Monday, 27 August 2012

Covesea Crushing.

Hands on the good edge beneath the roof. Grab the big fat pinch with left hand and bring right hand into the angled finger jam slot in the roof crack, thumb in to the crag, little finger away from the crag. Lean way out and reach left hand around to the sharp rib running up from the jutting block ledge from the lip. Right foot on the good edge, and try to reach the high slanting ridge with the right hand....can't reach, drape hand on non-hold and slap left hand higher up the sharp rib. Lunge and get the right hand on the small ridge, bring right foot to smear on fat pinch and desperately flail left foot around on the lip until it can be teased on to the jutting ledge. Match hands on the small ridge area and grunt into a rockover to a victory stance on the ledge.
If you don't want the beta for Urban Gorilla at Covesea, don't read the above paragraph! Although really it is quite easy to work out from the ground (the only difference from what I had precisely planned was a lower right foot and higher left hand for the crux reach). This was probably the highlight of a rather good day at Covesea - it was a line that definitely inspired me, but definitely played to a couple of my weaknesses of long reaches and pulling around roofs, thus a satisfying surprise to do it, and do it well (I guess I find it easier to commit to hard moves when there is perfect protection next to me and a big rest coming up ;)).

Other highlights included Bottle Republic (actually E3 5c but a good **), Dancing In The Dark, Banana Republic which were less challenging but equally high quality in both strong lines and strong climbing. The time of Covesea being mis-regarded as a sandy, dodgy, greasy esoteric backwater is OVER, and the now 11 routes I've done there confirm that.

As a punctuation to the day we also went to Tarlair, following the enticement of the guidebook photo. This turned out to be more of a line of dots or random ungrammatical squiggle rather than a satisfactory exclamation mark to the day. The sheer face of smooth rock and hard grades put an end to both the so-called warm-up route and any further challenges. Although I did learn I need to be able to detach myself from grade expectations and try to fight harder on the actual challenge, irrespective of how ludicrous a sandbag it might be.

On the plus side, since the crag sits below the infamous 13th hole of the Tarlair golf course, I did find 8 golf balls beneath the crag!

Today it rained, we got one route in early in the morning, recced Cummingston for future challenges (still inspiring, I definitely like the sandstone!) and had a spectacularly good moccaccino with whipped cream at the Mambo cafe in Aviemore.

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