Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Almscliff battering!

My first trip to Almscliffe last year left my, ego bruised, my hands bleeding, and my shoulders aching. Same his year really! Last year I was trying the Big HVS ticks, and failed to cleanly lead most. This year the Big 3. I knew the trip was a little early in the year, but the forecast looked prefect for Almscliffe, with a westerly gale. Confident from my successful peak trip, I thought I could give at least one of them a go! Arriving at the crag to find it empty Ian dragged me up "The crack of doom"(VS) with numb hands, and toes I found the experience delightful. Back to the shelter of the cave under Western Front we drank some coffee while 2 lads climbed Great Western(HVS). Not letting the weather defeat us, we went for a quick jog round the crag, returning I racked a few cams and headed up the overhang of Western Front(E3). I quickly found myself on the lip of the roof now faced with the inverted Y. I chalked up creating a con trail, images of Almscliife now smoking like the matterhorn as my chalkbag was emtpyed. My pretex top roared in the wind like a jet engine. Ramming my hand deep in the crack I pulled up the inverted Y, crawling the greasy rock, to find another jam and a foothold. The crux, the crack opened out and flared, i couldn't jam it. Undercutting the last jam I got my feet high on the rock and rocked over hoping to jam my now numb bleeding hand. I couldnt reach! My head screamed "shortarse!" and my head filled with negative feelings. "i must be missing something!" Glancing down to Ian, he looked in deep concentration on my every move. the rope now arced away from me before feeding into my trusty runner. I tryed again laybacking, and then again with a undercut jam. Now pumped and numb I gave in. While been Lowered to the ground I noticed a crowed had formed to watch my antics, and the guys on great western had stopped and were watching from above. It was a route i had wanted for a long time. A route I thought I would piss up.

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 r
eturned 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

Lakes Peak Dash.

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 England. -10C Apparently in Sheffield. I didn't sleep much excited about tomorrow and the fact i was freezing! The morning came and i left the tent around 10am let the rock warm up and sleep a little now it was warmer. I soloed just under 28 routes, including Queersville(HVS) Eliminator (HVS) Easter Rib (E1-) and Kirkus's Corner (E1-) I was warmed up and felt confident. My goal for the trip was, Bond Street and The Great North Road. Both Solid HVS and both ive fallen off, when i was getting into HVS.

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

January 2008.

Jananry 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