Friday, 30 September 2011

Aberdeen Sea Cliffs

Starting at Johns Heugh

Neil on Jaded Ledge Lizard

I have been up North on holiday with Emma visiting friends.  This meant that I had a couple of days to bag a few routes on the sea cliffs near Aberdeen, which would be a first for me.  Neil took me to Johns Heugh on Tuesday, which is a steep schist crag that it partially tidal.  Unfortunately, conditions were not the best, which took the toll on me.  Steep burly climbing is not my strong point at the best of times, and defo not when it is wet.  I started up Jaded Ledge Lizard E4 5c* and picked my way past the crux before the wet holds, lack of warm up and steepness led me to the decision to bin it.  Neil had a few grades in hand and led the route instead.  After this it was starting to dry up a touch, so Neil also led the E5 6b* direct version as well.  Both routes had great climbing on them, loads of gear and steep climbing, but technically quite straight forwards.  We headed home and decided to go for granite the next day, hoping for not as steep to give me a chance.

Me on Cirrhosis

Wednesday took us to South Cove where we were hoping to climb on Red Wall in the Red Hole area.  Again this was a little damp still, but Hospital Wall was in good shape and had a few good lines on it.  We Warmed up with Neil leading Torn Ligaments E2 5c which offered some nice climbing.  After abseiling down to see if the gear was ok.  I led Cirrhosis E4 6a***.  This is meant to be a bold route, but was well protected by many RP's (safety in numbers).  The climbing was outstanding, technical and quite sustained through the crux.  To wrap things up, Neil led Exploding Laxative E5 6a*.  This was the very similar to Cirrhosis and about the same grade, until you moved to the arete at the top.  Here the climbing was no harder, but required a good head to compose yourself and commit.
Neil on Explosive Laxative

Overall, a good couple of days and I am keen to explore more of the crags once I do a bit more bouldering.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

A Bit of Heptonstall

Tom on Bulls Crack

With a better forecast today, Rich and Tom came down to Heptonstall for their first visit.  This suited me as I seem to be fading from doing too much.  Rich started us off cruising up Fairy Steps Direct VS 4c**.  My end of the rope only had 1 runner near the top so I went up Cream E4 6a* instead.  I led this over 10 years ago, so it was quite nice to climb it again today.  Tom then led Main Line VS 4c* and Rich Curving Crack VS 4c**.  Tom pick up the pace with a good lead of Bulls Crack HVS 5a***.  Rich then put in a solid performance on Thin Red Line E2 5b***.  After faffing about trying to get a runner to sit properly on Demarera, I ditched it and led Brown Sugar E2 5c**.  The rain came as forecast, but a good day had been had.  A few days off is needed to get rid of the aches and pains.

Rich moving through the crux on Thin Red Line

Rich moving in to the easier ground

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

The Worst Crag in Lancashire

There was an improving forecast today, so I went over to Bolton hoping to climb at Wilton.  Unfortunately, the weather did not improve as quickly as forecast, so we ended up driving to a few random crags in search of dry rock.  This took us to the worst crag in Lancashire.  A recently developed crag called Jumble, which would probably been best left alone.  We tried an E3 that has a boulder problem start.  Not terrible moves, but really dirty.  Even as a wet weather venue you should just poke yourself in the eye instead.

A couple of pics to fool you into thinking it is worth a visit.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Learn to Lead Weekend

Over the weekend I have been down in North Wales running a learn to lead course for James and Alex.  The aim was to use the mountain crags in the Ogwen valley, but the weather was not kind to us.  We did however, get a tan on Holyhead mountain over the 2 days.

Alex on Hat VDiff
James on Hat VDiff

James on Hat VDiff

During the 1st day we covered placing and grading runners (wires and hexes), then moved on to use these to construct a belay.  Once we were happy with this, the step to leading was not to big.  Both James and Alex already lead indoors, so we me next to them on a rope, and climbing with a few grades in hand, we could all focus and enjoy the learning experience.  Both did extremely well leading 2 pitches on VD each, one in a multi pitch context.

James focused on Black Owen VDiff

Alex high on Slippers VDiff

James backing up his cam on Tempest S 4a*
After an attempt to go into Idwal, we where back at Holyhead in the sunshine to escape the rain.  Again this worked out very well, with both Alex and James leading some solid VDiffs which were 35m in length.  They were both keen to try something a little harder on the second. so they followed me up the classic VS 4c*** Black and Tan.  To finish the day off, James put in a top effort to lead Tempest Severe 4a* with a little support from me.  this rounded off the weekend very well.

Alex enjoying the view from the top of Holyhead mountain

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Finger Therapy with the Numbers

Pete on Mattahorn Arete

Today I met up with Pete at Almscliff with the veiw off doing a little bit of climbing to see how the finger was.  There is still some swelling, but as I can now straighten it, I was hopeful.  We cruised a range of easy problems, but the sun was warming things up a bit.  I only had till 2pm, so we moved into the shade where Pete led the link up of Western Front E3 5c*** with No Mans Land E2 5b* to give a soft E4.  Pete dropped the ropes and I then Flashed the route, pleasantly surprised that the finger was holding up.  Unfortunately, I had to bail, but Pete went to do a few laps on Morrell's Wall.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Caley Calamity

I met up with Dan and Tom at Caley today to hide out of the wind and try the Great Flake E6 6b***.  All went well warming up on a variety of problems up to V6 before heading up to check out the flake.

Dan had dropped a rope down and give it a go, cleaning it a little and placing a couple of runners.  I fancied trying to flash it with the gear in place.  Things went well as I moved past the first runner and got set to clip the second just before the crux 2/3 up.  As I pulled the rope up to clip, my foot popped and I was ejected.  Dan stopped me just off the ground, but the rope was between my legs and he gave me a punch to the blollocks for good measure.  If that was not bad enough, the rope had wrapped around my left hand when I came off and crushed my fingers when it took.  That pretty much ended my day as my ringer finger started to swell and will no longer straighten.  I am hoping it is just a bit of swelling and will fix quickly.

Dan and Tom (below) demonstrating some good slab faces

Tom cruising a nice V2

Dan and Tom moved on to more bouldering, sending a range of problems.  I did put my shoes back on for one problem, a V4 with one hard long move.  This gives my some hope that the finger will mend soon.

Dan sending a tricky V5

Monday, 12 September 2011

3 Peaks

Over the weekend I worked another 3 peaks for Max Adventure.  All went well with the quickest of the group finishing in 21 hours,  Despite the weather forecast, we managed only one real soaking.

Well done everyone!

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Fred Zimmerman

Above: Moving closer to the crux

I went to Caley today with Ed to climb Fred Zimmerman the proper way. The loss of the bolt has pushed the grade up to E6 6a**, with a skyhook now the crucial gear. I don't own a skyhook so thought that I could get away with a bulldog, but this would not sit on the placement properly. I did find an edge it would stay on, but is was even lower and poorer than the skyhook. Opting for max poor gear I placed one on the normal spot as well, but this caused problems on the ascent so was ditched. After a quick toprope to place and tape the runners down it was game on. It started to rain which flustered me a little, but after a quick minute I was all good and finished it off.

Below: On the jug and safe after the crux

Ed then cruised Route 1 VS 4c and Route 2 HVS 5a before we headed to the roadside. Ed flashed Bob's Bastard V1 and Chicken Heads V2. We then climbed a few classics before I on sight soloed Ephedrine E4 6a*.

With trashed skin we called it a day, pretty happy.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Raven Crag

I have been in the lakes for a few days with the missus for a bit of down time together. We did give ourselves one day to do a bit of climbing, so went to Raven Crag in Langdale for the first time. A short walk in and a pub to finish with made this an easy choice.

Em has not climbed in a while, so we did Middlefell Buttress Diff***. This was pretty awesome ground for the grade and gave us a great start. Em was happy with the one route and happy to belay me on something else, so I gave Trilogy E5 6a*** a lash. I knew nothing and this route other than what I had read in the guidebook the day before when I bought it. So, it was great to have no preconceptions of where the hard bits might be etc. Em was not going to follow me, so I soloed up to the start of the route and got stuck in. Having 20m of rope out to start and the first bits of gear being low, meant I had quite a bit of rope drag. This seemed to make clipping the crux of the route. The guide mentioned a bold start, but I thought this was ok and found an excellent RP4 as well as other gear before reaching a good peg and bomber wire. the climbing was excellent and steady to the rest, then picked up nicely through the crux which was nippy for 6a. Once through the crux it eases nicely to the top, an awesome pitch.

Job done for the day, Beer O'Clock.