Sunday, 28 July 2013

Back to the Motherland

I returned to home for a few days, home of course being Yorkshire. I only managed 2 days out, and they weren't really very successful, but here they are anyway.
On my way down I stopped at Almscliff. After a bit of a play on Stu's Roof Left Hand I tried Si's Arete. I had come close on this a number of times but never managed to do the final move. After a quick work of the start I was soon back to my high point, going to the final hold. This move isn't big I just always find it hard to commit to. I tried a number of different foot positions and finally settled on a frogging approach. I did it on my second go after working this out. Im really pleased to send this as I have been trying it for a while. It is also the hardest problem I've climbed all summer at font 7a+.
The next day I went to Brimham rocks. This was a pretty bad trip. I left late so I didn't have much time to climb. I then managed to hurt my back whilst warming up, which has been giving me bother ever since. I did however manage a few nice things, most notably of which is a font 6b+ called Bellyflop. This problem is aptly named as it is the best way to top it out. I tried to do a stylish mantle on my first attempt but that failed so on my second go I just belly flopped onto the top. This problem goes through a roof close to the car park. I had been here on my first visit to Brimham but I couldn't do anything on it, which makes this tick quite significant for me. It means that atleast I have improved in the last year!
Sorry about the lack of photos again!

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Not much of anything

I have had 4 trips out since by last post managing to tick pretty much nothing.
I have been making use of my new Scottish Sport Climbs guide (review to follow soon!), visiting Kirrie Hill and Robs Reed near Forfar. They are both old quarries composed of a mixture of sandstone and conglomerate.
I went to Robs Reed with Jamie Sparkes and Alex Toomey. I climbed a 6b+ called Welcome To The Big Pocket, which as the name suggests features a big pocket. The crux was by far the mantle into the pocket, which I took a number of goes to get. After this I climbed on my second attempt a 6c+ called Get Shorty! and onsighted a 7a+ called Short Haul. On the left end of the crag are some steep roofs which have some short hard routes in them. I tried one called Dead Pull (7b+) but I dogged it. It didn't feel too hard but thanks to the nature of conglomerate it would be very hard to onsight.
A couple of days later I went to Kirrie Hill with Joanna Lisowiec. I spent most of the day climbing easy things, managing no more than 6b+, however I did manage to climb a 7b on my third attempt when we moved to the other section. The 7b was called Slim Pickins and feature a bouldery start followed by some big moves between jugs in the middle and finished with a hard crimpy boulder problem with very bad sloping sandy footholds.
Slim Pickins

Into the crux
I have also managed 2 days out bouldering. I had an afternoon at Cambusbarron and a day at Back Bowden. At Cambusbarron I tried Monkey Spanking. This route takes the left side of the Spanking the Monkey arete and gets font 7b. I took about an hour to work out how to get off the ground as there are no footholds on the overhanging face. I eventually managed the first move before falling off again. Maybe I need more body tension or maybe there is some sort of trick that I missed. Ill hopefully go back and try it again when I'm a bit stronger.
I had a nice day at Back Bowden yesterday. I only managed to tick a 6a+ but I did try lots of others. I managed to get to the last hold on Little Pixxies (7a), but I didn't hold it. I also climbed Low an Hard (7b) from a sit, it was just in the wrong place. The route starts very low on an under cut with a powerful move to the lip of the roof. After trying the start a few times and failing to do it I attempted the problem from the second hold and managed it. Unfortunately I can't claim this. I also worked a problem called Four Mats Wall (7b+) but I couldn't quite managed to finish it off.
You may have noticed if you have read back through my blog recently I have a new rating system based on thumbs. The maximum is 2 thumbs up and the minimum is 2 thumbs down. Its a 5 point system, a bit like conventional stars but its better as it has my name on it.



Distinctly Average

Disinfect Hands After Use

Thursday, 18 July 2013


So post names can sometime be hard to think of so I chose a colour which sums up my climbing recently. Its been sunny and warm, I've climbed on a lot of sandstone and feldspars in dolerite can look a bit orange at times.
I haven't posted since my return from Pabbay and Mingulay but don't think that I haven't been climbing. I have climbed in Yorkshire (Caley Crag, Caley Roadside and Shipley Glen), Northumberland (Rothley, Simonside, Kyloe In, Bowden and Shaftoe) and in the Central Belt (Dumbarton, Auchinstarry and Limekilns). I have mostly climbed by myself but I have been partnered by Oli Read, David Mayes, Greg Brown, Chris Williams and Karen Munro on occasions.
Describing each of my days out would he hard (there have been 12 of them) so here is a quick summary.
I had a nice run of form managing to climb font 7a on 6 consecutive climbing days. This all started at Shipley Glen on the 29th June where I climbed Parker, a nice little 1 move wonder undercut arete. On the 30th I stopped at Rothely crag where I climbed 2 font 7a's. These were Reclaimed, which is very soft, and Numbian, which is very hard to grade.
A couple of days later I returned to Rothely and despite spending most of the day working a 7a called Gloom, and failing to link it, I managed to climb another called In The Corner. I had tried this on my previous visit but I didn't get it. It went down pretty easy in the end though.
On the 5th July I went to Simonside and managed to flash a 7a called La Proue. I feel I must have done something wrong as it felt very easy and I did it in about 3 moves. It was mostly compression moves on slopers, and Im climbing pretty well on those particular holds at the moment so maybe it just suited me. I also almost ticked a 7a mantle called Baps but I kept on falling off with my hand in the finishing juggy pocket.
On the 7th I headed to Kyloe In were I managed to tick Jocks and Geordies sit start (font 7a). I had previously climbed it from standing but on my first attempt I couldn't remember the sequence at the top and fell off. I managed it on my next go though.
On the 10th I made my way to Bowden and spent lots of time falling off things, but I did managed to tick Y front direct, which really is a little more indirect when you look at the line, which gets 7a. This was my final 7a in my run of bouldering form.
In the last few days I have been getting out in the central belt. On the 15th I headed to Dumbarton for a day of polished bouldering. I spent lots of time working hard things before getting on a route called Physical Graffiti. PG gets E5 in the guide but I think high ball font 6b is more reasonable. This was only my second E5, although I don't really feel it is one. I have been on the shunt in the last 2 days at Auchinstarry and Limekilns. I went to Auchinstarry to work a route called Nijinksi (E5). This route takes a slabby arete next to the car park, and due to it situation and that it has bolts at the top it gets top roped a lot leading to it being quite polished in places. My initial attempt was quite poor as I worked out the moves but I managed to climb it clean on my second go. I wasn't really feeling the solo so I went home. I returned the next day and shunted it clean twice more before jumping on the solo. I managed to climb up to the crux (8m?) but I didn't want to commit to the moves around the arete. Luckily I could reach my ropes so I descended. Maybe this is one I will have to lead. On my way home I went to Limekilns were I attempted to shunt Slow Handclap (E7), but I didn't finish it as it's very hard!
I have bought the Scottish sport guide so hopefully I will get out on some sport routes soon. Sorry for the long post and no pictures!