Sunday 31 January 2010

'But can we still claim them?'

So said Grimer to me yesterday, with a kind of glazed glee in his eyes. He was drunk, drunk on being handed access to rock normally out of reach, and so were we. In a few, crucial places the snow has redrawn the landscape and, as far as certain climbs are concerned, all of history has become but a footnote. Forty-foot walls have become bouldering height, boulder-choked gullies have become soft, flat platforms. As I've said before, I'm all about getting the best out of the weather, and if there's one thing I'll avoid its contrived behaviour. With the crags finally dry and the roads clear, on thursday I was out to a crag transformed. Alternating digging and ticking was a great way to keep warm, and by sunset we even had platforms to come back to.

Nige Kershaw on No More Excuses, High Neb

So can we claim them? Who cares? I just want to enjoy them while I can. These local crags hold few surprises by now, but suddenly its like having whole new buttresses unveiled. A stout spade is handy, as most of the drifts have a ridges top that needs taking off, just enough to make a pad platform, and there's usually a crevasse down the back which can accomodate the extra. In some places, the top half of the crag becomes a bouldering venue. In others, its more a case of a poor landing becoming more acceptable.

Three Blind Mice is a good example. Normally a bold E7 popular with would-be hard grit headpointers, presently its a ideal bouldering spot with three problems, crossing the bulge at different points and getting harder right to left. The interesting thing is how arbitrary the crux of the route is. Cross the bulge as per the classic shot of Dave Pegg, and its a great move, but move only slightly right, and its easier but not as good, and fast becoming a bad sequence on a much easier line of holds. Bouldering encourages you to do all the variations and not worry which earns a tick. The left-hand line is entirely independent but a good bit harder and less secure. Whether it becomes a route when the snow goes remains to be seen, but for now its a great 7b that Dan Varian managed first and christened Snowblind Mice.

Matt Pickles, Shine On, BAWs crawl area

After a busy saturday at The Plantation, we headed up to High Neb on sunday, and enjoyed a wonderful day on a great circuit meeting no other climbers. More digging enabled me to sneak in a potential new line - a direct start to Old Friends - dubbed 'Friends like these' at around 7b, though likely easier for the tall. Currently it has a nice landing which will also make Old Friends feel a good bit friendlier too. Second ascent still up for grabs,...

Matt Pickles, Shine On, BAWs crawl area

Here's a list of this week's essential ticks, north to south.
*Snowball ratings: 3*** = landing revolutionised, have no fear, 2** = landing significantly improved, now highball, 1* = landing slightly improved, pack your balls. NB assuming a modicum of topping out skills, no lowballs here...


Pig's ear/ Crew Pegs Diffs/ No more excuses - all ***
Wolf Solent  ***
Kelly's Overhang **
Friends like These ***, Old Friends **

(Daydreamer might be worth a look. Shirley's looks totally buried)

Weather Report ***
Silk ***
Don *, Ulysses *, White Wand * (someone should dig out Fairy Groove, potentially***)
Big Air * and going fast...

Grace & Danger ***
Boys will be boys * (dug but not tested)
Cemetery Waits ***, Shine On *, Golden Path ***

Puck ***, Superstition * (tested!)
Long Tall Sally, Three Blind Mice, Ai No Corrida - all ***

Nige Kershaw, Shine On, BAWs crawl area

Lots more to go at too, I'm working this week but looking forward to a world of platforms by friday, over to you...

edit - just had some reports of Nectar (first pitch) *** and Goosey Goosey Gander **


Swilson said...

Nectar is extremely safe ***. Goosey Goosey Gander still retained some spice **. Absolutely brilliant to solo though. Felt like we were cheating the system more than any other snowball.

Adam Long said...

Cheers word, have edited the list. Can't wait to get up there, keen to look at Turtle Power and Marbellous too.

Nizza Grandpouce said...

I find your blog highly inspiring. It is great to read how much you get out and see such great imagery of the outdoors. It is the exact opposite of mine, but for a city locked man like me your's offers a great escape.


Adam Long said...

Thanks Nizza. Ironically photography took a bit of a back seat this weekend - the climbing was just too good. Snowing again here now so should be plenty of chance to make up for it...

Unknown said...

Hi, thanks for all the flat landings!
Condition update - friday 5th

Fresh snow yesterday has been washed off the rock by todays rain. A little noticeable thaw in the big drifts but essentially still there. Could be good if it dries out tomorow.

to add to the list
Nefetiti now has a flat landing, but still high *
A little snow left at millstone - Shnivling Shits * (not climbed).

All of far stanage still utterly buried, Slap and Spittle and Turtle Power possible and flat landings already, but you'd miss a lot of the climbing *** (not climbed)

Adam Long said...

Thanks Dan. Here's hoping the snow will stay for a while yet.

Morgan Preece said...

Was on turtle power monday! Did any one get it done when the snow was around? did it all on top rope excepted one move getting to the break which felt mega hard!!