Thursday, 6 October 2011

A Retrospective Update: Almscliff

In-keeping with my 'update per night' theme, I bring you Almscliff tonight. This was from a few months back now, but I have the pictures so I thought I'd go ahead and make an update.

For those of you who don't know (bloody weirdos), Alsmcliff is a gritstone outcrop near Harrogate. Gritstone is known for it's crack-based routes, which often require a fair bit of jamming. With this in mind, the trip revealed to me a number of things:

1. I'm not very good at jamming (I have since got slightly better)
2. I'm not very good at climbing with a hangover.
That's right folks, I was hungover for my first trip to Almscliff. Crushing it was, and I'd rather forget it, but this blog needs posts.

                                          Me and Matt getting ready for Overhanging Groove (HVS 5a)

The first route of the day was to be Overhanging Groove (HVS 5a). Looking back, it was a great route to second and Matt did it in fine style with an exciting run out, but I really didn't appreciate it at the time. Would love to get the lead at some point.
                                        Matt on the run-out upper section of Overhanging Groove

Next up was my lead. Oh shit. I'll spare you the sight of me floundering around on a VS, and simply give you some advice: if you're planning on scumming with your forearms on grit, wear sleeves.

                                                 Me finishing up Overhanging Groove on second

After that Matt decided to lead The Zig Zag (HS 4c). Even I was feeling okay about this, and it turned out to be a rather fun climb.
Seconding The Zig Zag

I finally decided I was ready to lead something, with the hangover starting to let up after a few sandwiches and copious amounts of water. I went for Bird's Nest Crack (HS 4b), a 2 starred crack climb with some nice jamming. I got up it with ease, and berated myself for arsing around so much earlier. I was finally starting to see why there was so much fuss over all this 'grit' stuff.
Heading up Bird's Nest Crack

After a beautiful fist jam, I happily top out, glad to at least have led something on my first trip to Almscliff.
Happy with at least one lead, and looking forward to another visit

It was a bit of a disappointing day for me, since I'd aspired to get on the famous 4-starred (for non climbers, this is 4 out of 3 stars, it's that good) Great Western, but at least the sun shone and the jamming was good. Still haven't been back, but I expect another trip will yield better results. 
Exploring around the big grit blocks of Almscliff

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