I managed to sneak up to Cummingston in perfect spring conditions and tackle another cool challenge - the steep, striking, and supposedly serious Prow. I'd had a good look at this before and worked out some cunning gear placements to protect the bulk of it - I knew it would take a lot of faffing, but that should warm me into the steepness nicely and get me ready for the daunting lip shenanigans. And it worked perfectly:
Cummingston Prow the safe way.
As with Smith's Arete, the amount of faff and downclimbing did spoil the purity for me, but also does fit the nature of the route - once all the faff is done, it makes it a slightly-bold-feeling but essentially very fun romp in space, rather than a dangerous solo. A grade easier to lead but maybe a star extra? After this I went to do Aesthetic Ape in a more straightforward way - worked out the start, placed the gear, and got on with it past the very funky and slopey crux. Another rewarding experience.
The slight downside to the visit was muffing what should have been Challenge #4 at Huntly's Cave - Lime Street. I'd warmed up fine on Huntly's Wall, then later got on Lime Street. Right at the start my hands were cold and instead of doing the sensible thing and reversing to either let them warm up or leave it for a warmer day, I pressed on into the steepness and pumpy layback and lack of ability to grip and falling off bollox terrain. Although I'm climbing pretty well this early in the season, it doesn't mean the rock has magically warmed up enough to make perma-shaded pump-fests suitable at this time of year - a good lesson about conditions.
I also had a realisation that I am doing pretty well on climbs where I can blast through a tricky section to an obvious respite / rest / protection, but I reckon I might struggle with long sustained periods of tiring climbing, and I reckon that the circuit boards at TCA might just be the thing for that. As well as more falling practice at the mighty R, of course. Looks like the weather will provide the opportunity for both...