Many a weighed-down climber hath gazed up from the Wainstones track to that curious precipice, named rather ominously 'Landslip'. The name alone is enough to scare off the majority of folk and the lethal slides of Moss caressing its flanks kill those who remain. Or so the imagination would have us think. In reality though this crag aint half-bad. Perhaps it was indeed formed by some Landslide long ago, but now 40 or 50 feet of good Sandstone perch and poke out with audacious confidence. This confidence, bordering on arrogance, mirrors my climbing quite well. So it's no surprise that me and Landslip get on most capitally.
Scrappy bits and bobs adorn the flanks, with some decent crack lines to be had (A fair few have been climbed by Chris Woodall and Dave Richards over the years as winter climbs in fact), but the main event is the massive central Arete.
As with most of the Moors, it's unclimbed, but it's definitely possible. One of the best lines around for sure and it looks fairly interesting. Ian Dunn visited in 1982 and climbed a stonking-looking pitch to the left of the arete at E3 5c*. He then returned with Nick Dixon, who climbed No Expectations. This is as close to climbing up this impressive arete as you can get, without having to actually climb the arete- it's about 5/10 metres further right than it and follows a strong blind flake up the wall. It's down in the guide as E4 6b with 2 pegs that 'may or may not be there'. Well, that basically meant we knew they wouldn't be there and as we reckoned there wasn't much else for gear on it- just from our casual looks over from the Cleveland Way- we thought it might well be hovering around E6 now.
Well as I shunted the arete, Dooge had a look at No Expectations on a shunt. He was making a fair few grunts, suggesting it was really quite hard and kept laughing. I had to have a look, so we rigged up a top rope. With not being on shunt we managed to find a better way to climb it that wasn't quite as desperate as Dave thought it was going to be. We also found a cluster of gear that isn't great, but could hold a fall perhaps. It's sustained though, maybe F7a+ and really excellent.
It was fairly dirty before Dave abed down it and he did a good job of cleaning it, which is perhaps why it hasn't seen many repeats, but it definitely deserves them. The line is top draw; galloping up a plumb-vertical wall, with every move being 6a or 6b. It's really ace, certainly one of the better routes in the area and far better than Stargazer Super Direct, which was surprisingly given 3 stars also by Dixon- It's strange what floats different peoples' boats. Anyway, a 2/3 star E6 6b I reckon- just need to clean the top out. God knows how good the E3 must be if they reckoned it better than No Expectations!
The arete looks like a whole different ball-game though- an all together less comfortable outing. Very similar gear to Dixon and Dunn's Groove, with lots of shallow cams that could hold, but no single piece that makes you very happy. It's extremely thin and it took me a while to find a sensible sequence. I'm still very much in the early stages, but I managed to do the crux 4 times in a row which is promising. The crux is (as always) the last move, which involves a very thin setup on an arete and an utterly turd eighth-pad two finger pocket, before jumping for the juggy end ledge. It looked nigh-on impossible at the start, but some unlikely smears make it feasible. A fairly long series of moves above and around the jutting arete above the gear- it should end up also being up there with two stars I think- perhaps even three.
So it's the first time I've been really excited for a while. The arete is the perfect project for me at the moment- looking like it will be a real step up from the Moose and Die By The Sword, but actually quickly headpointable or at least plausible, and No Expectations looks like it's going to be another brilliant route to add to the moors, at that very rare Moors Grade of E6 most likely. Finding out that these fairly road-side crags offer very worth-while climbing is always really nice.