No i haven’t been reading too much Karl Marx, it just sums up the only place not plastered in snow this christmas period; St Bees. I love this venue anyway so being forced to visit it 4 times in 1 week is no bad thing. My sessions on Clash sitter have been sporadic at best over the past year or so, with 1 session every 6 months not being enough to remember/ figure out beta before getting too tired to link. I finally managed to wrap up Clash of the Titans sitter (or as i nick named it Clench of the TightArse) on new years eve after 2 previous sessions of dropping the last moves over 8 times thanks to slippy holds and weak arms (lakesbloc.com). On the last day of 2009 the air could have been diced up and used as prisms for this, and the rock had been fluffed into a grippy torpor by the dry air. With its defences lowered i snuck in without all the podge and circus-farce of the previous session. Which was nice. Due to the fact i haven’t had working fingers for too long the grade is a bit more of a guess than usual (I.E. it could well be 8A), it certainly seems hard though, and the crux right hand “bearpaw” has got to be one of the coolest holds in the UK as far as uniqueness goes.
One thing which is of interest is that this and all the problems at St Bees will likely be underwater by 2100! So get those repeats in quick. That is only 3 generations of boulderers time, which considering climbing has taken place in the lakes since the end of the 1800s, isn’t actually that long. Either way i really like this boulder and it has something indulgent about it, you can try it for a full session (if it takes you that long) and only get tired on it. it comes into the sun late which helps with friction but keeps it temperamental with sea spray and glooge (weird st bees green/black slippiness). Basically it has character beyond its grade, whilst still being about pulling hard.
Getting it done quick in the session left me time to explore projects i’d looked at in the summer (most of which had winter runoff down them) I tried the best dry one for an hour or so, along with cleaning it, but after coring my rope (it is too high to break bones on what has already been an injury riddled year) i sacked it and went exploring up to the old buoys circuit, it was getting dark by now so i settled on trying Peckitt’s nice new addition to the crag, and whilst the landing is a bit of a bear pit, the moves are really nice and flowing. Things got too dark after that so i set off straight back up the hill (big mistake) if you go here remember where the path is, 30mins later and a number of close calls/lost legs down with boulder voids (not funny after the 3rd time) and a few deteriorating shrubs i found the path just in time to reach the clifftop. Still i got to see the lighthouse working, which i’d never seen before.
The day after (1st Jan 2010) i went to St Bees south to check out the new/old problems there as i’d never been. and whilst conditions took a turn for a worse (snow at sea! madness!) This meant that that most of the day was turned into a coastal walk to check out a wet Iron Hide. Which looks really good in person with great moves/rock. I eventually returned to a project which i’d slung a towel over when it started snowing. It is basically a harder version of the Pinch at Sheep Pen (in that it sports a lush pinch for the right hand and is pretty short). This felt ok at 7B+ish after i took my blinkers off and got some heel japery on the go, that said keeping feet low on bad feet and just belting for the top board stylee is a great move, but someone else was only going to climb it with technique and point out that it is in fact facile. The length and breadth of St Bees in 2 days/ 2 years.
Happy new year everyone, and get to st bees in 2010!