Thursday, 15 September 2011

An Eventful Day Off

I had one day's holiday to take before the end of the month, so with a sunny forecast and Dan being an unemployed dole-scrounger, I arranged to meet him at Stanage this morning with a plan. The plan was to try and solo 100 routes, and/or 1 vertical kilometer. I had prepared myself well, by running around a football pitch last night and giving myself huge blisters on both feet, but I was keen to have a go and see what happened.

We started at Apparent North, where we quickly established that there were midges. Everywhere. Bah. Anyway, we soloed 3 routes and wandered on to the start of the Popular End, where Dan remembered he'd left his lunch in the car. Whilst he was retrieving it I got going, and had reached nearly 20 routes by the time he got back. The midges were pretty insufferable, but at least the top of the crag was mostly bearable. This did, however, lead me to spend rather too much time sitting at the top of the crag, and not enough time climbing. This was made evident when I reached 34 routes and stopped for a ginger beer break and a bit of food, only to notice that it was actually lunch time. Before then, though, I managed to extract a stuck cam from one of the Black Hawk routes. Booty for me - whoop.

By lunchtime my feet were starting to hurt, but I soldiered on like the hero that I am. The midges were a bit more manageable, although still lurking in the odd crack. The crag was actually fairly busy, which sometimes meant not being able to solo the routes I wanted. At one point I volunteered to solo a Diff after the elderly second was unable to follow it, and take out the leader's gear. By was of reward he donated me the hex he'd found buried in the route. Doppelbounty.

Soon I reached 50 routes, but by now could barely walk in my rock shoes, and was beginning to feel pretty tired. I had some more food and ginger beer, which helped for a while, but it seemed inevitable that I wouldn't make anywhere near the 100 target. I made it to the 2 thirds marker, then did another route for luck, but after 68 routes and 715m of climbing, I had to give in and call it a day.

So, what have I learnt? Well, 100 routes is a lot. Stanage is quite big. Ginger beer is ace. Next time (and there will be a next time) I should choose a cooler day with less midges, and not break my feet the evening before. Oh, and crag booty is awesome.

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