Thursday, 10 September 2015

No Turn Unstoned (E6 6b)

It's been a long time since I properly climbed at Ingleby Incline. It's a great cliff and extends for about a mile across prime grouse moor. I'm always keen to go back to the old haunts on a rest day and Anna was keen to check out the large number of starred HVSs & E1s, so off we went. Nowt better than a good bit of sun and a calm breeze. Ingleby can be pretty vicious in a wind, but suddenly turns into paradise in the lulls.

We spent most of the day on Hunters Buttress, climbing 6 really good slab climbs. I'd forgotten just quite how good these are. Compared to Northumberland, they're very clean and noticeably bomber rock. It's just great to spend so long in a position of such safety and warmth - you've got to enjoy these last warm days.

After a couple of hours of boshing up and down these climbs (rekindling my passion for the heather belay), I started to get new-route fever. I'm largely free of wanting to just climb new routes for the sake of it these days, but perhaps reliving the old times brought this to the fore? Who knows? Anyway, we ended up on the next buttress along, with Anna having a right good time on TOny Marr's Geronimo (E2 6a) and me having a look at the left arĂȘte.

There are a large number of unclimbed things on Ingleby, which are all strangely tricky and quite unlike all the rest of the climbing on the crag.  The hardest thing on the crag to date is Physical Graffiti (E5 6c), which is basically a gap-fill highball climb of no real note. A touch easier than that is a sole climb that gets technical 6b - the far better Love or Confusion that was put up by the formidable duo of Monty and Parker. The arĂȘte left of Geronimo looked to be around E6 6b, so I was pretty excited by the  prospect of shaking up the harder routes at Ingleby. For such a great crag, the harder lines are painfully under-developed.

To cut a long story short, I set out with a fair idea from abseil on how to do the climbing and a bit of a belief that a fall could potentially be rolled out without broken bones. That latter bit I'm not too sure about. I had no pads and I reckon you'd want four before even contemplating a slip - hard to know.

One of the invaluable tricks I've learnt from ground-up Moorlanding is to spy your landing twice. Check it REALLY well before you set off. Look for rocks to dodge and where to roll - look at the camber. Then, at the last second, before entering the crux, look down again; reacquaint yourself with that camber and look up at the crux - get to know where you are in relation to this. By the time you slip off, you won't be able to do any of this. Maybe it sounds common sense, but I'm consistently amazed by how rubbish people are at rolling off things.

Luckily my feet stuck, which was really nice. It was good to get that quick buzz of having just rocked up to the crag and claimed a 'scalp'. I don't get many pure egoey days anymore and that kind of reminded me of the old times. I'm having to fight off the urge to just give up on the long term projects and take this nice easy path - it sure feels good when it goes well!

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