Monday, 26 September 2011

Leeds, Home Of Rain

Availing myself of my new-found part-time working status (and before the part-time studying kicks in properly) I moseyed on up to Yorkshire on Friday. My attempts to locate a random internet belayer had failed, so I headed to Brimham for a spot of bouldering. Within about 10 minutes I was pumped, had no skin left on the backs of my hands and had already backed off the top out of a V0-. Twice. On the plus side I met a random old dude who was quite cool, and who confirmed that Thunder Crack at Ash Head Crag is going to be HVS in the upcoming Yorkshire Grit guide (see previous whinging on this blog if you need to know why that matters).

I wandered over to the cubic block where the winning continued when I fell of a 4c traverse. Twice. I got it in the end, but it felt about 5b. Deary me. I lowered my expectations and soloed a Severe and a Diff and moved on. I cast a fearful glance at Acme Wall on the way past, before happening upon a very low roof with a V3 6a through the middle of it. The whole problem was less than 6ft high, which seemed ideal for my massive height-induced lameness which afflicts me whenever I go bouldering on my own, so I thought I'd see if I could still climb 6a. After a number of inglorious failures I promised myself a cup of tea if I could haul my talentless arse up the problem. This did the trick, and lo, a V3 tick for me.

The V3 roof of enormo-win

After a very enjoyable cup of tea and some soup from the deserted cafe I soloed a few more easy routes (including a delightful thrutchy chimney) and bottled the top out of another V0 before deciding it was time to move on.

Ilkley seemed like a suitable choice of venue, since I'd never climbed there and it was vaguely on the way to Leeds. After the shock of finding the crag swarming with Americans I soloed a couple of VDiffs in the quarry and a couple of ticklist routes over at Rocky Valley, including the delightful Long Chimney from the Yorkshire 3 star list of justice. Everything else was a bit green, so I drove to Caley, where I wrestled with some man-eating bracken and marvelled at the size of the so-called boulders. I also ticked a couple of easy boulder problems to ensure I could claim another new crag point, before pootling to Julie and Andy's in Leeds for some marvellous soup.

The wondrous Horsehold Scout

The forecast was indecisive for Saturday, so Andy and I decided it was definitely the right weather for Pen-Y-Ghent. We drove to the car park, got as far as sticking our noses out of the car and decided that the rain and wind were not conducive to a mountain crag. So we drove to Hebden Bridge via Kilnsey and Skipton and spent a while bashing aimlessly around in the woods looking for the mythical Horsehold Scout. Eventually we found it, and it was dry. Unfortunately it was also very lichenous, but this didn't stop Andy, who soloed the "classic" of the crag, Greensleeves (another list of justice route). He seemed to have survived so I followed him up it and we promptly ran away, not fancying any more esoteric nonsense.

Widdop was our next target, specifically Artificial Route, yet another route from the list of justice. We arrived to find a gang of invading OAPs from Lancashire, but we scared them off and struck out towards the glaring luminosity that was apparently the crag. The route takes an ethically dubious line of chipped holds up an otherwise very difficult slab, before sneaking off round the side at the top. It was slightly damp and a little bit green, so I had no problem with Andy racking up and leading the thing. He climbed quickly until the last move when he decried the finishing chips as insufficient and was punished with some rain. After he manned up I bravely followed, and we ran away. Again. In the rain on the way back we decided to check out the slightly esoteric Mytholm Steep Quarry. It was a less than overwhelming spot, but did contain an awesome looking HVS corner crack, Revolution, which definitely warrants a return visit after a dry spell.

Not all Yorkshire esoterica is shit, see...

In spite of a more promising forecast it rained on Sunday. It always rains in Leeds. We went to The Depot and I was mostly a weakling with sore hands. Yay me.

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