On New Year's day I found myself at Almscliffe, in North Yorkshire, with a bunch of friends. I had a great day out and managed to get Morrels Wall Traverse (7A+) finished in only a few tries, which was nice. I tried and failed on The Keel (7C) again, which was the big project for the day, and then I sent a bunch of stuff I'd done before. Towards the end of the day, we placed the mats under Underhand (7B+) and had a few goes. I was tired. I could feel it in my arms - my left bicep had been hurting all day, remnants from the previous day's swimming and badminton efforts at Centre Parcs with my family. But I gave it my best shot, to no avail. The small slots and crimps hastening my downfall... literally.
A week later, my left arm still playing up, and I found myself under the same bit of rock. Having come close when I was knackered, I thought the following weekend, fully rested and ready to dispatch, it must be a sure thing. There was a hard lesson in failure. I have failed on many climbs before - what climber hasn't? - but I was so certain that Underhand would go with relative ease that this failure came as a bitter disappointment. Call it arrogance. Call it over-confidence. Call it naivety. Call it whatever... I learnt that nothing is ever a "sure thing", just go and have a go and see what happens.
|One of the hardest 6C+ problems ever? Unknown name, at Froggatt Edge.|
On Saturday, a decent group of us made an excursion to Froggatt, where everyone had their eyes on their own little problems. Mine was a handsome piece of rock, tucked away down a hill, next to a waterfall, that goes by the name Old King Cascade (7B+) (picture below, and crux sequence at the end of the blog). A jutting prow / nose that requires big, burly climbing on jugs - my cup of tea then. And so it proved, as half an hour of working the moves and it was dispatched. I hate talking grades, but they do help monitor progression so... I've never sent a 7B+ in a session before, let alone in such a short amount of time, so that was quite a surprise. Anyway, I went on to climb a HARD 6C+ later that day (picture above). For those that want to try it, it's right of the classic Joe's Arete and climbs past a small roof, to a good flat hold and a small jug and then into a long, diagonal slot. In my view, or maybe it was just the way I climbed it, this is worth an upgrade. I believe it used to get 6B+ in the old guide as well!
|Me on Old King Cascade (7B+), Froggatt Edge.|
Actually, now I've written it down, it doesn't seem like I've done too horribly badly, considering we're only three weeks into the New Year and I can still only climb outside on weekends.
Crux sequence for Old King Cascade (7B+), Froggatt Edge
(All photos courtesy of Mike Etchells)