Saturday, 17 April 2010


RB, D and I have been enjoying the last of the Easter holidays in the sunshine.  We took a trip over Loch Lomond way to check out potential wedding venues, followed by a walk up the Cobbler.  Neither D or RB had been up the Cobbler before so we went for a walk into the corrie, past the South Ridge, up to the Centre peak, then descending by the North peak.
It was another gorgeous sunny day on the hill and after the horrible slog through the Ardgarten forest it was nice to be in the open with the views of Ben Arthur above.  The Cobbler really is a gorgeous wee hill and someday I must climb on it.  I've always been put off by the fact that the rock is schist and I'm wary about having enough gear.  Sure if I just did the classic V.Diff or Severe then any lack of gear shouldn't be too off putting though.
I pointed out the S.Ridge to D and RB, that I'd meant to climb with James, Kirstin and Mikkel several years ago, which we bailed from due to wet and slippery rock.  It looked like a doddle in the sunny, dry conditions and even the downclimb at the top of the South Peak didn't look too bad.  Though I'd probably want a rope as there is a lot of grassy sections which would be dire and slippery!
Before long we were at the top of the hill, with just the short moderate scramble up to the top of the Centre Peak.  You have to crawl through a hole, walk along a narrow and exposed ledge, scramble up a slab then then pull up over a bulge on massive jugs and up onto the pinnacle.
The narrow ledge was much wider than I remember it being and the downclimb off the top just as hairy, blindly trying to find a foot placement.
We then sat enjoying the sun, and RB and D went back up the pinnacle whilst I took some pics.  Then it was a quick dash back down via the North Peak path, looking out for the entrance to Cobbler Cave route, a V.Diff pot holing route which I must do this year!  We then went for tea at the hotel in Crianlarich, sat beside a stuffed fox which was a tad disconcerting.

On Friday Jonathon, RB and I went out for our first rock climbing session of the season.  The original plan was to head to Rosyth Quarry and do a few easy routes each, followed by a trip to Limekilns to lead some VS's and lead/toprope some harder stuff.  Well, of course I'd forgotten just how time consuming trad climbing is, so we only managed 7 routes at Rosyth and never made it to Limekilns.  I picked Jon up at 10am and we arrived at Rosyth around 11ish.
RB led first, doing a V.Diff called The Sickle, which was my very first trad lead back in 2004.  I soloed up the moderate next door which is often used as the descent route to check out her anchor set up.  Ropework was time consuming, with it being our first time out.  Another team were using the stakes, so we just used a big tree further back.  RB got her belay plate muddled several times, and this was after borrowing mine, having dropped her own down the cliff face!  First trip out of the year, full of faff and bumbledom :oD
Jon seconded RB and then went on to lead the Severe called Drizzle, which both RB and I seconded. 
I wanted something easy for my 1st lead and something I hadn't done before.  There was only one Severe left that I hadn't done, so I went for a V.Diff called Andy's Route, which I found a bit minging!  A bit awkward and off balance and with a start that felt hard for V.Diff and took a bit of figuring.  Both RB and Jon seconded and by the time we'd done a route each it was well past lunch time so we stopped for a sarnie.
A couple of guys were trying the Severe called CND.  The second couldn't manage to complete the route and the leader was hesitant about abb'ing down for gear, so I offered to second the route for them to clean the gear.  And that would then free the route for RB to lead as she had her eye on it.
RB flew up with no problem whatsoever and then Jon had a wander about, not sure what he wanted to do.  He had his eye on Heathy, but there was folk already on it, so he decided on Grenville instead.  It's a VS I'd wanted to onsight, but I wasn't really that bothered.  Jon flew up with ease and RB seconded no problem.  I had a bit of a pause at the crux, and had to climb up a couple of times to figure it, finding a fingery undercut hold that I could use to get some height.  I enjoyed the route, though it was a bit of a one/two move wonder.
I wasn't sure what I wanted to do next, but nothing testing as my guts were playing up something awful.  I had to force myself to climb anything at all as I didn't want to sack the day having only led one route.  I just ended up doing another V.Diff called Jack's Route.  My poor old body felt really stiff and awkward and I had a bit of trouble getting my leg up high enough onto a hold at one point, requiring a bit of grunting!
I can see I'm going to have to work a bit before I'm back to climbing and leading VS with ease. 
RB didn't see anything else she fancied leading, so Jon had a go on the HVS called The Waullie.  He totally cruised it!  I can see Jon breaking into the E grades this summer, no problem, he's got a real natural talent there.  RB seconded the route with no problems, just a little shaky on figuring the crux.  But she managed it no problem whatsoever.  My guts and body had had enough for the day and by the time we were back at the car it was around 6pm.
A successful day out for both RB and Jon.  I didn't feel too great, but then it always takes me a few sessions out on rock to get back into the swing of things again.

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