Friday, 19 July 2013

A Muerte!

Chee Dale is where its at right now. Even more so if you want to escape the infernal heat that has appeared out of nowhere and is now providing those endless summer days many of us had forgotten about or even knew were possible this side of the channel!

I signed off my Tor season a couple weeks back with a tick of Revelations, 8b and I'm quite content now to leave the place till the autumn arrives and with it the cold temps needed to climb well down there.

I had two main routes in mind down at the Chee Dale cornice at the start of the season. One I had tried the last time it was dry 2/3 years ago, Kristian's big roof masterpiece Gran Techo, 8b and an uber bouldery 8a+, Devonshire Arms.
With all the hot weather they both quickly came into condition and I was really fired up to get stuck into climbing here again. That summer of 2010 seemed a long time ago and its just fantastic to see the whole scene reappearing, see everyone syked and have everything dry once more.

After reacquainting myself with Gran Techo (which literally means 'big/great roof' in Spanish) it went down fairly quickly, and I had brief thoughts of trying Bob Hickish's harder direct finish, Techno Prisoners which he gave 8b+. I remember him doing this a couple of years ago and it was just something on another planet to me at the time and never imagined trying it. I knew I had the roof dialled up well so started to wonder how hard it'd be to carry on for a few extra moves, even though I'd heard rumours of a HUGE span on the head wall.
Before that though I had a date with Devonshire. Nige had given us all the beta for this very short lived and burly product of the 90's, a couple days previous and I almost sent the morning after climbing Techo! But it wasn't to be so we came back on what turned out to be one of the hottest days of the year, hardly ideal at all for this route... Much to my relief I made it through the powerful sequence of undercuts, chalking way more than usual to keep the grime and sweat at bay and suddenly the chain was staring me in the face and it was laid to rest.
I think a lot of people are put off by this one after hearing how hard it is and how it should really be 8b. Maybe it should... I don't know, but it isn't as bad as its made out, you just have to be prepared to pull a bit harder! So get to it and ENJOYYYY!

 Gran Techo | Screenshot from an upcoming video short...

I've had to try enormously hard on routes many a time, but yesterdays efforts on Techno Prisoners seem to eclipse previous endeavours. It literally felt like the fight of my life! I could have dropped every move after the crux so easily, spat into the waiting void behind me. Maybe the next try would have gone better, if I had blown it, and quite often I prefer to climb something with the feeling of being in total cruise control on every move. But to have tried so hard and succeed makes it all the more sweeter.
Most sport routes pass us by and we generally forget what it all felt like to get to the top. I've read a lot lately from folk about how it is the 'process' that we all crave and enjoy, rather than the eventual send. With this, yes I enjoyed the whole process immensely but I equally enjoyed, if not more so, the actual feeling of redpoint success. It was a close one, and an experience I won't be forgetting in a hurry.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Karma Killin'

There is a route down in Water Cum Jolly that waited over 10 years for a second ascent. Karma Killer was first put up in 1997 by Tony Coutts and given 8b. Although I'm lead to believe it has been tried by a fair few since, it was Jon Clark that grabbed the long awaited repeat of this neglected 90's testpiece a couple of years ago.

"A chequered history. It's the route that mentally broke Tony Coutts (he gave up climbing having done it & emigrated to Australia) & physically broke Steve Fearne & Robin Barker (that mono)."
Andy Harris

It has been on my ever growing 'wishlist' for some time and I finally went to give it a serious look sometime back in May but then it got wet so my attention turned to other things. I like the way Rupert described one of the holds to me when I was quizzed him for beta, calling it a "cornflake". You couldn't describe this tiny undercut better. It's thin, small, and as if someone has got creative with a box of Kellogs and tube of sika. This is what the crux revolves around, oh and a one pad mono thrown in there too. It is a pretty unique rig and wouldn't look too out of place buried in the forests of the Frankenjura.

 Jura pulling dream!
© Jon Clark

I was incredibly pleased and slightly bewildered to get this done early Saturday morning and make the 4th? ascent... It's firmly up there with one of my favourite ticks without a doubt and I'd highly recommend it. Just make sure those tendons are fully warmed up first ya'll!!!

The day after I was keen to look at another route on this wall, Agent Provocatuer, a fierce 8a+ to the right of Karma. The photo below of Jon on the head wall of this always put me off... So I was pleased to find out from someone that Ryan Pasquill had found some new way for these final moves. Basically a huge span... With some heel/toe trickery and a final big dyno to a glory jug. An absolutely brilliant move if you like that sort of thing. The skin felt shredded and bruised so we left to go home, but it was all dialed up for the next time.

 © Pete Clark

Yesterday, fully rested and with nice fresh skin on the tips I went back with the young and keen George Carmichael and JC in tow and pulled my way to the belay. The start is technical, and tenuous on the feet but not too bad and you'd have to say it beats routes like The Inch Test and Caviar for quality... Get to it people, its clean, chalked and waiting!

Jon has been following us around over the last week collecting some cool looking footage of various routes and he managed to get yesterdays send on camera too, so keep an eye out for that. I'll post it up as soon as he's finished doing his thing with it!