Thursday, 29 July 2010

The Seldom Seen Kid 7c+

This week on Tuesday night i finally got up the single piece of rock which has subconscious dominated my thinking for about 4 months. A great line just sat there in the middle of nowhere just minding its own business, knowing that one day it would be ignored no longer.

On one one of the very first recent bouldering visit that i made to Crowden this year, was up to Black tor. Our goals were to clean and climb on the good looking boulder left of Wolverine (A fantastic undergraded E4 5c route which would get more attention if it was anywhere else) and to ground up a HVS 6a route called the Pennine Way Variation, both can be found in the old kinder guide. All this we managed, however we couldn't help but notice the stunning left arete to this block. I had a quick go but it was pretty obvious that night that it was harder and scarier than it's neighbour. Also the difficulty and nature of the climbing meant that it needed cleaning on a rope. Then we left. Well its been playing on my mind.............A lot.

Last week i managed to nip up there, ab down and clean the holds. I even tried a few of the moves. This i found scary as i was on a grigri and it became apparent that on none of the moves you could take a hand off to chalk or pull through rope. Added to this at the top there is a real Chance of a barn door swing that would send you out of control on to some boulders. But it was cold in the wind and the friction was good, really for the time of year. I left and went away for the weekend with the family. I spent a lot of time thinking and wondering.

On Tuesday i returned after work with an old friend from Hull and 5 Pads. We warmed up on the Wolverine boulder which was pleasant and the friction was okay. The one downside was the midges, we just weren't quite getting enough wind and they were eating Andy alive. He looked at me and he said "we best go over there if you want to try this problem" I knew at that point that he wasn't going to be up for staying to much longer. I had hoped to ab down it again and clean the holds a familiarise myself with the moves, but these hopes slowly evaporated. So we hack over through the heather and set the pads up as best we could. I had three goes on the bottom balancey moves falling onto the pads. I tricked myself into thinking "that's alright that" maybe i should just go for it. Andy Jibbed it and I realised that i didn't have long before the midges drove him mad. Something inside my head switched, i suddenly really wanted to climb this piece of rock badly. I told myself that Andy is one of the best spotters i know and now is a good time. Next thing i knew I'd started climbing and made it through the bottom delicate moves and got a good layaway high up. I moved my feet up really high and slapped up the arete, then slapped with the right to a sloper. At this point i can remember really vividly noticing the right hand start to creep. I panicked a bit and looked down to jump off. I realised that getting on to the pads would be hard and that even a controlled fall was going to hurt....... a lot. I realised i had to fight this one out! Resetting my head and the hand i brought a foot up high and managed to get both hands higher before reaching for what i knew was a good edge. My left foot started to move on the smear i was stood on and just as it felt as it was about to blow i felt my fingers go over the edge of the hold. I will never forget the relief that went through my body. technique forgotten i hauled myself as quickly as i could up to some jugs at the top and just stayed there for ages quivering. Enjoying the moment and the adrenaline. Its one of the things i love most about climbing is that sense of just being happy to have survived and succeeded.

Grade wise I reckon its worth 7c+ if only for its seriousness. E7 might be a better grade but i don't know route grades that well to know for certain. It also might be easier in cooler weather but I don't want to go up there again to check. Its probably the most scared I've ever been or at least it comes close. But a lot of that could be the circumstances. Whatever I'd rate as one of the best highball line I've done in the peak. But it will never see much attention because of where it is which is a shame. But if you made the effort you would not be disappointed. I'm going to call it the Seldom Seen Kid, partly for this reason but also because of a chat i had with a friend who no one seems to see much anymore.

Below I've included a topo to this area of Black tor, i posted a map showing the general locations of the blocks last month.

1. Vague Arete 6a. The left arete

2. Baby Wolverine 5+. The centre of the face a harder variation can be done just right.

3. Crowden Girls 7a+. From a sitting start on the two edges slap up the vague rib. easier from standing

4. The Arete 6c+. From a sitting start climb up the right side of the arete.

5. The Arete left hand 7a. From the same sitting start after the first move move around to climb the left side of the arete to the top.

6. The Groove 7a. Climb the grove eliminating the arete and the flake hold out right.

7. One Arm 6c. from a sitting start not using the blocks on the right. Climb up the flake holds. About 5 from standing

8. 4. Traverse the lip of the boulder behind. A slightly harder direct start can be done moving off the good break to the top
Just up and right is a boulder set into the hill side

9. Slap Problem 6b. From a low start slap up the right hand block.

10. Technicians Day Out 7b. Climb up the right side of the arete to slopers. Involving a slap off a toe hook. Do not use any of the boulders jammed in the crack.

11. Means to an End 7a. From the undercuts climb directly upwards to the lip of the boulder staying left.

12. The Crack 5+ From the same start move right to the good rack and then follow this up.
Up over on the left of the Wolverine boulder is another big boulder. On the left side of this is a campus problem which starts undercutting with feet on the slab. to campus up on edges to get the lip. the traverse off left. This Is Thugs Day Out 7b
Going right from the Wolverine boulder you find a pit. This has a good problem up the wall on the left. It starts stood on a cleaned boulder with a choice of rubbish edges and makes a pop into a pinch hold in the groove. Holding this is the crux, if you manage it get the slopers above and mantle to grab a tree. This is Phantom Lights 7b+.
If you carry on around and up the hill you come to really good highball problems only spoilt by a heather top out.
13. Seldom Seen Kid 7c+ Climb the left arete of the block.
The jewel in the crown!
14. Pennine Way Variation 6c. Climb the centre of the slab with the crux being rocking over the lip low down above a falt landing. very good despite the name.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Angry Love at the Weasel Stones

This Saturday 3 strange things happened:

1. O let himself be convinced that climbing on moorland grit instead of limestone would be a good idea. On a hot summers day. He was not alone bringing a bunch of the Liverpool climbers with him.

We decided to check out the bouldering at Black tor, heading to the weasel stones to warm up before getting to the good stuff.

2. We spent most of the day in that one area.

3. Si who had been un-intentionally tricked into coming along didn't moan!

This was all strange because i had dismissed them as being a bit rubbish. Turns out i was wrong.

What resulted was a very chilled out and enjoyable thorougher going over of the weasel boulders. Everything was repeated (accept Playing with Fire) and a lot of good new stuff was unearthed by the eagle eyed boys. Nothing earth shatteringly hard but just what was needed on a hot day. The result is a bunch of nice mid grade problems which are really quite pleasant and really add to the circuit of problems now found in the area.

Here is now the updated list of problems found in this area.

1. Playing With Fire 8a
From a sitting start on two crimpy layaways make a stiff pull off the floor to slap to the okay crimp and use this to get the top. Gritstones answer to Sway On!!!!

2. One Move 5+
From the good edge in the centre of the boulder pop to the top and pull over.

3. 3
Step off and climb up the big slab not using either arete

4. Angry Love 6c+
Sit start with both hands matched on the big layaway on the face of the boulder. Using this and a heel hook lock to the arete and finish up this.
(Picture right of Smooth Pete catching the arete)

5. Technical Love 7b
Sit start again matched on the big layaway on the face of the boulder. This time traverse rightwards not using any of the big holds on the ill defined lip of the boulder. Use only the low holds to finish on a flat jug over on the right arete of the boulder. Quit technical.

6. Magic Love 6c
Start from sitting with specified starting holds. Left hand on a small side pull in the cave, right on a low crimp pinch on the face right of the arete. Move up to the shoulder hold then go for the top. (Picture right)

7. 4
Smear up the left arete of the slab

8. The Left Slab 5+
Smear up the slab just left of centre

9. The Right Slab 6a
Smearing up the slab just right of centre is a bit harder

10. 3
Smear up the right arete of the slab

11. Don’t Dab Arete 6b
Start from sitting with specified starting holds. Right hand on a small sidepull in the cave, left on the arete. From here climb the arete staying on the right side all the way. Good moves which are spoilt by the closeness of the boulder behind but still worth doing.

12. The Mantle 6a+
On the boulder just behind and left of problem 1. Start from sitting and climb the right arete using the big ledge on the right to a tricky mantle.

13. Atari 7a+
From a sit start slab up the two arêtes until you get to a sloper on the left. Use this to swing around the left side and finish up the heathery top out.

14. The Weasel 6b
Start from sitting in the pit with the left on a low undercut pinch and the right on a higher edge. Pull on then using an intermediate go for the good ledge.

15. Manchester March 5+
Start from sitting at the right arete and follow this leftwards, then continue traversing left along the good ledge to finish at the left side of the boulder.

16. Loves Stroll 5+
From a sit start at the left arete follow the lip rightwards around the prow to rock out on the right side.

17. The Groove 6a+
Climb the attractive looking grove from a sit start. Start with both hands on low holds below the lip

The next two problems can be found in a pit slightly higher up.

18. Si’s Problem 6a
From a sit start on a boulder jammed underneath lock out and around the small roof.

19. Friend of Ours 7b+
Climb the attractive looking wall and arete from a sit start (Left hand arete, right hand low undercut/layaway). A hard pull on is followed by a very tricky dynamic move to catch a high diagonal edge just below the top, which is probably English tech 7a. An easier move follows and then top out.

Friday, 2 July 2010

A Bit of Black Tor

After work i' decided to check out a good old slab problem i climbed a very long time ago. It was still there and it was even better than i remembered. It was cleaned and climbed again and even given a name, The looking Glass, a problem well worth seeking out. here is the info plus some other problems that got done earlier this year including the very hard Playing with Fire. Which is best described as gritstones answer to Sway On!

There are a few areas located in the Crowden Valley these boulders lie just above the Pennine Way as it works it way towards Laddow rocks shown in the map to the right.

Weasel Boulders

This is the easiest area to get to and is an obvious collection of small boulders set just back from the Pennine way

1. Playing With Fire 8a
From a sitting start on two crimpy layaways make a stiff pull off the floor to slap to the okay crimp and use this to get the top.

2. One Move 5+
From the good edge in the centre of the boulder pop to the top and pull over.

3. The Groove 6b
Found on the Boulder just behind is an attractive looking little groove. Climb this from a sit start in the centre.

4. 3
Step off and climb up the big slab not using either arete

5. The weasel 6b+
On the back of the boulder is a pit climb up the wall from a sit start in the centre

6. 4
Smear up the left arete of the slab

7. The Slab 5+/6a
Smear up the centre of the slab. Variations are possible, climbing staying left is easier further right is harder.

8. 3
Smear up the right arete of the slab

9. Atari 7a+

From a sit start slab up the two aretes until you get to a sloper on the left. Use this to swing around the left side and finish up the heathery top out.

The slab

Just before the Playing with Fire Boulder there is a faint track leading up a little hill just off to the left. This leads to a wall which if you follow will bring you to the boulder.

1. The Looking Glass 7a+
The Very Classy slab climbed in the middle starting from an undercut just left of the arete.

2. The Arete 6c
Climbing up the right arete is also good.

High Edge Boulders

These boulders offer some great problems, but on some of them the ground does slope away spoiling them a little. They can be found high up on the left side of the crag of Black tor.

1. The Mantle 6c
From a sitting start climb up the slopes and mantle the lip of the boulder.

2. The Traverse 6b+
From the same sitting start traverse the shelf rightwards and finish up the arête as for the next problem

3. Escape from Monday 7a
A direct sitting start to the left side of the right arête. This involves a a hard move to get the good layaways on the left.

4. Twins 6b+
Climb the twin aretes staying on the left side of the right uphill arête.

5. 6a
Just right of the crack climb the wall from a sit start using layaways.

6. The Ill defined 7a+
Climb the ill defined arete on the right from an awkward direct sitting start. This leads to a tricky mantle at the top.

7. 6b
Climb the wall from a sitting start up the edges

8. The Fin 6c
Climb the striking right side of the fin arete feature from a sitting start and not using the wall behind for feet.

9. The Wall 6a+
Climb the centre of the wall from a sitting start.

10. Right Arete 6b+
From a sit down start again climb the right arete and wall just left

That will do for now I'll post the details of the stuff on the right hand side at a later stage..........