Saturday, 17 March 2012

The Joy Of Shitty Eliminates

After some slight manning up issues last weekend and a windy forecast, the youth and I paid a visit to Lawrencefield, where I had a long-standing date with Delectable Direct. Oswald kicked off proceedings by leading Once-Pegged Wall, eliminating the top arete for an HVS tick. The crux was forcing yourself not to hold the obvious arete right nixt to you, but there was a good move or two as a reward.

I had a vague desire to lead Eclair on the Gingerbread slab, an E1 with probably no gear, but was distracted by the promise of at least one runner on another nearby shitty eliminate, Every Man And His Dog. Again, avoiding the obvious holds on neighbouring routes was a challenge and it was very easy for the suggested 5b grade, but it probably just about scraped into E1 territory for the exciting bounce you'd take down the slab if you fell off the 5a top move. First E-point for the year. Ooh yeah.

I managed to tempt James with another daft eliminate line on the slab, Vanilla Slice (mmm, vanilla slices...) by pointing out that there was the possibility of a runner or two at half height. Never one to be under-runnered, he managed to squeeze three nuts into about an inch of crack. Silly boy.

As the alleged 5c moves on this didn't seem to hard I went for Eclair and it turned out to be fine. A little oomph was required mid-crux to overcome a little flutter of mild peril, but I was rewarded for pressing on through the fear barriers by some actual gear. Well, a bomber cam and 4 terrible (and completely unnecessary) RPs.

All these slabs were boring the youth's over-keen forearms, so we traipsed over to the roadside bay and he led Quantum Crack, which was very much the wrong side of vertical. After a lot of tactical up and downclimbing, he fell off whilst trying to place some a high runner, but got it on his next go. I managed not to get too pumped or fall off (partly through strategic use of a foothold that James had mysteriously decided to ignore), which was a bit of a turn up for the books.

So, last route of the day, and it had to be Delectable Direct really. After a couple of ups and downs at the start to furtle the crucial holds, I laid one on, got my foot high, held the fall when it skated off the hold, used some jedi mind tricks to get it back on and persuade it to stay there and rocked up for glory, snatching gamely for holds as they arrived before me. Bo. The rest of the route was thankfully a touch easier, although never easy, with absorbing climbing and loads of lovely gear. The feared-for crux at the top never materialised (looking at the comments on t'interweb some people seem to think there's a 5c move up there somewhere, they must be dwarves or idiots) and we made it up, back down to the bags and back to the car before it got dark. Win.

So, 4 shitty eliminates of the sort that many would turn their noses up at, but all of which provided some nice moves. 2 or 3 E points to take home, depending on which guide you believe. I'll take the 2, since each of the 3 routes I led felt worth about 2/3 of an E. Worryingly I'm definitely getting better at bold slabs, especially on quarried grit where there are actual holds. This wasn't meant to happen...

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