Thursday, 30 June 2011

Ticking Classics

I had a quick visit to Trowbarrow Quarry yesterday afternoon to tick off a few classics. Starting off with Sleeping Sickness E2 5c**, I then moved on to Sense of Doubt. E4 6b** in my Rockfax guide, but massively overgraded. It has great climbing at a steady E3 5c/6a. The main wall was next where I worked quickly to climb Harijian VS 4c***, Hallow Earth HVS 5a**, A Touch of Class E2 5c**, Major Tom E2 5c** to be back in time to watch Murry cruise through to the semi's.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Early Start at Ilkley

I was up and out pretty sharpish this morning to try and take advantage of the cooler morning before the heat kicked in. It was a little warmer than I would have liked when I got to Ilkley, but I thought I would see how sweaty the Guillotine was. This quality E6 6b** Arete was not too bad after a brush and chalk up. A few quick toproes to make sure I coukld deal with the warmth and it was Thunder Cats are GOOO! I was pretty gripped making the crux moves as you move right around the arete, but with the sun behind the clouds at the this point it felt pretty good. Result.

I noticed that Propeller Wall E5 5c was still in the shade. This is a very bold lead with terrible gear and I had backed off this a couple of weeks ago. I abseiled down and checked the moves, which were fine when you knew where to go. A quick rest and I soloed this as well. Psyched that I had ticked a couple of good routes I went about onsight soloing a couple of other routes that looked pretty good. Peg Crack HVS 5a*, Peg Wall E1 6a, Little John E1 5b* and Short Circuit E2 5c* rapped up the session.

It was 26 degrees when I left and I am now off out on the road bike forthe first time in ages.

Friday, 24 June 2011

Easy Day at Heptonstall

Above: Brown Sugar E2 5c**

Today I met up with Ed and Phil and went to Heptonstall. After yesterdays efforts at Troller's, I was keen for an easy day on good routes I had done before. I started us off leading the surprisingly good Main Line VS 4c**. Phil Then led his first HVS in Bull's Crack HVS 5a***. Moving well over the tricky ground, it proved to be a good challenge which he dispatched pretty swiftly.

Below: Phil on Bull's Crack

Ed decided to try Brown Sugar E2 5c**. He did pretty well, put came up short at the stiff crux through the over lap. Whilst he recovered from the pump I led the route, feeling the tired arms through the crux. I'm never disappointed with the quality of these routes. Phil made a valiant effort to follow, but got a bit too pumped. Ed then followed the route, armed the knowledge of where to go this time it went a lot smoother.

Above: Through the Crux of Brown Sugar

To finish off we went to the left hand outcrop where Phil led Lumber Vertebrae VS 4c**, which is much better than it looks. I soloed the last couple of the routes I had not done on this buttress to end the day. A nice chilled day.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Trollers Gill

I met up with Pete Harris at Troller's Gill Today. There was meant to be a few folks out today, but it ended up being only Pete and I. Despite the very heavy rain on the way there, the crag was bone dry. I had not been here before, but had heard of a few good routes, one of which Pete had been trying. Haslam Is a stiff 7b***, but I was hoping with Pete's beta to get it first go. I warmed up on the easiest line there, The Jack Flap 6b+, while Pete did The Jim Grin 7a*** (which he says he has wired). I was ready to give Haslam a bash and was cruising till I missed a crucial hold at the crux, GUTTED! Pete was then up. He had already had a quick play to refresh his memory with the crux, so cruised through this time. Despite doing the top tricky section differently, he coolly clipped the top. I didn't rest as long as I should have, so had to lay one on to finish the crux, but thankfully recovered fine to finish the route.

Pete then put some work into Hoodoo Guru 7b** (stiff), but despite making good progress tiredness meant that the lead will have to wait. I then flashed The Jim Grin, which I thought was only really 6c+, but awesome! With this done, I had a go on Angel Heart 7c+**. This is very bouldery, but the moves are excellent. Although I was getting tired, and managed to do all the moves, but need to come back when I am fresh.

A good venue that stayed dry and does not suffer from seepage.

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Sunday, 19 June 2011

3 Peaks Challenge

This weekend I was working on another 3 Peaks for Max Adventure. The group was a mix of folks from all over, some doing it for charity and others just for the challenge. I this is the quickest group that I have worked with to date, with their total time being 21 hours 26 minutes. The key to their success was their speed in descent.

A massive well done to all.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Wellington Crack

Today Dan and I went to Ilkley. Dan has not been that well and I was still a little tired from the days earlier in the week, but we were hopeful. We started off climbing a couple of good VS's, then after backing off a bold E5 I thought that I would just get on Welli Crack E4 5c***. I had been waiting to climb this for about 10 years, so even though I was not on form, I could not really keep putting it off. Overall was going pretty well, but a foot slip and excessive one arm lock off at the crux meant I was a bit more pumped than I hoped to be at the top. On the very last move I did not use the hold as well as I could. Reaching for the top my hand parted with the hold and I was air born. A bit gutted, I finished off. The climbing is amazing, but definitely suffering from the excessive top roping.

We finished off our session having a go on Guillotine E6 6b***. This is a bold solo, so top roping it first is a sensible decision for us. The crux was a little tricky and took a minute to work out. Once we had this sorted it was very straight forward. A bit too tired to solo it, it will be there for the next visit.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Wilton 2

Above: Through the crux move of The Swine E3 6a***

After a steep day at the Roost yesterday, I was not sure how well I would do today. However, when Elliot suggested the Main Wall at Wilton 2 I was psyched to try and tick all the 2 and 3 star routes I one visit. This would be 6 routes at E2 and above, so I stiff challenge. It was very warm in there today which instantly stop and attempt on the two hardest routes. Still four to go at though.

Elliot nipped back home to grab a couple of bouldering mats, so I took the time to ab and clean a very dirty Iron Orchid which some how ended up first on the list. After removing grass from holds in the crux, Elliot was back and it was game on. The heat made the bold lower arete feel greasy and quite tricky. I had also not brushed the arete as it looked ok, I should have. Thankfully I made it to the jugs and pegs at 8m without taking the plunge. The crux through the groove was one pretty hard move, that felt ok when I went for it (thank god I had cleaned the hold). Easy climbing to finish and one in the bag. Elliot was up next, but unfortunately took a couple of falls of the crux and got some good rope burns for his efforts.

Despite it being very hot now, I had a go on The Swine E3 6a***, but got shut down by a sweaty sloppy side pull. I spat my dummy out, but stopped sulking and led Wilton Wall E3 6a*** instead. This has some great climbing on it, but is over graded. Even in the heat it felt benchmark E2 5c. Elliot then led Falling Crack E2 5b** (stiff and harder than Wilton Wall). This had some excellent moves on thin jams and was steeper than it first appeared.

Below: Elliot on Falling Crack

It had cooled down a bit no the sun had moved off the wall so I got back on The Swine. the side pull was still sweaty, but I managed to use a thinner, sharper side pull instead. After that it eases off to the top. A good way to end the day, as my feet didn't want to go back in my shoes again.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Sleepy Hollow

After the efforts of the walk and drive to work on Scafell on Sat night/Sunday morning, I was still a little tired today. Despite the driving rain that started yesterday afternoon and only finish in the early hours of the morning. I was still confident the Roost would be dry and Ed joined me with a similar view. I think the best way to describe it's condition when we arrived, was dry enough. Chip and Pin is the usual warm up. This was hard work today as it was soaking in the lower section. By the end of my warm up it was not too bad.

Ed was just back from Download Festival, so was taking the view that all and any climbing was a bonus. This said he was making good progress on Chip and Pin considering the conditions.

I have been working my way through the routes here and next up was Sleepy Hollow E6 6b***. This felt different to the routes I had done before as it was less crack climbing, more face and feature climbing. The route was still damp. Being at my absolute limit of possible onsight grade, I ended up having to sit on the gear and brush the route. I think it is fair to say I would have failed. The climbing was quite blind in places, but brilliant. Hard climbing led to the chimney and a good rest, then slightly easier climbing to the top. Once the route was clean and I knew where I was going, it was much smoother second go.

Only 3 more routes to go!

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Scafell Pike

Last night Andy and I met a group from Max Adventure at the base of Scafell to guide them up and down as part of their 3 peaks. They were a bit late getting to us, so we only started walking at 21:40 which meant we would be in the dark for the majority. This can sometimes slow folks down a lot, but these guys coped really well and made the round trip in 3 hours 55 mins. I made it back home by 4:30 for a bit of sleep, but an early night will be needed tonight.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Halldale Quarry

Above: Approaching the Crux of Dark side of the Room 7a+*

The weather has been a lot better today, but there were showers forecast. These possible showers and the fact the Em is not overly keen to belay me on tricky trad routes (seems fair), meant a spot of bolt clipping was in order this morning. I was not going to be climbing all day, so a few good value routes that could be onsighted or ticked quickly would be great. Halldale Quarry seemed to fit the bill with routes of 22m and a couple of 7a+'s to try and onsight. This was probably another venue that I would probably only visit once, so it was all good.

A quick warm up on the only 3 star route in the guide, Burning Spirits 6b*** which has some nice easy climbing to the roof, then a short nippy crux up through it. I then started up Spooktakula 7a+**. Again this was pretty easy to the roof, where a bouldery crux and wet,dirty hold saw me blow the onsight. After a good brush the move was still tricky, but I could now pull on the crucial hold. Nice to get it second go.

After chilling out and looking at some fossils in the rocks around the bottom, i got on Dark Side of the Room 7a+*. I thought that this was the best route of the lot. Steady, but interesting climbing all the way to the crux, which was a massive reach to a hidden hold, which I failed to get and tried to pull through on a total horror. Failure!!! Again this route went second go.

Below: At a good rest before the crux of Dark Side of the Room
All in a few good routes, but onsighting here felt tricky due to the fact that the climbing was a little reachy and the holds a bit hidden.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Great Crack

I am on a break down in Matlock with the wife, so climbing is not a priority this week. That said I have to get my fix and there are some amazing crags here to get stuck into. Unfortunately, the weather has been heavy showers on and off, so I don't want to start up something tricky and have a epic. Instead, I thought I would go and climb Great Crack HVS 5a**** at Duke's Quarry. This is one of the Eastern Grit Top 50 climbs, and I am unlikely to drive down here to do this one route any other time, so now is perfect. Well except for the rain. The quarry is very overgrown and like venturing into the wilds, yet still very impressive. The route follows a outstanding crack for 30m on perfect jams through some good steepenings. We arrived an the route looked almost dry. At that point a thunderstorm started and the route was soaked in record time.

Above: Lovin' the rain and getting psyched

I was undeterred and started sorting the rope out to Em's amazement (she thinks I'm a little stupid and is probably right). The start was pretty hard work, but once past the first couple of moves it is relatively straight forward to the top. Despite the rain and water in the crack, the climbing was excellent. Sustained at the grade and very well protected (if you have a couple of gold camelot's), one I would recommend if you are in the area. Maybe wait for a good dry spell if this is your limit. Not surprisingly Em was not too fussed to second. So I stripped the route just in time for the rain to start and the sun come out.

Enough rain and ming for one day, we headed into Matlock for a brew.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Asthma UK 3 Peaks Challenge

This weekend I was working on a 3 Peaks for Asthma UK on behalf of Max Adventure. There were 55 participants taking part and raising money for this very important charity. As an Asthma sufferer, I was not even aware of the number of people that die each day as a result of Asthma. So any way that awareness can be raised the better.

Thankfully this week the weather has been kind. Cool and dry which helps massively with the temperature for walking, and keeps spirits high when your nice and dry. All teams managed to come in under the 24 hours and raise a massive amount of money for Asthma UK in the process.

Well done everyone.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

The Kilnsey Burn

Above: Dan on Hardy Annual

As the temperature was back up, it was time to take the first trip of the season to Kilnsey. I met Dan, Pete and Tony there, hoping it would not be the usual first visit epic.

I have been making an effort to climb more steep things this year and was hoping for a quick tick of something a bit tricky. I started off putting the clips in Metal Guru 7c**, but found it had some hard moves on pockets which don't agree with my finger's. I bailed off this and turned my attention to Comedy 7c***, thinking it might be good to work my weaknesses. After a couple of goes on this, it was clear that I didn't have the guns, the Kilnsey shutdown had struck again.

Dan was making good progress on Hardy Annual 7b** and Pete had just redpointed it, so I thought I would give that a lash. With all Dan and Pete's beta I was psyched to flash the route and flip the of Kilnsey back in my favor. Pete and Tony climbed Dodger Direct E3 5c**, whilst Dan was working hard on his redpoint. He came frustratingly close, one hold away before sagging onto the rope. Unfortunately, the hard start had taken it's toll, but I'm sure it will go next time.

I was getting pretty tired, but thought it was about time I did The Directissima 6c***. A great route, but really suffering from over use as a warm up. Tony had a few goes on this as well, whist Pete also got shutdown on Comedy. I wrapped my day up climbing Face Value E5/7a+** and then Directissima again it can't get that more polished).

It's good to get shutdown and know what to work on, but nice to succeed every now and then at Kilnsey.