31 July 2011

Something to get your teeth into

Dental slab has been on my list for longer than this year. I first looked at it when I went to climb its neighbour President's Slab with my wife five or so years ago. It a huge sweep of perfect grit and at the time it looked hard. Today with a few routes in the bag it looked fine.
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28 July 2011

First lead

I recently met a guy from Wales who struggled to comprehend the idea that I had been climbing at Almscliff for 4 years but only done a handful of routes. As I explained, my climbing career started with a pair of 2nd hand shoes, and a photocopy of the Yorkshire Grit Bouldering guide (I copied Almscliff and Brimham). Since then I have bought several new pairs of shoes, and a couple of guide books, but only worn a harness (outdoors) on 3 occasions. I've been pretty happy bouldering, even soloing, rather than get tied down so to speak. I guess one of the reasons for this is the reason why I didn't start climbing until my late 30s- climbing always struck me as a specialist sport, even elitist, and therefore wasn't on my radar. Having a bad head for heights, and a poor-to-middling state of fitness didn't help, but whenever I saw climbers laden down with ropes, straps, bits of metal, and the like it looked like an alien and inaccessible activity. Then bouldering introduced me to the simplicity and beauty of climbing- change your shoes, and off you go. £20 and the photocopier at work were all it took to set me off on a love affair with crags.
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27 July 2011


Excuse the inexcusable Gary Glitter reference. This has nothing to do with disgraced 70's glam rockers. Bryn however has been on the sharp end of a rope. He spent an Intensive 20 minutes learning to place runners on Fluted Columns which he climbed with aplomb. Everyone else seemed consumed by degrees of malaise, a pity as it was a truly spectacular evening. I couldn't even raise my gaze to the horizon to drink it in. I was bouldering on auto pilot as well and never really got going. Nice to see Bryn trying new games. I left a little disappointed as I had projects at all grades that shrugged me off. Surely though I must take this bit of rough and hope some smooth is coming my way soon. Talk of Dental Slab at Rylstone next week now there's a route to get out of a rut on.

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20 July 2011

That wall left of Matterhorn Arete - again

It wasn't really raining and it wasn't really not raining either. It was a sort of Summer fog/high tide kind of evening. Sick of  indoor walls and with the mediocre lure of yet more convenience plastic looming. I clenched my teeth and headed for the Cliff. I had the place to myself. Other people having more sense or less commitment, I decided.

 That wall left of Matterhorn Arete was bizarrely dry given  that seepage lines and puddles abounded everywhere else. I had a good few pulls on it. I got my hand just below and worse just above the little flake that should unlock it.
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14 July 2011

It's been a while

I think my last VS lead was a 2Oth century event. So last night was a trip down memory lane. Ruth provided the impetus as she wanted to do routes and she had let this slip once or twice. The evening started with myself and Rob trying and failing the new improved Morrell's Wall and declaring it to definately have gone up a grade. Next stop was the twice failed by me, Zig Zag direct on the Cliff's West face. Its a shortish roof with lots of holds, but it is steep. I made a bit of a meal of it really but after some up and down to a good rest, I did manage to get a good cam over the roof before resting again. As I could find no way to get anyone else to have a go, I then  had to have another go myself. In the end it seemed to be about sorting your feet out. When I had, what was left of my arms carried me over the roof and up to a beautiful view over most of Yorkshire. I felt lucky to have discovered climbing, it was a nice place to be.
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12 July 2011

I dun me some learnin'

I got myself on an SPA assesment course to train to become a single pitch instructor last weeekend. Propbably should have done it twenty years ago but it never seemed that important before. A great and intensive weekend with a day in the quarry at Ilkley and a day at Brimham doing group skills.

Day one was in two halves part one was theory and indoor skills at Harrogate. I managed to make myself take an (intentional) leader fall at the Harrogate wall which is my bette noir, so I was quite pleased. Next I finally  learned how to clip bolts properly. Part two at  Ilkley was good, we  climbed a few routes whilst our instructor checked our technique. Ilkley was windy but the sun was breaking through.  It was nice to be leading again as I hadn't tied onto the sharp end for  nearly a year. Anyway I managed to drag myself up a bit of 4b with no real effort, although I was pretty tight as my now aching calves will testify. It also got  me thinking about leading a few more routes over the next few months, I still have no real ambitions to push my grade though. What mainly came out of the day was that techniques have changed little since I last  got any formal instruction 25 years ago.  Gear is a bit better now and I am a reasonably competant leader.
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7 July 2011


Brimham again. Armed with the "knowledge" to bend the very overhanging arĂȘte of the pommel to my will, I got stuck in. The plan started well in that I got the outrageous foot jam in, spanned up and got the sloping top. At this point a muscle in my forearm pulled a bit and I failed to finish it. I was happy as I didn't think I would get as far as I did on my first proper go. It reckons to be solid 6b and it was firmly on my possible list. The rest of the evening was at Hidden Roof and Heart Shaped Slab. The wall problem at Hidden Roof seemed hard for 5 turns out it's 6a+ on Yorkshire grit so I feel better about not finishing it. Heart Shaped Slab delivered a mantle of powerful delicacy, if that's possible and many people shook their heads in frustration. Stuart managed to get stuck "6/10" and Ruth managed to keep her desire to do routes to herself but I just got the tiniest hint of a suggestion. I'm already polishing my crabs.

iPhoned this
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2 July 2011

Welcome John

Ok Mr Hamilton is joining us as a late season transfer. So obviously he is a man in need of a list (if you don't have a list, you're not coming in). I guess he doesn't have our extensive  nerd knowledge just yet. So what would you recommend around VO - V1? I gave him the Crucifix for starters.
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