Monday, 7 July 2014

Recoup Regroup - Wizard's Ridge

 It's good to have a bit of a break after a project. Climbing-wise, I've been thinking about very little over the past two or three months and now there's obviously nothing left to think about. I could keep on trying to think about what happened on Wednesday, but I don't really think it's that productive and it will probably come back to me organically at some point anyway. I'm keen not to rush into the next big siege and I have a good selection of things I'd like to do before leaving the moors in 6 weeks, so hopefully the hottest months will still be productive.

First up though was a trip down south for an induction day, a party and moving some stuff into Sheffield. It was the perfect contrast to the isolated and unhinged world I've created up in the Moors and I even got out on some peak gritstone!

I've had a play on most of the hardest peak routes, but I've never had a look at any of the unclimbed things (apart from that highball wall at laurencefield a long time ago).  Wizard's Ridge always looked like a fantastic line, so I had a look.

I think first thing's first - the line has to be celebrated. It's crisp and it's class. Inspiring. The angle is pleasant and as I was sorting out the belay (nightmare and really quite hard to make safe!), I was getting pretty excited that if it turned out to be decent, then it might be the ideal project. The climbing is hard, very similar to the wangledoodle (in fact the whole route is) and the footholds are really small. I didn't do many of the moves, but holding the positions, you could tell that it would hang together as an absorbing sequence. It feels fantastic being on that arete, perched on such small holds.

So, brilliant line and interesting moves, but...... as a route? Crap! You do want to climb the line and with your blinkers on, it's great, but it's escapable in two locations. The holds that were brushed to traverse into the arete from the crack are only a couple of metres from the top of the crag, so you'd have to climb up the entire crag before rather pointlessly traversing right (with significant difficulty) to the arete. This kind of 'traverse needlessly into a decent line' can work, if the line you traverse into becomes pure, but the escapability after this first section just ruins the entire route. I understand now why no one has done it. It would be a hard and relatively safe route (bashing potential, but not too bad with a dynamic belay) and if you were good enough for it to be a couple of sessions' work, then it would be worthwhile climbing. But if you're not that good at this style of climbing, the amount of work involved to produce a route that would be a no star ~H8 7a just isn't worth it.  Perhaps the future lies in a direct start, but that's definitely too hard for me!

What a great pile of rock that bay has though.

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