070825 Stanage Pop

Overview - A sunny Saturday spent soloing along Stanage, what could be better? Well, the weather could've lived up to expectations after the day at Bamford and been calm, warm, and inviting, but heck, you can't have everything. Having pretty much ticked everything up to Flying Buttress, I started on the left-hand side and worked leftwards. Admittedly, it was a bank holiday, so I had to dodge not only all the routes that already had people on them, but also folks that migh take offense / get worried (luckily not too common). There are some classics I've needed to do for a while, and a big tick at the end, again, by mistake...

Garden Wall (1* S 4a):

Solo - After Bamford, I decided to start really easy and work up, especially as finding your balance in gusty wind is tricky at the best of times! Initial corner and short crack are fine, but the two steps left at three-quarters height certainly felt a tad harder than 4a, and a bit more airy than your standard Severe. Or that could just the first route of the day thing...

The Kirkus Original (1* VS 4c):

Solo - I escaped off this on to Jitter Face last time I was up here with Dad, but this time just went for it... I have to say it's a really nasty fall if you screw it up, but it is one 4c move (hence perhaps more easy HVS territory). There is Kirkus's Left-hand further into the corner, but there are definitely at least two methods for the crux of the Original: left, using a triangular pinch and undercut, or right, rocking up to the thinner-than-it-looks S-seam. The second's possibly harder.

Townsend Variation (2* HVS 4c):

Solo - Okay, so admittedly, I'm soloing, hence this might feel scarier, but there's no gear on it anyway, so it shouldn't feel particularly hard. Perhaps it was just that I nearly got blown off the crux by a particularly strong gust. As you might guess, all the easy stuff is in getting to the arete, then there's maybe two moves right at the top. Certainly got the blood pumping!

Flying Buttress (3* HVD 4a):

Solo - This has to be one of the best-known low grade routes in the Peak, and however many times I've been here, I've never bothered with it. Now that I have...It's getting really battered - good easy climbing in fine position, but utterly polished. Shame. Though I wouldn't say it was one of the best low graders (having said that, I'm not sure I can think of too many good ones...)

Via Media (1* VS 4c):

Solo - A finger crack with enough horizontals to never have to commit to finger locks. Quite pleasant, but nothing totally inspiring.

Rugosity Wall (1* HVS 5c):

Solo - Definitely 5c, as the first move is doable, but I'd hate to come across it half way up an E2. The rest is easy enough to warrent HVS, though I'm sure there's still an interesting move higher up before gear. The start of Rusty Wall still eludes me...

Central Trinity (2* VS 4c):

Solo - The first move on the direct start is brilliant and hard, whereas when soloing, the move up the crack proper takes some thinking about. Very good route, correctly graded an starred.

Hargreaves' Original (3* VS 4c):

Solo - Possibly the most interesting of all the VSs I've done today, though more mentally than physically. The starts a neat balance across, but then it really gets going. It's a little repetitive in the movements needed, but I had to stop and convince myself to do almost all of them. In comparison to High Neb (having soloed both), this had slightly less exposure, but is steeper, requiring more attention. A better route, I reckon.

Christmas Crack (3* HS 4a):

Solo - Now that's what I call a top 50 route. Get through the lower sections of wide crack into the upper flake line, then step left instead of following the flake to the finish. Exposed, good moves, good holds. Brilliant HS.

Black Hawk (2* HS 4c):

Solo - Whilst I was waiting for something to happen on the following route, I got bored and cold, and this was nearby. I think the Russian (?) group in the left corner were highly amused at this chap in bright red trousers simply walking up, asking if they minded climbing the line next to them, and then running up it... This route has a definite crux, but well protected and relatively easy outside that move.

Tippler Direct (3* E3 6a):

Led - This is a great route... I failed spectacularly on this back at the end of Feb, and have thought many a time to have another go since. As it was, there was a YUMC guy having a go as I came down from behind Flying Buttress, so I stuck around to watch. He slowly got more frustrated with where to go, so I gradually gave him more beta... Up to the point he turned around and said "well, why don't you show me how it's done". That should teach me not to sit there heckling. I never thought I'd make the crux move - but he'd done all the hard work, placing gear and proving it was solid by falling on it! All I had to do was reach; and a fc*king long reach it is. But reach the next break I did (with much encouragement from the crowd), and am now exceptionally happy! Funnily enough, the crux of Tippler feels far harder having come across the roof...