I have visited Stanage Plantation countless times over the years and on every visit I have gazed up in awe at the amazing line that is Careless Torque.This huge boulder stands proud and dominant away from the rest of the cliff. Climbers, walkers and mountain bikers revel in its imposing glory as they pass beneath it on the path.
Ever since my first visit I have dreamt of climbing this incredible line, but I never believed it would be possible.
Over the years I have ticked off many of the other classic problems at Stanage: Cresent Arete, Green Traverse, Deliverance and Brad Pit to name a few. After climbing Brad Pit I thought (until this winter) that I had climbed all the problems that were possible for me at the Plantation. Gritstone has always suited my style but pure strength has always been a weakness, this year I set myself the challenge of increasing my power.
Careless Torque was to be the problem I would test my new found power on, and it would give me an excuse to revisit the Plantation. I intended Careless to be a long term winter project and had resigned myself to many trips to the Peak to attempt it. Two weeks ago I drove North to open the account.
The first session went incredibly well. I was shocked to find myself standing high on the arete after just a few goes. The bottom of the problem is massively undercut, and thought, by many, to be the crux but once I had sussed the body positions for this bottom section I seemed to be able to do it almost every go and the top became the main challenge. On that first session I fell from the very top twice, unfortunately sore muscles and split tips stopped play that day.
This weekend I made the trip again. I was nervous,I knew it was possible and this weighed on my mind. I hated the pressure I now placed on myself to climb the route quickly, only a few weeks ago I didn’t even believe it possible.
We arrived at the crag with a big group of friends, and an even bigger number of pads. Game on! My first proper go went well, I tickled the top hold, chickened out and fell Southwards. A few goes later and I was back just below the top on the last hard move, my foot fell into place and I reached the top hold with relative ease and pulled over the top on the most beautiful glory jugs available.
On the actual go the climbing felt easy, everything fell into place and Careless Torque was done.
After climbing the route I felt happy to have done it, but I wasn’t over come with glee. For me definitely the process was more enjoyable than the completion, the anticipation to try the route outweighed the final success. That said I am over the moon to have climbed Careless Torque, possibly the greatest line I have ever seen!
On a side note. It has occurred to me how much Highballing is like DWSing. You get the social aspect of Bouldering, the adventurous adrenaline rush of Traditional climbing and relative safety on a big fall.
Happy days… I LOVE CLIMBING!