Friday, 11 April 2014

The Never-Ending Flood Of Unclimbed Lines

What a whirl-wind the last few weeks have been. So many routes and venues have been worked out and explored. But for every route you tick off the list, two more seem to appear out of nowhere. The coast is now getting to a position where it is comprehensible. There are only a couple of hard routes left at Smugglers, a couple more at Stoupe and Maiden's is the same. There are other satellite crags, but let's not think about them.. (my head might explode).

Further inland, the bouldering has exploded again and there is so much to document it's ridiculous. But crags like Danby are getting to a point near completion in terms of routes. Likewise, Blakey Ridge and the dales either side really are drying up - you would expect it, being only 5-10 miles from where we all live, but there's so much there that it's taken a while. We're probably down to the last 20 quality lines in that area, although Sam Marks found a new crag there yesterday (so let's not proclaim that too loudly..). But just as all this comes into focus, Tripsdale and crags around Urra Moor overflow with potential. There's even some talk of more crags in Billsdale, which would be quite surprising.

There's an obvious question (and it's one that we ask ourselves a lot): when will there simply be no more new crags and unclimbed lines left? The remoteness and unexplored nature of the Moors is a big part of the area and it's something we're keen to prolong - so there's an obvious worry that there will be a day when there is simply nothing left. If experience has taught us anything though, then it's that there really wont be a time without new routes. I remember when I freed the aid route on the face of Roseberry Topping that I made sure I really enjoyed it as I couldn't imagine I'd ever climb a new route of that quality again. At every stage I thought that - after The Hypocrisy Of Moose a year later, after The Waves Of Inspiration a year after that, and after The Tormented Sole (another year on). But each time I found another line, so that there were more known unclimbed projects than when I had started looking for them.

On the one hand there's a sadness to this, as it means when I climb a new route like Present Perfect I'm no longer thinking "that must be the best experience I'm ever going to have", instead I'm already thinking about the next line. But it gives a glow that is a lot greater than these single moments alone. Instead of a bowl of porridge with a couple of sultanas in, climbing in the Moors has become a bramble crumble drenched in clotted cream. So as counter-intuitive as it might seem, I reckon that the more you climb here, the more the place is going to become unknown and the more all our lives are going to be impregnated with sweet creamy goodness.

P.s. Not far off climbing that bad boy above.

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