Saturday, 15 March 2014

An Unbelievable Start To Spring - Where Dreams Come True

Coming Soon: The Moors' First 7b?
The horrors of the Winter wetness are slowly becoming a distant memory, with our traditional late February sunny period being really rather excellent and extended. With the good weather has come a stack of new routes. In three weeks we've been to Glaisdale Rigg, Hillhouse Nab, Fox Ghyll, Maiden's Bluff, The Smuggler's Terrace and Thorgill. Out of all of these, only Thorgill was an established venue a couple of years ago, so (especially considering the quality of the routes being put up at the moment) these new crags popping up is a fairly mind-blowing event.

We've always had this niggling doubt about the quality of the Moors. Since 2007, there have been odd routes we climbed that you could imagine people from other areas enjoying - decent lines, with sustained interest and good rock. But what there hasn't been is the large swathes of finds that would be necessary to give the Moors anywhere near as much stuff to go at as somewhere like Northumberland or the Lakes. This has started to happen recently however. At Glaisdale we've seen highball bouldering and trad in the font 7s on uncompromising, bullet-hard quartz. I had a conversation with Dave about the route Franziskaner (E7 7a**) and its quality. We both agreed that the climbing was unbeatable, but we were trying to see the quality of line from an objective standpoint - it's not an eliminate, but it's just a line up a wall. Is it that good? When you're climbing lines of that quality and trying to find ways to give them fewer stars, you know you've struck it lucky with finds. Everytime we go out at the moment, we seem to be unwrapping endless christmas pressies.

The two hours I spent up at Hillhouse Nab should have been the highlight of my year. A god-sent window of opportunity, with sun blasting down onto the lapping beige waves of rock. This is another line that I just couldn't avoid giving three stars. Then there was our little walk across Farndale west, which, despite relatively poor rock features, provided a top-draw day out with a lot of really nice climbing. That was almost a calibrating day, where crags with 0 star or 1 star lines act as a reference point on how good the other routes that appeared were.

 Perhaps the crown of it all has been the coast though? Smuggler's Terrace now has a trio of E5s, which are without doubt the best in the area. Maiden's Bluff is looking like it's going to be fairly similar, but in a totally new style, unlike anywhere else. There's a bit of skill in finding these areas, but mainly we've just been incredibly lucky that somehow these wonders have formed. We're still on the tip of the iceberg, which is what is probably sending everyone crazy with excitement.

1 comment:

Dave Warburton said...

My E5 at Stoupe is pretty cool too, y'know!