Thursday, 9 October 2008
...is something I rarely have. That's for a very simple reason: I have climbed A LOT in the Peak District over the years, so I'm starting to run out of routes to do. I.e. I've already climbed many of the better - or more inspiring - routes at my standard, so what I have left to do is either routes that are too hard (which I can't do), or not so good (which I don't want to do), or repeating routes (which doesn't appeal).
Or, preferably, explore ;).
No mystery there, no weirdness, no dubiously seeking out obscurity for the sake of it (although sometimes I do a bit of that too...). Just a simple need for choice and fresh climbing.
Which is what I've been finding a bit of recently. I've been regularly getting scripts for the BMC Chatsworth guide (which will be awesome in keeping with their current tradition), presumably because I'm a thoroughly over-opinionated bugger and guaranteed to rise to the bait and rant on about grades and star quality in what passes for useful feedback from me. Which I have done for most of the conventional (read: climbed out) areas, but elsewhere in the deepest darkest depths of the Matlock grit maze (read: still got routes and even whole crags to explore) I've actually been climbing and checking stuff out properly.
Me checking something out properly @ Turningstone Edge. Photo: Cofe.
So far this autumn I've been to and climbed at:
Ravensnest Tor (never been before) - big bad and profoundly adventurous, surprisingly good climbing, unique in the Peak.
Bank Quarry & Jackson Tor (n.b.b.) - little routes, some of them with a big impact. Minor but fun and worthwhile.
Turningstone Edge - great as always particularly with recent rhododendron clearance. Many quality routes.
Chasecliffe (n.b.b.) - a singular buttress but with a cool hidden gem.
Shining Cliff - another reliable quality crag and suntrap, haven't really touched on the best here yet.
Alport Stone - a perfect pinnacle, a lovely little experience, great views too.
Leashaw Brow (n.b.b.) - another minor crag with routes that pack a punch. Good grit too.
Stone Edge (n.b.b.) - even more minor but was worth a look.
Eastwood Rocks - banned and brilliant, some really cool climbing on lovely sculpted rock.
Harthill Quarry (n.b.b. and never bloody going back) - ummm. I did one cool HVS jamming crack that was topped by 8m of loose rubble and grass and had to clip into gear and get a hanging rope dropped to pull out on. Still....I've been there....once ;).
Visiting American friend/victim Alicia @ Alport Stone. Photo: Me.
All of this exploration has given me the choice to climb reasonably graded stuff that doesn't hurt my elbow, and have a bit of fun and interest checking stuff out for the new guide and finding what it's all about. I'll probably have one last checking trip soon....and I've also found some pretty damn inspiring harder routes for winter grit conditions...
Lazy Day E3 6a ***, Shining Cliff
Marathon Man E3 6a **, Shining Cliff
Streets Ahead E3 6a *, Bauston Tor
Tour De Nudsville E3 6a **, Leashaw Brow
Both Sides Now E3 6a **, Cocking Tor
Dark Horse E3 6a **, Bank Quarry
...I only mention the grades (errr, grade) because I like the neatness of them all being the same :). Oh I suppose I could also add Dickon E3 6a * @ The Secret Garden, Second Chance E3 6a * @ TurningStone Edge and Hands Up E3 6a ** @ Eastwood Rocks, hmmm!! We shall see what I can manage...