Monday, 1 August 2016

A blog a week until I'm up to date: Post 2 - Some newbies

Here are the details of four three new routes I've climbed over last 6 months, to bring you up to date with that side of my climbing; in no particular order:

1) Baba O'Riley, f8a, Malham

Years ago, when I was still obsessed by head-pointing routes at Sea Walls, Avon, I had my first taste of Yorkshire sport climbing on the easiest route at Malham - the short and grotty "Bergozi and the ledge lizards", f6a+. I remember at the time looking up at a solitary bolt in the bulge above the belay, and thinking - what goes up there?

Twelve years later (yes that does make me feel old!) in late 2015, Ian Dunne bolted a new 6c+ called "Whodunnit" just to the left of the aforementioned 6a+ and upon repeating Ian's route, my interest was piqued to once again look at that un-climbed bulge.

My first attempt at bolting a new line was an abject failure when I left the drill battery at home; the second only marginally more successful, with a belay and runners in the bulge successfully placed, but the battery running out halfway through placing the final bolt midway up the head-wall.

With just a day of the bolting season remaining I was unable to fix the final bolt as I was stuck in work and hence I was reduced to using an 12ft long sling hanging off the belay as a runner whilst working, and making redpoint attempts on the route.
A big block I had to trundle - however despite being obviously loose it took a good number of blows with my weedy ice-axe to dislodge it.
After a few days of working the route, a sequence of  typically tenuous Malham footholds unlocked the burly undercutting to take you to the lip of the bulge, where a crimp for the left hand and a super high heel allowed a series of four slaps with the right hand. The final slap uncurled by body enough to then swap the heel to a toe and rock over into balance by the extended sling runner.

After making a number of exciting falls from the final slap having skipped the second clip in the bulge, I reworked the sequence and found I could make just 3 of the 4 slaps and rock further on to the heel, snatch a side-pull and thus avoid another plummet. the first time up the route with the new sequence, Baba O'Riley was born, f8a?

The line of Whodunnit 6c+ (blue) and my new extension, Baba O'Riley 8a (red) with the large scar left by the trundled block easily visible.

N.B. The route name comes from classic The Who track used as theme tune to the modern TV Whodunnit classic, CSI: New York.

2) "Almost Familiar" f7c+, Parisella's Cave

A fun juggy extension to Jerry Moffat's classic 7A boulder problem "Parisella's Original" with a "technical knee" (01:46) deployed for the finish into the excavated scoop below the belay (another large block needed trundling whilst cleaning it prior to the FA - a developing theme?!?)

Adam Lincoln flashed the second ascent using an extra hold I hadn't discovered up and left, suggesting f7c.

Variations and projects:
  • Sit start/reverse Right Wall Traverse before joining the original, FA Ally Smith, f7c+/8a (You could do the Clever Beaver Sit Start into it at the same grade? Edit - did this link-up on 20th August - felt slightly easier - 7c+?)
  • Trigger Cut/Almost Familiar, FA Chris Doyle, f8a+ 
  • "Almost Halfway" = Halfway House/Almost Familiar, FA Chris Doyle, f8b/+ (video shows the easier finishing method Adam found - starting 02:44)
  • Broken Heart/Parisella's Original/Almost Familiar, project. A bit more stamina needed than the Trigger Cut link up, hence f8a+/b? (Edit - I completed this link in August 2016 at f8a+)
  • The Wire/Parisella's Original/Almost Familiar, project, baby f8c?
  • Director's Cut/Almost Familiar, project, f8c? The better and more direct line then the previous suggested link-up? (Edit - Doylo completed this link in August 2016; confirming my speculated grade of f8c news item and 1st ascent video here)
  • The big daddy - a direct line from the back of the cave to the lip - i.e. Hatch start/Rockatrocity/Almost Halfway. A slightly easier counter diagonal to Pete Robins' concept f9a+ link-up of Lou Ferrino/Bonnie extension, maybe somewhere in the realm of f9a?

3) Leftwall Reverse 7B (or f7c+?) Parisella's Cave

Does it exactly what it says on the tin - start at the finish of Leftwall and reverse the classic sequence; climbing rightwards and ever so slightly downhill on the final, crux sequence (portrait/smart phone footage in the video compilation) to finish at the Leftwall starting position.

I did shake out and try and continue back up Leftwall on the FA, but fell after 3 moves when I failed to leave enough room to match the horizontal shot-hole - one to go back to next winter?

UKC logbook keeper-of-the-cave Rich Hessian gave it an online slating, but i think it's a worthwhile thing to do when the cave is otherwise condensed out/seeping?

4) Oh yeah, I might have had something to do with the FA of this classy f8a too...

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