050514 Stoney Middleton

Overview - Okay, so I finally let Alun drag me out on to Peak Limestone. Heck, there's so much of it about, I've got to start trying it at some point! Good, partly-cloudy day, just cool enough in the shade, and warm enough in the sun to climb topless. Stoney is almost glass-like limestone in places, but does have pleasant small-ledge climbing, as long as you realise that only vetical force can be put on any hold - no pulling outwards... Felt very good, enough though the last two proper lead outings were falling off Strapiombante, then the Easter weekend on Pembroke (succeded only in terrifying myself).

Froth (2* VS 4c):

Second pitch - A quick warm-up starting on the most glass-like holds I've ever seen. The traverse was suitably easy, but really nicely airy with some harder-to-find gear placemetns, up in the tree-tops. Correctly starred. Damian led first pitch.

St. Peter (1* E1 5c):

Led - First E1 on the season, straight off. Two nice and technical moves around the arete and back again, if you've got the reach. Two RP were all I got in (why the peg? There's a bomber nut placement directly under it!), and I was looking at the neighbouring E1, wondering how gearless it was... The others seemed to tackle the upper crack directly, but the guide shows a step left around the corner and back - if you can, do it! Alun wasn't impressed, as taking the crack direct makes it a bit of a two (long) move wonder. Such a recommendable route for fine, balanced rock-overs around corners. Could get two stars, if you've got an ape index of +a lot. Damian seconded

Gabriel and the Pearly Gates (2* VS 4c):

Damian Led - Don't really remember much of this corner climb, as I spent the whole time looking at the route between St. Peter and this corner. AFAICR grade seems right - I think the upper section should be climbed directly without belaying to the tree, as it takes you off the natural line (immediately moving left from the ledge). Paul thought it deserved the stars.

Solitaire (E1 5b):

Led - That's the most difficult thing I've done on lead in a while - not hard that, though. Gear is good in the mid break, but this definitely feels a good notch harder than St. Peter, and it took a lot of up/down-ing to get the sequence right. Damion simply launched up the moves, but heck. Could do with a star. Oh, and it gets a solid E2 in the BMC guide if you stick to gear only on route! Yippee... Damian seconded.

Cock-a-leekie Wall (E2 5c):

Failed - WTF? Sodding RockFax. The final bay of Stoney's main area has another enticing wall, but the rockfax line seems to be the the average of the two E2 lines described in the BMC guide, tackling the bulge at the top of the scoop directly. I must have spent 30-odd minutes trying all the different lines on the upper wall (with a good cradle again for protection), but ended up escaping via the left corner. Frustratingly, the line I though would thought to be correct, but never properly committed to, was one of the correct lines. Oh well...