1 October 2010

No Trick Pony

Not so long ago I thought that I could climb trad, sport, winter routes and boulder averagely well, unfortunately this summers climbing has shown me otherwise.

Rodellar: I should have learnt that it takes time to swap from one type of climbing to another after I had a bit of a schooling on the Cornish granite in May after spending the winter hanging on axes. But I forgot this lesson and thought that good practice for Rodellar would be some slopey bouldering and trad slabs. Wrong! but where in the UK can I find 50m 45 degree roofs to climb on?? aaaannnnyway, no excuses I was well out of my league as I had done no training (I had guessed how I would climb in Spain in the heat of August anyway). On a more positive topic, I was blown away by the scale and quality of Rodellar's routes, massive lines through huge roofs..... WHY have i not climbed here before??? oh yea! I've been on massive lines, huge roofs all spiced up with axes and hanging ice. None of this Rodellar style red pointing in the sun with a mullet, a reefer and a crowd.  One day I might get fit and climb there though, definitely maybe.

So having justified my crap sport climbing performance I went back to what I thought I knew. Trad.......after a couple of good sport routes at Portland (vertical routes!!!) with Andre who is impressively collecting 8a's. My highlight was managing to crimp and mantle my way to a redpoint of Dumbfounded 7b fairly quickly.

Back to the trad then..... a trip to Swanage with Dan who is collecting an impressive tick list of onsight E5's all over the country. Unfortunately Lean Machine was still on Dans 'to do' list so I found myself abseiling an increasing distance from the Lean Machine wall to the boulders below. Once we had touched down on the boulders and set up a belay I used Sirius to warm up on, in fact I warmed up so much that I had to sit on a big fat nut half way up. Nice! E3 5b was beyond me. To further impress Dan (who has recently climbed the Nose in a day) I then spent a long time aiding up Lean Machine to clean the gear after his solid lead. A slight recovery of my ego was found on Brisingamen E5 6b which I managed to do ground up, albeit this was the second visit after an earlier trip with Pete.

By this point in the summer I was slightly missing Devon and its nice quiet slab climbs, however I had agreed to help Lukasz out with some photos and had planned to recruit a strong climber while I settled in to belay duty but it didn't quite work out like that, everyone was busy (or saw the forecast). So during the long trip north to Nesscliffe I had a long time to think about all of the routes that had beaten me during the previous month. When I reached the big sandstone quarry that used to hide highwaymen my only hope was that Pete would be keen to get amongst the pegs and run-outs but he was on a mission to tick 8a, 8a, VIII and E8 in a year. He said that so far 8a, 7c, VIII were in the bag and he was planning to check out My Piano for a headpoint. To warm up Pete had lead Red Square E2 so it was up to me to climb something different for the cameras which only really left E5 or harder. Putting my previous aid climbing to the back of my mind I gave Cones and Current a try and was happy to get to the top. Less happy after I studied the guide and it gave Cones and Current E4/5 (rather than E5 on UKC) I think E4 6b is about right but I didn't know that when I pulled off the ground.
Then it rained.
At this point it looked like I had delayed returning to Devon for a fortnight just to do an E4/5! I did have a 'Plan B' though; a pair of wet weather dry tooling axes were in my Land Rover. Simon was also ready to get the winter season started so the following day spent at White Goods justified the fuel bill a little bit more. Returning to climb at The Goods for the first time since 2009 (i think?) reminded me what an awesome route Power Pact is! however I'm a bit worried how little time on the axes I have had this year.............. maybe I can get some training started soon.........

But before I reverted to winter climbing I had some important business on the Great Wall. Darkinbad. Obviously I have known about this route for years but it had been too hard for me, now it felt within reach. Belayed by Stu (who has been unassumingly ticking lots of hard routes for years)

I set off from the boulder.

Unfortunately this story does not end happily for me, a lichenous slip combined with tired forearms to tumble me embarrassingly on to a small cam I thought almost too poor to place. Oh well, plenty more Darkinbads to try and onsight.

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