|Tommaso leads Crack and Wall (HS 4b)|
Last weekend brought us two clear, sunny days of climbing, traditional style. I made the journey to Leeds especially to boost my skills on gritstone; coarse, rounded, sloping grit. With the climbing bug then out of my system (temporarily), I thought I could focus on my new office job a bit more. A decent session at Leeds Wall on Friday set us up well for the weekend.
With a friend from LUUHC – Italian Phd student Tommaso – we fiercely slapped and jammed our way around Burbage North on Saturday and Almscliff crag on Sunday. Despite what can only be described as a fucking ordeal on Saturday, getting eaten alive by midges, we had two successful days, starting early and finishing late. It was a total learning curve, to assess our limits and see how we could push beyond them.
On Sunday, Almscliff was something like a pleasure beach: climbers, walkers, families and their dogs out for the day, soaking up the vistas of Wharfedale and warm sun. Arguably, it’s my favourite spot around Leeds. The Cow and Calf is a serious contender! Tamsin and Simon, graduates from Leeds and regular partners at the Wall, boldly led their first trad routes - with ease (Three Chockstones Chimney, Mod). Once you lose your trad virginity, you get a new-found confidence in your climbing and a lust for more outdoor action. Expect to see them cragging soon at a rock-face near you.
An interesting crack to the left of Low Man Slab kept winking at me that afternoon. After 3 days of climbing I knew I would be pushing my luck to try it. It would be the hardest climb I’d do that weekend (Fluted Crack, S 4b). But I started rumours that I'd finish on Fluted Crack and I never like to go back on my word. Drawing on reserves of energy and psyche, I started the route with big bouldery moves. I was committed, using my hexes sparingly (removing the protection below me at a resting place to use further up!). I worked hard to maintain good crack technique. It was the only time that weekend when I could say I was ‘in the zone’; when the risk of falling doesn’t matter because you focus on the ground above you, not the ground below.
Thank you Tommaso, Tamsin and Simon