Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Turning Stone

From lime to grit.

It seems the remainder of my motivation for the lime is tied to the Cornice routes. With these wet and looking unlikely to dry out this year, evenings getting too short to go out after work and few exciting short term objectives left for me at the main dry limestone venues, my mind has been turning to the grit and tradding.
Being involved in the production of the forthcoming BMC Froggat to Black Rocks guide has got me interested in some of the less well frequented crags again. This weekend I got around to checking out some potential new lines I’d spotted ages ago at Turning Stone Edge. Turning Stone is an oddball crag and has never been popular, which is a shame as the climbing is good and a bit more popularity would go a long way to solving its biggest problem – rhododendrons. The upside of this neglect is a bunch of good new routes at amenable grades, ripe for the pickin’.
I had been over one evening in the week and abbed a couple of lines and was keen to try them ground up. Saturday I went there with Fi who had decided to rest her sore elbows and take on belay duty.
New route one was a fairly trivial filler in up the upper left arete of Amber Buttress, called Amber Gascoigne, safe but exciting E2 6a.
Number two is probably the best of the new finds. Calling the Grit E4 6b** crosses the left side of the roof between Second Chance and Happy Landing. Strenuous to place, but ok gear are placed and undercuts and edges lead to a very slopey horizontal pinch, this is used to make the crux move through the steepness to a good slot on the lip, a good cam and nice locky climbing to finish. I was quite pleased with this route as it’s the hardest ground-up new route I’ve done. There is potential for a good looking second pitch up the frontal roof of the upper tier.
The rest of Saturday was spent scoping other lines and cutting back rhodies on a new buttress.
Sunday was Turning Stone again to meet Feind, Cofe and Grimer. Started with a bunch of solos on the easier lines and then a solo of a new HVS 5b * - Tree Dimensional (vintage Cofield route naming). This route is essentially a very logical alternative start to an existing route. I think it improves on the other route, swapping a dull scrappy start for some lovely locking up a steep arete and then a nerve testing stride over the void. The finish is weird horizontal chimneying between menacing chock stones and a lot of fresh air. Feind and Grimer repeated the route and seemed to enjoy.
After more rhodie bashing the last new route of the weekend was added. Ballnut Whip (another Cofield gem) E3 6c * takes the line of least resistance up the front of the newly exposed buttress. The first moves from the lip of a roof are the crux and involve a deep committing heeltoe in a wide break whilst making a huge move off an edge to a pair of poor horizontal slopers, from which a good finger jug can be gained. Gear is low and a fall might leave you hanging upside down of a broken ankle. After repeatedly backing off this move (which I hadn’t practiced while cleaning) I opted to use a nearby tree to climb up and place the runners above the crux, then climb down and try with these in place thereby reducing the chances of injury. With these in place the route was very enjoyable and went first go. The top section is a beautiful fluted rib which looks like something you’d find on the lower tier at the Roaches. I think without the tree based skull-duggery the route would be E5 6c, but arguably less enjoyable.
All in all a good day and a good weekend’s pottering.

Some pics of Cofe's from Sunday:

Fiend on Baker's Groove

Grimer on Amber Arete

Me on Tree Dimensional


Fiend said...

Word. It was a fun day out.

So the highball V8 R grade didn't stick for Ballnut Whip then...

bonjoy said...

It felt more like V6 Q

Adam said...

Tree dimensional looks amazing word, but

'had been over one evening in the week and abbed a couple of lines and was keen to try them ground up'


bonjoy said...

Oops,well spotted, very sloppy writing. What I should have said was 'had been over one evening in the week and abbed a couple of lines and was keen to try them in an otherwise ground-up fashion'.
To be exact I spotted Calling the Grit while on a mission to check the possibility of climbing the middle of the big roof (it’ll go and will be an amazing E8 7a-ish affair, with a dyno to a jug on the lip of a 7 foot roof!). Didn’t try any moves on CtG, but saw the gear and holds on the bit after the crux. Not claiming this was an onsight or a big deal, but for me it was a minor triumph, as all other new routes of that grade or harder I’ve done having involved some amount of pre-practice or yo-yoing (the ascent was a flash).
Tree Dimensional was spotted while trying the rather excellent prow to its right (visible on the left of the pic).
Abbed Amber Gascoigne to clean a hold and cut of a branch.
Cleaned and cut back rhodies on Ballnut Whip on a rope. Did the top moves in trainers on rope, tried the crux but couldn’t do in trainers.