Saturday, 13 April 2013


Several months ago Jon Fullwood kindly informed me of a new route opportunity at Gardoms, saying it was probably too bold for him and that it would be a classic. "Cool, I'll get to it" I said. Two months later Jon was again talking about this line, how he'd found a kneebar on it and that it would probably be E7 or maybe even E8. Again, I said I'd look at it. The grit season passed quickly with trips and many sessions spent falling off boulder projects, until just before my trip to Switerland I got a text from Tom Randall. It read something along to the lines of "how much do you know about the direct on make it snappy? fancy trying it?". My heart sunk, I hadn't tried it and therefore I couldnt even try and play the pathetic "please let me do it first as its my proj" card. It was an open project, and I wouldn't be on it for another two weeks.

During my Swiss trip I forgot about the line, like so many times before. Until near the end I texted Tom asking him if he'd been on it. He had, saying that he'd done it a few days previous and that it was perhaps E8. I was pretty gutted, but quickly shook off the feelings of regret ("You should've gone and done it you idiot!!") Instead I simply had a new E8 to go and try on my return, and looking at the video in the cafe, it looked right up my street. 

First day back in the Peak I headed straight there by myself and set up a top rope. I shunted all the moves in the first hour or so, the crux last move to the break feeling ok at this point. I then linked it in two, then in one,  the last move not feeling so bad, and the rest feeling fine. I rang Dad and asked if he could come give me a belay after work. He agreed, so I stashed the gear and went home, having forgotten to bring food and not wanting to hang about at Gardoms for 4 hours. 

Later we returned, it was a great evening, more sunny and warm than it had been during the day, the golden light shining through the birch and oak trees. After checking the gear out I tried the route from the ground, but fell at the last move to the break, the holds feeling slippery. Perhaps I was tired, perhaps it was the conditions, I was now wondering about the lead, it had felt so sure only an hour earlier. Dad then tried the line as it cooled down and made short work of the slappy compression moves. Conditions must have improved, as I then top roped the route in one with no hitches. Lead time. 

It all went pretty smoothly, with the odd adjustment, to the last move to the break. As I hit the left hand set up sloper the hold seemed sweaty when before it had felt cold and sticky, this made the last move to the break a proper all or nothing slap. I didn't quite hit the hold spot on either, hitting the rock above and dragging onto the hold. Ie, it was a close one.

The final easy moves done and it was in the satchel, "You fucking idiot, why didn't you listen to Jon...."

Dad then swept up the 4th ascent, looking a little slappy on the way, but E8 at 51 can't be bad can it?

Quickly on the subject of the grade; it seems to be unfashionable to talk about grades properly at the moment, so I'll be quick. If I was grading the route as a first ascent, I'd have given it E7, but that means little. The style of the route fits me well and the fall didn't look like it would be horrific. Besides, those who have graded it know alot more than I do on the subject. Whatever it settles down to, its a great piece of rock that should become popular. I predict ascents!

Now its time to crack on with one project in particular, aswell as everything else that comes with summer, wet weather, midges, seepage and humidity.

Moral for the day, listen to Jon.


1 comment:

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