Monday, 25 February 2008

Double Gardom’s

Ended up going to Gradom’s Edge both days this weekend.
Saturday after a lateish start I headed out on my own to Gardom’s South to meet up with team Dobbin and the Beekeeper. I arrived before the others and warmed up on G-thang and the sitter. It was overcast, mild and windy with dampness in the air and the rock didn’t feel too grippy. I’d moved on to half-heartedly trying Barry Sheene by the time the Beekeeper arrived. The Beekeeper is a friend of old who I’ve climbed on and off with, shared houses with, been on many skiing and climbing hols, but don’t see so often now he’s moved to Tideswell. Got word from Ben that they’d pushed on to Eastwood thinking Gardom’s could be wet. Barry Sheene wasn’t going too well in the less than prime conditions so showed Beeks some of the other probs in the area including the pocketed wall on the opposite side of the Sauvitto block. Did this and then spent a while cleaning and climbing an extended finish up the rib above. The new bit is really good fun in not too hard but a bit scary way. No change to the grade, but makes for a much more complete problem.
Then took Beeks over for a look at English Voodoo. The top bit felt a bit too easy for the 7a grade I gave it, but I couldn’t touch the sitter I’d given 7b. Just goes to show how hard and imprecise an art grading new things is. Went away thinking the stand-up might be 6c+ and the sitter 7b+, but they could feel totally different again on another day, hey ho.
Feeling fully warmed up I was keen to get on this project of sorts I’d tried a few weeks back. I say of sorts as it is eliminate in that it tries to climb an established problem (Rob Smith’s problem Dirty Business) without a pair of large hand holds out right. A lovely sharp, smooth, quarried arête, vertical on the left and overhanging on the right side up which the line goes. The handholds amount to one positive headheight crimp, low friction arête pinches with very little for thumbs and small well spaced footholds close to the arête. The difficulty ends at about 4m with a big flat break and a fun easy high bit. When you see the feature and try the moves it seems much more of a true line than the description suggests. I’d go as far as saying it turns a fun but relatively trivial none-eliminate, into a brilliant, utterly absorbing eliminate. Truth is that I’d not spotted the possibility until Adam mentioned it (hope he doesn’t mind me pinching it). On the previous attempts I’d figured a way to get a fair way up it by whacking a heel round the corner, pinching hard with the left hand and crossing over to a thumb down pinch with the right on a high sharp bit of the arête which has a smidge more friction than the glassy rock around. On that day I’d been completely unable to move anything from that position without barndooring off. Session two and I was getting easily into the position, but still struggling to do anything with it. Poor old Beekeeper was forced to stand around getting cold while I repeatedly barndoored off the same move time and time again. Stopped for a rest and got a text from Dob who’d moved on from Eastwood via Calver café to the Sauvitto end of the crag. After making an attempt at stepping right foot high onto the start crimp I figured out a possible way to move up. From the heel-hook, pinching both arête holds hard, lean out and carefully slide left foot to a small notch on the arête. At this point you are teetering on the edge of barndooring off leftward with only thumb friction keeping you on as you stand onto the notch and step onto the start crimp to stop the barndoor. Then it was back to barndooring off time and again, this time one move higher, trying to figure a body position that would allow progress. I figured it might be possible to do a crossover slap to the break from these holds, but couldn’t get set properly. Tried getting pushed on and after a few goes manage to land the slap to the break from the same holds but with right foot off completely and a left knee tucked around the arête. However try as I might I could not climb into this subtly different position from the deck. It’s starting to feel like this Saturday is going to be a repeat of last Saturday, totally knackering myself out on a project and then not doing it.

Here's a pic from session one on Plan D. Thanks for pic go to Cofe

Beeks was cold and ready for home by then and I needed a rest so I let him off the hook and ran over to Sauvitto to see if I could blag Ben into spotting me. I arrived just in time to catch him cruising Sauvitto after having done it once already off the boulder. Good to see him looking confident and fluid on the grit and loving it. He’s happy to spot we rush back to the arête with maybe an hour of daylight left. A bit of a rest, better nick and some Morton psyche and I get to the move and latch the crossover slap on the first try. Get in! Ten minutes later and the sitter is added too. The sit doesn’t have any hard moves but does make the top a bit harder. We discuss grades and I’m settling for hard 7b+ stand-up and 7c from sitting, but as ever it’ll need repeats to confirm this. Ben tries for the repeat in the failing light but is struggling with the tenuous step-up before the slap. It’s the sort of move that takes a few goes to get the feel of. He agrees the climbing is class anyway. I’m not sure if you’re allowed to give names to eliminates these days, but feel this one deserves it’s own identity. I’ll call it Plan D after a Bill Fay song I can’t get out of my head at the mo and see how much stick I get for it.

Sunday in brief. It looks set to rain mid-day but decide to go out anyway and try Heartland and Mark’s Roof Direct at Gardom’s North. Climbing with Fi initially, Katherine and Vicky B turn up later as the rain starts. We hide under Mark’s roof and eventually the rain stops. Nearly bag it off and head indoors, but find one problem nearly dry, the 7a left of Heartland and persuade folk to have a play on this and see if other stuff dries off. Manage the 7a, then try Heartland as it dries. Have to keep shielding the slopers with various items to keep more rain off. Andy H pops by on his way back from an out of nick Raventor and gives me some beta, I also phone Mawson for beta, but end up doing it in a completely different way to both the suggestions. Not a bad problem, some good moves, but pretty soft for 7c when you get it figured. Then try Mark’s Roof direct which feels hard, but mostly very scary due to having a very solid heel-toe and shit handholds. Visions of dangling head-first off a broken ankle prevent any real commitment. Fi pulls it out the bag again and manages Mark’s Roof Left Hand and is well pleased. Good weekend all round.


Tim said...

Genius - Vics looks psyched!

dobbin said...

you did well to get out on sunday. I thought it mightnt be up to much, and after doing 7ball and getting rained on, went home. Had jobs to do, and skin was terrible, so it wasnt so bad. Hurrah for the gstone!