Saturday, 2 July 2011

Days at the Earth Quarry

Grave Robber 7b photo-Dawid Skoczylas

After putting to bed projects at Anston Stones in my last Blog I felt at a lose end with not much time to travel and nothing to direct my energy towards. After finding and climbing at Levitthagg quarry climbing I decided that there was a strong possibility of more climbing in the Conisbrough area and set about one witch to check out any possibilities. Armed with a Smart phone, 3G signal and joined by my Dog, I decided to focus my efforts on the banks of the Don. I found lots of rock but none of it seem particularly suited to bouldering or inspiring, I had been out for ages and all I wanted to do was go home when I happed almost by accident on a small Quarry. The thing that made this quarry different was that the working face had collapsed and left some sizeable blocks. I scouted out two problems that looked 3 stars but didn't think there was anything else there. How wrong I turned out to be. The Quarry doesn't have a name it's that small, but it over looks the old Earth Centre so it’s become known as the Earth Quarry. Over the last few weeks after work, I have found myself going back there time and again with friends. Always managing to unearth and clean new lines and challenges. A lot of effort has gone into this place and now there are about 20 problems and Variations. It has become apparent also that what this Quarry lacks in size it makes up for in good quality rock. For me the highlight is a really nice sloppey rising arĂȘte, which I named Midnight Caller and graded 7c+. It is an area classic only being slightly spoilt by being close to a block. There’s a video below which show many of the problems developed including Midnight Caller. Most of the footage in this film is of the first ascent of the problems and gives a very good sense of the climbing there and the development.

Feed The Need 8a+ photo Dawid Skoczylas

The hardest line here is a very nice one move problem which is an eliminate but a very obvious one. It starts from a specified starting position and then dead point slaps a very poor slopey hold, with a much easier mantle finish. I had a brief session on this and basically worked out the beta but essentially didn't get close. Then I showed it to Dawid Skoczylas who I know can't resist dynamic moves we spent two sessions trying this line intensively before it finally went. On my third session in the dying light I managed to stick the move with enough control to get to the lip. I only just beat Dawid to it as he fell off very close before me and then made an ascent two days later also on his third session. We called it Feed the Need and agreed a grade of 8a+. I made a quick video of our later attempts and our ascents which is below. It really is a brilliant problem and landing the move is very satisfying, I’ve certainly never done a move like it, with the difference between success and failure being a very small margin. Brilliant fun and no give away!

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