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.

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