17 August 2013

Caley Tag Team, Sunday 11th August 2013

Stu and Bryn vs James, Caley Crag

Round 1

I was the first to take on the challenge of climbing with James at Caley today, as I had other plans for later in the afternoon. Parking at the top of the Chevin was a first for accessing the crag, and James and I wound our way down to the crag by taking advantage of crusty cycle tracks and similar. James had in mind a blocky boulder - Hanging Flake/Green Wall - towards the messy top of the crag, though still visible from the path that runs by the Sugarloaf. We made our way to and circled this enigmatic block, deciding the front was too highball to tackle with only two mats, before settling on the little flake - Little Flake - at the rear. Waiting out a couple of tiny rain showers, we started with a warm up climb just to the flake's left, a warm up that gave me a flapper on my left wrist due to a small slip. Then the flake itself. James took it calmly, and I... didn't do too badly either. A very deliberate climb, with little to no room to swing and flap. A knee-hold did help me along a little, but in what felt like a reasonable way of holding the flake, rather than just kneeling on it.

Saving the rest of the boulder for a day with more collaborators, who would have more mats, we headed back to the path, and on to the boulders below the Sugarloaf. First up was The Horn, which really needed the presence of climbers who had ticked this one before - we could have used the advice, though some of James' campus style efforts were sights to behold. Next was Mr Smooth on the nearby Pancake, which made for a great collaborative session, though sadly no ticks came out of it. Flapjack next, which gave up almost all of its secrets, leaving only a 6c and the traverse. Seeing James do Flapjack scoop was interesting - I was surprised he didn't flash it, but after a few goes he became the first person I'd seen, after me, tackle it with the finger-mantle from the starting hand-hold. Once he stood up on that he was home. 

A play on Chicken Run was my last act on rock - trying to do a layback arete, especially without some obvious holds on the face, led first to a fluffed top-out - well, no top-out, where I should perhaps have belly-flopped over - and then to a twinge in my knee, the same one I pinged when at The Depot recently. That was enough for me, but James would not be abandoned - Bryn had been in touch. James and I headed for the car park, where we found Bryn ready to go.

Tag out, over to Bryn...

Round 2

2013 has definitely belonged to Almscliff so far, where many evenings have been spent admiring the view across to the boulders on the far side of Lower Wharfedale. I'd only managed one trip to Caley so far and that had been a sweaty bug fest. The temperatures had come down and a breeze had moved in, and as I walked down into the woods from a packed car park it was heartening to meet James and Stuart and hear conditions were good. Scrambling down into the crag made a pleasant change to the usual walk up from Roadside. We worked our way through the woods, picking out boulders as we went. It was indeed far less humid than before, and lots of the paths through the undergrowth were trodden down. James made short work of the direct (right and left) on the Fairy Cake, whilst I had great fun getting up to the mantle. As we got to playing on the delightful smears on the Scone that I remembered why Caley is such a great venue. Just 4 boulders and 2 hours and we had so much quality bouldering. We finished on Flapjack scoop- the step up into the right pocket being a bit of a bastard in my books. The left step up goes fine but this one is going to need some work. Next week we'll be back en masse- looking forward to getting plenty of mats under Green Wall arete, and spending more time on Chevin.
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