070807 Aldery

Overview - Okay, so I'm now so desperate to get out, I'm even climbing limestone... Actually, I must admit that I really enjoyed the afternoon at the small few walls that are called Aldery. It's probably not big enough to cope with more than four people, but it'd certainly give four climbers a full day's outing, assuming they can all climb HVS, hence great for another group of UKCers (including Rosie and Oceanic). My reticence towards limestone faded halfway up The Arete, mainly as I didn't feel the need to drop a grade or four due to the difference in rock-type, and I now look forward to any further encounters (where I will surely get scared sh*tless and never go back again, but heck, such is life). This coming off the back of the day at Bamford certain gave a uplift to the whole experience.

Nettlerash (1* HS 4a):

Solo - A low-grade intro to try reminding myself how this rock-type works (although some might think that's the wrong way round to do it!). Very slabby, nice easy moves (again, what I did definitely wasn't 4a, but I'm sure you could find that grade if you weren't looking for harder moves), but beware of the right-hand finish. It's recommended, but soloists will need to steel themselves to dirt and polish. The non-abseil descent (via the top of The Fly, and down the gully next to Central Arete) is horrible and involves thrashing through a lot of nettles... Perhaps take a rope even if soloing!

Janbaloo (1* HVS 5a):

Second - The others had just finished the two routes up this slab, so I gave the direct version a go. It's a nice slab - that's about it. Gear's probably adequate, but ignoring the arete at the top would be a tad bold and 5b (+?) at around E1.

The Arete (2* E1 5a):

Led - Agreeably one of the best routes on the crag, but that means it would drop at least one star at most other venues. Crux is low down, and can either be done via a high step onto a polished thing on the right of the arete, or a slightly harder pull/layback on the left. Gear on the left is recommended for either solution, and the whole thing is a tad easy for the grade. Graham seconded.

November Wall (E2 5b):

Led - Oceanic and I spent half an hour repeatedly falling off Cooper's (more like hard 6a than 5c), so we needed to rescue the gear in the crack. I didn't start this with too much hope, given the previous route, but the small edges led up the wall very amiably (in fact, perhaps a tad too amiably for the grade, but I'm not going to complain too loudly, as it's my first in a while!). I'm not too sure about right/left at mid-hieght, but boldish and a relatively easy 5b mantel leads to hanging off the tree and salvation. Deserves a star, I reckon...