Last weekend I had to travel to Edinburgh for the BMC Youth Climbing Series final as many of the youth climbers I coach had qualified. This event is held at the impressive EICA. As Edinburgh is a long way from my home town of Bristol I decided to use the competition as an excuse to go on a mini climbing trip. The aim was to stop wherever the weather looked good between Bristol and Scotland. The First stop, Nesscliffe.
Nesscliffe is definitely one of my favorite crags for hard trad. Its lines are just so inviting to climb. All of the routes follow really distinct features, usually either aretes, faces or grooves. The first route I had my eye on was My Piano E8 6c. My initial thoughts were to try and have an onsight go on the route but on arrival I couldn’t see the first peg which should have been somewhere shortly after the first crux. After looking at the route I decided against the onsight and climbed the it on toprope first. I worked out the gear and cobbled a basic sequence together then lowered to the ground. On inspection the two pegs after the crux appeared to have rusted away which made the first half of the route a pretty serious proposition. Despite this I felt confident and climbed the route placing all of the gear on the lead. It went smoothly and was almost disappointingly uneventfully. You can watch fellow Mammut team member Nathan Lee climbing the route in the video below.
The funny thing with head pointing is that you take the most dangerous route you dare to do and climb it in the most controlled and sterile way you can. I think I prefer the thrill you get when onsighting, which leads me nicely onto my next route; Yukan ll E7 6b.
Yukan ll is a stunning pitch which climbs and amazing tapering groove line with some very baffling and technical moves. I wanted to climb it onsight. I won’t say too much about the moves here so as not to spoil your onsight attempt but the climbing is great and pretty well protected throughout. I was chuffed to climb the route steadily making Yukan ll my first onsight at the grade of E7.
On Saturday I coached and supported the youths at the comp. They all climbed well, its great to see them continually improving.
Sunday came around and I drove from Edinburgh to Dumbarton in time for an early morning start. I hadn’t bouldered at Dumbarton for many years and I had almost forgotten how much quality this crag has. If only it was a little closer to home. What followed breakfast was possibly my best morning of climbing so far. Sabotage 8A was the first problem, shortly followed my Silverback 7C . I then ticked Firestarter 8A and all in time for lunch.
Sabotage is an amazing problem with a very complex sequence and powerful moves up the steep prow before a brilliant top out. Silverback has got to be one of the best 7C’s I have ever climbed. The move to the jug on the lip makes you feel like a real hero (a move/feeling worth traveling for!). Firestarter is characterised by very small holds and body tension, superb.
I finished the long weekend with a great day in the sunny Peak district where I climbed Tsunami 8A and The Press kneeling start 7C+ at Rubicon.
I seem to have found a run of form recently which is supprising considering my lack of training and my love of pastries.
Really psyched for South Africa in the summer now. I might even do a bit of training.