Overview - Another UKC invitational. A good crowd for not-so-good conditions - The fog was so heavy, you had to be no more than 10 m from the crag to know it was there! In fact, it had to have been passed 16:00 before we could see the parking from the crag, irrespective of the God-like predictions of sun by 14:00 by Duz. Surprisingly, though we were in effect climbing in a cloud with associated fine mist, the slight breeze seemed to keep the rock dry. Combined with the cool air temperature, this added up to high-friction grit and good climbing. A quick detour to North Burbage was called for the early evening, as the midges started attacking Stanage.
Solo - Perhaps a tad hard for a warm-up solo, putting it slightly high in the VS category, but a good few layback moves on the way to the heather. The gear's obviously good enough, as a few air miles were gained by a fellow UKCer later on in the day!
Seconded - I reckon there are two finished to this route. Both use a hand jam as far out as you can get it, before reaching over to the high ledge. The HVS variant then heel-hooks in the pod right, and rocks up into this. The E1 finish is to ignore the right foot, and finish direct up the crack with lots of grovelling and perhaps an immensely powerful layback. Either way, I've now done about every variation and have no wish to go back and do it again...
Led - Inaccessible Crack Direct up to the point that an amusing breakline heads left into space... An obvious line that isn't in the RockFax guides, but should be, as it's a cracking route. Unfortunately the lower break, which one would assume from the ground is for your feet, is slightly too high for said use, so the traverse to a hairy rock onto the far arete requires some attention to footwork before you set out. Take big cams! Right grade, perhaps another star. Shaun seconded.
Solo - Whilst Shaun gathered himself for the next lead, I realised I hadn't yet done this "50 of the Best" VS. So, with a large group of screaming youths looking on in awe, he and I the theory that this is one of the best VSs in the Peak. Perhaps the "it's a slab" thought in the back of mind detracted from the enjoyment slightly, but I was underwhelmed by this one. Good moves, but never any two interesting ones coupled together. I'd still give it all three stars and the same grade, but perhaps on the low end of the stars and the mid-high end of the grade.
Led (with comedy) - I love this route, if just for the comment that "it's a great rest if you have the flexibility of a child's rubber toy." Shaun was initially leading this having been talked onto it by yours truly. Here's where the comedy starts. After finding umteen different hands-off rest positions with about as many tries at the crux, he decided that he at least needed to fall off it for his conscience to be intact, and promptly did so. Good air miles! Having just watched this, I decide I'd prefer to keep the energy for something else, and tie in intending to just go up and get the gear out. The initial corner and swinging traverse (great fun) go easily, but having attained the rest position, I start looking around and reminding myself how the crux works. Suddenly, I'm standing on the final ledge with a "how did I get here" look on my face - Hmmm. I didn't intend to do that, but once I'd refound the holds, I just kept going! Unfortunately, I hence don't have any gear with me, resulting in quite a wobbly finish. I abbed down to get the gear to save Shaun having to second, but definitely an amusing ascent. A quick closing remark - Rocking right from the rest is Kelly's at E1. Standing straight up from the rest is Mouthpiece and is probably HVS from Kelly's start.
Led/Solo - I was put off by the crux of Impossible slab being much closer to the ground than I thought, so escaped onto the arete, and finished up this without placing further gear. Nice easy arete - can't say much more than that.
Solo - Just to start finishing off all the climbs in the area, this is a great little solo. Use or ignore the cracks as needed, as you've got a wide variety of great holds. Fun!
Sent - The method shown to me by Duz makes virtually no sense what-so-ever, but it works, so I can tick this after so long of staring at it wondering... The direct is much harder (V4), and involves a great knee-bar reach.
Solo - One of the very few routes that I haven't been able to avoid jamming on. A great boulder problem start (above is VDiff at best), requiring jamming with the wrong hand, then a jammed-hand-to-foot match. The upper rockover feels a little bold, but get your balance right and the crack will guide you. I'd say it was a V2 with a few hard 5b moves.