Monday, 30 May 2011

Coalition Crack

I was back at the Roost today with Elliot. Despite the rain over the last few days, the crag had held up well. The top of the crag is wet, but all the routes are climbable.
I warmed up leading Chip and Pin E5 6a*** which I now have wired, and climbed it a couple of times to get really warm. I was hoping to onsight Coalition Crack E5 6a*** today, so a good warm up was important. Elliot was trying the Indirect Start to Chip and Pin E5 6a***, so warmed up top roping the route by both starts.

Coalition Crack is pretty steep sustained with good protection that is physical to place. This venue is not my style of climbing, hence putting the time in to do these routes and try and improve. The onsight went quite well until near the end of the hard climbing where I got really spooked by a hollow block. Over gripping and then a few dirty damp holds and I dropped the route moving to the jugs that would have taken me to the off width, and easy ground. Gutted!! Looking at the block I saw that it has been glued in place, Hindsight! I lowered off and after a good rest sent it next go.

Elliot took one good lob trying to clip the top of his route, before getting it on his next attempt. I finished of doing a couple of laps up Con dem nation E6 6b*** which I did on my last visit here, hoping it will keep it cleaner with more traffic. I also had another run up Chip and Pin to finish the arms off. Who needs to spend money at the wall to have a good session on a rainy day.

Friday, 27 May 2011

Wilton Warrior's

Above: Dan on Central Route

After the extreme poor show at Stoney on Tuesday, I was keen for an easy day to get the body back in gear. Having looked through the guide I had my eye's on a few 3 star E1's and some easier lines as well. Tony, Elliot, Dan and John joined me today, and it was the first time at Wilton for Dan and John. We drove into the rain, but stayed optimistic. It was a little damp when we arrived, but after looking to see what was the driest we got stuck in.

Below: Dan on Cameo

I led a little damp, but fine Cameo E1 5a***, whilst Dan led Central Route E1 5b***. These are both outstanding routes for there own reason. One top quality wall climbing with a little runout in places, and the other a bit more sustained and steeper. I led Central Route after Dan whilst John got stuck into Ann E1 5b**. Elliot turned up and mentioned that he had recently climbed Black Mamba E4 6b**, and that it was not that bad. My easy day went down the pan, and despite still not feeling on full form I was getting all the beta, keen to take advantage of the fact it was still chalked up. As I got to the tricky climbing it was obvious that the small height difference between Elliot and I meant his beta was not going to work for me. I wasted time making my mind up, then blew it as I went through the crux. After a good rest it went next go. John and Tony climbed Paradox E2 5b** which was a little damp through the crux, making it a bit tricky.

Below: John on Paradox

Elliot was keen to try Master Spy E4 6a*** which follows an awesome roof feature into and up a steepish crack to finish. He did really well getting into the crux twice, but taking a couple of lobs. I seized the chance to climb on Elliot's gear, having only done the route once before 5 years ago. The crux felt much easier this time, and I was even getting everything back at the rest after the traverse. Things are looking up. Elliot then did a sterling job and sent the route, finding a better way to use the rest seemed to make the difference. Whist all this was good on Dan made short work of the 3 star Wipe out E2 5b.

Below: Starting the hard moves on Black Mamba

Above: Mid crux

All feeling a little tired we started to warm down a bit. Tony floated up 999 HS 4c***, and John got sucked into climbing Dawn HVS 5b***. A great route, but more than you bargin for. At a loose end I decided to finish off with the classic Cheat E3 5b***. I have done this before so little fuss thankfully. Dan was then psyched to lead it as well, so I dropped the rope and seconded John, whilst Dan and Tony dispatched Cheat.

An amazing day for all I think.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Poor Show at Stoney

Above: Ian on Padme

I met up with Tony and Ian at Stoney today with the aim of ticking a few more classics. Things started ok, with Tony leading Minus Ten HVS 5a* with its perfect steep jams. Ian then led Padme HVS 5a* in good style. I was psyched for Bubbles Wall E4 6b** and was feeling pretty good, how wrong I was. A long story short I failed. The crux went fine, but I was still very tired from the weekends activities which meant I could not recover on route. I found myself at the most run out point with one tricky move left knowing I was too tired to just push on and then recover. I managed to reverse to the thread at least then lowered off. It is pretty frustrating when the climbing is not that hard, but my general tiredness stopped me dead. I was a gutted and decided to head home early and miss the traffic. Hopefully Ian had better luck on Dead Banana crack E1 5c***.

Below: Ian on Padme

Fingers crossed a couple of days rest should see me back to normal.

Monday, 23 May 2011

3 Peaks Challenge

This weekend has seen me start my 3 Peaks season. I was working for Maximum Adventure who run a lot of these challenges through the summer, with a group that were raising money for the Meningitis Trust. the group did fantastic, completing the challenge in 22 hours and 10 minutes. The weather was brutal for the whole event, with the wind gusting 70+ mph on every hill and driving rain to boot. The only easing was as we finished Snowden. A great achievement for the group for a good cause.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Return to the Roost

Above: Pete on Chip and Pin

After my first visit on Saturday, I was pretty keen to get back and try Con Dem Nation E6 6b***. I have had a couple of sessions route setting and bouldering at ROKT since Sat, so was feeling strong but a little tired. Dan and Pete joined me today and were suitably impressed by the venue and quality of climbing. I warmed up leading Chip and Pin E5 6a*** with a rest to avoid getting a flash pump that would ruin my day. Both Dan and Pete decided to top rope the route first to warm up rather than waste time and energy leading.

Feeling a little warm I started up Con Dem Nation, by soon realised it was way harder than the previous routes I had done here. Steep, powerful climbing on few big hold, but instead moderate flat edges and finger locks. My onsight failed about halfway up the route proper, before it finishes up the easy offwidth at the top. I bashed on to the top and brushed the routes a little hoping it would go next time. As I rested Dan and Pete made quick progress on Chip and Pin, both ready to lead the route. I had a quick attempt again but fell in the crux crack, gutted at fluffing my foot sequence lower down.

Below: Dan on Chip and Pin

As I recovered Dan sent Chip and Pin with ease and Pete made it halfway through the crux section but fluffed his sequence. After a quick recheck, he rested and sent it next go.

Above: Me on Con Dem Nation

I went for my last shot, and somehow managed to send it. I have no idea how I stayed on at the top of the crux crack as both hand came off, but I managed to catch something and make it to a hold I could get something back on to make it into the offwidth. Once there it was easy going to the top. I did mess my hands up a little when I lost form, but didn't notice the blood until I got to the top, thankfully.

Above & Below: Con Dem Nation

Above: Battered hands, but worth it.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

The Rooooost

Above: Starting the upper section of chip and Pin

After all the rain over the last couple of days and the temp cooling down, Elliot and I thought we would have a walk up to The Roost for some steep dry rock. This is a old, but newly developed crag between Hebden Bridge and Todmorden which has steep, sustained and well protected routes. I started off climbing Chip and Pin E5 6a***(or One Over Eight E5 6b***, take your pick). This is the easiest route there, but not really a warm up, so I failed in the last third. After climbing to the lower off (access reason), Elliot had a top rope to see how it felt. Having had a short rest I tied back in and Led the route clean. Awesome steep climbing all the way. Elliot wanted to top rope the route a couple of times before leading it. There is an indirect start as well at E5 6b*** which adds a good punch to the route overall, with some steep moves up a thin crack, before joining the main route at the point it starts to get tricky. I managed to flash this one now being warmed up, then Elliot managed a solid lead of the original. We finished the session off top roping the routes a couple of times which is all good training.

Above & Below: Mid crux

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

The Chew Valley

I made my first trip into the Chew Valley today with Pete, Tony and Ian. The guys were very generous and came to Upperwood Quarry first, mainly as I wanted to climb Renaissance which is meant to be one of the classic E4's of the area. Pete led Forked Tongue HVS 5b* to start us off. This was a little dirty, but offered some nice climbing after the hard starting moves. Tony and Ian climbed Paleface VS 4c. I got on Renaissance, but found I got stuck making what seemed to be the last hard move to good holds and the arete. After a number of falls here I ditched it and abseiled for the gear. I had a quick look to see what I had been missing and found a good, small crimp about an inch and a half above the filth I had been trying to use. This was not visible when on the route, but that's on sight climbing. I even managed to do the moves in my trainers once I knew the hold was there, Gutted. Another visit required. Tony might send me some pics though tonight.
Uninspired, we went to the Standing Stones. This is quite a remote feeling crag across the moors and has some good looking routes. Pete led Fallen Heros E1 5b**, a steep crack with some excellent climbing. I then led Fish-meal and Revenge E4 6a*. This turned out to be a very serious route with the crux up high and the gear way to low to stop you hitting a poor landing. E5 was Pete and my view. It would feel E4 to headpoint, but we grade for the on sight. Tony and Ian climbed False Prospects HVS 5a* and Womanless Wall VS 4c** I think. Pete finished our day off leading Jiggery Pokery E1 5b*, and Ian was starting up Ocean Wall E1 5b*** when I left.

All in a pretty good day.

Friday, 6 May 2011

CWLA Training

Yesterday I was working for Dan McKinlay on a CWLA Training course based at Leeds Wall. This is still a very new award that is a bolt on module for those who hold a CWA or SPA and want to be qualified to teach leading indoors or on an artificial wall. We had 8 candidates who all had a good level of experience which made the course very interesting and gave us lots to discuss. Over all I think everyone went away feeling that the course had given them some new skills and ideas to add to their current experience and help take them forward to a swift assessment for some.

Below: Some fun and games to finish off the course

Wednesday, 4 May 2011


Above: Dan on Suicide Wall

Today I met up with Dan and Pete and made my first visit to Cratcliffe. As I am still on the recovery wagon, it is good to go to new places where all routes are a bonus. Dan Started us off leading Suicide Wall HVS 5b***, this is truly worth all it;s 3 stars. Steep, interesting climbing with not too much polish.

Above & Below: Five Finger Exercise

I then led the classic Five Finger Exercise E2 5c***. Excellent climbing and the route of the day for me. Spot on for the grade and only hard at the top, brilliant. Pete tried an E2 link up which was one of 2 routes left that he could do here. Not on top form, Pete bailed.

Above & Below: Dan and Me on Boot Hill

Dan then stepped it up and led Boot Hill E3 5c***. After taking a little to commit to the hard move on the long man variation, he cruised to the top. I then did the route, taking just as long to commit to the tricky move. A pretty good route.

Below: Fern Hill

We finished off are day of ticking classics with us both leading Fern Hill E2 5c***. Great climbing, never that hard with good protection, a perfect end to a awesome day.

Below: Fern Hill

Sunday, 1 May 2011

A Bit of Ilkley

I went up to Ilkley today with the Wif and Tess (a dog we borrow) to get out and do something. It was really windy so we walked over to the rocky valley and climbed Flake Route Severe***. I would say the extreme polish has ruined this route and the wind didn't help either. We bailed back to the Cow for a spot of bouldering, but was not on fire with whist my back is recovering. I had a bash on Ron's traverse V6, but came off on the last hard move every time. I need a bit of local knowledge I reckon and this will be easy. My spotter was now busy away with Tess, so I arranged the mat and gave Baby Spice E5 6c/V7 a bash. Reaching the last hard move I couldn't commit when I realised the mat had been moved by the wind. Fighting hard i managed to reverse back to the ground, so saved the flash.

Above: V3 6b near the Cow

Finished the session off with a few easy problems then headed back to soak in the bath and spend the next few days recovering. Frustrating process.