Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Summer's here!

Finally all the sprains seem to be going! A run up the local fell on Monday evening resulted in no after effects, well apart from the copious amounts of sweat now that summer seems to have arrived. Hopefully no more need of thermals. Even better was the fact that my time was quite reasonable without pushing too hard - not helped by the fact that I came across the cow (bovine variety) that attacked me last year and had to make a small detour.

Headed out for a longer run this evening along the Pennine Way. Everything felt much easier though there are still one or two tight spots. What's remarkable though is just how dry the ground is, there must have been a total of 5 metres of damp ground in 11 miles! Mind you it did mean that normally springy peaty ground is now like concrete - you can't have everything.

Climbing wise, I was out both days of the weekend - one day in the Lakes and the other on bolted limestone. Climbing quite well both days though I probably should have had another redpoint attempt on the 6C on Sunday.

We had intended to go to Stonestar Crag in the Duddon but on getting there we discovered there was a bird ban. A quick discussion and we went for Troutal Gorge - we only had the current guide and hadn't got any printouts of the newer developments so were slightly limited. I'd done quite a few of the routes shortly after the place had been developed but hadn't been back since nor I suspected had many other people. I was a bit dubious about how clean/dry things would be but since it's only 5 minutes from the car park  there wasn't much to lose.

As it turned out, it was pretty dry, it was however fairly dirty. One HVS then we top-roped an E2, neither of which I'd done before - Mike hadn't been there before so it was all new to him. Mike then did (top-roped) an E3 before we decided that there wasn't much else we could do without a complete cleaning kit. Since there was now bright sunshine we headed across the valley to White How Crag where there's a reasonable selection of routes from VS to E1. I'd done everything, again just after the initial development, and again Mike had never been there before.

After slight detours to avoid dead sheep(!) we got to the crag and it was my lead. A HVS at the left seemed like a good idea so once I'd kitted up I set off and soon came to a halt - I hadn't read the guide and had just headed upwards! A bit of sideways shuffling and I scuttled back to the deck. After reading the description I set off up the right line and didn't have too much trouble with it. Next to this are a couple of E1s so Mike headed up one of these, Natural Progression, all went well until the last couple of metres when his foot slipped. Fortunately he didn't fall but there was more gear in the route from that point than in the the previous 20 metres! Amazing that even after 30 years of climbing we still don't trust ourselves placing gear.

Since Mike had to be away early we just had time for one more route so I headed up a VS. Not in any way difficult, it's just good to be climbing away from gear, especially when it's not bolts. Even though the gear will hold, it is just somehow different being above a wire than a bolt.

Which is ironic since the following day I was back on bolted routes. Sunshine, showers and a thin wind drove us to Giggleswick North again. A couple of warm-ups and we decided to have a look at one of the F6Cs at the left end of the crag. I went first and ground to a halt at the second bolt. After several attempts at leaping for the holds it was Simon's turn - he managed the move statically but then couldn't figure out the following bit. After a bit of faffing he got to the lower off. First redpoint attempt and I got the holds I'd failed to grasp earlier but fell off just as I was getting my feet sorted, back on the rock I figured an easy way through the next section. Simon succeeded on his first redpoint. I wasn't too bothered about another go since it was hard on the fingers so we headed off for some footage on slightly easier stuff. My fingers definitely felt the extra effort the day after but it's over a year since I last attempted an F6C so pretty pleased with how I got on.

Now looking forward to helping Nicky with her Bob Graham attempt, though not the 2am start!

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