35 days since I last got out. Yes the weather and my gayflu (still persisting, on 2nd course of antibiotics now) have been that bad. Jesus. This mission took some effort, I really didn't feel great trying to wake up early and get going for it. So it was a late start, a LOT of driving and a bare minimum of climbing. But still good - back in touch with the purpose of winter and my purpose in life.
The forecast was good all over the County, so after much East vs. West deliberation, I decided to take advantage of the dry West and give Queen's another go. It was very crisp and bone dry....and completely snowed under there. Hmmm. I'm not having much luck with Queens! Onwards to Shaftoe which has everything facing in every direction and that worked pretty well as the sunny stuff was warm and dry and the shady stuff was cold and frozen and when the sun went down there was stuff that was cold and dry yay for friction. Before that I pottered about and recced Shaftoe South and came to the following conclusions:
Cafe Noir - worth a lead! Good line and obvious gear in a flake.
Antler And Deck - looks good and quite feasible, need mats and spotter.
Butch Cassidy - ditto.
Little and Often - crude but okay but top was iced up.
Pocket Rocket - looks crude and bland and too hard.
The cave stuff - very trad looking, best for summer power training.
Duvel - too small.
12 6c - too small and wrong on topo (shown perched over 10m drop!)
Slim Shady SS - looks good, bigger than it seems and perfect landing.
After that faffing and not climbing much I ended up in the Central Area to try to maximise the conditions on some of the sloping walls. Buford T Justice (not Belford, oops), I very nearly flashed by sheer determination but muffed my foot on the last move. Boo. I then ended up working it with the camera battery in my pants to keep it warm. That helped as I did it in the end. Despite being an eliminate it's a cool problem with some miserly slopers! Moved onto Smooth Wall, after a few goes this seemed impossible - similarly poor slimpers but this time with a bulge in the way. But! Lo and behold I worked out a foot placement and suddenly it seemed very feasible - this was exciting. Unfortunately despite getting super-close, I had to keep waiting for my skin to cool down in between attempts, and while I had the patience for that, the daylight didn't and buggered off leaving me to walk out in the pitch dark. But not before I saw a mouse scuttle across the frozen marsh beneath the wall (presumably very cold) and an owl swooping around (possibly solved the mouses coldness permanently).
So yeah. Another day with an epicly b0rked driving:sending ratio, but cool to get out at last!!