070314 Burbage North

Overview - Having recovered from the BUSA / Horseshoes weekend, Ted and I headed to Burbage on a day that was one of those that slowly gathered clouds, and felt really warm in the sun, and just on the cold side when the sun went behind a cloud. Sentinel has been on the tick list since it appeared on the front cover of the Burbage BMC guide, but Burbage has relatively little that hasn't been done before outside what appears on that list. So I aimed to do them all in the same day. Burbage North now contains only bouldering projects... all the doable good routes have been done - Good day!

Hollyash Crack (2* VS 4b):

Seconded Ted - We both might have climbed more a combination route between this and Dover's Progress (an HVS 5a eliminate up the wall between the cracks, left). However, the line we both took seemed the most logical way up the wall that would be associated with the crack, unless you restrict yourself to just the crack, which would be awful and hard. The combo would get VS 4c, and was a good quick warm-up before the real day began.

Now or Never (1* E1 5b):

Led - A large flake to a swing around the arete. Pause. Now figure out and commit to the next move. The starting flake seems much smaller than it does from the ground, and the moves up this and out to the arete aren't hard, and the move around the arete (nominally the crux) just happens once you're there. However, ledgitis then hits and the next move takes four or five attempts to get right and commit to, with numerous possibilities for unbalancing. Once fixed on the upper holds, romp to the top victorious. A good varied route that's challenging for the grade - not due to the moves, but due to having to work them out carefully! Ted followed.

Sentinel (2* E2 5b):

Led - I think this is a "just keep going" route. Fairly big moves using big holds, with enough gear for you to never be seriously worried. The mid-height vertical crack is the crux, so dump a cam (2ish?) in underneath it, pass it quickly to reach the obvious lower flake (it's good enough!), then through a nut in the top of the crack (hard to get right, and even harder to remove). Another stretch reaches the highest break and more gear (smallish cam) before a powerful finish. Whether swinging around the arete to the right is kosher or not is to been seen, but it's the obvious solution and feels pretty damn good! A bit low in the grade, but may not feel it! Ted followed.

Black Slab (1* VS 4b):

Solo - A quick route whilst heading back to the top to derig the abseil, set to retrieve the nut at the top of the crack on Sentinel. No gear at all, and slightly spooky moves low down make this feel harder technically, but the lack of anything to think about higher up makes the adjectival grade correct. Two slabs - lower VS 4c, upper S 4b.

Long Tall Sally (3* E1 5b):

Seconded Ted - What was it, 4 years ago I onsighted this? Up to and over the bulge seems as easy as I remember, but that upper slab-bridging felt rather scary... Chris Craggs refered to "technical dummies who find the start the crux" - only slightly harsh. Good smearing and head practice, deserving all the star, but still mid to low grade.

The Irrepressible Urge (2* E1 5b):

Solo - Wow. Not particularly "wow" from the climbing, though it partially deserves that too, but this will definitely get the blood pumping. Continuous 5a/b climbing up a slab with no gear - E1? If you're confindent with high-ball bouldering and can walk 5b moves, then perhaps, but for us mere mortals, this feels far more E2... Deserves the stars. Ted followed.

Ace (1* VS 4b):

Solo - A great little arete problem with holds where you need them and a bit of excitement thrown in.

Right Recess Crack (HS 4a):

Solo - I'll count it as this route, but it wasn't really... Climb the walls on either side of Left/Right Recess Cracks, though using neither, by bridging. Yes, it widens as it gets higher, and yes it's totally silly, but heck, that's what climbing's all about. Another of Ted's little gems. Facing right and using the crack near the top helps (otherwise try to stay away!).

The Crack (HS 4a):

Solo - A Rockfax addition, and not a great one. You could jam this, but if, as suggested, you're using it as practice for Goliath's Groove at Stanage, practice correctly for that route by bridging/laybacking. Makes it a little harder, but jamming's jamming, isn't it...

Brooks' Layback (2* HS 4b):

Solo - "The clue's in the name" said Ted helpfully... Another bit of laybacking 'cause it was there - good practice for David at Burbage South, or any other parallel-sided laybacking you care to think of. Good fun, and quite easy, as the grade correctly suggests.

Nicotine Stain (1* E1 6b / V4):

Solo - I did this years ago, and wouldn't have expected to send it so quickly, but it only took two attempts, and the first one failed due to being incompetent at spotting footholds. Ted quickly followed after spotting the "trick" I used, but that made us wonder... Supposedly 6b crux with all other moves 5c. Seems hard to pick the one that's two grades harder, but overall seems about V4 (comparable to Technical Master, but easier to read).

The Penultimate (1* E1 5b):

Solo - The new Eastern Grit guide has included a few more routes out the far end, so why not tick the red-dot ones whilst we're having a good day. This route deserves to be an addition, with great moves and good positions. The start may take a bit to work out, but the moves between breaks higher up are glorius. There is gear, so you don't have to solo, meaning it's probably low in the grade. Ted followed.

Two Pocket Sitter (V3 6a):

Bouldered - A good problem to end the day on, with a dynamic start from a low position on the two holes. Face right or left to start (facing left's my preference, but that's because it includes a high heel...), and pop to the juggy nose. Simple after that.