Sunday, 27 June 2010

Kirrie and Dunkeld - 23/24th June '10

Not too much of interest to report on the climbing front.  My partner has been ill so I can't get out and lead midweek at Kirrie, so took RB out instead and thought that she would toprope me on the stuff that she led.  She started off on the easy 4 on the Mound but I didn't feel 100% at all.  I hate climbing when I feel hormonal and I've finally put it down to the fact that I get pretty anaemic at that time of the month so lack in energy and mental focus.  I tried some natural iron supplements (Spatone) but it didn't make any difference.  I might have to try some other kind and if that fails then a visit to the GP might be in order.
Anyway, RB was climbing like a star as always.  After the 4, she did the 5+ over the roof on the mound, called Mound Over Matter, which I'm led to believe was originally a 6a.  Ken, who put up a lot of the routes at Kirrie, was there and he kindly put up a toprope on a 6c called All Chalk and No Traction.  Well, RB cruised that on toprope, I was amazed!  And Ken reckoned she needed something a little more challenging.  Not today though as he was off shortly and there was nobody else there who could put a rope up on something hard for her.
She had been eyeing up a 6b+ however, that goes up a really sharp and defined arete and had decided that she was going to try and lead it, after Ken had mentioned that the arete was the hardest part of the route.
Well, RB had no problems on the arete whatsoever, so she thought the rest of the route was going to be easy.  Not so!  She really struggled once she got up to the big roof near the top.  It didn't seem to matter how high she got her feet, she just couldn't seem to get over the roof at all.  She was up and downing like a yoyo trying to figure it and ended up escaping off onto the route next door, thinking that the top of that one looked easier.  But that took her to another roof which looked blank to her above.  By now, because she'd clipped into 2 routes, there was drag on the rope and she was getting frustrated.  I was starting to worry that she wouldn't get up at all and I'd have to talk her through escaping the route, leaving a krab in the process as I've no mallions (must invest in some!)  She eventually sneaked around the side of the roof though, made it to the top and then declared it a horrible route!
So, she reckoned that 6b was her top onsight grade for outside, and I told her nonsense!  That 6b+ was just not suited to her, and she should try another one next time.

The next day I had arranged to go to Dunkeld with Mel, who is back from her travels to Australia.  Half of me had felt like cancelling, after I didn't feel like climbing at Kirrie, but half of me was desperate to be out trad climbing again.  It ended up being a fantastic day and even though I still havn't got my trad head back yet, I really enjoyed seconding Mel on a couple of VS's.  I only led Recess Route at V.Diff, though it felt hard for a V.Diff and the gear was abysmal in the lower half of the route, not really one to get your leading head back on, but I managed it fine.  Mel then cruised up the classic VS of the crag called The Groove.  What a route!  Along with Charlie's Corner at Jetty Buttress near Gruinard and Proud Corner at Glen Clova, this VS has to be a contender for my favourite single pitch.  I simply HAVE to get my trad self back so I can go and lead it!
The start is the crux (though Mel thought it harder higher up on lead) It's a very comitting move and is extremely polished.  There is so much polish that it does ruin the route somewhat and it's a damn shame, but it's such a glorious route nonetheless.
Climbing that VS makes me wish I could get back out climbing regularly, I felt really down for a day afterwards knowing that I'll never get out with the regularity I normally do, not for some time to come anyway.  I had a look at the VS called The End as there seemed to be a 4b variation on the 1st pitch, but it looked a bit bold going that way and the 4c way looked a bit blank and weird looking from below.  It wasn't one to inspire me anyway and I decided to give my lead to Mel so I could get up another VS and start getting my confidence and movement back.
Mel decided on The Chute, another VS 5a.  You have to scramble up some yucky green stuff to the start of the route and the first moves are horribly off balance.  I had to get Mel to shout down to me how she did the moves and it took a bit of gibbering to get myself going.  The next section was easy enough, but then I fell off the crux, stupid!  I had to get my foot really high and do a massive rock over but I didn't rock over enough and was flapping with my hand blindly, searching for a handhold which didn't materialise, resulting in my pinging off!  Got it second go though and ended up using some horrible hold somewhere and then grabbing a tree on a grassy ledge.  Really enjoyed the traverse and moves after, but the top out was a bit minging too.  Another good lead from Mel, but I didn't enjoy this route so much.
Dunno what it is about Dunkeld, but the routes there alway intimidate me somewhat to look at, but once you actually get on them, the moves are really nice, just wish the gear was a bit more accomodating at times.
Didn't get any photos at Dunkeld but did get some of RB on her 6c and 6+ at Kirrie.

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