Friday, 22 April 2011

Somewhere New

Didn't think I was going to get any climbing done last weekend, with it being Easter school hols, regular partners were away with family. However Simon wanted to get out on Sunday, it being his birthday and all that. We'd only have the afternoon as our wives were out biking in the morning.

After the usual, "where shall we go then?" we settled on Hawkswick Crag which lies opposite Blue Scar in Littondale. Neither of us had ever been so off we went. The approach is a bit brutal: 20m of easy tarmac followed by a blast straight up the hillside to the crag. Then it was a case of find the routes - the crag is quite long, maybe a kilometre, but the routes aren't exactly close together so there are a lot of features that aren't climbed. Eventually we ended up at the right-hand end of the crag where there were some starred routes in the guide.

Simon led the first route, a VS, which was pleasant enough - not polished but not overgrown either. My turn next and the last route on the crag was a HVS but it looked a little bold in the lower half, and so it proved with good gear only coming after you'd done the hard climbing. I was quite pleased that I'm now concentrating on my footwork rather than my hands, usually a sign that things are coming along.

Next up was the three star E1, Simon's lead again and after a bit of dithering getting in the inital gear for the crux wall he did it with no problems. Limestone is really awkward to protect - what look like good cracks for wires turn out to be anything but and it can take some time to sort things out. Don't know why it gets 3 stars as it's only the middle third (about four moves) that's any good.

Final route of the day was a VS crack - Flash Harry (had to do this because of the name) which we both led. Looking at the other routes we've probably done the best of the crag. All followed by a quick visit to the pub in Cracoe on the way home for a celebratory pint.

Saturday saw us at the bike shop in Skipton where Cath bought me a very nice new road bike for my upcoming birthday, she wouldn't let me ride it until the actual day though! When I did get to ride it it was very nice and have done some quick times to and from work. New bike syndrome?

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