Friday, 28 June 2013

New Route At Highcliffe - Five Years On (E4 7a)

So we've been back at highcliffe with a couple of pads. Of primary interest was Nick Dixons stonking line of 'Up A Creek Without A Paddle'. A great name for a prominent feature. It gets E3 in the guide, although I'd be surprised if it had seen an ascent since the 80s, so the E3 tag didn't mean a lot. So with similar feelings of trepidation that we'd had the day before on gluon, Dave set out for a look. With some high feet and moving round the arete he finally made it to just below the big ledge at the top. He kept his feet low and popped for the ledge in a move that looked fairly gripping. He made it though! Instead of cleaning the horrible easy top out he elected to jump off to the left, where the ground was higher.  Then it was my turn and I quickly copied his method up to the same final move. Here I paused and tried to be clever by getting a much higher foot than Dave, which would keep me in balance for the last move. Unfortunately the foothold promptly broke and I came flying back down to the ground. The fall was fine though and I got up it on the next go with a slightly different high foot. It was quite pleasant and the scary-looking fall isn't actually where you'd fall, so it's perfectly protected with a pad or two.  It should get a bit more traffic.
The Magic Scoop

I had another look at 'The Magic Scoop' on a shunt as well, figuring out how one would start it, but still struggling with the move getting established into the scoop. It's very powerful and compression, which is everything I'm bad at. The top is incredible though - this thing needs to be climbed.
The New Line Climbs To The Right Of Desperate Den Up The Blanker Section

It was getting a bit too midgey by this time and we retreated to the popular end of Highcliffe: Dave trying Desperate Den again and me trying the unclimbed wall to the right. The wall is interesting and of personal importance, being where the inscription to the late Ian Jackson is. It's nearly five years since his death now and what better way to pay one's respects than climbing something abominably difficult right next to where his ashes were scattered?  I've tried it a lot and haven't managed it. One starts off with very thin and blind feet before setting up for a jump for the jug on Stargazer direct. It's not a long way to the jug, but the holds are terrible and one is already fully extended. I'd touch the jug over and over again, but it was only when I just totally forgot about the fall and embraced the lightness of the whole route that I got it. One really has to feel light, like one is capable of holding the swing with one arm. It happened anyway and it was quite a shock.

It's no great line, but it's a pretty hard sequence slap bang in the middle of Highcliffe Nab, which is the home of hard Moors climbing. It felt pretty good. E4 7a was the grade.

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