A Short Showery Summer
Today is the last official day of my summer. Normally my rock climbing season would carry on until October. However, tomorrow Tom Livingstone and I will fly to Canada, spending a month with the intention of climbing big north faces in the Rockies. Despite having to fight the weather this summer (dodging showers, thunderstorms, and constant days of rain, I have actually really enjoyed dotting around Scotland, climbing and running with lots of different friends.
Here are a few words on some of the best days.
31/6/15- Creag An Dubh Loch- Voyage of the Beagle E4/5, 6a- Callum Johnson
I swung the van into the parking space, and jumped out. I whooped with excitement as the hot sun warmed my face and a beautiful breath of fresh wind blew through my hair. Today was the day: NO COLD FINGERS, NO RAIN, NO WET ROCK and NO RIPPING BIG BLOCKS OFF AND GETTING HIT BY THEM! In the previous 5 days our 3 visits to the crag had involved all of the above. Amazingly, none of these would happen today. An easy cycle and walk led us to the route.
The climb went as follows:
P1- 50 meters of steep cracks with a funky rock-over onto the slab at the top. P2- A crazy pitch. Climb up 5 m to place a high runner, then back to the belay, hard left across the slab for 15 m, and up steep grooves. Then climb back down and right to place a high runner for Callum seconding. 50 minutes of climbing, 35m of rope out, yet Callum is only 15 m below me. I climbed straight up for 15 m to finish. P3- A sloping corner with a crack too thin for my fat fingers. Then a thin traverse left across the slab followed by powerful moves pulling through a roof.
Just as we topped out, we heard a huge rumble of thunder, but the rain stayed off until we got back to the vans. A dream day climbing one of our dream ticks!
11/7/15- Gogarth- The Moon E3, 5c & Hunger/Citadel E5,6a I spent 4 days with Sam Williams in north Wales. On the fourth day we did a classic E3 The Moon, which takes some seriously impressive ground for the grade. I linked the first 2 pitches, which made it feel pretty airy towards the end. Having stopped in the cafe, we then headed across to Main Cliff. Here we climbed the E5 Hunger/Citadel combination, which gave two superb 6a pitches. On Hunger the waves crashed close below as we made hard moves through a roof. Citadel had long sustained sections of side-pulls and pinches on a deceptively steep wall.
Sam on the final thin traverse on The Moon E3,5c
28/7/15- Isle of Lewis, Dalbeg- Tweetie Pie Slalom E5,6a Guy Steven On our second day on the Isle of Lewis we were rained off 2 different crags. We then spent the rest of the day in a small van, watching Denzel Washington killing lots of people in Man on Fire. Although it's a good film it wasn't the reason Guy and I had traveled to Lewis.
The next day we headed to Dalbeg. There was a shower of rain when we arrived. Guy and I immediately began questioning why we hadn't gone sport climbing in the south of France. However, the rain stopped and we headed round to this beautiful crag, with a large non-tidal ledge.
Dalbeg Buttress Packs a lot of climbing for its small size.
I was reminded why we were trad climbing when I started up Tweetie Pie Slalom. Actually I wasn't, it started raining after 3 m of climbing. I down-climbed and we had a similar conversation about life choices and why we hadn't gone to France. After the shower stopped I started climbing again. The route reminded me why trad climbing is worth being rained on many, many times. For the 45 minutes I spent on the route, I didn't think of anything but the climbing. It was just so involving and varied with some brilliant exposure in the top third. It was all the better with it being greasy, making me fight all the way. The best single pitch E5 I have ever done.
The beach at the Uig campsite. On Lewis the landscape is so varied. Even without the top quality climbing, it is still a fantastic place to go.
I've got to go, as I still need to check my bags aren't over weight.