Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Reiff In the Woods - The Main Issue drops!


Well done to Richie Betts for sending the very obvious project at Reiff in the Woods! The severely overhanging wall has a mid-height rail, from where the lip seems to test your commitment to the jump as the landing can be dangerous if not padded and practised... here's Richie's description of completing the line:
'As for the grade.....well I'm not really sure. I was thinking around V8/Font 7b 'cos I cant really climb any harder than that! I guess comparing it to things on grit that seems about right, although it took me lots more goes than most of the Peak district dynos (Deliverance, Buckstone etc) but I think that's probably down to conditions and the landing. It's one of those....could be V6 if you are tall and like dynos or V9 if you aren't and don't. I was hitting the lip on every attempt but holding the swing is the crux... Barry pointed out that the temperature had really dropped just before I did it, maybe this made the difference. It probably took around 50 attempts in all over 4 or 5 visits, which is the most I've ever spent on a problem.'





Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Static and Flow

At last! After a stalled bouldering season, the high pressure has nudged in and settled the skies, the weeps are finally shrinking and withering at Dumbarton. While the Aberdeen crew have been lucky to have had dry conditions at Clashfarquhar, here on the west coast Dumbarton has been green and soaking for two months. Today I managed to get down and find some dry rock, working a few moves with Dave on some suddenly obvious unclimbed lines - it always surprises me that a little time off from a favourite venue refreshes your 'eye' and you see things that were not obvious when you're there all the time. Anyway, a small step as I managed to get the heel on the project again and 'look' at the next hold (yes, even that's an improvement to a boulderer) with Dave managing to go further and throw for the final move, which resulted in a couple of spectacular dynamic body swings, the resulting coiled tension propelling even the spotter into the brambles... a lot of pent-up energy after the dark ages of this autumn!





Static and flow at Dumbarton once again...

Saturday, December 09, 2006

40 days and 40 nights...

...of rain... which has put paid to the Scottish bouldering scene for this year... everything is weeping and green, we need a benevolent high pressure to restore some normality to the bouldering scene, everyone's frustrated by the deluge, and it doesn't look like stopping. Grabbing windows of opportunity between the fronts is the only option and running the animated satellite forecasts is like watching the old broken back of Scotland being whipped by sadistic Atlantic fronts.




That said, I squeezed in a pleasant afternoon at St Bride's wall near Strathyre... a quartzy bulging wall with perfect landings and some good testpieces, just after the parking for the Ben Ledi walk-in. It is not extensive, but in bad weather it is only two minutes walk and facing south, so it's worth a visit when the higher boulders are not worth the risk. It catches the sun and a few hairy-knuckled gestures from passing white-vans, which you can feel free to return.

The main lines are fingery straight-up highballers, but traversing right and descending the quartz crack is more sensible after the rain has greened off the top-outs. Projects remaining include the low traverse (broken holds may have made this harder) and the Bulge direct ... (may be the line climbed by Kev Howett in the 80's 'Grey Matter') - this is a fingery looking nightmare into the 8th grade somewhere... with quartz nubbins and slopers from hell thrown in! I managed to tackle the bulge from the quartz seam side, cranking up a nice crossover sequence on the seam to a high and unhelpful sidepull, where body tension allows the feet to smear on and the sidepull becomes operable. Slapping out right to the said quartz sloper, a moment of insecurity follows before better holds come... an excellent Font 6c+/7a, let me know your thoughts!
Let's hope we are due some higher pressure...