Saturday, 30 May 2015

Divine Moments of Truth H10 7a

I stand empty-bellied; starved for the last day to try and make the razor holds feel bigger. Where the dentist drilled out my root yesterday throbs an enormous-feeling chasm and as I bite down on the chocolate eclairs a throb of pain tares through my upper jaw, across my cheek and into my eye-socket. I wince - my head leaning back to gaze once more on the line that has occupied thelast year of my life. I see the beautiful swathes of stone that have now become a barrier to an other form of existence. I have to climb it.

I'm at Kay Nest - the most beautiful dale in a pleasant little corner of the Moors. One of the largest pieces of rock around stands here and has been the subject to some occasional interest. Some time in the middle of the last century someone decided to drill a line of bolts up the wall. Judging by the snaking nature of the line, it seemed to be searching for the blankest and steepest way up the wall and presumable made for a long pitch by Moorland standards.

Notice the toothbrush hair for scale

The challenge for me was to take this aid line and turn it into a free one. In the 80s and 90s a few people tried to work the line, with the idea that they could use the bolts for protection. Most notable here is the Monty-Parker contingent who were climbing very well at the time and had already produced the hardest route around (Magic in the Air E7 6b), as well as a lot of hard and sketchy English 6c climbs. For whatever reason they didn't manage to do this and as such, in 2009 as I started climbing, there was a heritage in the Moors with a  big black hole around Kay Nest. It's the closest thing to a last great problem really and as such I was keen to have a bash.

So in 2011ish I had my first abseil down, which was followed by a bit of a go circa 2012/3. I managed to do it via a wild dyno and thought it would be roughly E8 7a with the bolts. As such, being interested in producing very bold climbs at the time, I decided against making sustained efforts to working it. It was only in my most recent phase in the back end of last year that I realised the potential for taking the bolts out and soloing it. And that's basically what I did. My hopes of producing a mind-bendingly difficult route were quashed when I found some alright gear low down, but it remains a formidable challenge and still fairly dangerous.

After asking around 30 people to come belay me, I was blessed by the presence of Olli and Jake who I hadn't seen for years, but drove up to make the Moors happen. I'm indebted to them.

The lead went clinically most of the way and as I reached into the crux I felt light and balanced. The sketchy feet stuck and the massive spans went okay. On the crux itself I had a tangible jarring of time. Motions repeated themselves, hung on eternities and reversed in direction. I balanced interminably on the edge of losing my cool with the calm aura around me telling me to stay in. It will take a while to fully interpret the crux experience, but it was positive and I felt like I learnt a lot.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Is the name route name perhaps a reference to the wonderful Shpongle tune or even the the particular vine extract that inspired it? Great blog :)