Tuesday, 18 March 2008


Saturday was as wet as it had been predicting all week. I had a cold in the post anyway. After a wet plod around town sorting shit I headed out through the fog and drizzle to have another look around Wharncliffe. Wet days are a good time to go looking for new lines. You aren’t wasting good climbing time and the lichen is soft enough to easily be brushed off in great swathes with a plastic floor brush. That said it’s a fairly miserable business tramping around wet bracken trying to imagine what this green filthy wet lump of rock might look like when dry. You really need the eye of faith. Spied a few bits to go back for but nothing strikingly good. Ended up at the Lescar later on and stayed fairly late, it’s hard not to when the weather is grim.

Sunday started out pretty dreary too. The deepening cold and mild hangover didn’t help much either. Eventually the weather sorted its act out and the decision to leave retreat to the wall as a late afternoon escape plan was vindicated. After much deliberation me and Mawson opted for the Plantation. Warmed up a bit, did Silk start (not the sitter), then went over to have another go at Back In The YMCA, a problem which I have been shut down on twice before. Bumped into Adam L and John Wainwright and heard the fabled Sharma was on his way over. Lots of cursing and crimping dirty little pockets ensued. Eventually a passable sequence was devised and Neil and Adam bagged the beast. Pretty hard for a supposed 7a+ (I Neil notice gave it hard 7b+ on his scorecard)! I got set up for the last move once but bottled the slap, then couldn’t get there again, I blame the lurgy. It’ll go next time. By now Sharma was warming up around Crescent arête. We had planned to go over and try Welford's newish problem below BAW’s Crawl – The Golden Path 7c, but what about getting the Sharma tick? We went over to try TGP. It’s hard! Fairly high with a pretty good landing, but tough all the way. After much jiggery pokery we figured a way to do the lower arête via a left heel-toe and a very poor sloper on the arête. I say ‘we’, in truth I never actually managed the move. This bit is good 7b/7b+ in itself and leaves you on two reasonable slopey crimps either side of the arête. Neil could get here most goes but was having trouble doing anything with it. Adam, John and then Bransby arrived, sadly no Sharma (the missus was feeling the cold so they went to the wall). Bransby managed the arête bit once but got stopped at the roof. Oh well, no team send today. Seems like a great problem, will probably become a classic one day. Must remember to ask the elusive Mr Welford for the numbers next time I see him.

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Hither and yon

Unlike the boundlessly energetic Mr Dobbin my blogging motivation ebbs and flows. The last week or so it’s definitely been on the ebb. But in the name of keeping things ticking over I shall attempt to sketch out in brief what’s been going on climbing wise (this is pretty much exclusively a climbing blog after all).

Sat 1st – Went Curbar then Burbage North. Had a good warm up at Curbar with Birkby, Crabstick, Jo and Gib. Then had lots of goes at Ben’s Wall with Gib. We could both hit the pocket with our right hands, but seemed nowhere near hitting it with the right motion to hang it. Think I’m missing some subtlety. Need to watch someone who has it dialled. Then went over to Burbage N on my tod to do The Terrace. A popular prob but one I’ve never got round to trying properly till this year. Last visit I’d figured the move but was a tired so didn’t do. This time I was not tired and it went down first try despite a sloppy cutloose near the top. Then tried Giza with the Sausage who had just arrived. Could get up high on it but was lacking commitment above the sloping landing.

Sun 2nd – Went to try an esoteric project at an undeveloped two problem quarry, Mervyn Stutter Crag. Strange place with kids toys all over the place and a vague smell of baby sick. Was out with Ned, Variable and Gentle Face. Warmed up on a nearby natural grit boulder, nice probs but all easy. In the quarry Ned did the easier right hand line at about 7a/+, for now it’s called Scooter Ram, quite good but not worth a visit in itself. After lots of effort on the left arête Ned nearly managed it at 7c+, but ripped off a key crimp on what would almost certainly have been the ascent. It will still go, but will be harder, maybe even 8a. Dan got pretty close to doing the move without the crimp. We then flew over to Eastwood for a play. Did a couple of solos and both the traverses. Saw Vicky and Sausage. Vicky had a good sequence on the trav.

Sat 8th – Had been out till early hour on Friday for Garen’s 30th party (where I met the legendary Nibile), so wasn’t up to much. It was a bit drizzly anyway. Went out to Froggatt to look at various things including Iain’s prob Jelly Bomb on the Hairpin boulder. Couldn’t suss the first move out so gave Iain a call. It turns out Iain topped this out direct rather than rightwards into the scoop as described in the guide (this could well be from me giving Ru dodgy info). Even with beta I could not touch the first move. It’s a hard problem, harder than most peak 7c, I suspect the 7c+ grade than Iain gave it originally might be correct (not sure how the downgrade arose). Managed a version of the stand start, which was a great 7a/+ in itself, although not the way Iain did the top as you end up with the other hand in the good hold when doing the sitter (and hand swapping is another hard couple of moves). Had another failed attempt at Ape Drape direct. It doesn’t feel hard, just committing. It then started to rain properly.

Sun 9th – Lovely day out at Rowtor with Cofe, Adam, Scouse, Harris, Roy, Busby and Jim (arrived later with sprog). Tried the Brazilian but couldn’t get my weight over the heel. Watched Andy do it twice, Roy once and Adam nearly stick it as a dyno. Did a good circuit of stuff – Blood Falls, Yoghurt Hypnotist, Domes SS and Bus Stop Mantle. Finally got round to trying a strange mantel I’d spotted years ago. Wasn’t fast enough and got gazumped by the Adam. Quickly managed a second ascent with the aid of Adam’s shin beta, plus a sneaky toe-hook roll of my own. Great little problem, very Castle Hill. Very hard to put a grade on this sort of thing, but opted for stern 7a, the prob is called The Mantelist.