Saturday, 5 April 2014

New Blakey Testpieces Ground Up - The Duck Roof Goes!

Well, I never thought I'd see a time when there wasn't much left to be done on Blakey Ridge, but we're getting there. Our early April Lull seemed to not really exist today, with a couple of new additions to Hillhouse Nab (now more or less totally worked out) and the Unclimbed Duck Roof also getting climbed (Duck Crag is also fairly worked out now).

So first up was Hillhouse. Lethargic, grumpy and weighed down with mats, both me and Dave were pretty unpsyched as we rolled around in the wind. I feel ludicrously light at the moment, with effectively zero body mass - this works wonders on bizarre levitation moves, but you end up just totally without energy sometimes. I ate a load of biscuits and then we managed to climb the line between the three star E7 7a I climbed a couple of weeks ago (Present Perfect) and Dave's original E4. The landing was massively irritating and the moves ludicrously thin. I got up it eventually, but I wasn't really feeling it. It finishes up the top 6c move of Present Perfect, which makes it bold, but otherwise it's basically a highball English 7a move. Lovely rock like. Dave also climbed a higher quality E7 6c, which tackled a really cool scoop. That was pretty nice like. Anyway, we were both pretty tired, so we chose a new crag - Duck Crag!

On the way back we met up with Mr. Marks and his chums, who had been down at Gill Wath. It looked like it was all coming together for an ascent of Duck Roof, with the extra pad they had and a few more spotters. Sam Tuned in his radio to listen to the grand national...

The Duck Roof has been a real drain on me over the last year, trying it ground up. We never had enough pads, or enough people, or the right conditions, or chickened out. It's a solo through an overlap that feels ludicrously exposed, despite being on large holds. The footholds are poor and you feel like you're going to ping off at any point. A ping would be very serious, although a jump off from low down onto mats is okay. Despite the dampness and my weakness today, I was determined to finally get this thing done. After a couple of ups and downs I committed, which was a bit interesting.

Hillhouse Nabbb from Dave Warburton on Vimeo.

The reach through the roof is totally blind and you end up with your hands in the top groove. From here there are seemingly no footholds and I ended up just heel hooking a blank wall - scraping on through to the top slabs. Pretty high and very cool. It's an unlikely line of weakness that is satisfyingly totally uneliminate. It feels very strange to be in an age post-the duck roof project.

The next week is quite up in the air - is it going to be top wizard first class, or are we going to die of lethargy? 

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