Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Wainstones avec Jake and Matthew

We headed up for the steens yet again. Jake had his eyes set on leading concave wall, so after some puntering about he lead it in fine style. As he started, his dad turned up who immediately told him to
"Put some gear in son!"
"But there isn't any yet dad"
"Well sort it out!"
"But there isn't any till that break!"
"Oh, well don't fall off, hardest ascent those Ronny's have ever seen you know!"
Any way, once his dad's unhelpful wittering he got to the top.

I on the other hand didn't have such a productive day, I tried west sphinx direct, but ended up down climbing from the move into the break. I didn't really do much else, but the Matthew Ferrier turned up so we did a bit of bouldering on the slab. We had a pretty good time and did all of the problems on the slab, the hardest of which, the 6a, Jake managed before me so I was a bit pissed off, but never mind. All in all, all I managed was a solo ascent of central route but not to worry.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Peak Scar

On wednesday evening, I found my self busy phoning round, trying to find a climbing partner. After trying to contact 7 people, not one was free. Still, having not fully lost all hope, I decided I'd head to Peak scar and get a few routes in with Jack and Matthew. On arrival, I found them part way up Jordu, so I promptley tagged along up the route.

Next I was lucky enough to be offered the sharp end of the rope and so I made a suprisingly brisk ascent of 'Birdland Direct', which, having reched the top, realised I hadn't really placed much gear.
Matt on 'Free Bird'
I was quite pleased that Jack and Matthew were keen to try Mine and Jakes route, 'Freebird' so I went off to solo 'Downbeat', my first solo of a 'longer' route, despite it not being very hard. I returned and again met them at the mid point belay. Matthew led the top pitch over the roof which I think he enjoyed?!

I also met Stephen Brown at the crag, which was interesting to meat one of the past moors activists and hear what he had to say....

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Highcliffe Nab and Almscliff

After the kind offer of a lift from Jake's dad, we ventures to Highcliffe! This is a crag I've always been interested in but never really had the chance to go to. We took rather the wrong line up to the crag, attempting to clamber directly over the felled trees, falling down numerous holes and falling down the hill. When we got there, the crag looked damp, but still in high spirits, he decided it'd be right!

We messed about on some of the easy but fun lines, of the classic 'Highcliffe Crack' and 'North West Route'.

Then I decided I'd like a go at 'Scarecrow Crack' despite its poor condition and general dampness! The start was tricky, but once in the crack I felt quite comfortable. I placed some good gear, and then moved up to the crack to just below the large ledge. The crack was greasy and somewhat damp, I got my feet on a good nobble, and my hands on a sloping hold, I began to get tired. I thought about going down for a rest, but then slip, and I was off. Shame really and by this time I wasn't really in a fit state go go all the way back up again! :( Jake had a go, but also found the conditions tricky.

After this, thoughts turned back to Pickering Woods and our recent ground breaking ascents.

New aid tool?

By now, it was about time to go. I actually enjoyed the crag though and shall definitely be back! Scarecrow crack and Stargazer await!...

The next day, I was thank full to receive a lift from the parents who were off to Harrogate. I decided to go to Almscliff, despite having no partner to climb with...

Upon arriving at the crag, I saw and heard the busy, blue helmeted youths cluttering the lower crag. However, determined to not let this dent my psyche, I decided this could be a useful asset in case I fell off something...  I started off on the classic 'Matterhorn Arete', only a boulder problem, but high, and well worth it. On my first attempt, I got almost to the top, but as I smeared and reached for the top hold, out came the wail from one of the kids on fluted columns, it put me right off, and so I down climbed, but did it next go.

I over heard one of the instructors mention 'Birdsnest Crack' so I rushed up to 'High Man' before it was massacred. I soloed a few vs' including 'Stomach traverse', 'Birdsnest crack' and 'The nose'. Then I bumbled about on a few boulders, climbing a few cool slabs...

Then, to finish off, I did some enjoyable solos of the routes on 'Low Man' rounding off what turned out to be a pretty good day!

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Pickering woods aid climbing

Our most local crag is Pickering woods. Previously is has seen development, however these are somewhat unknown and probably fallen down. The 1984 guide states 'Newton dale: Routes have been recorded on these extensive crags, however, due to the unstable nature of the rock, they are not recommended.'

As those who climb there (me, tom and Jake) know, this is far from true, and if the crag were in the peak district, it would be more popular than stoney middleton and cheedale. Earlier this year, me and Jake put up 'Wall and Tree Chimney' a 14 metre 2 pitch vdiff ***.

There are several other lines to be climbed, but one that had taken our fancy was the steep cracks and head wall dubbed 'script wall'.

We had looked at the wall several times, the upper section was not well protected and quite hard! Then earlier this year, Jake and Tom abseiled down and placed a piton and an old bolt off a kids swing. Jake managed to free the line up to half height, but then lowered off the 'bomber' swing bolt, the next wall looked hard!
Prior to the line being clean...

But instead, this week, we decided to aid the route...

Jake began the tenuous moves to start the climb, managing to place a nut in a brittle crack, he steadily pulled upward gaining a high ledge, sandwiched between Stilton. At first he was concerned, where had the bolt gone?! But there it was, sitting there sweating, despite the cold, in a band of cheddar. I was impressed by Jake's quick and apparently unhindered free ascent of the bottom section however, the next bit looked hard and tenuous aid.

Starting the aid section plus in situ camera man.

Jake began; stood in a sling from the bolt, he reached up, a placed a sketchy sky hook, he pulled on it and managed to reach the previously placed peg. He clipped it with a sling and stood on it. However, looking at it more closely, he was not sure on its solidarity. So out came the hammer, and he bashed it back in, still standing in the sling. The next section was the crux, Jake stood up and placed a sky hook on a small edge. He pulled on it. Ping! the sky hook ripped and he was back at the peg, thankfully it held! He regained composure and went for it again, finding another edge, he managed to stand in the sky hook, and reached over the top of the crag, nothing! He scraped around in the dirt for a while until he began to tire, once again, he was off, this time a bigger fall, concerning us as to the 'soundness' of the peg. It was beginning to get dark now and he had one last chance, placing the sky hook a third time, he stood in it, grabbed a tree root and pulled over the top. The route had been done, though not free, and with far more effort than we first thought. Aiding is hard!
F.A. of 'If you're not flying, you're not trying' HVS 5b A2 **

A few days later, I returned to the woods with Jake to attempt new routes on some of the other buttresses...

Creeper wall.

We abbed down two lines, knocking off most of the loose rock, I then decided to lead my new route, 'The Grim Creeper' VS 4b.

For those who revel in a bit o choss, this is turning out to be not such a bad crag! ;)

Monday, 17 October 2011

Bouldering meet and Whitestone!!!

On Friday, i went towards Kay nest to go bouldering at the moors bouldering meet. Lee turned out to be in malton. So I went there and met him at Morrison's, sporting my Ron hills which are the best climbing trouser in the world and better than 'Cypher pants'.

After spending some time in the cafe, we drove to the crag and walked in, in the dark. Lee and James were lucky enough to have tents. I however did not. In the morning, with my sleeping bag resembling a wet lettuce, I woke up and went off for a walk to look at some of the boulders, there are some impressive lines and some high ball problems which are good. When I got back, my sleeping back appeared to have frozen and I cooked myself I fry up!

Shiver Bivvy!

Failed egg!

Finally the sun came out, and I climbed on the 'battleship', a fantastic highball boulder.

By this time, more people had turned up.

Me, James and Lee went down to find two more good boulders and I put up 'For me to no, for you to find out' font 6a.

We also saw some very impressive climbing!...

Mike Adams on the 'Canon' 8a

I had to leave, and walked back along the dale. Some how I ended up somewhere completely different to when we walked in. But I ended up in the same place.

Whitestone!! What a crag! One of the finest in Yorkshire!
On Sunday, myself and Joe got the bus to whitestone cliffe. Joe's never really been a fan of roped climbing, preferring to solo the shorter routes on the moors. But I was determined to get him into climbing proper routes on mature Stilton. We started off on 'gauche', easy but good. Joe lead the first pitch, this being his first outdoor lead, some crag to do it at ey!?

After topping out the route, Jake had arrived and so we abseiled back in again! I reminded Jake how he had got pumped last time he tried a VS and he decided he wasn't psyched for a lead. Shame that. Ever since Jake had lead 'Frigg' I'd wanted a go, however as I was walking along, I saw the old aid line of 'Mars Bar'. It didn't look like anything too special, but looked pretty cool!
Feeling the alpine spirit, I quickly got on it in an attempt to free the line!
Some of those flakes, were a tad wobbly and a few chose to depart during the proceedings. Joe was particularly lucky after his balls were saved by his belay loop from a large chunk of falling debris.
I continued up the line, not often finding gear, and but lots of loose holds.

The climb is well protected throughout.......

I eventually reached the roof section which i thought might be possible from the ground. On further inspection, it looked loose and hard and also dangerous even to aid? After some negotiating with the belayer who hard been constantly bombarded by projectiles, I decided to escape left :( .


Anyway, some how, I managed to lost on my escape, creating ridiculous amounts of rope drag as I teetered up the final arete. Eventually i resorted to pulling several metres worth of slack out before the it managed to pull me off! Finally, getting to the top after my 50 minute epic, I shouted in celebration and sat down, thank full to be at the top!

Jake and Joe followed and once they'd reached the top, we decided to call it a day. However, I think the draw of whitestone is sure to bring me back to tackle it once more!

Tuesday, 11 October 2011


I got the train to Leeds to meet up with Dave Warburton. The weather looked 'iffy' but still worth a shot. We went to Baildon Bank which has a most pleasant walk in where you can meet a variety of 'Leeds charaters'. On approach, it began to rain so to start off, I tried 'Joanna', one of the classic VS' and it has to be said its a fine route! By now, many of the faces were quite wet, so we went over to 'punter about' on 'Big Curver', another lesser often climbed, but good route.

We were keen to have a look at the crag in the woods after this and were quite surprised to find it had recently seen a lot of attention, for both trad and bouldering.

Some of the routes looked good, if not a little sand-bagged ;)

Now the rain had become worse and we were fairly 'de-psyched' so left for the train. I had a tour round Leeds which was enjoyable and student life seems fairly enjoyable?! Then I got back on the train and headed for home, having done two routes but feeling like it'd been a big day! The people you meet on the train are quite fascinating you know, so maybe I'll end up taking psychology at university?

On Sunday, me and Jake went to Blakey Ridge, and again the weather was crap. Jake/I had decided he wanted to do his first E1 as his 17th birthday is tomorrow! We decided to visit the newly developed 'Middle Ridge Crag' and fancy our chances on 'Moral high ground' on the railway buttress. The buttress was soaking and not as good as it had appeared on the picture. The left hand VS is in fact OK but the other two are either a bit gash or eliminate. Jake made attempts at the route but ended up just getting pissed off and sacked it off.

We walked over to round crag, where we hoped to top rope some of the harder lines on the pinnacle and give 'twin cracks' E1 a go.

The pinnacle buttress has seen a lot of work recently from Franco and Dave which has made a great improvement to the routes. Unfortunately, due to the wet weather, they weren't particularly in condition although I imagine the previously cleaned routes such as Vamperic Obsession and Honey arete should be clean when dry.

We had a go at 'Octopet' E4 6b on top rope, which looks as though it could be a good route, but its in fact not and is like a greasy pile of grease, which has has extra grease on it with not very good moves. The rest of the routes routes on the buttress look excellent however and I'm really psyched for 'Picnic @ hanging rock' ....
Franco has also set me a project to climb by the time I'm 16, we'll see how that goes.....

We walked along to the lion buttress, I had a go at 'twin cracks' E1 which i fell off and so also sacked off and then Jake got pumped on a VS......

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Camp Hill and Clemitts Revisited

Today we had a training day at school so the plan was to go to whitestone cliffe with Rory and maybe climb some of the lesser climbed lines such as 'Pie and pea Pillar' HVS. When he got on the bus though, he was told the bus no longer gos to Sutton bank on weekdays so we had to change our plans!

We scrounged a lift part way and then biked the rest to Camp Hill crag battling the ever increasing wind. When we got there, it was pretty windy, but at least it was dry and most of the bracken had died! We did some of the usual solos including 'Tempest' which was quite exhilarating when a gust almost knocked me off at the top!

In a moment of inspiration, I decided to try and solo 'cling wrap'. This is something I'd failed at on our first trip in march, then finally led in late April. And now, I'd soloed it, despite the now 50 mph winds!

Something I'd seen in the past as a possible new route was the arete at the right end of the main buttress. There was some debate as to whether it would stray into 'waves within' but today i decided to give it a try on top rope, and it seems it doesn't and in fact holds some fantastic and weird moves! I managed to just about link it once and i reckon 6b climbing. It looks as though there's bugger all gear either! Could be an interesting proposition.

We went down to the strict arete boulder, and had a good mess about and I managed 'Strict arete', something id not managed and had a dodgy knee whacking fall on when i went with Franco, James and Billy but today managed it on about my fourth attempt?

Moors Loon!                                             That's 'ard that!

It's been good to see my progress over the year, and today has sort of confirmed it by climbing some of the harder lines I'd looked at and failed on before!

'Finger print preservation society'
We went down to clemitts afterwards hoping it would be in condition. In fact, it was although we didn't last for long and so began the long ride back home with the wind in our face!
We love to boogie!

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Ravenswick New Routing, Duck Boulders and Oak Crag

On Saturday I went to Ravenswick with Joe to go and put up some dodgy new routes.

The only buttress left in the quarry which doesn't have any routes on it is 'Far Right Butress' aka 'Stinking Beaver Buttress'.

Joe soloing 'Rough and Tumble' XS 4a*

We climbed three slightly dodgy lines, which was a bit scary but pretty fun! Topping out was a bit of a job though...

Thinking... 'erm what should I do now?'

From Left to right, 'Gutter Guts' XS 4c, 'Rough and Tumble' XS 4a*, 'Rock Spit' XS 4b.

It would be good to encourage people onto the walls further right, and maybe with traffic, the quality can improve, like the rest of Ravenswick, although beware of death.

Then, today I went with Lee, Chris and friends to the 'Duck Boulders' Quite a good area with one large boulder with some excellent lines and also a cool boulder, the '99p boulder'.

99p boulder.

Then we walked along to oak crag and did my usual solos.

Not bad eh!

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Peak Scar at Night

The winter is coming! Myself, Matt and John have now resorted to visiting the bigger crags of the moors at night. This makes for some interesting experience gaining and one or two interesting moments! Peak scar is probably one of the best crags on the moors to visit at night; a fairly easy approach and steep walls which add to the atmosphere.

John lead 'Jordu' mean while Matt lead Pianissimo, which is probably bet climbed in the dark because you can see how unstable it is! I was pretty pleased to second him up this to say I've at least climbed it before it falls down!

I lead 'Ornithology', the must do novelty severe. Shimmying up the tree in the pitch black darkness, looking out into thin air is quite something, and the tree bends quite a bit!

Then I led 'Pemba Chimney' in a 'traditional style'. Ace!

Sorry for the lack of pictures, but Johns got them.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Summer Round up.

The summer has just about drawn to a close so here's a summary of what's gone down!

It started off with a pretty successful trip to Peak scar, we had a crack at the 'classic' traverse of 'muligan mania', almost reaching the end!

And climbed a new route, 'Freebird' VS 4c*** a two or maybe three star route, basically a more direct version of 'wings', but with an ace position at the top of the route!

Mean while, Franco and Dave had 'returned' and were climbing several hard new routes at Danby. Whilst I was there Dave made the F.A. of 'The Polish Diplomat' E5 6b* A fairly bold wall climb with a horrendous last move.

I went on to climb the classic, 'Valliant' HVS 5a***

One of the highlights of the summer was the Lakes trip with Jake. Visiting Shepherds Crag, Quay foot Butress and Wodens Face, climbing some of the easier multi pitch classics.

Pitch 2 of 'Little Chamonix' our first route!

Top Pitch.

Jake leading 'Brown slabs arete' Best route of the trip?

We climbed 7 routes all together, most being pretty memorable! Ended up being a 12 hour day climbing!

The second day, we visited the superb quay foot buttress and very popular, but not quite so good wodens face.

Fantastic Trip!

Me and Matt had a bit of an 'experience' with the mountain rescue at oak crag while trying to gatecrash the cmc meat!

Ive had a few trips to whitestone cliffe, once with Jake and once with 'climbing elders' ;) Matt and John.
I climbed one of the best routes Ive done, 'Nightwatch' The best crack climb in Northern England?

We found a bomber cam too ;)

On my second visit, we climbed in the dark which made me realise just how great it is to be climbing instead of sat at home watching the TV! Made an amusing excuse for not doing my homework the next day too!

The second major trip of the summer was to Jersey with Jake.

Stop off at Hay Tor.

Our first climb of the trip was an ace three pitch multi pitch route. The longest route I've done and our first sea cliff!

We visited several ace crags! Belayed from a few 'exposed' belay ledges.....

And I did my first E2! Jersey Girl, cracking!

Jersey Girl Buttress.

Couldn't believe how ace granite was! had too come back to the sandstone though ;)

Almost as soon as I got back, I had a productive evening at Park Nab climbing some of the classics.

'The moors crew' meet at Ravenswick Quarry.

Later in the week I cadged a lift from Franco and Dave to Round Crag. There sights were set on their ground up project on the 'lion butress'

Their previous attempts in the dark had failed and so back again it was to try it. The line is an excellent slabby wall with tiny holds and fantastic moves and with gear in a good break, it makes a good ground up project.

They both had several attempts until finally Dave climbed it using a new sequence, closely followed by Franco. I then decided I may as well have a go, despite being no E5 leader. I managed the first hard move to a small crimp but from this I fell numerous times. Eventually, it ended with me taking a stupid fall and bashing my shin on a ledge, the remains of which are still heeling! The name of 'Mane Vision' was settled with the grade, E5 6c.

The rockover, but not the crux!

I met up with Franco and Dave again and we headed for High Crag which proved fruitful (for me at least!)

Warrior E2 5c***

I climbed warrior, my second E2 and a damn good one at that, and also climbed 'Kestrel Crack' HVS 5b, now E1 5b, both routes being a fantastic challenge with strenous moves.

Over the next two weeks I had two trips to the Wainstones, once with Rory and once with Jake. We met up with two other climbers from 'the other side' of the moors, Jack and Matthew to form 'The Moors Youth Team'.

Moors Youth Team

To finish the summer off, I had fairly relaxed weekend. I met some of the old first ascentionists of the moors which was proved interesting! Then the second day I went for a solo assault, visiting 4 crags and finally stumbling across Lee Robinson for a spot of bouldering, although my ankle was bodged so I didn't do anything.

Thanks to Franco and Dave who've been kind enough to give me several lifts to various crags and showing me rarely climbed gems which lie hidden deep in the Valleys in return for tea and cake.

Looking back, it's been a great summer with some fantastic memories; and as September now brings colder mornings, I think about the experience gained and another chapter turned in my climbing apprenticeship, knowing that I wouldn't have come so far if it wasn't for the spirit that the moors gives.