Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Another Arete Found At Danby...

I seem to be spending all my time at Danby Crag these days and I'm quite happy about it too. The wild Jungle below only adds to the exploratory feel and I'm still finding new nooks and crannys with unclimbed lines and dense undergrowth all the time.

Today I returned with twig, after a day at camp hill with the hull crew and Sam. I lowered twig off a crappy stake and he had a look at the latest arete. It was a brief look and we figured out the moves and cleaned bits and bobs until a grade estimate could be made. The start was the crux at 6b/c, but with another 6b move at half height by a cluster of OK gear. Top quality laybacking up the fluted arete then follows. As soon as we get back with some half ropes this should offer an ace E6.

I gave twig a choice of around ten other things to have a shunt on, but we ended up on my leaning mono wall. He soon decided he didn't really like the look of it, so I had another bash. The route is getting cleaner and cleaner with every attempt, which makes matters a lot simpler, comparing it to the Hypocrisy of Moose is interesting, as that was filthy at first, but since my attempt and Steve and oaksie's top roping of it, it's cleaned up nicely.

The crux is semi-dialed, but I need to gain some serious power endurance to be able to get it every time after the heinous pulls before. It's quite interesting having an endurance project as I can't keep power in reserve at all. My fingers are now trashed, so I'm going to have to have some time off- there are some remarkably similar bolt holes in my kitchen beams, so I might try doing some pull ups on them.

Friday, 24 June 2011

Danby Projects

Returning to Danby today to suss out the vast numbers of new routes. There is so much there that I adopted a new tactic- speed abseiling. I managed to cross off 6 pottential new routes as either rubbish, too hard, not quite worth the effort or stuff to come back to in a bit. (Get in touch if you want a project between E5 and H10...)

I then went for a look down last week's project. I just laughed to myself- today was the day when I realised I was never going to do it. I reckoned it would be F8a+/b; in actuality I'm not even sure it's possible. There are four moves on it which are definitely harder than Font 7c and two of them are at a height at which you would seriously injure yourself. The other two are ridiculously hard. So I think that's one to save for a bit.

So with no realistic project left I went for an ab down one of the four other lines I had my eye on. It looked about E6 6b/c on ab and I wondered whether it was worth waiting to try ground up, but thought I may as well have a look now, considering I am without either partners or transport.

It was actually quite hard. It looked like it had been an old aid route interestingly, with four closely spaced bolt holes going through the bulge. I was pretty happy these were there, as there weren't many other holds and these offered perfect ring finger monos which you could lock off inbetween. On the lip of the bulge the monos ran out, perhaps the FA had top stepped and reached further holds, or perhaps it was an incomplete project. It certainly looked quite hard for someone 'back int' day' to climb with big boots.

Anyway, after they ran out I was pretty stuffed. The next hold was a pocket over a metre away and without great feet the move is hard. I didn't manage it as I didn't want to full-on dyno on a route I knew would have to be a solo, but perhaps a full-dyno will be the only way to do it.

It looks like a cool project anyway- tip top climbing (albeit on artificial holds), culminating in a wild dyno at a serious height. I shall be back. The fingers soon gave in though and I returned home, but only after finding a great ground up project and after being chased by stampeding cattle.

Danby is ace!

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Back in Love

With climbing that is. I've been very busy with lots of bouldering, exploring and a bit of new routing in Cornwall, but that is all rather insignificant compared to the main event: North York Moors New Routing....

The Warm up...

The woods below Danby crag have seen many-a-man disappear down seemingly bottomless pits, only to be devoured by spiders and ticks. The boundary between rotting moss-covered trees and humus is blurred and only when the ground gives way, does one discover that what one was stood on was in fact once standing tall into the clear moors' air. This comical journey soon gives into a genuine worry for one's life, with predators in them woods that are most likely unknown to science and I hope they will remain unknown to me. Only the trail of murdered rabbits and the sudden twitch of a distant branch hinting at their presence.

After this approach I actually found some rock! Some of it was actually quite good. It was odd as I had walked the length of the crag before, but seemed to have missed a lot of the potential here. I shunted a couple of things, one which will go pretty soon as an unprotected route that is not that difficult. The second Arete I found was wild, truly wild- In fact I'd say it's the hardest thing I've ever been on. It is plum vertical and looks like another Hypocrisy of Moose, but is an even better arete and basically without footholds or gear. I managed one move on it in over an hour, with some parts of the pure ten metre line mindbogglingly difficult- I can't even see how you could do it.

It seems to start off with a very difficult highball problem which just seemed impossible and needs a good clean (I didn't even try this section as the rest was clean and needs figuring out anyway). Once you do this bit you have to set up for a large super-balancy arete dyno. I played with this move a lot and it is a really funky arete move; with shocking feet and contorted side-pulling. You are jumping for the first real hold which is an ok one pad crimp and it's super wild. Although I'm not climbing very well at the moment it seemed harder than any move I've ever done (English 7a?) and is one of the best moves I've ever attempted. Fingertips stroking the crimp, but the massive swing means it will be nails to hold. Fun though!

Once the crimp is gained you mount it with relative ease. This is the move I managed and about as hard as the crux of the Hypocrisy of Moose (Coincidentally I shunted this again later and was pleased to see how steady it seems now, although still certain I graded it correctly at H7 6c). Once you are stood on the crimp you get some real holds- a small low edge and a ironstone thing on the arete. You are kind of comfortable in this position, but the holds face kind of the wrong way and moving off it is nails due to the total lack of feet.

At this point you'd likely be in a death-fall situation and the next three moves to the top are outrageous- again with poor feet and only pinching aretes for hands.

So all in all pretty exciting. I have recently fallen out of love with new routing, but this route is really exciting. It's so mindbendingly difficult for me at the moment and even with perfect gear slots it would be harder than things like the Moose. The idea of climbing multiple 7a moves after a start that could be even harder and without any gear is just mental, but perhaps this is what I need to get psyched for getting better.