Friday, 26 February 2010

Pictures of Belhaven (VI 6) and Wavelength (?) solo (III 4)

Wavelength is the best guess at which route we soloed as a guy who was belaying nearby said we were on a III 4. I reckon we left the route before the crux (as his mate was on the last pitch), but did a couple of bits of IIIish. Bon route anyway.Belhaven is the far left-cleared line. The obvious one is the seam, the middle one is invernookoid?
can't quite see the ice on Belhaven- summit cornice.
A little step
Beautiful neve
Above Belhaven

Monday, 22 February 2010

Magic Crack VII 7- With Stubai Hornets!

Looking Psyched (and slightly Special)

So, 2:30 Monday morning and I'm back from Scotland. Conditions were ridiculous, with verglass and powder everywhere. I probably quarried somewhere in the region of ten tonnes of snow off Coire Sneachda over Saturday and Sunday.

The routes ticked? Well today Jack took me up a V/VI 6 called Belhaven, which was a brilliant lead considering the conditions made it quite bold and all the hooks were totally covered- mainly climbing up thick verglass (I think I used one hook in 40 metres). We then Soloed a three on the buttress to the left, which was ace.
Setting out on my first Scottish lead. (Three tricams is all you need for this pitch)

The main event was on Saturday though, when I led all 4 pitches of Magic Crack (did it in three). It was totally 'out there' as my fourth winter lead and not really knowing what I was doing. Luckily someone must have been on it about a week ago as some of the route had some snow stripped off. It was still a total pumpfest-quarrying epic though and I only just stayed on.
Mike Seconding (in walking crampons)

The first pitch is a V 6, which is then followed by a pitch of VII 7. The initial crack was a calf-burning battle, with very little in the way of feetm buut good gear. I got really pumped wearing leashes with massive mittens on, meaning placing gear was a total epic. After thinking I was going to fall for most of the route I got to a patch of neve, where I finally got some bomber gear. This protected a ridiculous move which relied on matching a torque under this flake and then smearing across to totally wank hooks and eventually the sanctuary of bomber neve. Under normal conditions, I would have been terrified of the set of moves gaining the corner, but I was well past caring about the consequences of a fall. Luckily managed it.
Looking at pictures of the crux on UKC today it is evident there is a big flake you can undercut higher up. But this was totally covered and I did a super tenuous (but well protected) set of moves across the slab below instead. Which looks like it was way harder. How interesting. Pitch three (4?) was a squeeze chimney which was well nice and not too bad. A romp up to the top finished off an apparently classic route.
Team Stubai Hornet

Whilst the rest of the Manchester Uni club stayed in a bunkhouse I bivied to save some cash in my 2 season sleeping bag. This wouldn't have been too bad, apart from the thermometer was reading -16.9 C by the time I decided to retreat to wake everyone up at 5:30 AM.
Mike on his first winter route. (what a legend!)

So a bit of an epic trip. Less than 4 hours sleep over 2 days. One tub of pate and a french stick for food. no liquid during the day and totally rimed-to-fuck VII 7s in the Cairngorms.

Have no fear, Frankie is leading. (below the squeeze)

I must also congratulate Mike and Em on seconding me up with style, especially as it was Mike's first winter route, ever!
I'm so fucked.
A bit of Rime

Monday, 8 February 2010

Revised Last Great Problems (LGPs) List- The Moors

EDIT: Now out of date

Now that some of the Last Great Problems in the previous list have been done (mainly the less great ones) I think it might be good to review the list:

Roseberry Face, The Whitestone Traverse and The Round crag arĂȘte have all been done and the wall left of Mongol can in no way be described as great, so not worth inclusion. The arete at Ravenscar has now been linked on a Top Rope (slightly less directly than the envisaged line) as has the Danby arete.

The crucial discovery of Ravensdale has also doubled the list.

The Moors LGPs is as follows:

1. Gehenna Wall E6 6b/c * ?
The wall right of Gehenna has gear that collectively would stop a fall (mid tricam, rock 4 and odd 0.5 cam in shite rock). Unfortunately it's at a third height, but luckily just below the hardest move. The rest is 'only' 6a/b.
The Ravenscar arete

2. The Arete- Revenscar E8 6c/7a***?
If done on the left side it is probably 7b, but Steve Ramsden seems to have unlocked a sequence out right at a 'mere' 6c/7a. The gear is just about ok, although you'd be relying on an 'ok' 0.5 cam for the crux moves. The left hand side of the arete would probably be a four-star line, but anything on that arete is going to be wicked.

3. Roseberry Direct E6 6b*?
The direct finish to the classic route Normale. It ventures into snappy rock that the normal route avoids, with the 6b? crux a little further above the crap cam than on the E5.
The obvious Potential at Ravensdale. The green on the left is The Scoop. The spaced Black on the left, the main Wall.

4. The White Scoop Ravensdale (aka Stoupe Brow) E6/7 6b**?
Classy, sustained and sequency climbing with gear in Central Crack. How far down central crack do you dare break out? A low breakout would be more like E7/8, a higher traverse across might 'only' be E6. Linked the crux on a shunt.

5. The White Scoop Direct (aka Stoupe Brow) E7/8 6b**?
Once you've climbed the scoop, try it without the runners in central crack, with a direct start up the cool groove- left of the crack. Equally Classy, equally sequency, more sustained and a solo. Linked the crux on a Shunt.

6. The main wall- Ravensdale- (aka Stoupe Brow) E7 6b***?
To the right of Central crack is a wall with a big rickety flake at half height. Grade is a guess as this one hasn't been inspected but looks ace.

7. The main wall variant E7/8 6c? **
It looks like a cool traverse off to the Arete from the flake? Not much in the way of foot holds and only undercutting for hands- should be fun!

8. The Danby Arete E7/8 6c **?
Tenuous 6a/b moves lead to a tricam just below half height. There is a good rest to the left, before a wild rockover on the rickety flake (wires ill-advised due to potential belayer fatalities in the case of a fall), allows the crux move (6c) to be made. I've linked this on a shunt, but i'm nowhere near feeling solid-enough to lead it.
Barry's Face ascends the Scoop just right of centre on the face up to the 'shield' at the top.

9. Barry’s Face V8/ E7 6c **?
A difficult boulder problem on sandy rock which leads to the beautiful groove feature. A bit too high for mats to matter now on the 6b? top out. Uninspected.

10. The wall to the left of the Scoop- Stoupe Brow E7 6b/c **?
Another bold face climb. Gear is micro cams in crumbly iron holes, but the climbing looks ace on bomber edges!

11. The Groove- Kepwick E8 6b **?
Loads of people have linked this. Someone just needs the balls to lead it. Could it be you? A Sustained Solo apparently.