I must have hurt my back last week as getting out of bed Saturday morning for work it had stiffened up to pensioner proportions. I couldn’t find any ibuprofen so took 3 paracetemol instead and thankfully Ally gave me a lift to work. I waddled back home after feeling a bit better so we went to meet Steve at Curbar. It was hot with insects were everywhere and the annual death of grit bouldering could be seen on the horizon. We saw what appeared to be a walrus soloing the classic VS climb The Brain but quickly rubbished this idea as they’ve only been spotted on well protected Severes. On closer inspection it was merely a topless Ramsden and holstering the spear gun we made our way across to him. “What Ho! Fellow clamberers!” Steve said as he boulder hopped towards us, “I’ve got a bully idea”. Steve’s idea was, in short, that we climb on god awful crumbly greasy grit in order to appreciate better conditions. “No” we said, “lets go home” and with intrepid expedition leader Wood at the helm we roped as a three and moved to the summit ridge path back to dear Blighty.
It was slightly odd watching Ally walk around Curbar as she, like previous non-climbing friends had been, looked really unnerved by anything other than a well maintained flat path. It’s an extreme example but it must be strange being scared so easily by so little. Don’t get me wrong I can get as scared as the next wo/man but irrational fear is crazy, I tell myself this when I go above a bolt but it still somehow creeps in “How long has that bolt been there? How will I swing? Why do I always grab the quickdraw?”
Went to the Life on Hold Premiere at the works that evening; enjoyed the movie and the lectures before. The film was different to how I had imagined it from the 2nd trailer with hardly any narration or interviews but with a lot of great footage of problems around the UK, Northumberland being a highlight (gutted footage of ‘The Young’ was not in the main film but will be in the DVD extras). Filming has always been a minor passion of mine and I enjoy teaching myself new tricks, so I have been hatching a plan for a while now (financial fingers crossed). Luckily Adam Bailes is a massive geek and is guiding me through this DSLR video path like a shorter, more flexible Gandalf.
Sunday came and feeling a bit groggy we headed out to the southern peak, getting a bit lost on the way, heading towards Beeston Tor at the base of the impressive Manifold Valley. I hadn’t been to this area before and walking along the dried up limestone riverbed it all felt rather foreign. More so when we started pulling up Buoux-like fixed ropes to the belay ledge of several routes, we were not alone here and so started a busy day of the cliff. Steve lead up the 4c approach pitch which on its own would justify every negative stereotype of UK lime trad. vegetated, polished and not cricket.
I headed up the E1 Pocket Symphony and really enjoyed the pockets with the polish not being a problem as I think I would of got lost without it, 3 star pitch.
next we adventured over the roped 'path' to the right hand hand side and Steve dispatched the E3 Majolica which gave threads galore and a really impressive set of moves for the 5c grade. I was a bit apprehensive but a little pressure helped and before I knew it I was all up in the first hard move with a two finger pocket stretching for the bottom of a big pod. this pod has a giant thread and 'pint'pot' handle to shake out on, with bad feet. A few deep breaths and it was in to the crux, with an undercut mono and shallow dish for the right hand, as I pulled up my crimps rolled on the tiny ball bearings of dirt and I felt unsteady but I pushed through with my head like I was swimming for the surface, breaking through onto jugs and an archaic lower-off. Steve then went to the classic of the crag Black Grub E3 5b looking for a battle, but didn't get one as he cruised his way tot he top, telling tales of its wonderful sustainedness. I declined the lead as I want to come back and was feeling happy with my day. I'll be back for Grub and the Beest!
|Chris locking on undercuts to crimp problem|