With the CMC we’re now into the outside climbing season and both last week and this we’ve had glorious sunny warm tuesday evenings at Woodhouse Scar.
I haven’t done much outside climbing for a couple of years (getting my excuses in early 🙂 but I didn’t expect to have lost quite so much ability.
First night, the 7th of April, I took a look at the rock and asked Michael (the local expert) to recommend a nice easy warm up. He suggested The Corner or Corner Arete, both Diff. It’s hard to say which I did as they’re eliminates of each other but it was fairly straight-forward. He next suggested Original Route as also being a straight-forward Diff which turned out to have a somewhat tricky boulder problem first couple of moves but otherwise fine. Honour having been done I top-roped Slanting Cleft (Severe) which was hard work (I fluffed an early move and fell off, glad I wasn’t leading it).
Move to next week and I thought I’d start by leading a V.Diff I’d led twice before, having warmed up the previous week and, I thought, got my climbing head back on. I tried The Layback. I got about a third of the way and frightened myself and backed off. That’ll teach me! Up with the top-rope and Tim goes up first then I have a go. I’m glad I backed off – carrying on from where I stopped was distinctly difficult and not at all elegant! I really am out of practice. So, no more V.Diff leads for me until I’m properly confident again.
Next stop Jetsam, also V.Diff, also on a top-rope. More straight-forward this time. Then onto Cave Crack. Wow, is this hard for a V.Diff! I felt like my arms were about to give out. I really do need to get my head back into shape and start using my feet and balance more effectively.
Finally, Basin Cracks (V.Diff). Tim and I had a look at the starting moves, which are undercut. It looked like a very tough start. We tried it and weren’t sure it would go but what the hell. Get the top-rope up and Tim goes first. Sure enough, the rope goes tight and he’s off. Try again, off again, so my turn. I look at it like a boulder problem at Leeds Wall and work out a sequence and rehearse it mentally. Tie on, and it works! Great handholds all the way up, and finally my head is working and I’m using my feet and balance correctly and what a great route. Told Tim he has to do it next time, as I’m sure he’ll be able to.
So I think it will be a few weeks before I’m leading V.Diffs but it’s nice to remember how much fun real climbing on real rock is.