Friday, 15 February 2013

Danby Sheds Its Winter Coat

The stile feels a little bit more rotten every time I climb over it to ab down the Mono Wall. When you start to notice that the scenery is changing around your project, you know you've been working it too long. The breakthrough finally came today though.

The walk over from Castleton is always pleasant, if not a bit too long, and the way is always sprinkled with a little hope that the hidden boulders scattered about might just offer something new. No such luck today, but Danby crag has changed. There's been a collapse- and only 10 metres left of the 'Twin Aretes' Buttress that houses the Hypocrisy of Moose, Howl Psyche, The Battle for Tripoli, The Otterwilderness Route and Die By the Sword. The whole of Owl Buttress has gone- far sooner and much more of it than I think anyone thought. The scar on the crag is 10 metres high and 6 metres deep. A huge pile of boulders have smashed through the wood below,  felling trees. The Jungle has been uprooted and the base of the Wangledoodle Wall and the Twin Aretes looks bare- this has only been hightened by the long, cold winter.   Death Arete is the only feature of Owl Buttress that still remains and this has finally become a brilliant and independent line and will offer a gripping photogenic outing of about E7 now. Two dirty cracks await a suitably adventurous party and these too look good.

Back on the Mono Wall, everything has changed. Monos, Monos, Monos- as always, but a new sequence came forth. Where the crux mono was previously taken with the right ring finger, now it looks possible to take it with the left. A high foot, a reflex span and technications. This looks really good.

This is why new routing is hard. I've been trying this for 18 months and the whole time with the wrong sequence. I tried to be open- to see the best way to climb the wall; the way that will be universally adopted- but sometimes you just miss it. Today I found it and when the rock dries out perfectly, I should be able to climb it. It's not actually that dangerous. I think you might be able to roll the fall out- I'm not sure though. I have mixed emotions- Not that hard, but still not ruined by the new line and it has the pottential to be really fun.

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