31 July 2013

Thrutch and Hoik

So this feels like a bit of a victory blog. I finally broke the 6a barrier, which felt worthy of celebration, and Dean got The Keel. But at the same time I want to espouse on the joys of learning trad, as we also got some routes in. Stu and myself had some good fun (thrutching was had) under the tutelage of Dean, who oversaw us like a Jedi Master (although you might find that robe a bit tricky Dean, what with forgetting to tie ropes around your waist and all).

The evening had been planned as a trad session, one long overdue. Dean was getting his harness back on after a long break, and I had not long had my fire lit doing Learn to Lead. We started off with Central Climb  on the North West face of Almscliff, Dean taking a strong lead, with me in hot pursuit. Well, more like luke-warm pursuit, as I was making slow progress on reading the rock. One of the great things with bouldering is that you can just jump off and check out the moves before getting back on. Trad climbing doesn't really give you that luxury, plus it adds the significant impairment of adrenaline. But when it all comes together it sure is a fine feeling.

A queue on Low Man (the place to be on a Tuesday night it appears) meant a quick boulder was in order. Soon after Stu's arrival I set to work on an erratic boulder that I had been putting some time into, a sit start 6a between West Cave and Morrell's. Lately it had seemed that I'd been making some progress on a number of 6a's and it had got into my head that I could actually climb one. Whilst we all know grades are a bit of nonsense, they do also actually end up seeming like quite a big thing. Either way, I felt pretty good as I topped it out, though I must remind myself I still have 4c's at Caley that still need sorting.

With Stu now on board we returned to Low Man, to the delights of Square Chimney and Whisky Crack. A climb of two halves indeed- two styles, and two different types of enjoyment. The first a "Thank God that's over" kind, and the
second a "Ooh, could I climb a bit more of this please?" feeling.
Stu on Whisky Crack

Dean on the Keel's face
The light was now failing, the bats out to play, and roofs disappering into darkness, and it was time for Dean to go to his project, The Keel. In my universe 7c (V9) is freaky crazy land, but not in Dean's. He'd been getting very close to the pocket on the face recently and on his first go went the distance but sliced it into the rough, leaving three chalky claw marks on the grit. Readjusting and re-psyching, he went back under the roof and this time went straight down the fairway and stuck the hold. There was no way he was giving up now and Dean dug deep, hoiking his way onto the face.

We had only done two routes and two boulder problems, but they were quality and more than enough for an excellent evening.
Blazing sky
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