E5 first ascent at ‘Dukes Seat Buttress’

Following my good weekend last weekend I have had a pretty good week this week too.

Last Sunday I popped out to one of my projects (even though it was a little warm) with my mate Joe Heeley. A pretty cool prow/arete at ‘Dukes Seat Buttress’ tucked away in the woods of Chatsworth.
Turned out to be a very productive session as I worked out a good sequence on the first top rope go … I thought ‘result 🙂 this feels pretty solid, I would lead this now if I had gear with me.’
We also decided to play on the wall below the prow (a nice boulder problem) but sadly found that it was sopping wet. Trying not to be put off we attempted to work out a sequence up it anyway… but to no avail, we both got spat off.

Having had to walk away when I wanted to get on the lead was frustrating.
Luckily I had to book Thursday off for some apartment stuff which gave me the perfect chance to get out to the peak.
I call up Joe and he was psyched to get out and give me a belay and try the lower wall again.

The sequence up the prow is a fun one, fridge huggey using hidden holds, into a short balancey arete to finish it off. Would be hard to on-sight I think due to not being able to see the holds and the crux being very specific in the way it is done.
The ascent went really well, but for some reason I got nervous on the top section (sewing machine leg). Annoying as I had to stand on a small crimp to get the height needed to grab the top. A quick leg shake though, a sort of ‘oi, stop it’ allows me to stand up, top out and relax.

First ascent in the bag.

Then we look at the lower wall as a boulder problem. It’s slightly overhanging with a flat sloped top hold and various other rubbish holds dotted over it. Again we spend ages getting thrown off no matter what sequence we tried.
Being satisfied with what I had come for I was close to just watching Joe play on it. He was settling with a dyno sequence as anything else was just not working at all.
I noticed a way that I thought would work so I grabbed two holds and try the long jump and grabbed the top sloper and came off … ooooh game on, we could grab that.

Joe tries the same beta and does the same … this is now a race for who is going to latch the top first and nab the first ascent of this Font 7a+ dyno.
It got tense as we both fell off the top hold twice only just popping off each time. To make it fair we where both giving it alternate goes.

My turn, I’m aware of how close we have both been and know that a failed attempt now would hand over the first ascent to Joe.
So, I give it my all, both hands grabbing the top hold at the same time, I find that I have stuck it 🙂 another one in the bag, this has been a good day.
My fears where well justified as Joe latched the top on his next go proving that it would have been his if I had fallen again.
A direct route up the center of this wall is going to be possible but very very hard and will be impressive if it is done.

I named the prow ‘General Lee’ with a grade of E5 6b.
The boulder problem is called ‘Daisys double D’ and graded Font 7a+, probably 7b for the short.
Both names are on a ‘dukes of hazard’ theme.


First E5 On-sight

Wow 🙂 what a blast.

The weekend was so much fun, a really productive weekend and one I am not likely to ever forget, why? … because I did my first On-sight of an E5 😀 A route called ‘Ai no corrida’ at Burbage North and given a grade of E5 6b.

This has been a long term goal for me that I didn’t think I would get just yet but thought I would keep my eye out for potential candidates.

I’d planned to meet up with my friend James last Friday to climb a route called ‘Nefertiti’ E6 6b. I got to the crag first so I thought I would go for a walk to see this route that a few people had told me was really nice (Ai no corrida). When I found it I knew instantly that it was a strong candidate for my first E5 on-sight, being a fridge hug, lay backing prow/arête. Just my style of climbing so I took a note of it in my head and went to go meet James.

Nefertiti went pretty well as I managed to do it clean on top rope so I though ‘yea, lets go for it’ put some pads down and went for it.
Now it started well, did the hand traverse (crimps) to the good mid way slot, great … so far so good.
Next up was a big slap which for me was the crux and I knew I had to catch it right, I make myself commit and ….. damn it … I’ve caught it wrong and I cant re adjust.
I can only try to keep climbing so I move my leg up (hip height) move my left hand next to my high right one (sloper, only abusable for balance). I look at the last hold and had that sickening feeling in my stomach knowing from practice that if I try to go for it with my right hand the way it is I would pop off and take a long fall onto my shoulder which would definitely be bad and a one way trip to injury street.
So I look down and the pads look a long way down (about 5 metres ish) they also look quite small from this height but reluctantly I had to let go 😦

Down I go and bang I crumple into the pads, alot harder than I was expecting but I think the uneven floor made it worse. I’m laying on the floor a little stunned and James pats me on the back lol I appear not to be hurt at all, so I stood up and ‘ouch’ my hip gives me a stabbing pain. I go to walk and it’s making me limp, feels like a sprained ankle but in my hip … hmm I hope this isn’t bad.
Luckily it only made me limp for that evening but that along with the feeling of being punched in the chest made for a definite pub visit.

Anyway, I woke up on the Saturday with total psyche to get on ‘Ai no corrida’. I have no idea where the extra motivation came from but there it was.
So I jumped out of bed only too happy to find that my hip didn’t hurt per say, only a little stiff.
I woke Lauren up and dragged her out of bed, took her to a garden centre to say thanks for coming out to belay me and then headed to the bottom of the route.

So I start climbing place the gear (its fairly low down but would cushion a fall from below the crux) I got to the crux move, you have to clamp your heel by your right hand ready to do a big role over to a hold on the arête. I freaked out at the thought of falling and landing on the sharp fin below me and down climbed …. twice. Hmm maybe I’m not ready, maybe I should come back another day.
I get Lauren to belay me as I go to get the gear out and decide to give it one more go,

This time I clamp and role into the arête knowing now that I can’t down climb and that a fall from here on in would be a ground fall on a nasty landing (even with one pad) … crap my palms are sweaty from nerves … I grab a pinch with my left hand, get two smears with my feet, bump the left hand up again, scrabble up and pray I’m about to have some better holds and boom 🙂 jugs at the top of the arête, perfect time to chalk up and get my head together and finally pull over the last metre or so of easy climbing.

So there I was, I’ve done it, I can’t believe it, my goal, my dream 🙂 a reality and so I let out a shout of relief and joy at having achieved what I wanted and being in one piece.

Hopefully this is just the beginning of what could be a good grit season.

Last few weekends

The last few weeks have been fairly fun with some unexpected happenings.

The first of which was a fun day out at Lawencefield with my friends Claire, Joe and Lauren on the 24th.
Initially we thought ‘hey, a quiet evening climbing and slacklining at Lawencefield would be quite nice’ so we all met up and started walking in. On our approach we started to hear some sort of bass ‘boom, boom, boom’ getting louder and louder the closer we got.
It was soon evident that there was a rave going on at the base of the crag, having never seen nor been to a rave I found this rather amusing. Climbing to some awesome beats 🙂

So much for our quiet evenings climb. This was shut down after an hour or so of us being there by the police with a funny argument with one of the coppers and one of the partyers who clearly wasn’t happy about having no music at all.

More recently was last weekend, the 31st/1st Sep.
The Saturday Lauren and I went to Burbage south for a bit of bouldering. This was good fun playing on problems up to V5.
I decided I was in the mindset that I wanted to try and onsight an E5 (a current goal of mine) … didn’t happen 😦

The first I tried was a route called ‘crikey!’. I put a Mat down beneath me and headed up. Started climbing, felt good, reached up for a crimp and pop, off I go.
Luckily I was only about 5 foot off the floor but as I popped off backwards I knew straight away ‘I’ve missed my pad’ then very shortly afterwards my bum decided to get acquainted with a boulder which needless to say hurt and gave me a dead arse for a while.
The other was ‘Pebble Mill’ which has a Font 7a+ start of which I couldn’t find the nerve to commit too without spotters.

Sun was successful in that Lauren gave me a top rope on ‘Nefertiti’ E6 6c at Burbage North, effectively a high ball Font 7a+ with the hard move at the point where you don’t really want to fall off. I tried this on a shunt last winter and couldn’t make heads nor tails of it so was happy to find solid beta for and climb it on top rope really well.

So now just waiting for the next batch of cold weather to go a get it done and dusted.