Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Being Proud Of Your Routes



Is it even okay? I went to Danby Crag last night with the Cleveland MC. I walk around in a daze, finding the summer foliage a bit tough to get through. It's like a mausoleum to North York Moors climbing. There are so many memories here, splattered across the walls with big smiles. I didn't even climb, I just looked.

I felt really happy, in a way that I don't think I've ever felt. It's not a self-indulgent flare of joy, nor even a sense of vindication, it's just ecstasy at the routes and the place.

Whaaaa, the forest. I mean, what an incredible woodland. The oaks twist in perfect circles and the roots out-poke in a jungle to themselves. There are so many creatures. I saw an owl, which flapped away in flight and joined the pigeons. Fungi are starting to poke through and they make their own little world too.


The routes have such personality there, interacting perfectly with their settings in glades and alcoves so well-known to me now that they are likely my true home. Colours spin in vibrancy, twisting and weaving to form a backdrop more notable than what's in focus. It's a fabulous place.

So is it okay to be proud of your routes? To be proud of our routes? Absolutely! There's a celebratory, carnival vibe to Danby Crag now. It's not about us, it's about the hundreds of wonders and ludicrous adventures.

At the extreme left-hand side you have the polish jungle. There's King of the Swingers, The Jungle Drum and The Polish Diplomat. Three tiny routes completely irrelevant to the world, yet utterly absorbing.

There are then unclimbed buttresses, with bold steady wall and groove climbing and a small bulge. The crag continues to the mighty Osiris buttress, with nuggets of unclimbed stuff still all around. Across the way is the high hanging gardens of Roosevelt, Stalin guarding the bay.

The crag twists and turns in insignificance until the Wangledoodle Wall just blasts out of nowhere. What is this thing? Why is it here? Well, it is there and trying to comprehend it doesn't really work. It was just to the right here that the crag collapsed to bare new fruits. There's a fab new VS crack and a terrifying E7 arete here that little old dooge led.

It's now that the twin aretes buttress blasts into view and there is a good handful of moderately difficult climbs:  Tripoli, Howl Psyche, Otter Wilderness, The Moose and Die By The Sword. It's a big mass of rock and the lines are lovely. Intricate, intricate.

Beyond pops up the really insane. Dance of The Trance and the big brother Psykovsky's Sequins - tamed by sliders, but still roaring with its real character. Monos hanging in the canopy invite and kill.

More unclimbed lines lie around in relaxation until the alcove, with it's Breaking Wheel, pretty little slab, Palma Ham, Vulcan Arete and Chocolate Moose. And look what else is there - Fly Agaric!

The incredible thing about these routes is that you can walk around the wood and see people on them, in your mind. When you've climbed them, been on them, you can see people mid-crux all the time. It's not necessarily you, but a spirit of perpetual enjoyment, if enjoyment is the right word. The routes are full of life. The rock has movement, which I find fantastically rare.

There are more things left to do at Danby Crag, but I stand there and only really see the drive for The Wangledoodle Wall. I don't want to do it quite yet. It's a bit to physical for my emaciated body at the moment, but it's nice to see it there. In the main part, Danby is finished for me, which is not sad at all. I thought it would be full of mixed emotions to be in a time where there were no new levels of difficulty there, but it's not. I'm content with that crag and our place there.

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