|It looks so benign from afar...|
Not keen for Overhanging Groove (which was directly in the wind and covered in top-ropers, or at least aspiring top-ropers, as their attempts to lower a rope down the route were rather hampered by the wind blowing the rope horizontally along the crag)), I lobbied for running away to somewhere less windy. We ended up at Brimham, where I ran straight for the first slab I could find, which also conveniently had a three-star VS on it. I'd belayed Oswald on his ill-fated cold-fingered attempt on this back in February, so I was expecting a modicum of difficulty. I wasn't disappointed, but a frisky little scuffle past the crux overlap and a teeter for the top saw me alright.
|The hardest technical move of the day - getting into the car avoiding the puddle Andy had managed to park in the middle of|
|Five shalt be the number of runners thou shalt place, and the number of thy runners shall be Five.|
After Adam had made short work of Great Portland Street, which he'd unaccountably never done before, I toyed with the idea of doing one of the Embankment E1s, but decided instead to take advantage of having brought my big cams with me, and get involved with the "Salivating fissure" of Crew Cut. After a false start involving a very painful and near-terminal knee-jam, I managed the necessary medieval thrutching to reach the ledge of loin-girding. I found some sneaky bonus wires here which was pleasing, since the top required an actual proper layback. Against a green sidewall. Bleurk. Somehow I didn't die, and ended up, panting, at the top, glad to be alive. All very type II fun.
From here the guide recommends doing a further pitch, rather than skulking off rightwards, so Adam quested off up into the undergrowth. A heathery crack led, via some very green looking footholds, to a few runners, some more heather, and a tiny sapling. A delicate teeter leftwards past some more heather led to the arete and a proper hold (but no more gear) and then an exciting move or two in a position where falling off would have been ill-advised at best, led to a nasty, sloping topout. I don't recall seeing Adam look so chastened before. According to the UKC logbooks it's only had 3 ascents, and the last one of those was in 1984, so I'm not surprised it was so vegetated. At least it's been upgraded from VS though, that would have been a nasty shock!