Thursday, 19 September 2013

Challenge #7 - Lady Charlotte.

Well I seem to have managed another route that is A Fairly Big Deal for me. Not quite sure how that happened but it might be something to do with a bit of training, a lot of syke, and a fair amount of good conditions. I'd been on Lady Charlotte before, climbed up a few moves in too hot weather, looked around and thought "fuck me I can't find any gear here, how on earth can I continue up steep sweaty terrain with god knows if there's any protection coming up" and downclimbed hastily.

This time I climbed up a few moves in much fresher weather, looked around and thought "wow I've found a great tricam slot and an okay RP slot and the holds are good enough to move up a bit and fiddle some more in". So I did. And to be honest, I did a lot of dicking around to get the route done. Up and down 4 times - once ropeless to check out the gear, once to get the tricam in and move up further to a wire and tiny cam, once more to get to the jugs at the top of the groove and a good cam and peenut (oh and stop reading if you don't want gear beta), once more to get stood on the so-called ledge (it isn't) on top of those jugs and a crucial cam and realise the wall to the break is quite sketchy and blind and come down once more and give Adam a break from belaying as he goes for a burn on Silk Purse and does it with two falls including onsighting the top groove. I can only dream of such stamina so I need all this dicking around on LC to get warmed up, pumped up, fiddle in all the "it only appears when it's by your face" gear and only then do I realise I have to fucking go for it.

So I do.

And after all the rather dissatisfying up-and-downing, it is great. Great wall climbing, committing moves, pumpy, enough decent gear, cool features to go for. I get to the top rest ledge - effectively the end of LC itself - and try to balance my wariness of the "E3 5c" top crack with my impatient desire to keep fucking going for it. Somehow I get a burst of confidence and blast into the crack, the crack that isn't a crack with gear that isn't gear. I get into the final micro-niche with one tiny cam 2m below my feet and in a blaze of pumped summit fever top out directly over the crag top.....except it's a rounded boulder covered in pine needles and fading into sloping heather. Fuck FUCK FUCK. Fiddle in a cam cross-handed and it falls out as I clip it. If I fell now I'd blow the tiny cam but hopefully not the ledge-height wires and still end up below the half-height break. Somehow I squirm back into the niche, squeak and squeal a cam into a loose vibrating plate, and look 1m left to the real topout, maybe a 4b move on good rock but it feels like the living end.

My lungs were still aching on the drive home.

Abseiling down this "classic wall climb", it overhangs by at least 3m in 30m.



Mark McGowan said...

Well done. Glad you got it done. A great route.

Fiend said...

Thank you! Took me long enough. The hardest route I've done this year I reckon.