Thursday, 13 March 2014

The Basstard First Ascent

Thousand Yard Lobster & Harlem Hake - Smugglers Terrace Additions from Dave Warburton on Vimeo.

The Smuggler's Terrace is getting fairly worked out now. Discovered a couple of years ago, the huge potential at this cliff has gradually come to be realised. There is a fair bit sub extreme, including an Excellent Severe and a few descent HVSs. There are also a good handful of routes at E1,2 and 3, three at E5 and a couple of E7s.

Most of these climbs are focused around the left-hand buttresses, but there is still a lot to do on the Evasion and Illusion Buttri (Evasion Buttress only has 1 recorded route at the moment). It was here that we chose to work on today. It's tall by Moors standards (about 14 metres) and the climbing is fairly sustained and pumpy. Pockets and crimps as always, on good solid sandstone.

Dave has worked out a lot of the easier routes on Illusion Buttress, but there was still one gaping gap - that of the central wall, which takes a line of small holds in an otherwise featureless wall. It gets progressively harder all the way up, starting off at 6a and ending up with a  gigantic move to reach a ledge. The footholds are poor and the tendon reflexing is massive. With a total lack of route fitness at the moment, I felt myself peeling on the crux move, a good lob above my gear, but, determined not to have to come back, I summoned a bit more gusto and latched it. The top crack was also pretty nice and interesting.

I thought the crux was English 6c, but after some discussion, including Dave not being able to span the gap, the tech grade might be hovering slightly higher. Good gear with a fair fall, pumpy and with a few hard moves on the way to the crux. Hard E6 6c? E7 7a? Who knows?

We also added another couple of things at E1,4 and 5. The E5 was Dave's take on The Basstard, which had a great runout to the right, traversing wildly to avoid the crux. The other stuff was highballesque soloing on the buttress by the descent.

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