Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Finding The Right Project

Not too hard and not too easy... A cracking line on good rock... You might know hundreds of unclimbed routes in an area and still struggle to find a line that fits your needs. It's currently all about trying to find projects with English 7a moves and little or no gear. The days usually follow the same template..

Abseil down a route, excited by the top moves - obviously hard and an independent line, brilliant! Only then do you discover that there's a good cam a couple of metres below the crux, or a section that is just too hard or scrappy. Or maybe the dyno you're getting excited about is actually harder than just doing a simple 6c move off route and hence the line is not pure.

The harder you're aiming at, the more incredibly impenetrable the rock has to be. Regardless of grade, any good route is like a long thin island of holds. They start at the bottom and climb to the top, with no hope of escaping left or right. It blisters up the wall and locks you in.

I'm not having much luck at the moment. Dave's discovery in Eskdale of a new crag promised some incredibly bold and difficult climbing. Alas, the blank section ends a little too close to the ground, meaning the climbing actually never gets that dangerous. A top notch E8 it may be, but with hopes of something really hard, you can't help but get a little disappointed.Similarly, the Magic Scoop at highcliffe is going to also be just about boulderable. The beauty of the line sort of makes up for the lack of big numbers though and I might still not be able to climb it! There are then routes that are too safe due to good gear - Time Captain Direct, the Wangle Doodle Wall, The Landslip Arete. Still inspiring lines, but not quite bold enough for my liking.

At the other end of the spectrum you have the routes that aren't hard enough climbing - The direct start to the tormented sole, Roseberry Direct, Death Arete, Kay Nest Aid Route etc..

Then there are the lines that are just too hard. For me, these are generally roofs. I climb really badly on steep rock and a lot of the very hardest projects in the Moors are through roofs- high crag, Cringle Moors, Ingleby. The Ingleby Roof in particular is an utterly spectacular pitch. I abed it for the first time the other day and I was blown away. If anything has ever made me want to climb font 8b roofs, then it's that! Unlike a lot of the impossible-looking roofs (like at High Crag), this has holds and looks like a great set of moves. The hold on the lip of the overhang is a lovely little finger jug that looks like it knowns it's going to be climbed one day. Maybe if Mike Adams buys a harness then it will get done.

So there's lots to go at and lots I can do, but I haven't found that perfect project yet. The weather is also pretty appalling. Things will also get a little easier when I learn to drive, which I hope to do soon.

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