Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Autumn Phase

It has been a great Autumn so far in the UK, particularly from a climbing perspective with generally settled conditions and DRY crags in abundance! As our summer adventures in Europe began to come to a close towards the end of August, I had a number of projects in mind back home.

One thing I was really keen for was to make a few trips up to Malham. Unfortunately we kept on getting unlucky with the crag basking in the sunshine all day. All very nice but not conducive to the best climbing conditions on the catwalk! However this led us to retreating to the shady sanctum of Goredale and a quick and rather unexpected send of the mighty ‘Supercool’. It has some of the best climbing in Yorkshire with some of the best most compact limestone around. AND all in a rather impressive setting. I really hope to be able to try the other two jewels in Yorkshires triple crown sometime next year and complete the saga.


First on the list back home in the Peak was another Chee Dale cornice offering. I do love it down the dale, despite having now done a majority of the routes that the place has to offer, I always love heading back and spending some time under the canopy of trees, surrounded by quality rock and being apart of that whole scene.

Barney Ragin’. An old project of Jon Fullwood’s that he ended up gifting to Caff around 5 years ago. I remember being there the day he did it, looking on and never once imagining I’d be good enough to try myself. What baffles me more is that this was back in 2010! In some ways it seems like 5 minutes ago but in others a lifetime seems to have passed by. My climbing has certainly come a long way in this time and it definitely seemed like another case of things coming full circle once again as I contemplated jumping on it.


Anyway it was another line that did not disappoint. A couple of moves rightwards out of R n P and you immediately find yourself smack bang at the crux. One powerful pull into high undercuts that require tension and beans before a gazillion intricate foot placements deposit you half way along the Butterflies traverse and a moment of respite. A couple of quick shakes and you are straight into the crux of Butterflies itself. Tic tacking, piano playing on tiny edges with delicate footwork eventually leads you to the belay. Job done. A fantastic addition to Peak Lime!

The temps have really dropped this week. There is that nippy chill in the air during the mornings and the nights are closing in faster every day. As the trees begin to rapidly change to their vibrant autumn colours and leaves scatter about, the down jackets are firmly back out along with the flask of hot tea! Autumn is great. I love it. But the thought of what may lurk in the dark winter months ahead is a little disheartening. 
I’m hoping that what remains of the limestone season will be a good one and we can get a couple more projects done before the winter sets in and training commences for next years plans and objectives.


Something rather different for me a couple of weekends ago now was entering the British Lead Climbing Championships for the very first time. Now I really cannot say for certain what it was that made me randomly psyched to register and compete alongside all those strong n young comp climbing wads but sure enough I found myself at Awesome Walls in Sheffield early on the 4th October and pinning my comp number to the back of my vest.
It had been over 5 years since my last lead climbing competition and I had no real expectations other than to enjoy trying something different for a change and catch up with friends I rarely get to see.
Safe to say I got pumped much quicker than I imagined! It is crazy the pressure you feel when competing in lead, I had totally forgotten how this can affect the way you climb.


It would be a lie to say that in the end I was not slightly disappointed with my performance and coming away with a 12th place finish. But it was a cool day out, we had fun, and it was great to see so many strong youths battling it out. In particular Jim Pope, who dominated throughout the weekend and showed the rest of us what this game is all about. That lad has got skills!

Back outside, check out the quick edit below of a cool boulder problem I was pleased to tick last week. It felt good to change up the gears, and once again engage the body into what I like to call 'boulder try hard mode'!

Whatever you are all up to, be it grit or lime, have a good sending season!