Monday, 15 January 2007

At last a weekend day where it didn't rain!

Throughout the week we feverishly check, recheck and check again the forecasts. Fragile hope against the odds that this foul wet winter might relent for at least a day and let us release our pent-up reservoirs of grit juju.
This winter, if you can call it that, has been an unusual one and a break from the few winters previous. Two factors have changed the dynamic somewhat. Firstly the weather. You don't need me to tell you it has been bad, very bad, exceedingly wet, grim, unpredictable in all respects other than it unremitting foulness. Perhaps a few more precious crag hours might have been squeezed out of the weekends/xmas break had it not been for factor two. The Works. It's all been said already elsewhere, it's a fantastic wall and rightly popular. Hence the change. Where last year there was always a hardcore out on all but the very worst days, looking for elusive dry rock and then as often as not all meeting up and having a big team day, this year the weather has just been so bad few have even bothered getting in the car most days. Other days have been bad but not insurmountably so for the persistent, but the lure of great problems, music, coffee and social down the wall has tipped the balance for many and the 06/07 winter has been dominated by indoor sessions, reveling in shared woe and seemingly distant memories of dry days out. I'm certainly not complaining though, the Works boys with their audacious venture have saved this winter from being a totally joyless experience. If the weather ever reverts to something like the usual passable mix of good and bad then i think we will all pour forth onto the crags massively psyched and technically honed in a way no other wall has ever done before. Every goose has a silver lining maybe after all.
This Sunday was a foretaste of this. One good day saw the crags busy with people pushing themselves and getting stuff done in a way which is unusual given that many had not touched rock for weeks. James succeeded on what must surely be Burbage Norths true last great project, I can think of no big lines left to go now routewise on the crag. Fine effort yoot and all the more so for the purist approach. Bransby dispatched what I had repeatedly touted as the last great line at Cratcliff. Perhaps a touch OTT given that it went at a mere 7C, but an awesome looking climb nonetheless. Yet again appearance prove deceptive and many locals, myself included, will be kicking themselves they didn't give this one a go.
As for my Sunday. Well it started badly with the wind giving us a thorough beating at Slipstones. Duely chastened we beat a retreat, in convoy through flooded backlanes, following Ham's sat-nav to Brimham. This turned out to be a good move. Quite a few of the large group which assembled agreed that Brimham was loads better than they had remembered and I think we all probably ended up doing loads more than we would have done at SS. The days haul: various warm-ups on Joker's Wall V2-V5, Acme Wall V3, Happy Daze V5, Happy Daze trav V8, Bilge Pump V4, Ritornel V3, Successor State V6, a good crack at James Ibbotson's new line Inner State (second ascent from Johnny Brown), the delightful Bellyporker's Progress E76c....ok V7 in the real world, Whisky Galore V6, Pair in a Cubicle V6 and a good go at a very scrittly V9 to the right. Followed by beer and curry, what more could you ask for, except maybe more next week!

5 comments:

Tim said...

Don't you know Brimham is a local crag for local people? I don't believe the truth of its goodness has now spread to the peak, it will never be a tourist filled climbing backwater again... Next time you come up we should get away from the edges and have a tour of the pinnacles, some quality gems to be had.

bonjoy said...

I can see a return visit happening before to long. To do the RH finish to Belly Porker's (hopefully James I will have cleaned it a bit by then) if nothing else. A tour of the hidden delights would be great.

Ben said...

You write well although I must say, this statement is mildly insulting :

"the Works boys with their audacious venture have saved this winter from being a totally joyless experience"

You dog of war, you goose most foul, you genre spanner! what about the leafiest of indoor venues? the crucible of power? Motion for Jonboy to be struck off the list...

bonjoy said...

Ooops. Sorry, well said. The Matrix will always hold a special place in my heart ;)

bonjoy said...

Have had a couple of really good sessions down the School lately. You keen to go there next Tues?? I need some psyche for Chips and Gravy!!!