Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Another Day at the Scar

I picked up Huw this morning and we went to Woodhouse to blow the xmas cobwebs away.  It was a nice surprise to not be climbing as bad as expected.  We did a handful of V5 and V6's, with my highlight being a V7 I had not done before.  There were also a batch of routes soloed up to E4 6b.  There was a big team out from ROKT, with one of the young lads leading his first E1 today.  Good day all round.

No pics, sorry.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

A Bit of Rock

Picking my way up Nervous Shakedown E4 6b**

I got back out on rock for the first time in 3 weeks, so was not sure how I was going to get on.  Elliot and Beth joined me at Woodhouse Scar, which was surprisingly bone dry.  We did a variety of boulder problems up to V5 and routes up to E4.

Making the crux move

Entering the crux moves of Piton Crack V5/E2 6b***
Only 1 more tricky move
 A pretty good afternoon, and nice to redo some problems and routes I have not been on for a while.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Time to Pull the Finger Out

Trying to get pumped

After my less than satisfactory onsight attempt of Traversty at the weekend, I feel that the only way to avoid it happening again is to actually do some winter specific training.  I'm finding that despite being fit for rock climbing, handing onto my axes on steep ground is a different game.  With this in mind, I went over to John's to do a bit of axe work on his wall and get rid of some of the weekend's stiffness.  We had a good few hours once we had set some circuits, creating a good 45 move link up.  It's obvious that if I spent as much time training as I do avoiding it, I would probably do a little better sooner, rather than later.  I was feeling paranoid and opted for a helmet, which worked out well as John took a couple of blows to his as the odd hold bedded in.

John powering on

Sunday, 18 December 2011


After yesterday, we were keen to go and have a look at Traversty VIII,8*** on Clogwyn Du today after Andy's comments that the route was well worth it.  The crag was quite busy with teams on El Machno VI,7****, Blenderhead VII,8*** and Piller Chimney V***.

Trying hard in the wind on pitch 1

Matt crushing the crux pitch
The conditions were very wintry today, with a lot of rime and ice about making it tricky to see some of the small foothold and hooks.  That said, it was my lead and fancied the crux first pitch,  It is fair to say that I did not climb as efficiently as I could have and got a little pumped placing the gear.  I struggled to spot the crucial foothold quickly which boosted the pump.  I climbed back to the belay for a rest and re-group and tried again. The rest had not been long enough, and I failed in the crux.  I managed to get back on and was almost through the crux when the axe I was matching ripped and sent me flying into space.  After a lot of wasted energy trying to get back on, I retreated to the belay and offered Matt the pitch.  He was not sure at first, but then all the training he has been putting in showed as he made quick work of the pitch.  A fine lead.

Getting stuck into the offwidth second pitch
The second pitch was no gift, climbing a steep and awkward offwidth the was worth VI, 6 in it's own right.  A short, but still surprising final pitch saw up happy at the top.

Happy to be past the offwidth on Pitch 2

All smiles after another great day
It has been a pretty good weekend, but the forecast does not look good for tomorrow with the temperature set the rise and rain come in as well.

A short bit of video showing the windy nature of the day.

Matt & Adam - Traversty from Andy Turner on Vimeo.
Andy Turner and Baggy were out today and did a couple of new route, check Andy's and Baggy's blogs for more info.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Siberian Kitten

Matt and I headed  up to Craig Dafydd today with the hopes of trying a new route that Matt had spotted earlier in the week. The takes a direct route up the crag taking in some good grooves, crack and overlaps.  We settled on V,7, as the route felt a little harder and thinner than Gargoyle Wall on Ben Nevis, but the protection is pretty good.
Pitch 1. 4.Starting at the base of Helmand Province you climb up some turfy grooves onto a ledge, step right to a leftwards slanting turfy crack - climb that and continue to the base of the obvious crack. (40m)
Pitch 2. 7. Climbs the obvious crack to a ledge (possible belay) and then continue up a shallow chimney over the overhang to a ledge and block belays. (25m)
Pitch 3. 5. Climb the left on the 2 obvious grooves until a tricky step can be made across into the right groove (a bit bold), follow this groove until a step can be made around the arete  onto a ledge and then climb the short steep groove to an awkward finish - belay well back. (30m)

Top section of pitch 2
We called the route Siberian Kitten - with a nod to Greg Boswell. Pete Macpherson and Guy Roberston's route Siberian Tiger.

Matt on the crack of Pitch 2

Adam heading into the second groove of Pitch 3.

The turf was in pretty good shape mostly after an obvious change in the weather from yesterday, with a good dusting of fresh snow.

Andy Turner was out with Calum Muskett and climbed Traversty VIII, 8 on Clogwyn Du.  A good first route of the season for Andy.  Check out his blog for pics andf more details, http://andyturnerclimbing.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Boswell at it again!!

Young Mr Boswell has been at it again earlier in the week with Pete McPherson and Guy Robertson in Coire an Lochain producing Siberian Tiger IX,10.  If you have not seen this already, click on the link on the right and read his awesome account of their day.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

CIC Attacked by the Wind

I have been speaking to Greg Boswell who has been up on the Ben for the last few days with James Dunn and Will Sim.  They made the FWA of the Direct Finish to Knuckleduster VIII,9, which is a fine effort.  The bigger news was that the roof was blown off the CIC Hut by the massive winds.  Greg and others tried to walk out, but were storm bound till yesterday. Got to love the British weather.

Hopefully Greg will get the chance to update his blog and fill in more detail.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Lakeland Winter

Winter in the Lakes is always a bit hit and miss, but has been a bit more hit over the last few years.  I have done very little, so was keen to try and take advantage of the improved weather today.  Elliot has never winter climbed before, but had to be back for work at 6pm in Bolton, so a couple of route on Cambridge Crag, Bowfell were just the ticket.

We started off climbing with Left Hand Route IV,5 which was pretty average.  The layback crack at the start of pitch 1 was quite cool though.  The monsoon weather had not stripped as much snow as I thought it would have, and the extra that was put down today has left the crags looking pretty good.  The turf was not frozen everywhere, but hopefully it should firm up over the next couple of days.

Starting up Professor

Enjoying the up upper fault
We then climbed Professer V,5/6.  It felt quite nippy for 5, but I think it would be easier with a bit of ice.  The climbing was pretty good on the long first pitch.  Steep technical bulge followed by a good shallow chimney feature.  Worth doing if you want a quick route.

Lets hope that the conditions continue.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Carn Etchachan

Matt and Keith were back over on Carn Etchachan today to make the best of the weather before it craps out.  They climbed the classic Guillotine V,6 and Nom de Plume VI,7 to wrap up a fantastic day.  James Thacker was also over there today, so check out his blog for more info.

The weather is due to change tomorrow with increasing winds, before the temperature and hurricane force winds on Thursday.  The lads are hoping to get a quick route in Sneachda tomorrow before they head back to Wales of Thursday.

Winter Continues up North

Yesterday Matt and Keith climbed the Stical Face V,6*** on the Shelter Stone.  Matt commented that conditions are still tricky, with the ice still causing problems with good protection.  Other teams were out in the corries climbing the Message, Pot of Gold and Droidless to name a few.

Check out Mark Chadwick's and James Thacker's blogs for more pics and info.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Winter Weekend in the Gorms

After suffering with FOMO all week as Matt, Keith and a few others have been taking advantage of the conditions up North, I was psyched when John said he was up for a weekend hit.  After the long drive up, with a stop off in Edinburgh overnight, early start and no breakfast, we arrived in Sneachda at a reasonable time on Saturday..

The wind was not quite as bad as forecast, but the only shelter was to be found on the Fiacaill.  This was also the whitest buttress in the corrie.  As always I had a few things in mind as we walked in, but they were either black or blocked by folks waiting to get on the route that it used to start.  Rather than wait around, we opted to   do Stirling Bomber V,7***.  This is a great way to get back into the whole winter climbing mode, with some good moves, physical, but never too hard.  There was a lot of snow and ice on the route, but the gear was pretty clear.  I had climbed this route back into 2005 and it was as good as I remembered.  John really enjoyed himself, with a big smile all the way up.  We were down off the route by 12:20 and decided to head down and get some breakfast.  There where loads of teams on the Seam IV,4/5*** and a team on Fingers Ridge IV,4***.

Getting in the width

John getting stuck in
Working through the crux

Today we wanted another short day so we could get back down to Leeds in good time.  The Mess of Pottage was looking ok, so we opted for The Melting Pot V,7***.  There is a mass of verglass covering the crag which is making the climbing quite bold.  A number of teams backed off routes because of this.  The ice of our route made the climbing a little easier, although bold making feel more VI,6 as the guide suggests for these conditions.  There were a lot more teams out today on all the usual routes.  Top tip at the moment is to drop the grade a little whilst the cracks are so iced.

John finishing Pitch 1 of The Melting Pot

Greg Boswell has had 3 very good days on the Ben, check his blog for details.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Coire an Lochain

Matt and Keith made another trip into Lochain today and climbed Hookers Corner VI,6/7  and Overseer Direct V,6.  When I spoke to Matt he said that there was a lot of rime build up and the cracks are very icy.  All routes need a careful and measured approach in these conditions.

Tim and Mark made the walk to Carn Etchachan and climbed the classic Equinox VI,6.  James Thacker climbed the Hoarmaster V,6 and there were teams on Central Crack Route IV,5 and Third Man IV/V,6.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Winter is Here, Just!

After a big thaw yesterday, overnight snow and a drop in temperature made climbing possible in the Northern Corries today.

In Coire an Lochain Matt and Keith climbed Fallout Corner VI,7, whilst Tim and Mark climbed Third Man V,6 and Third Man V,6.  James Thacker was in Sneachda climbing Stirling Bomber V,7.  He commented on his blog that there were teams on the Genie V,7 and Fingers Ridge IV,4.  Care should be taken as the cracks where verglassed in places.

Follow James at www.jamesthacker-mountaineering.co.uk

Burbage West

I met up with Tony and Tina at Burbage today for a spot of bouldering.  We started off at the Bridge area to warm up on a range of easy problems to V4.  The wind was not too strong, but it was pretty chilly.  Next up, we went over to West Burbage.  Neither of us had been here before and there were some good looking problems to go at.

setting up for the crux on Scooter

Enjoying the jug at the top

Tony showing his flexibility on the crux of Scooter
First up was a nice little arete called Scooter V4, which had a brilliant foot to hand rockover to reach the top.  Go West V3 was then flashed by me and should also have been by Tony.  He manned up next go and cruised it.  Whilst Tony recovered from his burst of man power, I tried The Nose V6.  I slipped off the crux first go, but thankfully sent it on the second.  Tony then flashed Crow Man V2 and also the harder left hand version V3.  I got stuck into Jason's Mono Problem V6/7 (depends on the guidebook).  It took me a few goes to stick the finish hold which seemed to be the crux of the problem.  I was really keen to try West Side Story V8/9, which is a super technical wall climb.  The crux is setting your feet to pop to the break, but the all the climbing leading up to this is british 6b, so hard.  I got into the crux a couple of times, but only spending 10-15 minutes on the problem was not enough.  Next visit will be to do this problem and take advantage of this quick session.

Getting involved with West Side Story
About to try and set up for the crux move
Getting tired, we moved back to the Bridge area.  Here Tony cruised a V2 arete and I did the V5 version.  I also managed Mermaid V6, which although only short, packed a punch.  To finish everything off we went and climbed Banana Finger V2/3.  Neither of us had done this for about 10 years, so it was nice to get on it again.
Tony on Banana Finger
A big thanks to Tina for the pics.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Recovering from Man Flu

I have been suffering with Man Flu since Tuesday, so a light boulder at Widdop with Elliot and Beth seemed like just the thing to kick the body into action.

Beth sending a classic little arete

We did a range of problems up to V5, but there was a big of a damp feel to some of them.  Hopefully the body will be back to full working order by midweek.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

New Edelrid Kit for 2012

Over the last few years Edelrid have really branched out with the kit they produce.  Along with the high quality ropes, their harnesses, rock shoes, helmets and hardware have won industry awards.  The latest development have been in the massive re design of the ice axes and the all new rucksacks.

Top: Edelrid Riot                     Below: Edelrid Rage
 The Riot is a well designed and balanced tool.  It has been designed with leashless climbing in mind, using an ergonomically formed grip and removable hand rest that also offers good protection to the knuckles.  It weighs 610g and you can also add the small weight seen on the Rage to the head to improve performance on ice.

The Rage is another well made tool for those steep ice and hard modern mix routes.  The pick angle can be changed to suit your needs, the aggressive shaft give excellent clearance and the ergonomic handle makes them easy to wield.  These to have the removable weight option to improve performance on steep ice.

These are 2 excellent addition to the ice axe market and will be availbale to buy from Feb 2012.

Left: Helix 25                   Right: Mirage 35
The Helix is the Ultra light rucksack for day trips or fast and light ascents.  It has a removable plate, waist belt and lid to make it even lighter and smaller.

The Mirage comes in either 25 or 35 litres and is made from a highly durable ballistic nylon.  It also has a removable back plate, waist band and lid.  The side compression system has been designed to make attaching skis etc. simple.  The 35 litre model has an extra 10 litre of capacity if needed which the floating hood copes with easily.

For more info on Edelrid products click on the Edelrid logo in the side bar.

Monday, 21 November 2011

An Easy Day

Today I had an easy day at Heptonstall with Elliot and Beth.  The body was in need of a rest, so I spent the day following Elliot up some classics.  We started on Main Line VS 4c**, which is a great little slabby/wall climb that looks pretty blank from below, but provides lots of good edges.  Elliot decided to get straight on a Thin Red Line E2 5b***.  He had been shut down on this on his only other visit to the quarry, but is a much improved climber these days.  This was demonstrated as he cruised the route.  I nipped up Fairy Steps HS 4b*** next to keep the routes flowing.  Elliot then led Brown Sugar E2 5c** which is a little trickier then TRL with a good crux going through the roof on a jam.  Again Elliot dispatched the route in good style.  We wrapped the day up with Bull's Crack HVS 5a***.  This is awesome for the grade and only really gets the 3 stars if you climb the chimney instead of finishing at the ledge, which is the trend.  Both Elliot and Beth enjoyed the full 3 star experience.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Mytholm Steeps and West Vale

Elliot entering the crux section
Elliot and I continued the bouldering theme today by going to Mytholm Steeps.  As the name suggests, the climbing here is on the steep side.  Defo not my style!  We milled around a bit on a few moves here and there to warm up, before getting stuck into the Wickerman V5/6 (the grade is variable depending on who you speak to).  I would say it is similar in grade to the Green Traverse, so font 6c+ would describe it best IMO.  This is a great problem, with the crux of the traverse section being right near the end.  Elliot and I are very different heights, so had a very different sequence for the crux.  With this dispatched we turned our sights to some of the other classics, but got spanked.  What a difference is makes when it's not playing to your strengths.

Loving the big holds
A cheeky toe hook making the sloper feel like a jug
We decided to head to West Vale to massage the ego a little, being vertical and crimpy.  I showed Elliot a few of the classics, which he cruised.  Our attention then turned to the steep high arete which makes up the end of the Scot is Bent wall.  Climbed on it's right hand side, it's given V6 6b+.  This was not too bad, just rquired a bit of commitment.  Both quite happy with our day we decided to save some skin for tomorrow.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Ron's Crack II

Elliot, Nic and I went to Crookrise for a boulder and the odd solo.  Conditions were less than perfect, with damp pockets causing the most frustration.

We all sent Cease Direct V3 and then a few variations on the slab to warm up.  A lot of time was the spent on the Fly V8.  We all managed to get to the pebbles on the slab proper, but using them was not that easy.  Hovis Super Direct V5 was the next problem to cause frustration.  A damp pocket made the crux move really hard to do, another condition dependent problem.  So Elliot soloed Hovis E1 5c***.  We decided to have a go on Ron's Crack II E3 6b** (or V6/7 very highball).  I was gutted to blow the onsight when I didn't get the finger lock in perfect, then bottled it when it started to slip.  No mistake next go, and I have the bruises and skin lose to prove it.  Elliot had commitment issues as it pretty high, so we moved down to Diet Pepsi V4.  My skin had given up, so I was on spotting duty.  This is pretty nippy for the grade, but Elliot managed to send it after a bit of work.  Nic and Elliot finish off sending a range of the problems on End slab.

I need a day off to grow some more skin, but hopefully will get out on Sunday.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Brownstones and Bleeding Tips

It's that time of year when it can be too chilly for routes for me, so bouldering is the best option.  As I am rubbish at bouldering, it takes a bit of effort to get psyched for it.  After a good afternoon on Monday at the Brownstones, I was keen to go back to do some of the tricky problems as they suit my style.

A quick warm up on the Nexus wall, and it was time to do a bit of pulling to get the fingers working.  Some crimpy easy problems and I was good to go.  First I did a couple of the Unjust Eliminates, Unjustice V6 6b* and Unpinched V7 6b/c*, then flashed the Nexus Dyno V4*.  Next up was Pigwill Sit Start V6 6b**, quite a good problem and it set me up nicely to get on Hank's Wall V6 6b***.  This was the first time I had tried this fresh, and what a difference it made.  3 attempts was all it took, not as hard as it seemed at the end of the day on Monday.  Conditions were excellent and I seemed to be on form, so I went to check out Groundhog V6 6b***.  I fluffed the onsight on the last move rushing to finish, but made not mistake on next go.  Seeming to be on a role, I thought I would try the Groundhog Sit Start V8 6c.  This adds a couple of pretty hard moves to join the original.  Pulling on was the crux, then it was not too bad after that.  I had to crimp very hard to hold the small crimps through the normal crux and split a tip whilst sending it.  It was not major, but enough to end play for today.

Fingers crossed it will be ok for tomorrow.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Wilton and the Brownstones

Today I finally managed to get out climbing after being confined to the wall last week.  I traveled over to Bolton to meet Elliot and we decided to have a look at Wilton 1.  Elliot very kindly offered to give the Hacker E4 6b** a brush for me a he had headpointed it earlier this year and want to get the onsight.  He had commented at the time that is was not that pumpy etc.so with that in mind I thought I would just start on that.  A boulder around to warm up a little whist Elliot brushed should be enough.

I was quickly through the bold crux at the bottom and reminded even quicker that me and cold winds don't get on to well.  The climbing was pretty straight forward, but steeper than it looked.  Add all the time it takes to work out and place gear onsight, then it becomes a pumpy route in the cold.  Luckily the angle eases at 2/3 height and the cold pump was manageable.  I could not feel the hows I was using through the top section, but thankfully it was mostly on my feet.  A good route none the less.

We moved over to Wilton 3 where Elliot led a damp and dirty Grader E3 5c***.  The conditions did not effect the climb until the crux and top out that had suffered from mud running down it.  Elliot had done the route before and was grateful at the top to have the runner ready before taking on the mud.  A sterling lead today.  I followed and had the same problem by the crux, with no feeling in my hands and just pulling through, hoping for the best.

Crimping Hard

Getting involved and pulling hard on the poor holds on Ridiculous Eliminate

We decided to ditch routes and go bouldering at the Brownstones.  I had been here once before and ticked a lot of the classics. But had a hard time on a couple of the tricky problem.  After sending a range of problems up to V5, we had a crack at Ridiculous Eliminate V8 6c/font 7b**.  This is a short, but hard few moves on some very small, poor, slopey crimps.  After a few failed attempts I managed to work out the right foot sequence to make the holds usable.  This made the world of difference and I sent it next go.  Well Happy!  We finished off try Hank's Wall V7 6c***, which is nails and not one to try at the end of the day.

Elliot trying hard on Hank's Wall

Sunday, 13 November 2011

CWA Training

After spending a few days climbing indoors due to bad weather this week, I was back inside again over the weekend running a CWA Training.  Day 1 was at the Leeds Wall where we covered all aspects of personal climbing and coaching.  Day 2 took us to Harrogate Climbing Centre to look at all the group aspects of the award and the Abseil module.  All the candidates commented that they took a lot from the 2 days and will hopefully be back for assessment early next year.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Slip 'n' Slide

Today I was free as Em has been on nights and sleeping during the day.  After the last few weeks efforts, taking a couple of days off has left me feeling rested and ready to go again.  I only had 2 more of the 3 star routes to do at Crookrise, Small Brown E4 6b*** and Slip n Slide E6 6a***, so that was the aim of the day.

Conditions where great, but it was warming up in the sun as I walked in.  Wanting to take full advantage off the cold I went straight to Slip n Slide.  This is an extremely bold solo, with a very poor landing that can't be padded out very well.  With this in mind, I decided to abseil down and see where to place the mat to protect the crux as best as I could.  This also gave me the chance to see what I was going to at the top of the ramp.  It all looked quite straight forward, so I got on it and went for the flash.  Very balancy padding led to the crux at the end of the ramp.  If only I was 6 ft, I could reach the hold without making the holdless rockover.  It took quite a bit of composing myself to make the move.  It is not that hard, V3 as a boulder problem.  But the situation really makes you earn all the E points.  After that move you have holds and can sprint to the top.

Small Brown was up next.  I wanted to flash Massive Attack E5 6b** as well, so abseil that which meant I got a look at both.  This was useful and showed me where the mat would be best placed.  Small Brown went very easily and it soft for the grade, but has nice moves.  Massive Attack goes where Small Brown should have, and follows the arete all the way top the top.  This has all the best climbing of Small Brown and more, awesome!

It was warming up by now and the crag was getting a bit busy! Surprisingly.  So I decided to head back and spend some time with Em as she would be up soon.  On the way back to the car I climbed Ron's Crack 1 V6*** and the V5 arete to the right.  Both nice problems and a good way to wrap things up.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Bridies Bouldering

Neil on Charlotte Rampling

Neil and Mhairi had to head back North today, so a short drive and mid afternoon finish meant the Bridestones was perfect.  It had dried out nicely after the rain last nigh and this morning, with only a few things wet.  We warmed up around the brother and sister area, before heading over to small smart wall.  Here The Villain V2 was flashed with ease, and the majority of the problem up to V5 sent with minimum fuss.  The tour continued over to the Obscene Cleft boulder, where Black Cheek V4 and the start to the Cleft V6 where flashed.  The day was rounded off with Neil getting Horror Arete V5 second go, after slapping the top on his 1st.

Mhairi on Black Cheek

Neil cruising Horror Arete

A good few hours spent in good company.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Hawkcliffe and Stanage

Neil and Mhairi has come down from Scotland for a few days, so I have been trying to show them some good route that I have down lately, and thought they could flash.  As Hawkcliffe was on their way, we met there at midday hoping it would be dry after the rain on Monday.  We found Emerald Buttress dry enough and climbed Woodland Ecology E5 6a**.  Neil flashed the route, but was nursing a hang over.  This took its toll on Mhairi's psyche a little and she backed off the route.  The Prow area was a bit damp, so we went to Eldwick for Neil to try and flash The Elevator E5/6 b/c**.  Neil had hurt his finger before coming down and this was too painful on the crux.  Whilst we where there I did the route again so Mhairi could take a couple of pics for me.

Setting up to move into the crux

Catching the Dyno

Today we went to Stanage hoping to take a few classics.  Starting at the lone boulder to get a the feet working, then over to Cresent Arete to get into the arete mode.  Feeling pretty psyched I got on White Wand E5 6a***.  I have been wanting to do this for almost 10 years, but really wanted to cruise it on sight when I did.  The crux was quite nippy for 6a, and the route was a little damp, but it was amazing!  I'm so glad I waited

Engaged on White Wand

High above the pads 
Nearly at the gear
Mhairi then cruised Tower Face HVS 5a* and I onsight soloed Four Star E5 6b**.  We then decided to boulder, cruising a range of problems on the pebble up to V5.  Neil the show us the way on the Green Traverse V6, which I was psyched to then flash.  Mhairi started to make good progress on it but, a break from climbing to do her ML has taken it toll on her a little.  Neil then did the V7 6c* mantel that comes up from the crux crimp on the traverse.  We finished off sending a batch off problems on the Business boulder.

A great day.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Woodland Ecology

The plan today was to return to Hawkcliffe, which should have stayed dry as all the rain was coming from the west.  I met Elliot there. but Tony was running late, so we walked up to see if it was dry.  As we approached we were greeted to a dry Emerald Buttress basking in the morning sun, RESULT!!

Elliot Flashing Woodland Ecology
Tony on RIP
This is my 11th day out of the last 15 climbing, so being pretty tired I had one route in mind for the day and anything else would be a bonus.  I abseiled down to brush off the leaves and check is was not too damp.  It was dry and there were less leaves than I had thought there would be. but still enough.  Woodland Ecology E5 6a**, the last of the tricky routes on the buttress that I had left to do, is mostly slabby, so I just got on with it.  The route starts as for Ginny Greenteeth to the ramp and gear (which is very good once you get a good cluster in).  Here it traverse rightwards to finish up the easy upper arete of The Blood on the Shamrock.  Elliot also flashed the route and we both agreed that it felt more E3/4 5c.  The moves are straight forward and right next to the gear.  We compared it to Lazy Friday E4 5c at Wilton which we thought was similar in difficulty, but much move serious than Woodland.

 Elliot had cleaned RIP E1 5b* which follows a thin crack up a cool little groove.  We had done this as Tony arrived, so we pointed him at and he dispatched it in style.  We then moved over to the Prow where Tony led Squirrel Crack E1 5b***, which he loved by the whoop! at the top.  Elliot wanted to toprope Driveby E6 6b***, as he thought this might suit his strengths after belaying me on Wednesday.  It was a bit damp today, so he gave it a brush and I took advantage of this and Tony, leading it again to get some pics.  The routes was ok, but the top out was pretty damp.  Elliot climbed the route well, but I was gutted that at 6'2 he could reach past the crux and make it 5c ish.  The top out was a bit much today, so it is one to return for.  As the rope was up I had a burn on Charlie Don't Surf E8 6c***.  I was very surprised when I made it to the peg straight off and then linking through to do the route in 2 first go.  I left it at that.  Don;t want to get too involved  as I might get crazy thought about leading it.

Tony well into Squirrel Ceack
Making the crux move on Driveby
The Jug
Thin moves to finish
 We wrapped the day up with Tony leading Syrett's Slit E1 5b* a quality, steep offwidth.  Another great day at Hawkcliffe and no one else about, shame!

Wednesday, 26 October 2011


The plan was to met Elliot at Wilton today, but the rain overnight has wet the routes we were keen to get on.  Instead we went to Hawkcliffe.  There are some amazing routes here, but they have been naglected over the years.  Recently I have done a couple of routes here,  as well as a few other locals that have been cleaning the 3 star classics.
Elliot getting involved with the pod on Squirrel Crack

It was Elliot's first visit, so he was first up on Squirrel Crack E1 5b***.  This is on the easy side of the grade, but offers some outstanding and amusing climbing up the long crack.  Elliot cruised this, which then meant it was time to look at the main objectives for the day.  Elliot was keen for Flame Arete E5 6b**, and I Driveby E6 6b***.  We both Abseiled down the routes to give them a clean.  They had seen recent traffic which made this quite quick, but was still worth the effort after the rain last night.

I was first up to try and flash Driveby.  The gear is excellent and can be placed off jugs, with the peg in reach for me from the bridge in the chimney.  This route is totally my style, balancey moves out of the chimney, then sustained crimping above.  I was totally psyched to flash this with little trouble, and was keen to see Elliot do the same on Flame Arete.

Unfortunately, Elliot was not on form today.  He got shut down by the crux moves leaving the break.  I blame it on his long legs etc.  A route that it better suited to the average stature.  I took advantage of Elliot's hard work and had a bash.  Moving through the crux I slipped off a damp undercut, NOOOOOOOO!  A quick brush and lower off, it went a peachy next go.  Gutted to blow the flash, but these things happen.  I thought the route was very good, but probably 6a for me (the right body dimensions I guess).

Get down here folks.  It will only get better with traffic.