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.