offered some really cool climbing with perfect gear in between moves, but then again I got to second it in total safety!
The Jabberwock
Once we warmed ourselves up after our chilly day out, we set out to try and repeat Dave Birkett's route 'The Jabberwock' up on Gable. The pitch grades were given 5,7,6, but Pete did an alternate start by accident which was pretty desperate. The normal route looked way harder than tech 5 anyway. I was lucky enough to get the main pitch, which was a 20 metre crack of superb quality on good hooks and then a further 10 metres of insecure torquing up another crack. I found it pretty tricky and it was definitely a fair bit harder than the other two sevens I've been on, but not really experienced enough to comment on the grade at the moment.
Crux of the first Crack is getting stood on the foothold
Pete's last pitch was another surprise and it soon got dark, making both his lead and my second a bit of an epic (especially when my headtorch failed). I thought the first and last pitches were a similar difficulty to the hardest stuff I'd done before, with the crux crack being a notch harder, but I suppose that's just typical Birkett!
The journey home was eventful after the car nearly rolled despite slow speeds. Jack skilfully avoiding a bus in the middle of the road and getting through a 4 foot gap. Pretty sketchy, driving up a wall and on two wheels for a while! we're all healthy though, so not to worry.
The Wall we mounted
More Wall

Monday, 29 November 2010

The Haddock Plan

Dosing in a room of ice, a vision comes from the walls. A swiming fish. A haddock.The Haddock Speaks. In riddles, but poorly crafted enough for the meagre mind of myself to understand.
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.

Cheers Haddock

Monday, 22 November 2010

Processing The Impossible

I had an ab down the direct finish to Peace Process at Tintwistle Knarr Yesterday. It's been regarded as impossible by a couple of people and I reckon they might be right.

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.

Luckily there are quite a few holds on the wall, even if they are all pretty small. After the 4 metres of ultra-thinness, your first noticable hold appears in the form of a sloping crimp, which you surmount up to another small hold. Then a lunge onto a big shelf and continuing till the top at about 6b.

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

New Project In The Western Peak

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.

I soon found that an impossible-looking slab offered a line of small edges with a distinctive 5 foot gap in between the holds. It took a while to figure out, but with high feet, finger strength and what is now almost becoming a trademark hyper-extended finger push I managed the crux.
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

Ravenswick Video

Turns out Dave is a far better video editor than I, but never mind, I got some extreme camera work in...

In HD. (only joking, we're not rich)

The Ravenswick Experience from Dave Warburton on Vimeo.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Roseberry and Ravenswick

10am: Up to Roseberry. Wet. Ab for a look at the pegs. Pull the pegs out with fingers. Retreat to Ravenswick.

I think I'm going to leave the direct for the next generation. It's one of those routes which just gives you a bad vibe. I've even set off on the lead before now and got up to the crux, but it's just unjustifiably suicidal. It's about F6c, very bold, sandy, thin, and just generally slippy and snappy. If I had to punt at a grade I reckon it would be around E7 6a, just a total death route despite it's relative ease. Hats off to whoever climbs it, they bonkers.

2pm: Arrive at a Ravenswick after cheese at mine. Most of the crag has given in to the torrential rain over the past week, but the black wall is still dry amazingly!

We bouldered around and added yet more problems to the wall. After a couple of V6ish things (The Hidden Treasure and Stranded) we finally found a new problem that really tested us. In fact it tested us so much we didn't manage it! I was pretty close to the standing start, but tips were well and truly destroyed by the end. We're off back tomorrow to try and send what will be perhaps the hardest problem there...

Monday, 25 October 2010

Weak As Kitten, Inspired Like Fox

I'm definitely weak and very thin at the moment. This is interesting when attempting these routes which I was working when I was stronger.

Up at Kepwick today to try and perfect the groove. The crag was moist and cold after a lot of rain and the sandstone kind of soft as a result. I think someone has been on the Groove as well, as a crucial pocket has had a lot of wear, making it a bit poor.

Trying a physical route like the Kepwick Groove was quite interesting with reduced fitness, as I had to really perfect the sequence to get up it. I managed the crux move fine- it felt hard (cause it is), but I didn't fall off it once. I have the technique for the crux wired- the key being to clamp the top of the toes of the trailing right foot against the wall as you bump up.

The start moves were a different story though, affected slightly by damp I managed the more techniquey move still OK, but the powerful pull on the now damaged pocket just felt way too out there to solo.

After this you have to hang off a rubbish gaston above your head whilst you smear your feet to place the bomber Skyhook (your only gear). This causes a problem as you get massively scared sketching around on rubbish smears before entering the very precise and technical crux, which you need to be relaxed and happy for.
Maybe this was the session where it seems way too hard, before it all falls into place as with the Moose, or maybe it was the session where you realise it's a nails-hard death route that only a total madman would attempt?

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Roseberry Direct- A Shower From Success

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.

Luke rapped the direct, which he had previously reckoned to be E3 6a! He managed to get one of his new Karakorum 'Knife Blades' in the upper part of the route, which seemed quite good actually.

He was getting psyched for the lead, which I really wasn't up for, with the soft sandstone being like a sponge and very weak and the general extreme cold and wind. It was about this time that it down poured and we ran for the cover of the boulders.

So the direct survives another day. I was kind of hoping he'd do it so I wouldn't have to....

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Back On Some Rock After 6 Weeks

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.

The Result of this is that I am now massively heavy and have zero strength. Nevermind, I had a good time lazing around and I didn't really have any strength anyway.

I had my first little foray back into climbing yesterday, with a quick moped over to Ravenswick Quarry. I was upset in my cold weak state that I was not feeling much love for the very small crimps down there, but after a bit of soloing up some of the VSs in trainers (scary after sitting around!) I got some blood in my fingers and proceeded to boulder about.

I retro-flashed the V6 traverse, which was most comforting, before doing the 'bummel circuit' (V8) start into it at a similar grade, maybe V6. I then got Lopic's V6 pinch problem second go and then worked on some eliminates on that wall. I eventually managed to put up two new V5/V6s and then worked on a V7, which was really cool, popping off a slopey crimp to a jug.

Despite the rain the floor was dry enough to mooch about in my rock shoes which was good as I didn't have a pad, I returned home a couple of hours later- a new V7 and a couple of V5s in my pocket, a most pleasant home-coming. The grades at Ravenswick are pretty soft I feel and the new problems i've put up are compared to the existing problems (as I haven't really bouldered anywhere else).

The rain has really set in today, but hopefully me and Luke are going to dash out and attempt Roseberry direct (E6 6bish) if the rain ever stops.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Five Days In The Moors

I'm going to be back home for five days. That's five days of mooching about the most magical place in England, working routes and having some drinks with chums. I'm not too sure whether anyone will actually be in a position to climb and be around, but I can get some things inspected and maybe get other projects sorted.

I'm well excited. Stoked for the final few routes which stand between the Moors and completion. Top of My List:

The Groove
Roseberry Direct
Stoupe Brow Groove

They're pretty spread out geographically, but some cold mopeding about should go.


Saturday, 16 October 2010

Mooching Back Into It

It's been five weeks now since I broke my hand and the god of broken hands (metacarpular) has been most nice to me. There has been little pain, except for when mike hit it with a hammer and I seem to be able to hang off it quite well. The swelling is a bit of an issue still, with a very fat right hand, but I’ve always wanted a (second) fat body part, so I’m not too unhappy.

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

Grooving to Success

An undercut wildly to a small positive crimpy pocket,
From here a recoup after a very on/off move,
and then divine inspiration,
Still with no gear,
an off balance move with a hard pull to an intermediate edge,
A further unnatural slap,
gain the next pocket with the back of your left middle finger,
This security of a deep pocket is broken as you smear wildly,
right hand on a gaston,
Place the skyhook in that pocket,
sealing your security and fate,
now only your left little finger will fit in,
the sharp edge of the skyhook scrapes at it,
a high foot on a good edge,
out right for a middle finger mono,
Now in a crucifix position,
held by a high right foot,
trailing left,
left little finger,
powerful right hand mono,
Slap to a flat edge by your face,
and then the natural climbing begins,
with one movement,
the hand latches as the right leg extends,
further above your Skyhook,
the right hand is raised to a sloping gaston,
the left hand is brought close by,
pushing at the edge of the scoop,
The left foot is raised,
then raised again,
a massive move,
the crux,
the left foot is so high that momentum must be started by sideways movement,
the left had counter balances,
the right foot scratches at nothing,
all force is driven from the power of you right middle finger,
now hyper extended and the elastic properties of tendons are keeping you alive,
a final build up,
the most important pop of your life,
the jug is reached and only a show-boating pop to the top remains.

10 metres. A lot of thought.

Too cowardly to get on it. Even with an unbroken hand. Macleod reckons to climb 'If six was Nine' (F8a+) you should be climbing F8c+/9a to retreat out of the death zone and be safe. So extrapolate that to the Kepwick groove. A similarly dangerous route, but at about F7c, instead of F8a+, so you should be climbing about F8b/+to be safe on it. This is probably why it hasn't been done. There aren't many people about in the moors who climb F8b, so the only alternative is to be a bit mental. The moors does have a lot of mental climbers (all of the ones that i've met in fact), but not many of them have the interest in extending this to F7c new routes.

Bon bit of pondering then.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Friday, 10 September 2010

Bit of a Lull- Autumn And That

Since our day out at Round Crag I haven't been up to that much. I had some resit exams for a bit and then me and Dave headed to the Lakes. We got shut down by a wet Dow Crag and headed for the Slate quarries.

We managed to do all the remaining E4s and retro-bolted E4s on the back wall which was ace, and I then led a corner which I had tried before, which has now been bolted, which goes at F7a+. I remember fiddling to try and get some RPs a while back and ultimately retreating very low down, but with bolts it was pretty pleasant and steady.

After a bit of an epic involving car tyres and hitching we got back to the moors. A couple of days bouldering is about all that has occurred, but I'm interested to get back on the unclimbed routes, maybe try and get on the wall right of Gehenna (E7 6bish) over the next few days.

Friday, 27 August 2010

A Round Day Out - Video

An Edit of our day at Round Crag last week. My first editing project:

A Round Day Out from Franco Cookson on Vimeo.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Round Crag New Routes- H7 and E6 Onsight.

After a week of disillusioned work and drinking, me and Dave decided to pop back up to Round crag for 4 hours.

Untitled from Franco Cookson on Vimeo.

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).

Dave Warburton Headpoints New Moors E7 6b At Round Crag from Franco Cookson on Vimeo.

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.
First bit...

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.

Post-Vampiric Obsession Fear from Franco Cookson on Vimeo.

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've always been quite a bold climber, with most of my greater achievements being dangerous and easy, rather than hard and safe. This works well with a lot of Moors new routing, as most hard routes are massively bold.

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

Round Crag- 'Fresh Arete'

I went up to Round Crag today as no one was around to do anything. I was pretty stoked for the arete to the left of Scut de Scun ai (E6+ 6b), which Steve Ramsden has recently headpointed with side runners in Time Out.

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.

Round Headpointing from Ram Man on Vimeo.

(Copyright Steve Ramsden)

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

Clemmitt's Crag FA

Managed to meet up with Twig before he went off to Yosemite tomorrow and we joined forces with Dooge to spend an hour and a half at Clemitt's crag. The crag is poor, but there was a new route to be tried that I sussed out a few months ago. Flip-flops were sported, which was an awful choice as the walk in is pretty steep and head high bracken.

The route was an interesting ground up effort with a hard start protected by shallow snappy nuts and wires followed by hard climbing untill a rocking chockstone and an easier finish. Not going to be a classic, but a good test. Locked out when we got home.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Back in The UK

Me and Dave Modelling my beautiful cairn below the Peigne

Currently on the bus between paris and London. I'm pretty happy to be back in the UK- with piles of mashed potato and beautiful (if not rather small by alpine standards) routes ahead. I've definitely got stronger/lighter and am going pretty well, so we'll have to see how the UK trad goes. Another Alpine half-season survived and now stoked for mint sauce. Bon.

Monday, 2 August 2010

Alps Failure

There were a lot of objectives kicking around in early July and non of them have been achieved. We failed to do any of the classic Chamonix routes and failed to even get on the South Face of the Fou.
Plus Lourd Que L'Air (ED4/ F7a+)

I wasn't that bothered about not getting on stuff like the Walker, as the conditions were awful and our one 'pushing the boat out' experience on the American Direct was utterly ridiculous. Me and Chris had been pretty stoked for the Fou, but even that had to be abandoned when the aiguilles got plastered in powder and hoar.
In Absentia (F7b)

A depressing trip all-round, but at least i've been making decisions in an alpine setting and climbed some hardish routes in the aiguilles. Dimanche Noir (VIII) was particularly harrowing, described as 'bold and unavoidable moves'. It was definitely some of the hardest climbing i've done and in its seeping state the crux move up top had to be avoided by an even more desperate move. So i'm partially happy to have climbed some long trad routes, but not even getting on the Fou is really annoying. O well, next year will be bon.
Dooge Following the Crux Pitch of Verdon Memories

Monday, 26 July 2010

American Direct

Well cold. A 4O'clock start meant the face was really cold. We simuled the first ten or so pitches, which normally would have been fine, but the face was verglassed, so pretty sketchy.

A couple of Canadian guides backed off near the terrace and we should have probably too, but stoked for the tick, we got a fair way up. We managed all the crux pitches but then chris ended up taking a 25 metre fall off a layback crack a bit off route.
I was cold and talked Chris into a retreat. A few sketchy abs led to the terrace and the beautiful bolt belays. Most horrendous, but a bon alpine-feeling route in utterly ridiculous nick.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Chamonix Aiguilles So Far

The weather out in Chamonix at the moment is really hot. Too hot for anything in the valley and walk ups to the plan have to be attempted either very early or very late. A lot of people seem to have just sacked off their objectives, which are mainly snow-conditions based, but we've managed to get up to the aiguilles a fair bit.

The first day was the usual harsh introduction to alpine ascent, with a 1,500 metre walk up to the L'M. We managed to do the classic Menegaux with a direct finish which involved an aid pitch through a roof- most bon.

Our second trip up to the Aiguilles was a little more pleasant, with a 5 O'Clock start and nearly 2,000 metres of ascent, climbing the modern classic 'Majorette Thatcher'. It was a bit of a challenge I had my eye on as a few mates had had a go on it a couple of years ago and failed to climb the entire crux pitch free and onsight. The Roof is quite tricky! A really nice route at about E3 I reckon.

A bivy back down on the plan aloud us to stock up on Cous Cous before the next day's thrutching on 'Les Diamants du President' and a quick go on a route graded ABO- to the left of the Majorette. We didn't know what the route was, as we had no guidebook, but the line is pretty obvious- following a crack rising out of a strange juggy dish feature. There were a few bolts here and there and I followed some up a blank wall directly below the dish, but apparently the route followed a flake on the right. I eventually fell off near the top anyway, but was a bit disappointed to see that the direct version wasn't recorded anywhere. It was quite thin, moving up granite crystals.

So a first week in the alps has provided a bit of cragging in the Aguilles, dodging thunder storms and getting used to Granite climbing. A bit of research has also revealed that the west face of the blaitiere has lost a lot of routes and the Fou is unapproachable apart from via the Midi. I'm not really very stoked to use the Cable Cars, so we'll have to see if there is a way to approach it from elsewhere. Bon Bon.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Kepwick Groove Musings and The Alps 2010

The Hypocrisy of Moose seemed like a major route and a serious undertaking at the time, and it was. With one hard move above marginal gear, but with a limitted physical and dangerous aspect. In hindsight, I reckon the gear (placed well) would probably hold on the moose, but due to the difficulty of the move, I reckon it will probably stay as a classic moors H7.

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

Video of the Groove at Kepwick linked

The video makes it look pretty eliminate. I might have to have a go at doing the right hand finish, as it ventures further away from the left arete and hence a better line (even though the left arete is useless).

Link of the Kepwick Groove from Dave Warburton on Vimeo.

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

Moors Routes of H/E6 and above

Just some Anorak Route lists for moors-enthusiast. I find listing routes is good for Psyche. Looking at how far the moors has come since this time last year is pretty cool- with 5 routes of E7 now instead of 2. I sense this is just the beginning of Moors Developement, with a lot of new routes still out there and a fair few active people.
(U) = Unclimbed

(U)Kepwick Groove Right Hand- H9? 6c (F7c+)

(U) Kepwick Groove- H8+ 6c ** (F7c)


The Hypocrisy of Moose- H7+ 6c *** (F7b+)
Esmerelda H7+ 6c (F7c??) **
(U) Stoupe Brow Wall - E7+ 6b **
A Different Kind of Blue E7 6c *** (F7c) (Now 'ground uped with Beta'!)
(U)The Stoup Brow Groove- E7 6b (F7b+)***
Magic in the Air H7 6b(F7a+?)***
Fresh Arete- H7- 6b (F7a+) **
Collateral H6/7 6c
(U)Action Indirecte H7/8 6c (F7b+?)
(U) Kay Nest Arete- E7 7b (F8?)
(U) Gehenna Wall- E7- 6b/c (F7b)
(U) Kay Nest Wall E7? 6c??? (F7??)


Scut di Scun ai (H6 ++ 6b)
Three Screaming Popes E6+ 6c (F7b+)
(U) Roseberry Direct- E6+ 6b (F7a)
Origional Sin H6 6c (F?)
Chi Ching H6 6c (F?)
Desperate Den E6 6c (F7b+)
(U)Porcupine Arete E6 6b (F?)
Vampiric Obsession E6- 6b (DWS F7a)

Monday, 28 June 2010

Pabbay And Mingulay

I've been wanting to get out to the Hebrides for a while now, with so many pictures of epic-looking cliffs being smashed by the sea.

The routes are ridiculously good. There's not that much to say about the Islands, except that they're perfect in almost every way. You eventually get bored of climbing 3/4 star routes, with jugs everywhere and epic lines, splitting massive cliffs. I didn't even have to venture onto tricky routes to maintain interest in the islands, although we did put up perhaps one of the best routes around- Eagle Gravy (E1 4c). Or maybe not..

The crew was good, the weather was pretty cool- all in all an ace trip. Only a week to go until the alps now- maybe a quick headpoint of the Kepwick Groove before we go? It's shaping up to be an ace year.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Follow The British Tahu Ratum Expedition

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!

The Unclimbed Groove linked

Back to Kepwick yesterday with Pete; finally met the Ravenscar beast that is Steve Ramsden. We rigged a top rope and I set about attempting to show the guys the Beta for the latest moors Challenge.

Both Pete and Steve abandoned my, what they described as, 'Dawes-esque' Beta and found a different way, which seemed a bit easier but more tiring.
A previous attempt

Eventually I linked the whole route via my dynamic way and sketched my way through the top crux. Pete and Steve both also came very close to linking it via their alternate start, but were a bit shut down by the last move which seemed to suit my style. They managed to do the top slightly differently though, with another move up (which I hadn't been able to do), before moving back left.

So quite a lesson in the variation in body types and strengths today. I'm feeling pretty strong at the moment and once I figure out a way to place the Skyhook on lead it's probably going to be 'lead time'. The Tricam is worse and even harder to place than I thought, so not really worth bothering stopping on a hard move to place. Bomber Skyhook though....

Steve seemed to agree that it's going to be getting a 'pretty weighty' H grade, plainly due to it having a crux about as hard as 'The Moose', but with F7cish climbing before and a lone skyhook. It's going to be sweet.

A final 8 mile walk back from Guisborough made the following visit to the pub quite interesting- down and out after 3 pints.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

A Proper Moors LGP

Since Steve found a solution to the Ravenscar arete there has only really been one last great problem left. It has been top roped by a couple of past moorland greats, but both thought it too sketchy to lead.
The Start Move (big)

It's a leaning wall and the belay up top is rubbish, so i've been waiting a while to get some stakes in. Today we managed to get up there and hammered some belay stakes into some beautiful solid turf.
A crappy wall. Looks about E3.

I couldn't get over how cool the route is, with a hard introductory pop at about V5 off a big undercut and then a harder move followed by sustained bouldery moves to gain a blind groove. From here a series of monos and balancy moves lead up to the crux. The route is really sustained (about F7c) until the crux move which is a hypocrisy of moose-esque gaston rock-over. A much bigger move than the Moose, but on better holds and not so contorted. We didn't manage to link the route as after attempting vast amounts of sequences up the plethora of pockets and slopers we had got quite tired.
The videos (to come) show some of the moves though. Chuffed with Doogies psyche today, ultimately unlocking the way through the crux. It's going to be a bold route though, with 12 metres of climbing protected with one bomber skyhook and perhaps a Tricam if we can find a position to place it. Thanks to Rebex for taking pictures.
Breaking a hold up top

Thursday, 3 June 2010

A New Project And New Movement

It appears that sometimes the holds alone are not enough to support upwards movement and we must use the momentum from the previous move to help us skip through the harder one. I discovered such a solution to an apparent unclimbed but past-tried line today.

Gear at 2/5 height protects the crux moves perfectly- first leaving the break and then making wildly dynamic progression above. I spent a lot of time hanging off the crux attempting to find a pebble or nodule that may make progression possible. No such hold appeared. I was only 9 inches off a good slopey crimp and, after much trying, managed to use the momentum from the previous rockover into the break to catapult me to the very edge of my reach.

Hard moves, not quite sure how hard until I try it on a day which isn't so horribly hot. Definitely very hard for the short.

Friday, 28 May 2010

Another narcissistic exploit: The Path to Hypocrisy

I was asked to write an article for the MUMC journal so i thought i'd post the finished thing up here as well. I couldn't be bothered to go in depth with a load of clichés so kept it quite factual, but hopefully interesting:

I keep going- with a belayer I’ve only just met, who looks worried. He’s set up a belay below me for some reason and I only notice this as I decide the only way is up. The top of the scoop looks like a good flat ledge and I’m committed, so I go for it. Wrong move. The slap for the top is met by a sloper and I now realise the consequences. The hairline crack below me had given me nothing and there is nothing before my belayer. The buttress seems to fly past me reasonably quickly, but the pain of the trees and craggy hillside seems to slow the second part of my fall somewhat. I come to a halt in a Holly bush, only about 4 feet short of the ground-proper. I’m bleeding quite a lot, but I can move. Cool.

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

Alps Objective- The South Face Of The Fou

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.

Apparently ED5 /UIAA IX if Freed, although I think the ED grade is a bit outdated with modern rock climbing techniques. Still going to be nails. Goes at ED 2/3 UIAA VI+ A2 with aid.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Summer 2010- The Plan

Copyright Grahame N

By chance i've managed to arrange possibly one of the best summers anyone is going to have this year. A few days in the moors at the start of June to tick off some new routes I've linked, will be shortly followed by 12 days on Pabbay. I'm really excited about going to an uninhabited Island for nearly two weeks to do nothing but climb the amazing cliffs. Should be ace. After my return from Pabbay I'll have a few more days to explore north Wales and the Lakes before heading to the Alps for 6 weeks. This should then be followed by some more moors-time and the Lakes. If I get good weather and all this works out it will be absolutely incredible. Psyched!

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Pembroke- Star Wars (E4 5c) And A Massive Whipper

Three days at Pembroke were planned. The weather looked dodgey. The weather turned out to be ace. We were pleased.

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

Stubai Hornets Modified

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

Back to Manchester And Moosey Thoughts

So a semi-successful trip back to the moors is over. Apart from 'The Hypocrisy of Moose' not much was really achieved. I've sussed out a lot of crags, projects and even seen the delights of Moors' bouldering at last. I've tried some stuff that seemed impossible (but then again 'The Moose' seemed impossible when I first tried it); realised that some of what I thought were 'last great problems' were pretty poor and even found a load more lines which look like they're pretty cool.

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 straightening-out of Steve's new E7+ would mean you'd be almost soloing the crux of his route, plus with a nails set of moves to get there.

*The Groove at Kepwick- H8/9 6c ** (linked on top rope)

F7cish to a V7 finish. One good Skyhook, serious possibility of injury. Ace climbing, poor setting.

*Gehenna Wall- E6/7 6b/c * (abed)

Chossy, but a good line. The holds will only hold about 40 kilos.

*The Scoop at Stoupe Brow- E7 6b/c *** (abed and shunted the crux)

Ace moves at around F7b+ with a massive but safish fall. Breaks out left from central crack.

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

Danby Arete Goes H7 6c (E8?) *** - The Hypocrisy Of Moose

Last Moves (Betaguides)

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.

Crux (Betaguides)

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.

Video to come.

Friday, 9 April 2010

Die Projekte

A truly great day today. An hour's shunting on the Danby arete felt easy. I didn't fall off any of the moves at all, which is incredible considering I only figured out the crux a day ago and could only do it 1/10 tries. I might get on the lead tomorrow- excited!
I've also been back to Ravenscar had a little bash at Stratagem (failed) and then a short shunting sesh on the arete, with Dooge taking pictures. Unfortunately my harness wasn't done up properly so I couldn't shunt it properly. Psyched for Danby though!

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Choss Whippers on Moors Limestone

We went to Whitestone. Dave got scared at the sight of Black Mamba. We retreated to Peak Scar.
I had a look at BBC. Dave wasn't psyched to get on it, so off I trotted up. ran the two pitches together- placing no gear in the easier first pitch. Got up to the roof, Bomber thread, clipped a crap peg, out to a good hex. Went for the roof, got over the lip, going for a more direct right line (apparently the route goes up the left arete) I ended up on untrodden rubish crimps, which proptly broke off and I ended up falling below the first belay in a shower of choss.

I haven't fallen off an 'E2' for a while, but I managed to persuade myself it was a slightly different line and promptly went for my second go; left up the arete and flashed the cool moves up to the top, if not a bit wet. Excllent turf up top.