Another Friday, another reasonable looking forecast, another day of thoroughly unsuccess. Bah. Things looked reasonably promising at my house, but as soon as I got out into the Peak the cloud was everywhere. I was with Mark, one of these keen youths that seem to proliferate in Sheffield, but after running away from the Trackside boulder at Curbar with frozen fingers things were looking grim. We took a punt on Cratcliffe being an oasis of sunshine and warmth, but it was cloudy and damp instead. We did find a small amount of dry rock and managed a couple of problems, but it was fairly far removed from what one might describe as fun, and we soon ran away.
Luckily the forecast for the weekend was good. Unluckily the weather hates me. Saturday morning was dry, with even the odd touch of sunshine, but the ground was damp. Eventually the sun came out around lunchtime and J-Ro, Simon and I ventured up to the Plantation. Of course when we arrived somebody was about to do Tower Face (I think I might be fated never to climb this route), so we went South and James prevaricated for a bit about how damp August Arete looked. Eventually he got on with it, grumbled a lot about how it was all wet, he couldn't feel his fingers and all the holds were in the wrong place, but made it to the top all the same.
James enjoying himself on August Arete
Some gnarly old dudes were on Namenlos, which was going to be my route of choice, having seconded it a fortnight ago and found it dead easy, so I started gearing up below Billiard Buttress instead. The start looked steep, and on closer acquaintance it was, and the pockets weren't the enormo-jugs I'd imagined they might by, so I stepped right into the start of Milsom's Minion, which looked less steep (this is officially sanctioned in the guide as making the route "more balanced", so I wasn't cheating...). Unfortunately it still appeared to feature a thin 5a move with a groundfall to congratulate you if you get it wrong.
Looking unnaturally stylish on Billiard Buttress...
Obviously I did what any right-thinking person would do in this situation and hung around for ages getting ever so slowly more pumped, until finally I manned up and did the move. Hooray, gear. I shuffled back leftwards, placed some crucial cams blindly by my feet and smeared upwards. The footholds were dry, but the handholds were green and manky, which made things feel quite exciting, especially with the gear receding ever more into the distance below me. Eventually, via a terrible tiny cam and some easy moves I was at the top. Phew. Simon finished the day with a good effort on the rather heightist Paradise Arete (the team next to us even joined in with the heckling, which I'm certain helped him out).
Today it's foggy and gopping wet everywhere. I'm sitting in bed sulking. I hate the winter, why's everything got to be so bloody damp? Harrumph.