Lately my focus has returned to climbing and I have headed to the grit stone edges of The Peak District and the chalk cliffs down near Brighton with the ice tools to get strong for the coming winter.
A couple of weeks back, Nik, Rich and I headed to The Peak for me to get back on rock, for Nik to get some climbs under the belt and for Rich to have his first experience on the grit.
Rich on his first VS.
(Photo: Scott Swalling)
Meeting up with Wayne and being blessed with good weather some nice routes where completed over the few days at first Froggart and then Burbage South. With Wayne pointing us in the direction of some great little routes and all having success on these, the weekend delivered what we hoped.
Overall a great weekend was had and I was happy with adding Chequers Buttress to the tick list on a fine day of climbing.
The following weekend I headed to chalk with the crew to pull on the ice tools properly for the first time since winter. After a short but tough session inspired by Rob and Ramon, I was spent and knew I was weak and have some work to do.
Me dropping froma Fig 9 to Fig 4.
(Photo: Tommy Harris)
Another session the following Wednesday night was much better, but even harder and I was still feeling spent when I arrived at the wall Thursday night for a short sharp session, before having a day off the climbing.
The following Saturday morning I was Peak bound again, with Rich and Daniel, but minus Nik as she was not feeling too well.
We headed for Burbage North, to meet Si and Charlie, and Wayne and Rachel. With two routes on my tick list in sight, Now or Never E1 5b and The Sentinel E2 5b, the later a proud standing prow of rock on the Burbage North edge and one I have had my eyes on for some time.
The day started and continued brilliantly, with me soloing up to HVS 5a happily and steadily. I soon found myself stood at the base of Now or Never, making short work of the lower section and took some time (yo-yo’ed several times, about 15) to unlock the crux move (with many different inputs form those watching) in a style that suited me and after finding a suitable way through it cruised to the top happy.
Daniel and Rich had done a few routes and Rich followed me up Now or Never on the back of following Dan up The Sentinel. Soon I was working out how to place the only gear worthwhile on The Sentinel myself, found a good rest, shock out and prepare to climb the jutting prow. I set off from my rest, and found the climbing suited me surprisingly well (thanks to the Craggy overhang I think). I soon stood on top, very happy with nabbing to ticks on my list Onsight and was happy with the day’s work. Dan jumped back on The Sentinel and this time cruised to the top in style and Rich second it yet again.
The next day we decided to head to the famous Black Rocks, famous for two very hard routes, Gaia and Meshuga, both that feature in the DVD Hard Grit.
We looked for less death defying routes to try, and Rich made short work of the surprisingly strenuous and polished Curved Crack. Nice one Rich!
Dan and I looked at a few routes and struggled to find something not green like a billiard table that we fancied to climb. We soon settled on a short technical E2 5b called The Sprain. Daniel had a good lead on this route Onsighting it with apparent ease, Rich made a good second on his second attempt.
Next I moved quickly to the crux move but seem to suffer from incompetence with my feet and my right arm feeling like it had been injected with lead. I feebly sat on my gear after not being able to shake it out. After a moment I pulled back on a got to the top. Quickly abseiling after Rachel had a go having a chat with the crew I found myself placing the last bit of gear again, placing my foot where I wanted to and cleaning the route comfortably on the second attempt.
Next we selected an E3 6a and after Dan had a couple quick goes and nearly landed on my head. I thought I have ago even though my arm was dead still. I pulled on to the route, placed two bits of gear, got to the crux moved and was promptly hit by gravity. Oh well, next time.
Another good weekend in The Peak and the climbing seems to have not suffered too much from a lack of climbing outside this summer. Maybe one more cheeky rock trip before Christmas and after the house move in early December, we will see.
But thoughts and training are turning to winter, ice and snow, the sharp ice tools and suffering that is climbing in winter. Bring it on!