Overview - Another outing with some UKCers. Only managed to get there for 1pm, and hence missed the best part of the sun, but still walked off happy and tired. With the brighter weather we've had lately, gale force winds seem to have moved in making for added excitement, and certainly most aretes need a full grade adding for the wind. The crag was fairly packed for a Friday, but the group seemed to be happily ticking all the great HVSs on Neb Buttress. My arrival was a good coincidence, as all the seconds instantly swapped when I asked to follow Adam (Carless) up Parliament! I was looking a little to gauge myself, as climbing with Dad has made me think that I've probably dropped a few grades. The way these HVSs felt, I sure I'm still not too far off - Auricle looked very tempting!
Solo - The usual solos to warm up started with the this hanging crack everyone else seemed to think was horrible getting stuck in. My argument - stay out of the crack and it's easy! Perhaps the idea is to stay perfectly true to the crack, but wall's either side have enough holds to keep it to the grade.
Solo - I was interrupted about two moves into this by my phone, and a very nice-sounding Glaswegian lady asking me if I was coming to a stag party. Nope, you've got the wrong number (hey, it amused me for a moment...) The direct start through the small overhangs is fun, and for all my dislike of jamming, the move around the arete and to the upper ledge is what hand jams were made for. Nice!
Solo (down and up a few times) - a quick way off the others; can't remember anything about it!
Seconded Adam - I got rather a shock, as I had assumed this was VS, and that it would hence be another nice warm-up. It ends up being very strenuous on the forearms, as you're either laying off the crack/corner or hanging on to what feel like large smooth shelfs that are just above shoulder height. Gear a-plenty (take big cams for the breaks), and a good brutish for the grade.
Led - For folks feeling totally unconfident, this has to be one of the best selections ever. Great moves up the arete, all the holds are slightly bigger than they look from the ground, and great view (if it was on an outer corner, it'll be 3* for sure). One of those routes that reminds you why you do this crazy thing called climbing. Adam seconded, and his method for the crux proves it's a bolder and harder move for shorties! A bit low in the grade (but that could be me just enjoying it too much...)
Led - The direct start up the lower arete is well worth it, and challenges your balance leaning off the arete to the right. The upper sections are just fun - I'd advise moving right onto the side of the overhang at the top, rather than get stuck full-bodied in the crack! Adam seconded. Collected graded and starred.
Led - Now, which hand is the wrond one? From the ground, Adam and I came up with two solutions to gain the upper crack, and they used different hands in the obvious pocket. We then each climbed as we thought from the ground - I, using the high buldge, and he, doing the (what must be standard) cross-through with right-hand in the pockets. Good route and well protected, though with each placement, you might make the climbing harder! Great feeling to tick the first E1 for a while in style... Adam seconded.
Seconded Adam - Nice slabby moves up the wall just left of the corner. It certainly feels like you're further from your gear than you actually are, as bleaying I didn't think I had anything to worry about - there's no chance of going too far if you screw it up. Another one for E0 perhaps?
Solo - Referred to as Crunchy Nuts (VS 5a / V1) in the latest BMC guide. The BMC's grade is probably better, but it's a good solo either way. The right-hand arete is supposed to be Stoned (HVS 5b) and is much harder and scarier!
Solo - I don't remember this being such a great arete position from seconding Ted, but this time decided that it comes close to rivalling Chequers Buttress - especially with the wind trying to blow you off it! Great route, correct grades and stars.