Sunday, 30 August 2009

CLIMB AND RUN - 28/29th August '09

I'd promised to climb with Mel this weekend seen as I'd been jetting off loads with Andy of late and hadn't climbed with Mel since we climbed together at Clova ages ago.  I was looking forward to a weekend of relaxing climbing and not being dragged up anything hard, loose or wet and possibly pushing it a little if my arms didn't protest too much.
The forecast was somewhat dubious, but the East coast definitely looked like the better option.  I'd thought of Meikle Partans as I know Mel hadn't been and was keen to check it out, but after Friday's gales I was extremely hesitant to go up there and find that the sea was too choppy and then have me bottle out of climbing.
I hadn't been to Traprain Law for a few years and I remember it being a crag with a pleasant outlook and loads of easy routes, but with also plenty of VS's to go at and Mel was happy to check it out, never having been before.
We arrived before midday, to winds gusting at around 30mph and grey clouds looming!  Great! I felt bad for suggesting the place, especially seen as it had been warm and sunny back home.  But hey ho, we were here now so had to make the most of it.  I offered the first lead to Mel, after we'd had a wander round the bottom of the crags checking out all the routes.  Some of the VS's looked really intimidating and I wasn't sure about them at all!  Although one of the HVS's over a roof looked interesting, and it started next to a Severe which I liked the look of, so could check it out.
Mel started off on Great Corner, a ** Severe and took a wee moment to figure out the start, then flew up the rest, being constantly buffeted by the strong wind!  Even after watching Mel doing the start, I still found it difficult.  Tiny crimps and horribly polished edges for your feet with a really wide step across and up.  A tricky move around a roof, then plain sailing to the top. 
Now the clouds were really looming, dark and grey and just as we descended to our sacks there were a few drops of rain.  Sod anymore climbing in this cold wind and that polish was going to be horrific when wet!  Mel suggested heading back over Edinburgh way to Rosyth and I didn't take much persuading, but we'd both like to go back some time.
Rosyth was much more sheltered and I started off on a short and sweet Severe called Drizzle.  It was a 1/2 move wonder really, but the easier climbing above, flowed really nicely.  If only the route hadn't been longer!  We were both eyeing up the HVS called The Waullie that someone had recommended as a good first HVS, but there was no way I was trying it today, not with my poor climbing performance and weak and injured arms of late.  After playing about on the starting moves, Mel decided to lead a VS instead.  I'd wanted to lead Heathy for ages, but Mel was keen to do it too, so I was happy to lose the onsight (very happy in retrospect as it was bloody hard!)  This was after Mel soloed a V.Diff called Andy's Route.  There were a couple of other girls climbing in the quarry, one of which had been perplexed by the start of A.Route, and then asked how I'd found the Severe and jokingly asked if we could do the V.Diff so she could see how it was done.  We both had a play about on it, then Mel moved up quite high, agreeing it was tricky for the grade and decided to go all the way up, rather than try to downclimb the tricky move.  I jokingly commented that, that was her route done, so it was my turn now!
Even getting off the ground on Heathy is tricky.  I can't exactly remember what I did, but it involved jamming I'm sure, wide bridging and much grunting.  Mel did the start in far better style that I did, making it seem quite easy!  The next section was over a block where knees were used by Mel, but I somehow managed to do differently and mantle up quite easily.  Then came the crux.........
'oh no,' said Mel, 'I don't like jamming!'
(Rats!  Neither do I!)
'It will be good practise for you then,' I shouted up.
I could tell she found it tricky and was routing for her, especially when a few drops of rain started splashing down.  She'd just gotten past the crux when the heavens opened and it started raining pretty heavily.  Mel went off route a bit at the top, and ended up having to hang off the lip of and overhang and edge her way round and back on route to the top, letting out a massive woop when she got to the top!  I shouted out that the rock was too wet, and I would meet her at the top and ab down for the gear.  Just as I untied, the rain stopped and I changed my mind.  The bottom ledge was still soaking wet, but inside the cracks should hopefully be ok. 
I really struggled at the crux.  I had one hand jammed in for sure and was trying to find a good spot in the crack to jam my other hand, but a wedged in cam seemed in the way.  With my legs splayed out in a very wide bridging position, and no footholds low down enough that I could see, with the prospect of my hand slipping out it's jam (it wasn't a brilliant jam!) I shamelessly pulled on the sling of the jammed crack to pull myself up!  It wasn't over yet though, a couple of wedged in, grunty and awkward moves saw me past the crux.  Mel said later that she'd jammed her foot in the crack, rather than bridge at that point where the cam was.  I hadn't even thought to jam my foot there, having tried a foot jam lower down and deciding it didn't feel right.   But in retrospect, if you're not bridged out widely, you can reach up further also, so I might have found a better hand jam in that position.  Mel said that with her foot jammed in, her knee felt locked in also, and she felt almost secure enough that she could have freed her hands up!  The top bit was easy enough when you go the right way, and just one wee awkward reach and that was it done.
There was a VS next door called Grenville that I liked the look of, but across the other side of Rosyth we could see bands of rain falling from the clouds.   Hmmmmm........enough time for me to get up that VS?  I didn't think I'd be able to zoom up with any speed, seen as I'd found Heathy so tricky.  Aaarg, what to do, what to do, what to do!  In the end, I decided to leave it for better weather, as the crux was at the top and I didn't want to get caught on it in heavy rain.
I did a Severe called CND instead which was pretty goey and hard for Severe at the start!  Felt quite bouldery and there was no gear, but Mel spotted me until I was in a good position on a small ledge.  The gear was fantastic after that fairly bold start.  Every nut I got in was a sinker!  It was a pleasant enough route, but not worth ** stars.
We both decided on quickly soloing something easy before the rain came down.  Too late!  Mel was half way up the V.Diff called Sickle (my first every lead) when the rain started, and I was just starting a V.Diff called Jack's Route.  The rain got heavier, the rock got wetter and at the crux I had to swap feet on a small hold and then move up to a slopey ledge, which felt a bit disconcerting in the wet and high up enough to break an ankle if I slipped off.  But up I went, enjoying the freedom of movement upwards with no hindrance of rope or gear.  Nice!

Mel asked if I wanted to do a hill run the next day.  I had been toying with the same idea, but hadn't thought Mel would be up for running up hill!  So, great minds eh?  I suggested we run up Morrone, just outside Braemar as it was the only Corbett I had left to do in that area.  In retropsect it might have been nice running up Clach na Beinn and taking our rock shoes and having a wee play about.  But Clach na Beinn is steep!  And not a good one for a first hill run, and I'd struggle with it too!  But I think if I get a nice day soon, I'm going to run up and have a play.
Although, when I say run up, it's more run/walk/run/walk.  Mel did well for her 1st attempt at running up a hill.  She did mostly walk, but she kept her pace fast and did run quite a few of the really steep bits and it wasn't an easy hill to run!  On the last leg I was determined to reach the top in a one-er but had to stop and die just short of the top, with Mel booing down hill from me.  I caught my breathe, waiting for the 'sickness' to subside and trotted up to the top.  Yes!  We made it!  
The downhill was ace as ever!  I let my brakes off on the 1st bit, zooming down, long strides and wind through my hair, brilliant!  Next there was an uphill and I ran most of it, with Mel managing the steep bit near the top too.  Then it was more zooming downhill, all the way to the bottom, with a long flat stretch back to the car which we did as a fast walk/slow jog to cool down, with me rescuing a baby hedgehog from sure squishment on the side of the road.  Which I regretted after, as I'd picked it up with my fleece and didn't want to put the fleece back on in the car with the thought of all those hedgehog fleas!
It was ace getting in another hill run, and I think Mel thoroughly enjoyed it too.

No comments: