Climbing catch-ups

29 Oct

Gnarled tree roots show above the surface of the ground at Harrisons

Harrisons sandstone - beautiful to look at, horrific to climb

Despite having a super stressful year at work I’ve been lucky enough with my relatively new-found love of climbing to have had a few fab outings to places like Dartmoor, Cheddar Gorge, Skye and more lately the Southern Sandstone, near Tunbridge Wells, and in the Peak District.  Every place has a different kind of rock so you need different techniques and each inspires a different level of fear!  From friendly Dartmoor granite with its huge levels of friction and lovely big pockets, to the beautiful limestone cliffs at Cheddar Gorge (not to mention the purchase of mead and heinous amounts of cheese!) to the horribly slippery monstrosity that is Harrison’s Rocks and the sandstone there.  Its one redeeming feature is that the place is beautiful.

Our most recent trip was a well-needed weekend in the Peak District and a new type of rock for me – gritstone.   Gritstone involves two things that I’m not very good at (yet): slopers and cracks.  Oh, and since its trad climbing I should also mention I’m not good at making belay stances since even this simple task left me having a mini-meltdown at the top of the cliff.  Oops!  I just need more practice!  However, dry gritstone in the cold weather means no sweaty,  greasy fingers, which means lots of lovely friction for feet and hands!  Even slopers and cracks were fun for a change and I did my hardest outside lead so far – a little HS which Gareth had to remind me to place more than one piece of gear into…I think that made him sweat a bit, but I was going to place another piece, I promise!

We had a delicious pub lunch, several good beers and ciders and a very good laugh.  It was some of the most fun I’ve had in ages.  We have only four working days until I find out the result of the ballot…next thing to do is sell my flat and then I can take my dog back from my dad, where she’s staying until I move house.  Then I can stop saying wistfully “Tess would love it here”, and some kind of manic and hairy faced harmony will be restored in my household.

Afternoon glow at Stanage

Ice on the tent? At least I was warm!

G at the belay

Stanage - four mile long inland cliff - the longest in the UK

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