This winter has been what can only be described as an eventful one. I wish could say it was due to the number of fantastic ascents, achieved goals and pushed boundaries. but to be quite honest it wasn’t. but non the less it was, a pretty memorable one ! So lets start where every fellow british climber starts. the weather. its been crazy. If it wasn’t blowing a blizzard one day , or just plain raining the next. it was topping 30 degrees in the middle of March ??. So in itself the past few months conditions has made this winter a challenging one. it seemed to be gone before it ever really started and the grit days were really numbered, but all that could be done was to stay motivated and get out at every opportunity.
on to the ticks…
ANGEL SHARE E8 7a
Incredible climbing Incredible Line !
I learned so much on this route about grit climbing. how body position and a tiny change in the angle of your foot on a hold makes a massive difference to the direction you are going. The thing that inspired me the most on this line was the fact that i could not fathom some of the foot holds to be used but some how it just worked. it has been said before but, it took some real vision from Johnny to put up this line in the first place as even on a rope you still can’t quite believe its possible.
minus the weather getting out for me has been a challenge in itself. I have been riding a motorbike for the past two years which is great for many things but can be quite sketchy when it comes to pads or a belayer. This became even harder when after a hard day at Hencloud i returned to find it had been stolen whilst we were at the crag ! so there i was rubbish weather and transportless. its at this point when friends who are motivated to do similar things can be really important.
CORNELIUS E8 7a
I remember a DMM photo of Ben Bransby doing this line being up when i was a child (ok a younger child) at the edge climbing center. i would always stare at it and how incredible the problem looked and if you had asked me then i would never have dreamed one day i would do it. The only thing i could think about was trying as hard as i possible could. In the end that’s what gets you up a lot of problems. The crux is a big reach up followed by a few more hard moves to a very high and in my case very pumped top out.This was also my first ground up E8 which was nice. however can often be seen as a bolder problem these days……
if u r interested here is the shot i was talking about (http://adamlong.photoshelter.com/image/I0000AcEhwOVKxPg)
THUMBALINA E7 6c
Did this on the same day as Cornelius. It was a great day to say everywhere else in the peak was raining. also we (myself and Steve R) had a total epic on the way to the crag it was almost a non starter as we got very lost and almost gave up before even getting there. Good job we didn’t ey!
BIG AIR E6 6c
Ok so a trad route. hmm im not sure this more reminds me of a stupid idea that a certain two friends of mine would dream up. but non the less this is a heart stopping leap of faith at its best !
Sole Power E5 6b
Oedipus E4 6a
The famous Chris Ellis E4 6a onsight. (pack your swimming goggles this was a sandy mother !!)
Winters grip E5 ( done this before but it was nice to do again )
Brass Monkey 7c+ / VWGA (very wet grit ascent)
classic E2 at Blackrocks (also did the E4 to the left OS)
Story’s from the crag /( what i have learned )
The Promise E8, Super close, Super psyched !
I tried this With Ned Feehally and Michele Caminati, along with the OutCrop film guys shooting footage for life on hold. The promise is one of those lines that i have always wanted to try. the winter before last i had done it on a rope linking all the moves. so to have the opportunity to give it a proper go from the ground was something i had been waiting for for ages. I had 3 goes taking the mother fall right from the crux. This is a flipping high line even more so because the fall zone is in a pit. so doing it with pads is thing of its own. second go i got through the crux and was just matching as my foot popped. almost missed the pads as well if it wasn’t for a lucky spot of the italian stallion Micky (thanks). leaving the crag psyche was high and only a few days later i returned, however this time with a massively reduced amount of pads ! Day 2. 14 degrees it was hot. but i couldn’t bare not to give it another go. the cold days were growing thin and already the winter seemed like it was over. after a quick test fall (not very convinced by the pad situation) Next go i got to my high point throughout he crux and matching the slopers. but was spat off by the grease equivalent to a kfc. At this point my right knee and angle felt pretty bad so i decided it was best to call it quits. all this highballing takes its toll and although i didn’t get the line this time its made me realise how close i was and know that if i just had that one more day i would have been there. o well one for next year !
Last but not least !
Not quite there ! E5 6b First ascent
Ok so this is a bit of a story of its own taking place at the beginning of winter. however i choose to tell it now as i think it really sums up the hole of this years efforts.
In early November and after an offhand talk with Pete Whittaker. I headed out to Curbar to try and repeat a new E7 done in 2011. At this point i had a rough idea where the route was but no idea of its name style tech grade or to be quite frank anything else. But i was going to give it a shot non the less. Randomly i bumped into Jordan buys in the car park (this bit is weird) who had also come the same day and arrived at the same time and was thinking of trying the same line !! hmmm. Anyway after a quick swap of information, i headed of and after scoping it out and dabbing a bit of top hold chalk on the ledge, i set of from the ground planning to give it an on-sight attempt. The line runs between an old e3 and an e4 aerate so i figured it would be pretty straight forward. After a bit of a battle i found some obvious crimps leading straight up between the two lines heading for a small groove in the center of the wall, finishing with a tricky cross through on the unprotected last moves. Following what i though to be the line i arrived at the top pretty unconvinced of the grade. Totally bemused i abbed down to double check and find this illusive E7. After a bit of searching i found some brushed holds starting slightly right of where i did but finishing up the same line. This did seem quite a forced line having to fight the urge to step a move left on to better holds. but non the less it was there. dam , wrong start ,,,,
so the line i had done was not the one i intended too, but it wasn’t one that had been done before !
And that was it !
I decided to call the new line “Not quite there” giving it the grade E5 6b adding another link up to the already over crowded bit of wall.
“Start Direct placing gear low on the E3 behind the loose flake. from here break away and head straight up on good crimps heading for the vague groove at the top centre of the wall. this makes almost the same line but slightly better protected. meaning you climb the main section of the E7 but get the first low gear of the E3 and miss the first couple of moves on the E7.
So as usual i got lost , had an epic and didn’t quite achieve what i intended too. but managed to put up a nice E5 in the process ! Classic..
done and done !