Friday, 27 May 2011


After all this tarting around on limestone, today I returned to the warm, comforting bosom of Gritstone, and boy, was it good to be back. A arranged to meet Jaime at Stanage Plantation, and we warmed up with a spot of bouldering on the Lone Boulder. Conditions were nice and cool, and I somehow managed to onsight a couple of 5c smearing problems, and retro-onsight a 6a one. Twice. Get me and my skills. They didn't even feel particularly hard, I just trusted that my feet would stick and they did. I wish I could bottle that feeling for use at a later date.

Buoyed by this we wandered over to Dover's Wall. I unwisely started up an HVS with a steep finish, but after a little bit of strategic downclimbing and resting, the top turned out to be covered in jugs. Jaime then led a brief sortie into the cleft of Cleft Wing, but retreated (including reversing the allegedly 5b crux) as she didn't have the right cam to protect the strategic fall across the void. I led up with the aforementioned cam, but then discovered I could reach the jugs on the other side without any falling. A bit of monkeying around on them and I was back on normal ground.

Cleft Wing (yes, that's the right way up)

After leading an easy VS each we spent a few minutes trying a seductive looking E1, but it flattered to deceived, so I had a little solo-fest yomping up some of the easiest VSs you'll ever find. Sometimes I find soloing on grit a little perturbing, but the friction felt good, and everything felt very in control.

I still found time for a little 'traditional' soloing

I rounded off the day by leading August Arete, an HVS 5b (my first on grit I think). The moves were nice, with a thin swing round the arete off a slopey break and pleasant padding up biggish slopers above, but there didn't seem to be any 5b anywhere.

Unfortunately at this stage Jaime had to go home to fix a leaky tap, so I didn't get the chance to see if Millsom's Minion felt just as easy. Hopefully next time out the grit will be as kind to me. It certainly was good to be back.

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