Friday, March 21, 2008
The crux came way to early for my liking... Ohhh, Do i have to do the E4 bit now? Getting onto the slab!! Wow what a rockover! I couldn't reach any of the holds on the upper slab, apart from a 2 finger undercling. This proved just enough. Now stood on the slab rather excited I found a Ok Rp Slot. Calming me down I padded up the slab, heart in my mouth... Untill another cheeky Walker popped his head over the edge. " How is it!?" "Scary!" came my Censored response. Reaching the pocket Clipped in my Friend 2 into a slot designed for Friend 2's! Shit the tops far away! Standing in the pocket for around 10 Minutes... I decided i couldn't make the jump straight from the foot holds. A smear was needed. and a palm smear. One foot out of the pocket. Hand palmed down, another foot smeared... Shit no going back now!! I jumped up to the jug...expecting to go shooting down the slab. My Fingers curled round the jug and I had a little dance on the top.
Grade? How can you grade it!! E3+? but that move on top felt pretty hard 6a maybe 6b. E3 6b? Its well protected... but maybe not 6b? Iam Happy with the E4 grade really, but would go jumping on any real E4's untill ive stopped falling/failing off E3's!
Photo to come!
Anyone who climbs with me will know, i hate slabs. I like something to hold onto, like a bit of gear, and iam pretty good at overhangs/cracks so normally my hardest O/S are onces that people regard as Pumpy or Bold or Both! Well iam sick of not liking slabs, and after watching Stone Monkey, it occurred to me shorties can be ok on slabs too!
I padded up the first few moves to a place i decided i couldn't fall of anymore. Muttering "I f*cking ate Slabs" I committed to a rockover. I was hopping this move would brill me to the break but it didn't. One more smear. Looking between my legs I eyeballed Rob. " Iam coming off backwards if i Deck it Rob... Watch me!" maybe i can downclimb? a Top rope?... Shit my smear moved, A quartz gain under my wornout boots now separated me from the break and Robs arms. I commited slowly rocking over onto the smear. The break came, "thank f*ck for that" Great Gear was soon plugged in, and i stood in the break. Looking up a line of smears lead to the top. After the rain Chalk didnt mark the way but dead Algea Stained white from it. Now relaxed I enjoyed the upper moves flowing from rock overs to smear padding. One pull of a sloper and another rockover lead to the top, after of course another look between my legs at the now distance gear.
Rob came up slowly but surely, and we sat on top as a few walkers took our photo of the empty crag. A great mirco route that kept its interest the whole way. Highly recommended as a good first E3 (if you like slabs!!)
Photo to come!
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Me Sulking we headed to Low man and did some VS with Ian, none to be found we headed to Black Wall, were the Rock was warmer and less windy. I Got on Black Wall Eliminate(E2) After a crux balancy move, which felt impossible last time I tried, the route turned into a massive jug haul, with one "rest" at half height on solid jams. Ian followed with a bit of tension on the rope, frightened he would swing off into space.
Confidence returned I followed Ian up a superb VS to the left "South Wall Traverse" then we scooted back over to the North west wall, looking for Overhanging Groove for Ian. Looking up at the cliff i could see a massive pocket in the blank wall above a roof. It looked amazing! But it also looked E10. Quick look in the Guidebook and it was Big Greenie(E3+). Another Big Three. My gut twisted, i couldn't walk away. Ranout maybe but the fall was safe and the gear looked great. I Scrambled up the lower slab pasting a few thin moves and plugged in a Friend 4 into the roof. A good no hands rest in the cave gave me chance to get nervous and yet another crowd to form. Luckily the wind had dried down a little bit but it still was increasing the stress a little. I reached up for the pocket and pulled onto the wall for the higher pocket. My ropes jammed! I downclimed back to the cave using a knee bar and was back square one, but now pumped as well!
Just to shown of my rope skills even more it happened again. The downclimb this time finished me really. One more go and the ropes didnt jam but i just couldn't pull anymore. Its a hard move and a hard finish, I knew I would mess it up, so I downclimbed to the ground. Ian lead me up Overhanging Groove(HVS), and a quick look at "Wall of horrors" (E3) I couldn't get of the ground! We finished the day and headed for the Malham for Sunday. (it rained!) One would think this experience would be negative, but for me positive. Ive started training again now, i know i need to get stronger now, as Iam not going to be happy untill all 3 are ticked in one day, and there all going to feel VS.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Had 5 days off. Which for me at the moment is a big thing. Plus the weather looked amazing!
Plan A: Lakes - get a mountain route done!
Plan B: Peak -get some miles on the clock
Opted for Plan A in hope that i could get a couple of mountain routes in, hearing most things were bone dry. Ian was keen for the lakes too, so we headed across with Fran and Dave tagging along. A frosty Saturday morning came and a major "war council" was needed, but nothing happened. I wanted to take the lads to Gimmer. But me and Ian had gutted the place. We headed for Stupidity (my fault) headed for Borrowdale, but lacking in any South East facing crags, it was far to cold to climb in the shade. In a vain attempt to save the day Ian drove us to Langdale, were we flogged it up to Pavey. I wasn't keen on Pavey and had avoided the idea. Frightened I would jump on Cruel Sister, which i wasn't ready for.
Pavey was in bone dry, but very dirty, but it was really pleasant in the sun, climbing in T shirts. Me and Ian did Arcturus(HVS), while Dave and Fran headed for Astra(E2). Looking at Cruel Sister(E3) it looked really Dirty and was tempted to send Ian down and clean it for me. Which for me i decided wasn't ethical, treating such a route like some polished highball. It was also a good excuse not to lead it! It was still my lead so i went for Cascade Direct. (E3-) The rock was far to cold in the shade and after faffing under the crux, I made a retreat to warm my fingers. I ended up going up Cascade and abseiling of when I got a bit lost and in hope to save a bit of time.
We ended up all leaving for Teeside on Saturday night, not sure when the next lifts home would be, and i was keen to try Plan B, and the lads keen to climb at the Wainstones?
Plan B involved a Early Sunday morning to catch the train full of boro supporters, cracking there cans of lager open at 9am. I suddenly hated foootball even more! I Arrived on Stanage around 1pm, soloed around 20 routes (all above VS) till dark, and lead the Asp(E3), (met a guy called Ed who let my use his gear after i asked for beta (was thinking of soloing it). Sunday Night was the coldest night ive spent in
The 40 minute walk over to Millstone I felt great, I could solo anything. there was one team in the quarry who I had met the day before on Stanage, the strongest climber in the team called Kim. after a quick chat i put my boots on and made my way up the crack of Bond Street. Easy. "Jam and Jam", "arh crappy Jam!" "arh another crappy jam!", "its ok your feet are solid", "on hang on i cant see my feet!" "Crap, keep moving!" I knew i wasn't committed yet, for some reason the ledge and no hands rest one move above was to far. I downclimbed mid crux...!!!! At the bottom, my hands were bruised, but i didn’t feel the slightest bit pumped. It was Mental nothing more nothing less. Iam not ready to solo stuff i fell of last year. Not sure if its a bad thing or a good thing.
Kim lead Time for Tea(E3), making it look VD. After seconding it previouly and falling off it and not getting up it i knew how hard it was. His second wasnt keen on climbing it again, so i asked if i could tie on. I failed to climb the 5b finger crack and took a rest on the rope. (something i need to practise on) The upper crux felt fine(crimpy), but my ego was knocked. Saying my goodbyes and retreated to Hathersage, were i bought some fruit and spent the night in the Pub keeping warm.
Monday night was much warmer with the beer and massive Pasta meal, and i got up early Tuesday and had my breakfast on Stanage Moor. I was planning of meeting Rob In the Afternoon on Stanage to lead a few routes so headed over to Burbage North. After soloing a couple of routes i headed for The Knights Move(HVS-) which felt really easy. Walking back over to stanage I soloed most of the routes I did the day before, and a couple of new ones including Black Knight(HVS) which was wicked! Met up with a Few UKCer who were having a "meet" there, lucky no one knew my name, but as the lad who was camping at North Lees! Rob and Lottie Turned up around 2pm, and wasting no time jumped on Black Hawk Bastion,(E2+) Which gladly felt really easy. Rob hadn’t brought any small wires (which was my fault!) so the other E3's i had lined up weren’t gonna go. My High Peanut butter and pasta diet had got to me and nature called so i decided to leave for Teesside Tuesday evening, leaving Rob to climb with Lottie and enjoy himself!
Friday, February 1, 2008
After arriving back home from Australia beginning of the month, and not climbing since Paynes Ford, I wasn't feeling very fit, but not as bad as i feared! A fell race and a couple of trips to Park Nab and Nos Boulder confirmed this. January for me, is a month of getting back into routine since my slip. Serving Fish chips twice and a Pattie, couple times a week, Running couple times a week, Climbing Wall couple times a week, Climbing outside when ever I can, and my lovely Fingerboard when Iam at home. Winter climbing hasn't happened this year yet.
Had a good start to the year with my first E3 (even if it was repeat and dogged!) of the year. bit of a demon that West Sphinx Direct. Reachy, and a scary start. Had a go at getting some good photos, but they didn't turn out very well! When i topped out I was shaking, which proves it was too hard for me! Big Ian lead his Demon, Concaved Wall, and seconded WSD very well. Fran"co" and Dave seemed to be climbing well, better than me. Just needs a bit of time to realise it, and get on there routes!
Dreaming is important in January, planning, scheming and trying to fatten my bank account. Dreaming of what i can achieve this summer, what i would like to achieve, and how iam going to do it. Ive got the time, Ive got the motivation, but, I don't have a midweek partner. Although I love soloing, I know my limits in this activity. I love doing hard moves, but iam no talent, and i often blow these hard moves! Soloing is the obvious option to spend my midweek activities, and i have set myself certain routes i would like to solo, but nothing to scary, you cant jump into the deep end with soloing, which i like to do while rope climbing.
February? More Work, more Climbing wall, maybe another Fell race, and a good trip up North.
Photo: My socal life
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Saturday, November 17, 2007
From our stay in Chamonix, most climbers we meet were all after or have done one thing, Mount Blanc. Apart from me. I wasn't interested in the walking and racing guides to the summit of Europe. It seemed long, boring and expensive. Our last weather window before we went home and I was searching the guidebooks for a route that i could solo, as it had appeared Rob wasn't keen on any of my suggestions, Walkers Spur? ok how about another go at the Swiss? Only now did i realise my obsessive behaviour, and the pressure i was placing on Rob.
I went to the tent to sulk and check my purse. It wasn't getting any fatter. I couldn't really think of anything that i could solo, that would round the trip off, i wasn't really fit, and i wasn't experienced. All that time slagging off Mount Blanc, it would make a good solo? The weather forcast was again suggesting a cold night, high winds but a clear sky. I went out to tel Rob my plans with my packed rucksac. Surpriced to see such action in our hungover camp, Rob asked if he could join me. Warming him i wouldn't be moving slow, and its going to harder day that the Frendo, he agreed.
Building our Snow Hole on the Col de Midi, i was glad for someone to Spoon with. It was a very cold night up there, and we didn't have our Bivi gear. We forgot our spoons so eating our Spag took a while. 2 hours later and i had enough, my clothes were already freezing. We walked over to the Cosmiques Hut. We hid in the boot Room and fell asleep. I was rudely awaken 1 hour later when we were caught, "you can not sleep here!"(somehow she new we were English!) I told her we will be gone in 30 minutes and were not paying 30Euros, she told us to go and left. We fell back asleep, to be again waken my someone dropping a ice axe between my legs! The guides were moving, up and out the door we went. It was 1.30am
Photo: Rob after a hard Night Spooning!!
The snow made music under our crampons, prefect conditions! We didn't have a rope with us so I just hoped Rob would be fine with the pace. The Cold conditions had made the steeper Section of Mount Maudit into a Scot III Ice slope. This section normally has fixed ropes, but none could be found, not that I would use them! the slope Steepened at the top making climbing with one axe rather challenging. I regrouped with Rob at every Top. The wait for Rob always made me chill, and had to again leave him to run down the Mount, iam not very good at pacing myself. The Winds as forecast made life pretty cold and the spindrift unpleasant, and party behind us turned around, leaving us alone on this Fanatic Classic.
I had some breakfast, and forced Rob to eat something before the final slope of Mount Blanc. Dawn was approaching, and i wanted to be on top for Sunrise. I left Rob and headed for the Summit. What a slog! The dome shaped summit just kept going! I missed sunrise but still got to have a nice chat with the first people from the Goûter Route, and take everyone Photos!!
Photo: Me approaching the Summit of Mount Blanc
I arrived at the Summit for 6am and Rob at 6.30am, i let him catch his breath back and we run down the Bosses Ridge. We reached the Goûter Hut for 8am, where a nice lady, we had met sport climbing offered us some "Le Grey". We ate our breakfast we had carried with us, and started the slog down to the valley. We got back down for 2pm and made the happy hours in Chamonix.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
The Weather again improved, so i egged Rob into another shot at the Swiss Route. We stayed in the fantastic refuge d'Argentière. The view from the hut of our intended route, really didnt go down well with Rob, he didn't say much. I knew he wasnt happy, but being a sly bastard, i talked him into it! After a restless night of "Giggling clients" and "Sleep screamers" Rob got up and was kitted up well before me. The Night was worryingly warm, but we climbed to the start of the route, Rob Wasn't happy, and we turned around. I was pretty gutted but it was the right thing to do, i just wish he told me at the hut!
Walking across the glacier you could see the true angle of the Swiss Route, which if we had walked up to check the descent the day before may of been enough to encourage Rob. Next year.
After a week sitting in the tent in the Chamonix Storms the weather started to improve. With all the Snow around we went for a Ice Route, the Swiss Route on the Les Courtes. Getting to the top of the cable car station it seemed the weather wasn't as good as the forecast had suggested, and there was way to much snow up there. We instead climbed the Petit Verte, leaving our sacks and ropes behind.
We returned to valley pretty pissed off about the weather, missing the small weather forecast. We went into town to grab some Wine, and check the forecast. Tomorrow looks great! Looking upto the Frendo from town it didnt seem to be covered in snow. We drank our wine and made plans. We bivied under a bench to save campsite fees. We got up around 6am to catch the "first" cable car at 7am (it was 6am!) We got up to the Plan de Aigillie and under the Frendo for around 8.30am. A nice sleep in really!
The route started well, and we made a quick pace up the snow ramps and rock slabs, not belaying to make up for lost time. Rob took lead before we joined the Spur. He somehow found a nice Aid section, not in the guide, and after a bit on encouragement made the top and belayed me. Our short slings made aiding extremely hard, and i refused to leave anymore gear on this abused face. This involved some free climbing and I rested on the rope quite alot!
The route was covered in loose snow from the days of storms and the cracks full of verglas, making the best handjams feel slippy. The upper section of the route saw Rob wilt a little, so i lead the Crux rock Pitch(IV, or in real money HS). Rob being the better rock climber i struggled and pulled on most things to gain height. This section didn't seem to get any sun and a axe sometimes helped progress.
We reached the Classic Snow Arete around 5.00pm.I swam up the snow, it wasnt as good as it looked! The Snow arete slowly steepened to about Scot III at the top, were party's face the upper rock section. This rock section was plastered in ice, and melting in the evening sun, sending volleys of ice and rock down onto us. During this time the weather had changed and we were now in a true Scottish white out.I lead of Left past the rock section to the more difficult but more direct finish. Our guidebook Gave Scot V, never leading above IV in Scotland, i couldn't comment. The Neve was perfect, every placement was solid. Rob was getting pretty cold so i didnt stop to place any gear and we moved together up the final 300ft.
Getting to the top was a magical feeling, and i made a belay. Rob climbed quickly and didnt complain about the lava in his blood! Arriving at the midi station, around 6.30pm, we had missed the last lift down. The staff at the midi came to greet us, they had be watching our progress. After seeing the state of our sun burnt faces and the fact rob looked like he was about to die, they offered us a bed, and food! We ate like kings, eating the left overs form the day and the best steak i have had in my life! Wine and coffee on tap, i was soon was pissed and the chef practised his "English" with me.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
After a great dinner, and drinking far to much, left me with a good hangover. Sunday Started with a wet start and we opted for a walk, my ankle wasn't so keen, and with the improving weather i suggested climbing.
After a few navigation errors we arrived at the quarry. It was really cold! The route started well and i was soon at the crux. the moves above were very balancey. Something iam not the best at. Just about at the end of the crux i went to stand in my once handhold and peg. My foot found its way on the peg! One more reach and i had the hold i was after. The above groove was very nice, but i struggled, getting shaky every time i was above the gear. After the last tricky move i was on top. I felt very guilty in the time i had taken, but only received praise.
Ian and Fran soon climbed up in the failing light, I suggested another route. Ian lead Between the Lines. However my headtorch was nearly gone, and so was I in some cases!
First Proper Lead after 5 weeks of feeling sorry for myself. My footwork was as good as my walking, and i was shaking like a leaf. A true gritstone Route, and amazing weekend with Ian Moore. I went on to lead Yosemite Wall as well. Admittedly in a poor style, I shouldn't have done them, but i missed the sharp end!
The gears great once you get to it on the main face, and the moves across the face are really easy. The moves above the gear were really good, feeling out there, but still safe.
We had an interesting forced Bivi in the Plantation Carpark after Bill had locked Ian's car in!
Photo: My first lead of Stargazer, i didn't fall off!! (photoshopped to remove Acne and enlarge muscles ;)
We walked back to Patterdale Via Ambleside to get some food. No one picked us up till 2 miles from Patterdale, after walking the struggle in the Dark. A great day, and a route i will remember for a long time!
18th September 2007
After meeting Chriss Crags, Andysomething and Alan James at the crag. They chalked up the route for me. I did all my usual solos before everyone else arrived from the Club. Armed with some tricams, Mircowires and Mircocams it didnt feel that bad, with great fiction. Them top moves did involve a massive reach but it was all over rather quickly! The gear mid break is solid, 3(or maybe 10!) shit bits equals a good one! I found the mental crux gaining the mid crack, as the moves are mostly unprotected and the hole thing feels a bit wild.
A great route (best at the Wainstones?) and a testpiece at E3.
What a strange day! I met up with The Tom Ripley. After a walk up to Gable, and then a run down (it was raining) we headed to Black Crag. "Prana?" "yea why not!" After a dig in my sack i discovered i had forgotten my Harness!! Good job it was raining on Gable! I ran to the Fell and rock hut were i was staying, i was told a friend would be staying there all day. She had gone home! Bugger! I ran back up to the Crag, to find Tom had been collecting gear off a busy Troutdale Pinnacle.
Tom had a go at Prana anyway, me belaying him around a tree, After a great effort, he didn't commit to the crux. So after a exchange of his harness up i went. I was amazed how light his whole rack felt, and how many different colours there were! Upto the crux it felt around HVS, (doesnt everything!) but i was sport climbing with Tom's Superb runners! The crux suddenly arrived. On a ledge. A friend i had met in the Peak early that year, Dougy, ( breaking into E2) Was on Grand Alliance. After a grand effort off he went. We were sharing the crux runner, so we just hoped it didn't pull!
My turn and the crux was hard. Maybe 6a would best describe the moves, it was a real shock form the rest of the route. Just pulling, that's all. I wasn't that impressed, it was over after a run out, and a shaky leg to the top belay.
A great day, even if it wasnt very productive!
Left without a partner again, the weather was again poor, so Borrowdale it was! No one told me about the ants! I hate ants! I wanted to jump into the nearest tree! The rest of the route went without error, apart form the ant bites up my legs! Ron Hills arent Ant proof!
A local classic i needed to tick! A fine reunion with my old mate Luke. The crux for me seemed the Entry groove, given E1. No gear and a massive reach! Once i got that i knew i had it! Just the E2 bit to come now! After a rest round the corner on good jams up i went on good holds to a nasty crimp and a poor top out. It felt rather Standard E2 to me, Not E3 stated in the Rockfax guide.
Had a bit of an Epic on this while seconding it a couple of years ago, (Learnt how to Jug for the first time, while it was pissing it down, after I fell off) so it was another Rematch! The route is well protected and you can find half rests between moves, its quickly all over once you reach a great rest and the angle kicks back.
When i did it apart from the pull of the slab, which wasn't to bad, it felt HVS! I wouldn't go encouraging any HVS climber up there, but if your a Gym Rat, who works as Rope Access, you would have no problem. What a route! Go do it now! Was climbing with Shaun for the first time, so i was glad it all went well. Well apart from me struggling on a VS on the same day!
After failed attempts of hitching, we walked to Lower Falcon from Grange. Only having one rope our Options were limited. The Niche had 3 short Pitches, so it was first on the list. The crux first pitch was well protected, i was feeling quite happy, so across i went to the Niche. Ah. No holds! i couldn't reach anything. Back i went swearing! I tried many of a time, but still couldn't make progress. I was getting rather fed up, so just had to go for it. I climbed high and rapped myself around the arete, hoping my Ron hills would save me. No holds to be found, i hung there for about 10 seconds, my Ron Hills gave in and off i went! I exchanged more swearing and up i went to try again. No luck going high so i went lower. With a little bit of tension i felt a hold, i didn't want to fall off again reversing so i followed the line of holds!
I wasn't really happy with this style, but i just couldn't reach anything good. I will have another go! Once in the Niche, i brought up Rob. He didn't want to try it! Poor guy was white with Fear. It wouldn't have been a big swing, but he just was not happy! I wouldn't let him not try it because i knew he could do it! He did do it, first time! After about 30 minutes of talking!
The top pitch was again my lead. I was completely Shagged! Normally a pitch i would love, steep and overhanging i wasn't doing very well! I ramped in a nut in my panic, which i knew wasn't going to come out. That Nut was the end of rob, he was knackered trying to remove it so pulled his way up.
A great route, I just need a rematch!
Rematch! my first trip to the lakes back in 2004 had seen me getting Dragged up this route, unable to climb the crux. So 2007, with a few E2's under my belt, I gave it another go. Rob had meet me earlier in the Grange Campsite, were we had some tea. Rob gave the 5b pitch ago and had no problem. My lead! We had a basic rack and only one rope (doubled) due to a break down in communications with Rob, my fault!
A few thin moves and a couple of crap nuts and i was at the crux. I didn't really remember any of it, just that i couldn't reach the holds! I started fanatically looking for gear! Nothing! My Smallest nut (WC size 2) wouldn't go in. My calves soon started to pump. It was getting dark and there was no one to throw me a rope. I couldn't down climb! I laughed at my situation, and moaned to Rob about campsite prices. I stopped shaking, and up i pulled. Pulling pulling that's all it was. I had never been so glad to reach my belay!
I didnt enjoy the route but i learnt a good leason. Always carry Mircowires! I went to needlesports and brought some!
An amazing route. I couldn't decide against The Niche or this one, but when someone jumped on the Niche it was faint! The Guidebook Suggested that the Dangler was a tougher procession than the Niche, so i was a little Nervous. I found the start of the 2nd Pitch the hardest and rather bold, even with the old bolt! after a couple of goes i gained a ledge and some pegs were i got my breath back. From there i made a couple more tricky moves to some good gear. The rest of the route seemed steep, but straight forward.
Bringing up Ian, he soon came tight on the rope. He hadn't been climbing all summer due to a foot injury! After a few more efforts i lowered him down and i abbed for the gear. A great route fitting to my "Stlye"