Overview - Another day out with a new climbing partner from UKC. Having advertised for anyone mid-week, Luke replied that it would be nice to not have to climb VS for the whole day - perfect for continuing my current goal of ticking Stanage from one end to the other up to E2. Off we go... starting with a recommendation of Wasp Dave's that definitely lived up to expectations!
Led - One word, "daft". There is some proper climbing to finsh, so the grade's probably about right, but I wouldn't jump on this one until you've done a few HVSs, if only to make sure you'll enjoy it as it should be enjoyed. Almost deserves more stars. Luke seconded.
Bouldered - Repeat of being here with Chris, but found a number of dynamic / static methods this time. Dynoing the right hand is still the best method IMHO, purely due to having to force yourself to do it!
Led - Having soloed this last time, I was going to try the E2 left-hand finish. Unfortunately placing the gear meant I had to hang around too long too early on in the day, so pumped out - before deciding against the very, very dried-lichen harder finish. The E1 finish felt so welcome after hanging around that long! Luke did start up it first, but backed off the last move before gear. Almost felt guilty for suggesting it! Still correctly graded, perhaps 1*. Luke seconded and still wasn't sure about that move.
Solo - Whilst Luke was racking up for the next one, I started ticking the rest of the wall. This is a wonderful severe, and I almost ran up it, laybacking the whole way. Kind of disappointing to get to the top! It was given HS previously... Probably a correct downgrade.
Seconded Luke - "Pleasantly strenuous" - Oxymoron surely? Not sure where the 5a move was, and feels very easy for the grade, but pleasant definitely.
Solo - Again, the description in the guide seems very odd. Hard finish? Only if you're trying to jam the crack as opposed to using all of the good holds surrouding it! Okay, it needs a bit of confidence and strength for the final section, but nothing really hard.
Solo - What is it about this wall (or perhaps me on the day)? This didn't feel HVS any more than the previous one, or the VS inbetween. Having said that, I think it's just an easy one, due purely to the top-out, which is just great. Deserves the star exactly for that reason.
We were heading over to the Unconquerables, so I suggested ticking all of the shorter routes in between... All of these are really boulder problems, but good fun non-the-less.
Skippy VS 4c, Solo
Kangaroo HS 4c, Solo
Pal Joey VD, Solo
Palermo VD, Solo
Old Pals HS 4b, Solo
Pal HS 4c, Solo
Pretty Pretty HVS 5c, Solo
Of Old VS 5b, Solo
Older Still S 4b, Solo
Solo - Now this was intense. Lower sections are easy, nice half-mantel, then all you've got to do is rock over that pebble. I have no idea about the gear because I wasn't looking, but I think the gear in the break before stepping onto the pebble wasn't great, and even if it was(n't), it's probably the right grade. It took me about 20 minutes sitting on my bouldering mat, buzzing and shaking, before I was able to contemplate to next lead. Which was...
Led - I've wanted to do this arete, finishing off the Unconquerable wall, for a year or so. It wasn't worth the wait. The moves are fairly constantly 5a/b, and hence the middle section feels a little tenuous, but there's a large ledge you have (?) to avoid, and the upper section crux can be made much easier by reaching, from the left-hand side of the arete (!), into the chimney... Added to which, there was no definite crux, hence no sense of release once above a crux - which the climbs I would consider to be great have. Grade's probably right, but deserves a negative star. Luke seconded.
Seconded Luke - I'm sure Luke did this in far better style than I did. The route itself is a good example of crux with thoroughly enjoyable finish. I remember leading this a year ago, and did the crux in exactly the same (wrong) way seconding as on lead. Overall it still is a classic that deserves major recognition. (but Right Unconquerable is still better, and I was envious of the guy we watched on-sighting it).
Failed lead - I kept saying that this really should be ticked while we were there, due to it being there... By this point in the day, both the drive and the ability had gone, and it was never going to happen. Hardest of the three? No, but by the end of the day, it's the one that you couldn't technique your way up...
Failed lead - Okay, so I've spent more time on Telli than on any other five of my harder onsights combined, almost all of it trying to move out of the mid-height break. I half thought about jumping on Telli, and was egged on by Luke, but after Little Unconquerable, it was never going to happen. I managed to talk my way through the move into the break, but then needed about five attempts to make the mantel, and just flat gave up on the next step. I think some clarification about exactly which line (left/right) to take on the upper slab is needed. Luke seconded in good style.
Seconded Luke - No more leading for me, but with a bit of climbing left in me, we set off up one more VS. Can't remember a thing about it, apart from it's probably a nice VS (perhaps a little reachy), with VS-ish moves (i.e. ones I didn't have to think about too hard). *shrug*