Sunday, 30 October 2011

The Season O'The Grit

Friday promised a perfect forecast and actually delivered for once. Sunshine and perfect temperatures for the gritstone. Young master Oswald and I went to the Plantation for some routes and very nice it was too. James got the ball rolling with a smooth ascent of Left Unconquerable, which was fairly straightforwards, but quite steep. I then got stuck into Wall Buttress, a saucy looking wide crack which is rumoured to be HVS. It turned out to be exactly the width of my fists, so very little struggling was required. I was glad to have a daft number of large cams with me all the same.

Namenlos was next, and felt pretty soft for E1. James did impress me by placing four cams in the crucial break, which puts even my gear profligacy to shame. Good effort. I was dead keen for Billiard Buttress, but there was somebody on it, so I had a bash at a random HVS called Parasite. It was pretty easy, although the moves to the ledge at half height were protected only by two lobes of a cam, with a ground fall in prospect if/when that failed, so HVS felt fair. A quick whiz up Pegasus Rib (nice, but eliminate to stick to the arete near the top instead of following the obvious holds out left) and we were below Valhalla, a ticklist VS which looked like it might involve laybacking. Thankfully it was actually just a jamming crack, so went fairly easily.

Our last route of the day was the well named Nuke The Midges, featuring a short traverse and then some kind of pop for a flat just followed by a stylish mantel. There was only one opportunity to place gear, so James again stuffed four cams next to each other, before styling it out to the top. I seconded with slightly less panache, but then 5c moves can be quite hard. All in all a very good day. Nothing below 5a and only the crux of Nuke The Midges had actually felt hard. A reminder that HVS and E1 on grit can actually be reasonable sometimes. As long as we aren't talking Higgar or Ramshaw of course...

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