Monday, 22 June 2015

Cringle: The Oracle

Jesus. Sometimes I wonder whether I'm actually dead and all of this is just a dream. With every new route I climb, a pile of new crags seem to present themselves. This week: Cringle Crag.

The lip traverse above is pure class. It's about 9 metres of full-on roof mania. There are bits and bobs of gear, but nothing that bomber after the tree. Every move is gunning for it, with a crux right on the final fin. I can't get over how well the whole thing fits together. It's just class. It almost makes me want to get better at climbing overhangs...
More typically Moorsish, but also very good is the Red Wall. Cringle is big for a Moors crag and this wall is about 14m. The super-highball start to this wall is pretty tricky, but would be just about in reach of pads. It's about 20degs overhanging, with a lot of heel locks and power-moves.  Kind of psyched - also kind of scared!
Perhaps superficially worst-looking in this little thing below. I always thought that it might be surprisingly decent. It is indeed fairly good. Bold, very bold. There's some intricate climbing off the ledge (don't fall onto this!!). Some big moves up the right arĂȘte of the scoop, before some 3-D bridging and sportesque moves reaching left onto the top wall. It takes you straight up the front of the bulge, with the crux being the last move. There's a little gear slot right in the top wall, which might be worth stopping for(?). Bloody bold anyway, with a good wodge of 6c climbing. Nice!
Another reminder that the Moors is never going to run out of new routes.... (Many unclimbed lines at Cringle were not mentioned in this post)

Monday, 15 June 2015

My World

I love the feeling of success. With every climb I (or anybody else) climbs in the Moors, it feels that little bit more worked out. There's a sadness to that, as there's one less thing to explore and uncover, but it's like making a new friend. Every climb that I think back to - say "The Currents Of Change" (E6 6c) at Duck Crag- I of course remember my own experience, but also I think of the cliff, the line, the animals and the concept of a climb that takes pride of place in that architecture. That idea brings me a great warmth. Even the imagining of a line climbed by someone else - say "Sanctuary" (E6 6b) at Eskdale Crag - anchors a point of apparent reality into my mental canvass of the blank map of the Moors. I take great pleasure in looking at or the crags map on UKC, looking at all the new buttresses that have sprong from nowt - it feels like a new spring of vibrant life has struck the Moors.

Stoupe Brow - The Face of Barry Project from Dave Warburton on Vimeo.

The more I climb in other areas, the happier I am with what has happened in the Moors. The natural reaction would be to have a sense of loss for the next generation in the Moors, with all those class lines that are now climbed, but we're still nowhere near the halfway point of what the Moors has to offer.

It's possible that within the next decade most of the very good sub H10 stuff will have been climbed, but there's still loads of stuff worth doing at all grades and of course the next generation should be climbing harder than this anyway. As I've explored other areas, I've realised how blessed the Moors is with absolutely nails lines. There are things in the Moors that I know are physically possible, but that I know I will never touch. The miraculous thing here is that the breaks often afford no gear, so what would be an E7 7b in the peak has potential to be ridiculously hard.

A couple of weeks after Divine Moments Of Truth, I'm feeling kind of similar to the way I always feel. There is something harder and bolder coming, there is great joy in what has past and there are dreams even beyond what I will achieve. With every route I climb, the more content I am with the Moors.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Swan Song

It's weird being free again and I'm fighting the urge to rush straight back to the Moors and find another project. Sometimes in climbing you get a real sense of what the correct thing to do is at that moment. Currently I have a very strong feeling that I need to take time. The last winter has been really hard on me - both body and mind. It's been cold and lonely. I feel content in Divine Moments Of Truth, but I'm not buzzing off of it. It was a valuable experience that defines me as much as any other climb I've done, but it is only one part of a fantastic and building picture.

I feel now like the North York Moors is where I want it to be. It has a good range of routes from E5- H10 and although there are many more routes to climb at these grades, the framework that is now there, in the form of the routes that are already climbed,  makes the eventual large-scale development inevitable.  I suppose you could ask what the point of all this is? Why do hard routes matter? A fair question, but I think the filling out of the Moors map is important in the psyche of the area - hard routes do define climbing regions to some extent. As I look east from Ingleby now, I see a land of memories and waiting opportunity.

This feeling of success allows me to be selfish. I can think about exactly what I want to achieve in what is now likely to be my last bold-phase of climbing. what I've been dreaming about for a while  is the idea of creating an unrepeatable climb. I'm fascinated by the experience of headpointing routes and the incredibly personal journey that accompanies long-term projects. I think the experience of being the first to climb a line allows for a deeper connection with the route than is possible on subsequent ascents. For this reason I reckon it would be possible to put up a route that is impossible to repeat.

Obviously, in order to achieve this, I need to find something that is right on my limit. I've had some misfortune over the years, with projects that I thought were at my limit being made easier by protection or by different sequences. It's part of the game of new routing and it might actually have saved my life on a couple of occasions. Having said this, I now feel that the time is right to try and find that perfect project right on the edge.

Because the choice of project is so important, it's going to take a long time to decide on one. I have a fair few ideas of lines I've seen that could fit the bill. There are some issues though - too easy/too hard/too safe/ not quite my style. For this adventure, I don't think I'm going to limit myself to the Moors. There are only a couple of places where a project like this could exist in the Moors now and I think it's unlikely they do.

Something positive, stretchy, lanky and fingery.... A solo...