Sunday, 28 June 2009

Long overdue visit to Dunkeld - 28th June '09

No climbing on Saturday.
It is RB's birthday on Wednesday and she'd taken 3 of her friends down to Knockhill for a go on the (50mph) gokarts, the adults getting a go as well!
It nearly got cancelled due to the mist, but went ahead thankfully.
RB was loving it, and overtook me and then kept cutting me off at the corners! Both her and her Dad crashed though, haha! They still both managed to get faster times than me though!
We sat afterwards, eating bacon butties (num!) and drinking tea, watching the proper cars zoom round the fast track. I hadn't realised that you could take your own car on, for a shot of the track. Some of the cars were going mega fast!
I also hadn't realised that my Dad's cousin-in-law was the World Motorbike and sidecar racing champion, before he had a crash and died and now has a memorial race every year at Knockhill, the Jock Taylor Memorial Race.
Then followed an hour of table tennis and off to Bekah's Gran and Grandad's house in Monifieth for a barbeque. I went out for a quick 3mile run, knackered! And then got absolutely stuffed on barbequed chicken wings, kebabs, pork sausage things, salads and pasta
RB and friends went to her Dad's to sta
y over and I went back to my folks to collapse into bed for a much needed early night!
Sunday, I met up with Mel in Coupar Angus and we car shared (with Mel driving, I never get to drive!), arriving at Dunkeld around 10.30ish.
It's been ages since I've climbed at Dunkeld. Last time was with Jonathon last summer, shortly after climbing there with Adam a while before. I've always found the routes there quite intimidating, and lacking in enough gear to feel wholly comfortable. So, I was feeling quite nervous but curious to see if my improved climbing confidence and ability woul
d transfer itself to the routes at Dunkeld.
Mel started off (as per agreed last time, seen as she didn't get to lead much at Clova) on Beech Wall. I said the crux
was tricky but I didn't mention to her that I had to aid it the last time I was there with Jonathon as I didn't want to put her off. It's weird though, the very first time I did the route, I managed the crux clean. Anyway, Mel did it no bother, after a wee pause and good think about how she was going to tackle it. I ended up falling off the damn thing! Was VERY annoyed! Definitely one of those routes where it's easier to be tall, both Mel and I have to make a couple of moves to reach over the crux crack, involving jamming, smeary laybacks and foot jamming. Unfortunately, I got my hand jam muddled up, slipped off and took a pendulum swing about 2m away from the crux! Woooooooohooooooooooo! What a rush! Had to get my weight off the rope pretty, quick smart though as the rope was digging in a bit to Mel's leg (well held lass!) Then I couldn't get back across so just made a move up the wall to the left of the crux and joined Mel at the belay, miffed at myself for being such a numpty!
Mel led the 2nd pitch as well and because we'd forgotten to check the guide, wasn't sure exactly where the pitch went, but managed to sniff it out in the end. Top bit was nice, but the middle bit was a bit scrambly and vegetated.
I wanted to lead Cuticle Crack next, for an easy warm up lead. And I was curious about the route as I'd seconded it way back in 2005 when I first started climbing and fell off the starting moves (crux) so was interested to see how hard I found it now. It was quite fiddly placing in gear, and took me a wee moment to figure out the moves, but I eventually made upward progress, steep but on humungous jugs! Really, quite a lovely wee route! And I found a no 8 (I think)
Wallnut as booty so was chuffed to find my 3rd ever piece of crag swag. Came out with just 3 knocks with the nutkey, really some people will abandon gear far too easily! There is also a cam burried deep into the crack, but Mel tried to get it out, but just couldn't reach far enough into the crack.
After ab'ing down Hairy Gully and having a bite to eat, we decided to do Terminal Buttress at HS 4c. 2 pitches, 1 pitch each. There w
ere a couple of guys doing the route called The End, which shares a belay ledge with our route and by the time Mel had cruised her way up the 1st pitch, the guys were still there. And by the time I'd gotten up, the 2nd was still hanging about waiting for his leader to get over the upper overlap. The belayer had initially tried the crux pitch, but after falling off back onto the belay ledge a couple of times had swapped over leads. So, we waited for him to move off, so I could get his belay placements to back up our belay and serve as a runner.
Just as I was getting myself organised, another person came onto the ledge having done the 1st pitch of The End. I had place one no4 nut, but wanted one in a bit higher, but sod's law the placement would only take another no 4 nut and I only took up one set with me!

The guy who just came up, lent me one of his no4's though, what a gent!
The guide book is confusing as to where the 2nd pitch of Terminal Buttress goes. The description for
The End is to climb the bulge via a right facing groove, and the description for Terminal Buttress is to climb through the bulge itself, just to the left of The End. But both routes seem to share the much the same holds, so seems a bit odd!
Anyway, I managed it just fine, just a little committing, but the holds are all good and it's just a one hard move really.
Next is an unprotected slab up to a ledge, and then a step right to a crack in the overlap, which you surmount by a couple of really lovely moves, and then up the slab above.
It was a lovely route!
By the time I'd brought up Mel, we'd dismantled the belay, coiled the ropes, scrambled back down, organised our gear and had a bite to eat, the guys who were behind us on the crux of The End, were still struggling with that move of the ledge!! We both felt quite smug that we'd cruised it, where as both the team of guys before and after us had real trouble with it! I think it's one of those rarer moves where it's actually a real advantage to be short, as you do need to get your feet up quite high, near (ish) to your hands.
By that point it was 4pm and I had to pick up RB and her mates from her Dad's at 5.30, so after a half hearted bit of deliberation as to whether I should bomb up Bollard Buttress at Diff (V.Diff?) we decided against it and called it a day.
A short but fine day's climbing it was, and I've warmed more to Dunkeld after today. Would quite like to get back at some point and sample one of the many VS's there.

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