Finally made it to Hawkcraig! There are loads of VS's for me here, but the tides have never been right.
Home earlier this evening with my tail firmly between my legs after finding the 2 VS's that I tried really difficult, using a quickdraw as a hold on the 1st one and backing off the 2nd one! And neither of them were the VS's I'd set out to do, which are supposed to be harder (although I think Pain Pillar looks straight forward, just sustained, but I remember all the holds being good)
Once I'd warmed up enough and plucked up the courage for Asinine, Pain Pillar and Rebel's Groove the bloomin tide was coming in fast!
Anyway, started off the day on The Lilly, a Severe. I'd seconded this back in 2005 when I first started climbing and remember enjoying it. Tricky wee Severe! Found the rock quite hard to read, as in so many holds and ripples and grooves and knobbly bits you have to hunt a bit to find the best combination.
Dave that I was climbing with today then led Flake and Wall and flew up it, placing one bit of gear! When seconding it, I can see why he scampered up so quickly, the route is a doddle! One tiny move off the flake and onto the wall that needs a bit of thought, and the rest of the route feels like a Diff!
Then I had a look at Saracen at VS 4c (wanted an easy VS to get me going first) but didn't like the look of it, so tried Diptera instead. The start is very easy and then you get to a overhang/roofy bit. Good gear but very thin for the feet. Ugh, I hate these smeary type foot holds! There was a small ledge for my left foot, out to the left and I bridged across to that, but it kept pushing me over left away from the good hand holds! So, I had to use an awkward foot hold inside the crack under the roof which made me feel a bit off balance, trust my other foot on smears and move rightwards instead. Took me ages to figure out the move and I was climbing up and down loads, always pushed out left instead of right! Until climbing back down in annoyance, I ended up grabbing hold of the quickdraw of a nut I'd placed. Bother! There goes the onsight!
Dave led Destiny's Groove next and had a wee bit of a moment on it, don't think he was too keen on the smeary moves on that route either!
This was my 2nd ever Severe lead a few years back and I remember finding it really difficult! I did it completely differently from what I remember, finding a juggy flake and managing to lay back (oh I do like to layback!)
The tide was coming in fast, so bang went Pain Pillar and we sat and had something to eat instead, me deciding what to do next. Thought about starting up on the high ledge and doing Cranium Crack at VS 4c as I'd seconded that 2nd pitch before and remember it being steep but juggy. Changed my mind though and decided to quickly (aye right!) nip up the 1st pitch as well.
Didn't happen though! Got to the crux chimney, seriously pumpy!! You have to use an undercling in the first chockstone in the chimney, which totally pushes you out into serious overhanging body position! Then bung in as much bomber gear as you dare, before getting far too pumped and climbing back down a move to rest. Back up, place more gear, back down and rest. Right, going for it now! Pah! Undercling, incut hold above, non positive rounded lay off above, bridged out wide onto wincy foot holds! God damn, can't reach the top of the fecking chockstone!!! Move feet up higher on smeary foot holds, unbalanced position now, uuggh, wish I was taller! Still can't bloody reach! Climb down annoyed! Try again, nope, can't commit to more smeary moves while holding that horrible rounded thing and getting more precarious. Really annoyed with myself though! It's just a couple of off balance moves and I can see the jug that I need to get, taunting me from above! Gear is bomber, but just can't commit! Climb back down dejected! Cam out, nut out, another nut out, climb back down to the ground (good down climbing skills though!_
Dave decides to give it a go, but he's up and down like a yoyo too! And also backs off. We'll both go cruise that route another day!
A German couple try the route after us, a woman leading it (taller than me, skinnier and stronger than me, bet she cruises it!!) She doesn't though. She manages to do it (not fair! she can just step up and reach above that 2nd chockstone, ggrrrr!!) But, it looks like the fun isn't over even once you do manage to get that jug! She looks like she's finding it awkward and has to do some shifty foot and hand work and swapping, to get more in balance. Hmmmmm.
I have found me a nemesis route!
No piccies today.