Monday, 20 April 2015

Work, Wilton, Work, Bolts and More Work

A very full week started with some route setting at ROKT on Tuesday.  A half day re setting the Summit room was a welcome rest from the 21m Lead wall.

On Wednesday I had some coaching work in the afternoon in Bolton.  I decided to head over early and head to Wilton 4 to finish off a route I tried last time, but was dirty.  I was glad to get there so early, as the weather soon started to turn.  My commitment was rewarded with solo ascents of White Horse E4 6b and Teacher's Crack E4 6c*.  Teacher's being a seemingly rare repeat.  As the weather crapped out, the coaching session with Bolton Boys School was redirected to Climb Rochdale.  this worked really well, as we did a focused session of steep group.  The lads did really well working through a set of moves they don't normally use.
The EB Baroud crag sac getting a run out

On Thursday I went back to Troller's Gill to finish off Tinderbox 7c+.  After warming up I climbed through the new crux, only to pull another big hold off.  I then spent time seeing if I could still do it that way, before binning it,  Looking around, I found a way to the right using what was left of the original flake.  This gave some awesome climbing and I managed to do the route this way.  What would have been a day tick in it's original condition, turned out to be a proper challenge of perseverance for me.

Over the weekend I have been running an SPA Training course in the Peaks.  Dry and sunny weather made this a pleasant weekend that the candidates have taken a lot from.  I hope to see them back at the end of the summer for an Assessment.

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Busy Week

It has been a busy week.  I finished setting the lead wall at ROKT and managed to get a bit of bouldering at Almscliff yesterday with the family. 

Almscliff was more productive than I thought it would be. I ticked of a few classics I hadn't done for a while, and also put the Keel 7c to bed.  I found this as hard as ever, but managed to get my toe and heel to stick.  On the only other time I'd tried the problem, this was the thing that stopped me ticking it.  Rose got involved with some cheeky slabs that would be challenging for someone her size.  She definitely has the Hughes rockover climbing genes.  We met Dan up there so I did a quick couple of route to E4 with him before heading home.

The keel

Rose sending large

Today I went sports climbing for the first time this year with Ben to Trollers Gill.  After yesterday I was pretty tired. So after warming up, I thought I'd swing around on Tinderbox 7c+. It was coming together well, but the original crux is no longer then hard bit. The lose of a crucial flake means a new harder crux comes straight after the original one. Once sussed, I managed all the moves, but could only lead it in 2 today. Much higher in the grade now, but hopefully it will go next visit.

Monday, 23 March 2015

Scarlet Fever

After waking up to a damp day, I scrawled through the guidebook looking for a crag that faced the right way, was sheltered and not too far to drive so the journey would not be wasted.  I came up with Mytholm Steeps.

There were a couple of things to go at, but they needed a good brush and a little time for the few damp bits to dry.  Whilst cleaning I noticed the potential for a line on the wall to the left.  That was dry, so I cleaned it up and had a play whilst I was waiting.  The climbing was excellent, but what little protection there might be seemed poor. After toproping the route a few times, I decided it was to go for the solo.  I had a pad with me which at least partly cushioned the boulder below the first crux at 5m.  More good technical climbing followed to reach the final crux move to the top. An exciting dynamic pop to a flat jug.  From there the route followed Nick the Grip to the top.

Into the first crux, point of no return 
That gave the F.A. of Scarlet Fever E7 6b*
25m. A little eliminate, in that it climbs the wall between The Rift and Nick the Grip without using either arete. Climb the right side of the wall on positive flat holds. At the you would then move onto the arete, make a long move left to a good edge and get established on it. Climb straight up the left side of the wall with some cunning mid way. Holds then lead left to the second crux, a wild move to the top. Finish up Nick the Grip. micro cams may be place in poor/hollow sounding rock at approx half way. A good belayer may keep you off the ground if they hold.
The line
Once I'd finished with Scarlet Fever, I got to Flash Edge of Extinction E2 5b * * and Nick the Grip E4 5c *. A great day after the weather this morning.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Back To Basics

The classic Sheriff 
I had a couple of hours at Woodhouse this morning to try and get back in the swing of rock climbing.  It's fair to say I have lost a lot of strength over the winter for the steep stuff.  However, the not so steep seems fine.  I rattled off a few classics, along with a handful of the 7b+'s first go.  Hopefully the strength will come back quick with a few focused sessions.

Big moves across Angelface 
Finishing off the Roof Eliminate 

Monday, 16 March 2015

Watson's Winter Climbing Weekend

I wrapped up my official working season with stunning weather in the Cairngorm for the George Watson College Winter Weekend.  This year we opted to take full advantage of the weather and just go climbing.

I was climbing with Vicky, Adam and Richard, with the aim to do 2 routes on the Saturday if possible.  We climbed a really varied Central Gully Left Hand II.  It had cool thin iced slabs low down, snow in the middle and a great little ice pitch at the top,  After a bite to eat on the top, we nipped back down and climbed Goat Track Gully II in excellent condition.

Vicky getting grips with the thin starting pitches

Richard enjoying the ice at the top

Goat Track Gully

Spiral in great nick

Vicky having fun

Adam loving it

Yesterday we strolled in and climbed Spiral Gully II.  I offered the direct finish alternative, but was quickly shot down.  We topped out in sunshine again and ate some food.  Tired legs and bodies won out, and we walked back down via 1141m for coffee and cake.  Another great day on the hill in good company.  A real fitting way to round off a busy season back and forth.

Friday, 13 March 2015

CIC Hut Week

Despite the poor weather forecast for the week, it has been a very productive course, with muchos sendarge!!  Andy and Alex were hoping to tick off a number of routes between grade IV and VI if conditions allowed. We had the plan to keep an open mind and to work around the forecast to give ourselves the best chance of success.

Sunday started pretty well.  We walked in mid morning and dropped off our kit at the hut.  A quick turn around took us up into Observatory Gully, where we climbed Hadrian's Wall Direct V, 5***.  Not a bad start.  

The forecast for Monday was poor, but a small window early morning gave the chance to do something before it hit.  The first of a few 4 am wake ups, got us out early and up an excellent Two Step Corner V, 5 *** and back to the hut before the weather peaked.
Alex approaching the first belay on hero ice

Spindrift getting worse with the weather moving in

A great forecast for Tuesday took us back up to Number 3 Gully Buttress and up the classic Gargoyle Wall VI, 6 ***.  A first grade VI for both and in outstanding icy condition, made it a bold proposition.  Every pitch delivered in quality and value, making it a great experience.  We climbed Rien ne vu Plus V, 5  on the way back to the hut to top off a Stunning day.
Andy enjoying quality Ben Nevis Icy mixed

Starting up an extremely icy Gargoyle Cracks

Andy looking glad to be near the belay

Alex fully engaged

More super icy and bold climbing on the top chimney

Wednesday required another 4am wake up.  We were rewarded with outstanding conditions and a glorious morning on Vade Mecum V, 5 ***.  This is and excellent climb and not often in, so a real steal on the day.
Andy cruising up pitch 1 of Vade Mecum

Alex staying relaxed on the very steep crux of Vade Mecum

After another 4am wake up on Thursday, the gamble didn't pay off.  Blown out by the really strong winds as we tried to approach a route,  we had to concede.  Patience and commitment won through though as we nipped out at 16:15 and did Italian Right Hand IV, 4***.  This felt like a real victory after the mornings efforts.
When the weathers bad, BAKE!! Blair kindly bringing supplies on his was to SAIS Forecasting 
A close second to the climbing this week
Today we climbed Point 5 V, 5***, which was not in the best conditions for the leader.  Poor ice and crud made it a serious outing. The amazing weather helped make up for it though.  After a bit of food and drink in the sunshine on the summit, we nipped down Number 3 Gully and climbed Winter Cascade IV, 5*.  This was in excellent condition, with some great steep ice to finish off a great weeks climbing.
one of the rare sections with good ice on Point 5 today

Alex through the Narrows
Andy enjoying the Point 5 experience

Through the Rogue Pitch and on the glory

Stunning ice on a fat Winter Cascade

Stunning views on top

Alex romping down No.3

A stunning end to a challenging, but great week.

Once I get back to a computer, I'll add some pictures.   Big thanks to Andy and Alex for there efforts to make this such a great week.

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Turbo Thaw Ending

As I  drove up north yesterday from sunny Yorkshire into the ming, it was clear that a significant thaw was in full flow.  Looking at pictures on the sais blogs it shows a considerable snow loss.  It does feel a bit cooler at sea level this morning, and the sky is blue with the sun shining.  I'm about to head up for a week in the CIC hut, so let's hope the forecast holds and we can get some cool stuff done.  A dusting of fresh snow gives a bit of hope.