Friday, 30 December 2011
I remember when I first started climbing it seemed as if classics had existed an eternity. They were indelibly stained into the spirit that floats around the moors. When you leave the moors for three months and then come back, even to see a classic, such as Cling Wrap (HVS 5b**) at Camp Hill, makes a big emotional stir. The idea of creating one's own moorland classic seemed banished to the realm of dreams. But now it is not. And that causes some pretty spectacular emotions.
I like to think that me and Dave have had an important role in recent years, developing new routes and large portions of lost, forgotten or unexplored crags. But my brief return from Austria for Christmas let us embark on an entirely new experience- discovering an entirely new venue, completely hidden and undiscovered.
Getting Dark on Haddock Crack (HVS 5a**) - Crag X
We have never kept the details of a crag secret before, as generally the routes are of high grades that interest few people and we can return in a short amount of time to finish off development, but with this crag secrecy is unfortunately a necessity.
There are a large number of tall cracks at moderate grades. These are neither short, nor broken, but strong lines, with sustained interest. We climbed a couple which looked the best and they were really good. On a par with Valiant (VS 5a***) at Danby.
The tale of discovery would give away it's location, but we first spotted the crag through an oblique angle and a faint glimpse of an enormous arete. It looked in every way like Dunne's Divided years and we had to keep our excitement in control as we scrambled towards it. We assumed that a 30 metre prow of sandstone would have to be sandy, loose and crappy to have been left untouched, but it wasn't. It was just ace.
It is still an unknown quantity really. We climbed a few lines and abed down six. There is a poorly protected hanging arete that will be the best route in the moors when it is climbed. 16 metres of climbing, with tricams and poor RPs. I forgot my shunt, so I'm not sure how hard it will be, but perhaps a super classic E6 or something. Another 2/3 star route to the left up the wall at E5 6a or something. 3 star highball font 7a+ arete below, with brilliant balance moves, from which all the routes on this one (of eight) buttress begin.
The best buttress is hidden and offers a 14 metre E2 and a 12 metre HVS. A poor band of rock for the first couple of metres damages their quality a bit, but the rock is then perfect and there s no danger of injury with all the protection sound.
Further to the right and left are more buttresses- still of an unknown quantity. The rock is better than Stoupe and Danby, which isn't bad anyway and the rock is generally pretty clean. So I think all that can be said is that it is about the perfect find. I'm sure there will be hard stuff there too and it seemed quite nice in a winter gale, so I suppose in summer it will be ace. A bit cold yesterday like!
Posted by Franco Cookson Written Friday, December 30, 2011