Friday, 17 May 2013

Huntly's cave Projects. 1 failure..ish 1 success

The second day that Vic was up we decided to visit the small crag of huntlys cave. For such a small peice of rock it provides loads of stuff to go at. Most of which provides steep and strenuous crux's. We started off on Double Overhang, a lovely HVS 5a that tackles an impressive looking roof. Chose this route first to give Vic a flavour of what Huntly's Cave is all about. It provides relatively long routes too which is a bonus.

Huntlys cave, Me and Spot

A quick ab down led onto one of a few routes left that i have yet to climb, Huntly's Jam. A steep, hard crux E2 5c. I had previously climbed up to the crux and bottled it after not feeling confident going through the roof. This time i had more confidence and flew up past the crux and found myself stopped panting for breath on a pedestal. Still steep but not steep enough to warrant a push to the top before i fell. I rested here sussing out the final moves up the vertical headwall. Got to the top very happy with how i felt on the route and how i climbed it. Bring on one of my main projects :)

Just before the Jam

Lime street has all ways seemed to hard for me to even bother with. It looks a bit full on and desperate from the ground with no real beta from wherever you look at it. I got on the route with the mentality that i would probably climb up, not fancy it and ab off/downclimb scared. However, I got sucked into the route and soon found myself battling with the crux 6a move.

I had got to the crux feeling anxious, apprehensive and a bit scared. In reality i was safe as i had good gear and could of easily done the crux if hadn't hung around on steep ground for around 5 mins. Justifying a try at the crux i went for it, moving up to the crux crack and placing a solid nut i went for a high right hand finger lock which is the last pull before the finishing jug. Unfortunately i missed the finger lock and didn't have the strength/bottle to try Fell back to the steep rest, placed another bomber wire to sort my head and got the crux second go kicking myself at how amenable it felt with fresh arms. Ah well, will have another go next time. Hold on though! Whats this...the guide book mentions finishing through a roof. No problem i thought, it wont be as hard as that crux so i will be ok. Climbed up to the beck of the roof and looked back at the 1.7m span that the roof provides! No way does it go up there, twice i tried the second crux and twice i didn't want to commit as i couldn't find any decent holds to feel confident on after my previous knock in confidence. Damn it! Finished up the HVS to the left and that was that. El-bottle collapsio. 100% i can climb this route though, just need some trad mileage to get the technique, stamina and mind boost that it will take to climb and enjoy it.

A good, promising day out :)

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Souter Head

In Aberdeen for a two day Work related course gave me a chance to explore the Aberdeen coast. Never seem to get too excited about this part of Scotland. Think its due to my lack of knowledge about the great but scattered routes that are on the NE coast. Each venue seems to struggle to provide more than 4 worthwhile routes, one place that is an exception to this rule is Souter Head. Kev and Tony had managed to get some time to get some routes done in the evening, we aimed to get an easy day of trad in the sunshine. As usual the forecasters had failed to deliver a forecast with anything above a 10% accuracy rate. We had good fun on slab top chimney, a route Kev and Tony had wanted to do in a while, until the drizzle started.

Grassy Pinnacle
 We quickly climbed Brookers arete, a lovely little route that climbs a striking arete. Although the conditions weren't great all three of us enjoyed the route.
The Pobble VS 4b
 I then wondered over to the grassy pinnacle to have a look at the classic E1, Mythical Wall. Unfortunately it was too wet to climb and we decided to climb The Pobble. Having climbed the Pobble last year with Ali i knew what to expect so was happy to climb it in less then dry conditions! Its a good route with a steep start leading to a nice pull onto a safe and steady traverse across the slabby upper face.
The Pobble

The next day Vic came up from Derby to join me on an awesome sunny afternoon. The plan was to tick all the routes on the same Pinnacle as Pobble. These being Mythical Wall E1 5b, Over the Top E2 5b and Pickpocket E2 5c. Super sunny weather stayed with us the whole afternoon and all three lines were climbed O/S. First route, Mythical, was still a little damp but soon gave way to dry crack climbing above which was great fun and safe. Next route, Over the Top, shares the same start but goes straight up instead of following the fault left. after a couple of 'looks' to work out the thin and strenuous pull through the roof i went for the crux move successfuly. Ended up getting pretty pumped though so slowed down my climbing trying to get rid of the pump. Awesome laybacking moves to the top finish the route.

Last route climbs the seaward face. Pickpocket climbs the thin wall, it took quite a while to suss out the sequence as the holds are quite hard to read from below. Once the niche is reached one more 5b move see's you on the run up to the top.

Great two days, Vics up now for two days so see what other places we will end up.