Monday, 27 October 2008

A showery weekend at Rivelin

Friday’s weather vigil suggested that the weekend would be windy and intermittently wet. Scanning through my newly compiled grit ticklist Rivelin looked like a good sheltered option with a decent handful of things to go at. Nige had been enthusing about the quarry and we were both keen to have a look at some stuff there too.
Saturday we (me, Fi and Nige) arrived at the crag mid-morning. We boulder and solo about for a bit around the needle, between squally showers. Good to see Nige able to climb properly again after his shoulder op and subsequent long recovery. I’m struck again by how confident and assured he always is standing on rubbish footholds, where I often have head issues. We dodge a big shower and head over to try Auto Da Fe which seems to be staying dryish. Bump into James McCaffie along the way who’s waiting for a gap in the weather to do The Brush Off. By the time I’m racked up at the base of the climb the weather has really kicked in and the harness comes back off while we see what happens next. Nip around the corner and solo The Reprieve, which is just about staying dry. Finally even this gets wet, everything gets wet including all our gear. It’s too much, everyone decides it’s time to give up and we walk back to the cars with not much to show for the effort. Annoyingly it seems to stay dry after this and it feels like we might have given up at the wrong time. Arse! We decide to come back tomorrow if the weather allows.
Sunday, it’s just me and Nige, back at Rivelin in much less windy weather. Back to soloing around the needle. Nige does I’m Back, but the rains come again and I’m forced to jump off before getting committed to a rapidly wettening E4. Again we seek shelter at Auto De Fe, I’m starting to get déjà-vu. The cumbrian trad-wad is back too and he’s already on Auto, so we have to man up and head on to the bigger fish, namely a couple of two star E5s at the right-hand end of the crag, Moolah and New Mediterranean. The rain is not hitting the holds but the rock feels damp and greasy. I opt for a low side runner in Altar crack to protect the scrittly insecure 6a moves to reach the crucial mid height gear slot. The gear is pumpy to place, an rp 3, a rock 1 and a friend 0, all in the same slot. They seem pretty good and I scurry back down to the altar to de-pump. I climb up and down trying to figure the crux reach to the tiny ‘jigsaw piece’ hold, but I’m going about it all wrong. I come down again and let Nige have a do. He goes up and tries my sequence a couple of times but can’t make the lock either. The holds are by now very caked in chalk and feeling gakky in the damp, Nige hangs on the gear and gives the holds a much needed toothbrushing. With fresh arms and clean holds he soon figures a better way to get the holds and rocks out to the break. Beta now figured I head up again and climb through to the top without mishap. Great route, safe, bouldery and hard for 6b. Having placed the gear and done the down-climb we are now set up to get straight on New Med which uses the same runners. Nige goes first and gives it a good go but comes off due to moisture on the sloping flat undercuts. He tries again, gets his feet set but can’t quite make the huge span to a slot. A few more similar goes and no joy, but he’s getting super close. He decides to have one more shot from the start. This time he finds the extra inch and bags the route after a bit of pump on the upper wall. I go up after dodging another shower and have a similar experience, taking quite a few goes to crack a sequence that allows the big reach off sloping undercuts and non-footholds to be made. Another good safe route, this time 6c, with a couple of pumpy 5c/6a moves to finish. It’s getting on now but we have just enough time to do Auto De Fe, which feels relatively easy after the last two boulder numbers. It feels good to move fast and efficiently on a boldish E4. It’s not hard climbing, but I often dither on this sort of route and I feel I’m starting to get past my usual nerves and lack of trust in runners.
Good fun and three off my list. Satisfied. We never made it over to the quarry, but hopefully next time.

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