Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Team Crush trip up North (with Derek the pigeon)…

So the time had come around for another trip to Kilnesy and after last year spending all my time on ’50 for 5’ 7b+ (which took me a shameful 13 goes) I was quite psyched to have a go at the rest of the crag. A group of nine went including Me, Naomi (who was unfortunately injured) and Flo Tilly, Billy Ridal, Gracie Martin, Tom Bonnert, Orrin Coley, Tara Hayes and Tash Allcock. We all made our own way up either by car or train on Saturday and got settled into the Bothy – An outhouse with beds in at Naomi and Flo’s grandparent’s house it was going to be a very cosy week in the small living conditions however the short walk benefited us all… it was now time to get crushing!

Team Crush
The first afternoon saw Tom and Billy getting on ’50 for 5’ however unlike me it took them both only two goes, it involves about 7a climbing up to the break then a horrible V4 Boulder problem to get the chains. While this was going on Gracie was busy getting all the moves on the very bouldery and powerful ‘Pantomime’ 7b+. I then had a go at ‘the Ashes’ 7c+ with a very scary first clip which would have seen you top out leading at the Nottingham wall! The climbing after this was ok however I got stuck at an evil crux section which involved going out to a bad side pull getting your feet sorted then… jump? I couldn’t do this so Billy gave it a go, however got stuck at an even harder crux section a few clips up, in the end after spending around 30 minutes on the rope decided to bale, I wish I’d used a gri gri. After Billy was finally on the ground we decided to go for a swim in the freezing river, where the guys set up plans to try and get a slackline across.

Tash on Ground Effect 7b
The next day the crag was absolutely packed, me and Gracie aimed to get on ‘Dominatrix’ 7c however that line was taken so tried to get on ‘Metal Guru’ 7c+ but that was also taken, so instead we tried ‘Biological Need’ 7c which was unbelievably scary and we both ended up shamefully bailing on the second bolt. Tom and Billy had set their sights on ‘Dead Calm’ 8a which was an extension of the 7b ‘WISYWYG’ which Gracie was working after the ‘Biological Need’ attempt. Flo, Tara and Tash disappeared for a bit, who knows what they were doing… as it turned out they were working a 7a+ called ‘Smooth Torquer’ (Which is 7b in the new guide books however I think it should stay as a 7a+) which Tara managed to get onsite and Tash and Flo still busy trying to work it out. At the other end of the crag Orrin had been busy working ‘Pantomime’ 7b+ and finally ticked it later that day, Tom also ticked ‘Dead Calm’ 8a then Gracie came back with news that she had ticked the 7a+ ‘Smooth Torquer’ which was a good effort from all of them. Later that day people started working ‘Ground Effect’ and ‘Sticky Wicket’ both 7b, Gracie also got back on the 7b+ ‘Pantomime’ determined to get it. ‘Ground effect’ suited me after the first crux it was quite sustained and technical, the first bit seemed impossible however luckily a pinch got pointed out to me which made the start possible I was psyched to get on this the next day and send it!

In the morning wasting no time I got back on ‘Ground Effect’ 7b my first attempt of the day I put the clips in and refreshed myself with the sequences, I knew I could get it if I managed to get passed the first crux; after a quick rest I got back on and did it! In the same morning Billy finally managed to tick ‘Dead Calm’ 8a which he was very pleased with, Flo also ticked ‘Smooth Torquer’ the 7a+ which she had been working yesterday then I managed to get the flash on it, I was even more psyched now! Just before this I saw Tara Flash ‘WISYWIG’ 7b. I belayed Tash on the 7a+ she was so close to getting it then unfortunately dropped the last move, desperate to get it she got on it again however falling off on a big dynamic move up to a jug which sent her swinging towards me, after a very painful collision I decided to stop climbing for the rest of the day. Billy later got this route on his second go after unfortunately messing up his flash attempt on the first few moves. Tash was still trying to get this however she eventually got too tired which was unfortunate as she had to leave in the morning to go to France.  As all this was cracking off Tom was working his long term project of ‘the Bulge’ 8a and looked comfortable until the last clip falling on the last move, however he still had a few days to go.

The 'Hero'
Later that day we returned to the river and after even more rainfall it had a considerably stronger current, the guys now carried out their very stupid plan to get the slackline across the river, it started off well, they got it to the other side of the river and spent a while trying to get it onto the tree. Then came the real problem first Orrin and Billy tried to get it across which I have to admit was very funny, they got half way across only to find out that the current was to strong and ended up clinging on for dear life. After a revaluation of the situation Tom attempted it and this time went with the current. Everything was going according to plan until we realised that the slackline just wasn’t long enough so after sitting on the bank shivering for about ten minutes it then occurred to us that someone had to go and fetch the slackline. Tom nominated himself for this; he was now the hero of the trip.

The crag felt rather empty on Tuesday as Tash had left and Flo was ill however the crushing did not stop. Me and Gracie got on ‘WISYWIG’ I ended up messing up my flash attempt with the wrong foot position on the very last move, Gracie did it after me which put the pressure on me to get it and to my amazement I did. Tom was still attempting ‘The Bulge’ and kept missing to the last hold much to his annoyance. While this was going on Gracie stumbled across a 7b ‘Nerve Ending’ with a very hard first section, unluckily Gracie didn’t manage to get it however afterwards Orrin, Tara and Billy flashed it. Climbing for the day sort of finished after this however Derek the pigeon was there who the guys tried to befriend, this didn’t happen as he just growled at them so got the formal name of Derek Graham Growler.

Taking a rest from all the crushing
The last day at the crag was a short one for some of us as we had to catch the train home, so not wanting to get on anything serious me and Gracie went on ‘Highway 395’ 6c+ however after not bothering to warm up we both ended up with flash pump but as we were both determined to do it as it was only a 6c+ we managed to fight our way to the top horribly pumped. Orrin, Billy and Tara  all ticked ‘Ground Effect’ the 7b I had got earlier in the week. The top of the Bulge was too wet after last night’s rain for Tom to have another go however I’m sure he’ll tick it soon enough.

Thank you to Naomi and Flo’s grandparents for letting us use their house and to Naomi for been ‘the mother of eight children’.