17 November 2013

Ship Crimps

Shipley Glen, Saturday morning. It was Louis that had the free time which served as catalyst for this session, so naturally he was the last to arrive. Well, joint last, with Mike - who I'd never climbed with before, but had probably seen around. Bryn, James, Craig, Kate and I were already warming up in the John area by the time the slightly-late comers arrived.

Warm-up gang.
There was some grease on the rocks, and the temperature wasn't classic grit season. The sun crept through occasionally, and all in all it made for a pleasant experience. The worst of it was probably the damp grass, and puddly jugs here and there.

For the problem 'John' itself, we all found ways up without the left crack/arete. For my part, this was quite pleasing. Shipley doesn't see a lot of traffic from our group, a couple of visits a year maybe, and I always seem to need to relearn problems. And John usually needs the crack, so finding my own way up without it felt good. That said, though, I did slip on my first attempt and hit my face on the rock. Just my chin, a glancing blow, no injury.

The effect of relearning was amplified for the nearby Reach for the Skies, a crimpy problem that has delivered several good sessions over the years. I couldn't see the way on at first, so I bimbled up the arete as further warm up. Joined by Louis, Kate and Bryn in particular, Reach for the Skies came in for some stern examination. It went with a left side approach, just shy of the arete, but I felt something more economical and direct was needed. Kate tightened up the footwork but struggled with reach. I followed her lead and then - prompted by Louis hollering from above - found a 'shit crimp' that helped me transition to the decent break near the top. This wasn't enough for me, however, as I was loving working the crimps lower down so much. First I swapped the shit crimp for an equally transitional pebble, before moving to eliminate such transitions all together. This meant matching on a wide crimp either side of a line of mossy green deposit and then setting yourself for the break. This took several goes, but I was resolute, with Bryn chipping in as well. Got the break - but with the left hand, which threw me all out of whack. I persisted, and eventually managed to get the right hand in place. Still a strain, given that both arms were stretched out to the max, but a foot got up and I put it to bed.

On to Leaper's Roof, where I managed to fall. Not from the rock, just on the bouldering mats as I was approaching, and then off the bouldering mats as I was spotting. I'd say it was a good thing that I was keeping my clumsy off the rock, but then I tried Leaper's Roof... I normally love this one, and have been known to climb it several times over, but I must have still been in crimp mode, as I was making a right meal of things. Bryn shined a light on it though, and focused my efforts up the centre, and with less swing than I'd previously been victim to. Piece of cake.

But that was my fill, and I had elsewhere to be, as did Bryn and James, so we left the others to it, hearing later of Louis and his famous achievements on Manson's Wall, which also looks a little crimpy...

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