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.