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