Sunday, 19 October 2014

6th time lucky...

Mungasdale. Thelonious. Typical North West gneiss 15° overhanging thuggery, albeit on a much underused crag. A slightly off-piste inspiration, but that's nothing new for me I guess.

Visit 1, Spring 2012 - First visit, neat little crag, not strong enough nor accustomed enough to Scottish thuggery. Didn't even do Walking On Water.

Visit 2, Spring 2013 - Starting to climb quite well, did do Walking On Water, but too tired / too warm to try Thelo.

Visit 3, Spring 2014 - Far too muggy and midgey. Didn't climb at all, unless backing off Monkey Tribe counts.

Visit 4, Summer 2014 - Far too boiling hot. Tried to get morning shade under the illusion that the "south-west" facing was accurate. SSSW more like so no shade and no chance. Walked straight out.

Visit 5, Autumn 2014 - Perfect cool fresh conditions and the main wall was entirely seeping on every route. Did Monkey Tribe and then sacked it off yet again.

Visit 6, Autumn 2014 - Scarcely a week later and brief Indian Autumn and crisp fresh Easterlies gave a bone dry crag and perfect Gneiss conditions. 5 layers on to belay and one power vest on to climb, and finally...

A ridiculous amount of effort and dedication to a 2 star, split grade, 15m route that no-one's climbed, hardly anyone has heard of, at a crag few people have visited?? Yes. But a ridiculous amount of satisfaction unlocking the desperate boulder problem start and a ridiculous amount of pleasure pushing past the pump and yarding up steep jugs all the way to the top.

This was one of the highlights of what is probably the final reliable jaunt to the North West holy grail for this year - although I am still hoping for some technical trad suntrap action on the pseudo-grit of Ardmair and Diabeg if conditions allow - and once again the area was stunning in the autumn sun:

Unbeatable :)

Edit: Eagle-eyed readers might notice these photos are over-saturated. This is because Google / Blogger has a shitty "Auto-Enhance" feature specifically implemented to give you less control over what you upload and fuck up your photos. After a bit of searching, it's not possible to disable this without joining googleplus and thus no doubt opening up another world of bullshit and social media herding. In short, Google can suck my fucking balls until they choke and I'm sorry on their behalf the photos don't look quite right.

Friday, 3 October 2014

Souter Syke!

One visit in two decades, then two visits in one month. This is based on the sudden realisation / rememberance that it's really a rather nice spot and there's loads to do in the mid-extremes and the sneakily gruelling walk out is good training for my puny legs without being tiring before climbing and it's a good 45 mins closer than The County. There's even been a few new routes added since the guide albeit some of those have been grossly overrated by the FAs so aren't as big a draw as the established greywacke mini-gems and micro-testpieces. I've worked my way through several of these but still have many to go, depending on tides and conditions of course. This last visit the tides were decent and the conditions were perfect, a brisk westerly blowing any moisture back into the depths from whence it came. Thus allowing a satisfying ascent of the distinctly non-mini-testpiece Fast Bleeder, admittedly the bulk of the challenge of this climb is packed into the last 8m but those 8m are relentless enough to preclude any complaints about brevity...

Other days out have included Creag Dubh's Barrier Wall to which I've had two visits and two cancelled visits previously, all of which were because it was too hot / sunny / still to climb the harder stuff. This time the rock was in perfect condition and the howling gale raking across the crag prevented even thinking about harder stuff. FFS. A retreat to Farrletter confirmed that idiot bolters and idiot de-bolters have left the crag in a pointless mess, although a few of the routes are still fairly climbable, albeit not when it's getting dark as it happened on Too Farr For The Bear. FFS. The brisk winds were as good for conditions at Ratho as they were at The Souter, so I managed to keep working my way through the quarry's classic trad (in addition to belaying Smally on some distinctly nu-skool trad with his likely E8 first ascent of the blank wall where the Strongarm/Wally protection pillar used to be), specifically Diverticultis which plays nicely to my weaknesses of struggling like a stuck pig on blank bridging corners. Somehow the struggling went upwards enough to deposit me on the rest ledge and easier finish, after I'd rested a good couple of minutes for the pain in my left foot to ease off. Now the weather is pish of course and as much as I'd like to train (too much trad is making me even weaker!) I've slightly strained my forearm dicking around doing a first joint pinky mono pull rockover seconding at The Souter (my own stupid fault) so I best rest for a bit. FFS.