Monday, 23 July 2012

Classic New Testpiece Down On The Coast

We've been fairly busy recently; lots of abseiling, walking, top roping and swimming through various types of foliage. My legs are fairly knackered like! Most of the prospecting has returned either stuff that's a bit crap or stuff that's too hard. We bivied over on the coast Sunday evening, which allowed us to get two days solid new routing in.

Me and Dave Teamed up with Sam Marks and Mathew Ferrier to get the development going on Sunday, choosing the largely unclimbed crag of 'The Smuggler's Terrace' for an explore. A good day, lots got done. Sam and Mathew proved to be a formidable duo after a false start on an unclimbed arete that I was sure was only VS, but turned out to be E3. Next they climbed a classy bit of wall to the left of that arete at about HVS 5b, followed by a proud crack line joining Steven Phellp's route 'Aurora Crack' on Aurora Buttresses. This looked good and got a star or two, reaching a fair old height.

And they say there's nowt left worth doing?
 Me and Dave were slightly less productive, but did managed to climb a crack line to the right of Contraband Crack (HVS), which was utterly brilliant! I had a fair old battle onsight, and eventually slumped. This enabled me to clean the crux and after climbing, resting and cleaning the rest of the route I managed to strip and climb the route clean.

Dave Managed an impressive flash on my gear and then also re-lead it placing the gear. It's a fiddly route at the beginning, with small wires and RPs. After a tricky sequence you get into the crux, which is tricky again until you find some sinker nuts. It keeps going and a vague rest higher up lets you get a little back before the final rock over and reach, which would be fairly hard if you'd had to hang about figuring it out. Grades are tricky as usual. The crux is hard, requiring old-school flared hand jams and modern-style thin crimping. It'll be E5.  Utterly no doubt it gets three stars. It's like an E5 Mongol or Regent Street.

And on we go through the moors' corridor of classic-searching.
We then moved onto Stoupe Brow for today. I cleaned another incredible-looking crack, which will be a notch harder and shunted and cleaned a few projects. Dave and Sam climbed a new E2 arete, to the left of 'Best of Both' and then repeated Fire Dance on the bolts. I think they seemed to think this was E3 6b/ f6c+ with the bolts. Central crack got a repeat from Sam as well, who agreed with Dave that it was E3 6a. I still think it's alright at E2 5c, but we'll see what the fourth ascentionist thinks!

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