Monday, 29 October 2012


I was never really sold on Froggatt. For what was alleged in the old Rockfax guide to be the second best Eastern grit crag it didn't seem that amazing. A few mid-grade classics, the odd sandbag (Triangle Buttress nearly killed me as a VDiffish leader) and lots of manky-looking slabs. Following my recent second coming as some kind of slab-climbing messiah it's suddenly started to look like the great crag it's meant to be. Unfortunately it also has it's fair share of horrible, steep, E1/2 cracks which appeal to the youth for some unfathomable reason.

With proper grit weather forecast for Friday and Saturday I ended up there on both days. On Friday with Oswald is was a lot less sunny than had been promised, and it even pretended to rain for a while, but I still managed to yomp up Motorcade and Brown's Eliminate without too much difficulty. One was smeary, the other crimpy, and both had cruxes with gear below your feet, but they felt steady enough for me to enjoy the climbing rather than being overwhelmed by thoughts of falling off. In between James put in an impressive effort on Synopsis, a renegade peg crack from Millstone. My efforts on second were less impressive. Having given it maximum beans to get through the crux, I was too pumped to get anything to stick in the damp upper crack, so I aided on a wobbly nut. Inglorious. I also nearly fell off seconding an HVS again (albeit it one that's clearly actually E1).

Saturday was much sunnier, but still absolutely baltic when we arrived at the crag with Julie and Andy. The 3 of us excluding One Quiche (that's Oswald by the way) soloed a chilly Sunset Slab as a (not very) warm up, before Julie got on Motorcade and I set off up Ratbag an E2 that can be brought down to HVS with side runners (which I had every intention of availing myself of). The crux slab didn't look too scary, and the gear below it was good and would at least stop you dying if you fell off, so I put my faith in my mad slab skillz and went for it sans side runners. Well, I say went for it. I actually spent about an hour dithering on a big ledge before eventually getting on with it. The moves were great, with decent pockets for your feet, but not much for your hands and culminating in an exciting stretch for a thank-god little crimp just below the top. Great stuff.
Eigenquiche getting his crush on

By this stage Adam and Steve Kirman had turned up, so I palmed Oswald and his Chequers Crack-y intentions off on Steve and tried to coax Adam into giving Brown's Eliminate a go. Unfortunately he got so psyched that he twisted his ankle in excitement and had to take it easy for the rest of the day. Although not before leading the wandering, but fun, Janker's End, which was my 700th VS. I gather the medal's in the post.

It had occurred to me the previous day that I'd never led a 5c move, which seemed like a bit of an oversight. I'd also spotted a pleasant-looking no-star E1 5c which looked quite slabby, so I gave it a whirl. Perhaps unsurprisingly I had to try quite hard not to fall off the tenuous rockover and stretch, but I made it. Whoop. The HDiff up which it finished wasn't that easy though...

Piano-playing rightwards, like a white Thelonius Monk

After cheerleading whilst Andy soloed Great Slab, and failing to convince myself to even have a go at Long John's, I finished the day off with another bold E1, Two-Sided Triangle. Like Three Pebble Slab, only with a harder crux and easier bold padding, it didn't put up much of a fight. So, 7 E-Points in 2 days. Very pleasing. Whether this will continue, or whether I'll go back to falling of non-slabby HVSs remains to be seen. Oswald is certainly keen to go somewhere that isn't Froggatt for a change!

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