7 October 2012
Cool Hand Slap - Earl Crag early Autumn
Not a cloud in it this morning. Wood burner on the deck until ten last night, a hot air ballon skimming the roof as dusk fell, magical night. Earl Crag by one today, Cold and damp on the ground but the rock seems dry, some of the pockets hold a little wet and a few tops are seeping. Was a north facing crag a bad choice?
I end up back on what boulder Britain calls Cool Hand another barn door arête number. A slap for a huge sloper off a crimp, proving just beyond me again and again. Louis arrives and I move so I can sit in the sun warming through and waving as he walks in. His easy charm and amiable chat lifts my mood of frustration.
Next go on Cool Hand with a spotter and I stick it, the top section is an easy jugfest as I climb into sunlight. Louis wrestles for all his might but it beats him with a barn door submission.
Trick Arête next and I'm off the ground now, but the left hand can't hold the dish that should lead to the top. Louis gets somewhere too but we give it best as skin is now thin and thinning more and we lack the finesse to progress somehow, I think a right foot placement may hold the key.
Finally the John Dunne Slap jumps into our world. We leap and fling for a distant jug seemingly too far but it looks huge. We lack distance to start with and then aim. Louis is getting close but hitting it on the way down and peeling off. Then I get the distance too but I'm wide of the mark. Louis resets the mats and throws a big one, he holds the jug on the deadpoint and grabs the prize, good effort good climber these days.
Then we both have places to be, dinners to cook and eat and people we need to be with. If I get to sit in shade looking into the sunlit middle distance again on a Sunday afternoon this year that will be fine, better than fine it will be good.
Posted by Dave Prince
About the Author
Dave has been climbing rocks for as long as he can remember, odd then that he isn't better at it. He lives in Harrogate as he can't afford to live any closer to Almscliff. He is hoping to get up Pebble Wall before his middle aged knees give out.
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