Wednesday, 7 July 2010


Climbing is fun. Trad climbing is fun. Placing gear (except when in extremis) is fun. Placing weird, deviant, obscure and cunning gear is fun - and a fun I can particularly revel in. Part tactics, part engineering, part gameplay, part perversion. I like the idea of playing within the trad onsighting rules and using all the tools, tips, and protection available to go to the limits of those rules to make serious and bold routes safe and feasible.

Running belayers with ground anchors with DMM Revolver crabs in, cumulative collections of several individually poor RPs, slings over blunt spikes with fingertape holding them in place (strips of tape taken up on helmet), skyhooks tied down to ground anchors....all of these I've used to good effect. I have more ideas in the pipeline, but here is a picture of the latest:

This is Stella, a really cool wall/slab at South Yardhope, but a really bold one without some....cunning. There's an obvious flakey jug mid-way through the tricky climbing, but this is also both thin and sloping. Thin enough that a wire would pull through and a cam would snap it off, sloping enough that a sling would slide off. Thus a sling tied to a rope that goes through a sling on a boulder way out left and back to the belayer. So I get up to the flake, place the sling, the belayer pulls the rope tight, keeping the sling pulling leftwards onto the widest and most solid part, rather than down, right, and off. Whether the flake would definitely hold I don't know, but it gives it, and me, a fighting chance. Lucky too, as the next moves are still a bit sketchy. Great route, good cunning :).

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