List of Covers
Saturday, 29 September 2007
List of Covers
Friday, 28 September 2007
After catching up with Lee and hearing his Beta for Elite Syncopations i decide it's worth getting on again and seeing if it feels any more doo-able. This is another 8a at the crag and has a wicked hard crux at the second bolt. The frustrating thing is that aside from this section, the rest of the route is fine and dandy! I had tried it a few months ago and decided that it didn't suit me and left it at that. With Lee's new sequence it seemed possible.
Sunday we return and after watching Lee's successful ascent on youtube the night before i was psyched to give it a propper working! Man i got spanked! if you look at the video it looks like a path! it just highlights how tall Lee actually is! I've never before been outreached by anyone but he manages to do it! It's a git of a move but workable all the same - Very powerful lock with the left shoulder on a crimp with only a very low right foothold while you reach for a distant sloper with your right
Meanwhile Caroline continues her training by working the harder 7's at the crag. The line pictured above is a brilliant 7a+ but a bit reachy! I can honestly say that i reckon the sequence Caroline has crafted out of the meager holds on offer to her looks more desperate then the 8a crux i was on.... reach huh?! Not the fairest thing in the world but makes for great grading debates!
Saturday, 15 September 2007
Anyway, I pull the rope down and tie in… the route begins with a boulder problem involving a shallow mono and a slopey matchbox pinch that has to be deadpointed from to a sharp two-finger pocket that you have to catch as an undercut at full stretch. From there a few non-descript moves lead to a good hold and a rest before a long crux sequence out under and through a blank-looking bulge. Left crimp, high right gaston, left to intermediate thumb-catch, foot up, left again out to wide, beefy pinch, right toehook in the good hold allows me to release the gaston and catch a high undercut below the crux bulge without swinging off. Then the scary clip from way above the last bolt.
Now the strange bit, previously I had been sketching by this stage due to the pump and nerves but this time I’m solid enough to relax and chalk up my left before reaching over the bulge to the slopey two finger scoop… normally this feels desperate and I have to snatch out to the right hand mono sidepull but today I can actually lock-off and chalk my right hand (I actually thought to myself “Why are you chalking up for a feckin mono?”) and then wipe the excess chalk off on my trousers before holding the mono. Next I’m adjusting my feet, ready for the deadpoint to the Killer mono with the flapper-ripping tooth. From here on things get a bit Vocal as I know I’m fresh and I really want to stick this sequence. I reach high to the mono and it feels good as I stack my thumb and index finger onto my middle (just like I practiced on the board during the week) and step up my feet. The slap to the sloper happens perfectly and I’m on the bulge and further than I’ve ever been on this route.
The footholds are rubbish at this point. Basically I’m standing on a quarter of your little fingernail with my right and a rough patch of vertical rock with my left. The handholds are slopers. The higher you stand up, the more likely your feet are to skid off and theres a bolt to clip infront of my face but I cant let go of either hand! I hop my left up high and have one of those on-off moments where I’m a gnats left testie from peeling off backwards. I’m on, stand up to the undercut above and the final easy bulge after skipping the last draw. Clipping the lower off I’m shocked. 2 weeks of board work and the route felt like a path compared to how it felt before our trip to Ireland. After stripping the draws I was at a loss as to what to do next… I was all set for a full days battle and I sent it in one! We kept busy – no shortage of bolts to clip
My second 8a …
Sunday, 9 September 2007
Séan had this to say to me about it all:
Without the Peg and without duck tape... I think duck tape is unethical! don't you think? :)Awsome route... though the skyhooks are pretty bommer... You'll love it, big moves on small face holds...excelent technical face climbing
Also did Bad skin day, not as scary but really nice route too. and this route called Men of kerow, nice stemming and jamming.
Was climbing in Freyr today with Tom and the lads...feels funny to clip bolts again but Freyr is really good climbing.
Sunday, 2 September 2007
Sean and his Whistle
Monday morning we woke to some sort of demi-hell – millions of the nastiest, most ferocious midge seemed set on devouring us piece by piece so we packed up out tents in a flurry of arms and curses and speed towards Fanore beach for a swim to steady our nerves and clear the midge from our skin. After the swim it was time to climb… as I mentioned earlier, I got hit with some sort of bug just before we made it to the Aran Islands causing me to loose my voice and leaving me totally wasted – I know when I’m sick as my shoulders just feel like lead weights! I really wanted to jump on loads of the lines I had on my tick list but didn’t want to waste them if I wasn’t feeling right. I end up trying ‘Quicksilver’ E5 6a on the far end of Mirror wall. Now I’ve heard someone say that they reckoned this was a soft E5 or maybe even a hard E4, Well I have always had a hard time on this one, well just one move to be honest but it just pumps me silly! This time I cruise it clean as a warm up and Sean seconds me and reinforces my opinion on it’s grade, Its an E5 alright – Phew! I’m not that soft yet!
After that we had to pack up and split if we were going to catch our ferry but just had time to drop Sean to Doolin where he could wait for Tom to Arrive. We dropped Caroline’s sister home in Offaly on our way back to Dublin but the motivation to catch the ferry seemed to evaporate the closer we got… I’d had a taste of the Burren Rock and I needed more!
Tuesday morning and we’ve missed our ferry and are still in Ireland – Damn! Off to Glendalough! Sean had been filling our heads with talk of Big Walls and Caroline wanted to do some multipitch climbing. We end up climbing on of Glendalough’s most celebrated lines, ‘Spilikin Ridge’, 85m of E3 5c crack climbing in spectacular positions. This was only Caroline’s second ever multi pitch and she loved it! Stopping for lunch at the base of the crag we hatch a cunning plan to miss tonight’s ferry and head to the Burren for a couple more days!
Room with a view - Notice Toms makeshift bivi shelter to the right of Seans silver tent!
The next morning I woke up first and chilled out in the light breeze that kept the midge at bay. Eventually everyone rises and after a prolonged breakfast we all head to Fanore for another Swim, Tom is sceptical at first about swimming in the some what less than tropical conditions but we convert him to our ways and we have great craic body surfing the waves. Funny seeing the horrified looks of the onlooking wetsuit wearing surfers! Right then, What to Lead?
Gearing up - This felt very heavy after all our recent sports climbing!
Everyone is feeling a bit tired at this stage but we gotta do something! I set an Ab up and we go down to try ‘Sharkbait’ E5 6b – this is an awesome line but I had seen some very strong crack climbers get spat off this one over the years and stories of a pumpy, goey, 6b crux had put me off trying it before now. I tie in and cruise to the top – nothing stands out as being too difficult. Was that really E5 6b? I must be feeling good. Meanwhile Tom leads ‘Black Barron’ E2 and Sean belays while watching me on Sharkbait. Caroline seconds me and realises where the route got its name (See pic below). Caroline in typical stubborn form refuses to leave any of the gear in place and cleaned the line while seconding - before this Caroline had bee struggling to get to grips with pure crack climbing, well something clicked! Caroline seconded the route cleanly to the 6b crux before comming off due to a foot slipping and a reachy move. Once past the crux Caroline cruises to the belay - After finishing her crash course in crack climbing! Tom makes it to the top of the Black Barron and looks like he needs a drink. “I Nearly Shat Myself!” he says… bit of a contrast to sports climbing alright!
Caroline became Sharkbait after seconding the E5 6b
Sean gets psyched and goes for ‘Jokerman’ E6 6b and gets it onsight (possibly only the second onsight ever of this line).
Jokerman E6 6b
Then before leaving Sean wants to try Sharkbait – afterwards he tells me that I made it look too easy – he thought it was going to be easier – infact both himself and Tom said that it was as hard as Jokerman! Tom even thought it was harder – They reckon I should get on the E7’s...
The Lads starting up the awesome line of Sharkbait, E5 6b
Their encouragement is much appreciated and now I feel psyched for some hard training and confident that anything is possible if I want it! Alas we have to get going and end up driving the Lads to Andy’s gaff back in Dublin (Andy, I know you don’t read blogs but Cheers for the Tea!! And your Gaff and Pooch are both Class!)
And that’s a wrap!
Back in Wales now after an awesome trip home! I didn’t get to meet up with half the people I wanted to but nothing new there, haa! I recharged my flow and had a great time with the few family and friends we actually did catch up with.
Saturday, 1 September 2007
We eventually made it over to Inis Mor on Saturday morning and met Kev and Belgian Sean at the Dun Aengus Coffee shop in light Drizzle… yuk! We hop on our bikes and explore Poll na b’Peist… the lines I had lead 5 years ago look so pathetic now… Jeeze! We explore some new cliffs and unearth two great lines, a New E3 6a and an E5 6a. The next day however we went exploring Scalp na platti and it’s considerable 70 – 80m cliffs. The outcome was ‘Tom agus Mick’, E4 in beautiful sunshine on perfect rock up steep cracks with bomb proof protection. 2 pitches and a 10m scramble up a groove to top out. Bliss! Now theres only the other 1000 or so other unclimbed lines to be done on the island and we’ll have a mega crag on our hands! Pictures are on Kev’s Camera… I’ll post them as soon as I get them!
Blazing Saddles, E2
I reckon some local out there could probably tidy them off in under an hour but it would be interesting to see…
Give em a go! They’re a great few lines!
Imagine the pitch if they were all stacked one ontop of each other!
View from the Quarry
The Rest before the final 6c sequence on CHOMOLUNGMA SANS O2
Another interesting hard line that I spent some time on while in the quarry was bitter aftertaste. This route has an interesting history… originally bolted, it breached the overhang left of tower ridge. Causing considerable interest, then controversy the bolts were eventually removed and it’s first ascentionist placed a single peg and then lead the route traditional style at E6 6a. Firstly, it’s not 6a… Infact it couldn’t even pretend to be 6a with powerful moves on small but positive crimps up an overhang with it’s only protection a fair bit below and some nasty looking angular ledges not to much further below that! This is a serious route, made more serious due to the fact that originally there was a thread near the lip of the overhang, which has now crumbled and disappeared – does this add to the difficulty? Maybe not, but the route has still to receive a repeat and I’m at the point where I may step out of the queue for it. In all honesty I think the bolts belonged in it. It is not a traditional climb, the style of the climbing the terrain it goes through… had the bolts remained it would have added something unique to the quarry and probably gone a considerable way towards removing the glass ceiling currently putting a cap on Irish climbing standards. Some lines should remain as hard trad testpieces – and some should be opened as sports lines allowing Irish people to experience hard SAFE climbing on home turf… The deciding factor should be the style of the climbing and the natural protection available. Currently the route remains there with it’s one peg and empty boltholes – seldom touched and wasted. After spending 4 days out in the quarry I came away from it wondering what the MCI or the climbers put back into the place? Is there money available for replacing fixed protection? If it was replaced would it spark interest in the great lines again? Who would be willing to put the time into doing it? I would and probably will once we move back home in the future. As it stands, climbing one of these hard lines in Dalkey requires a lot of time, effort and preparation… factors that actually add to the experience and make every hard ascent something special.