Saturday, October 13, 2012

A Day at The Works

Had a trip with Jon yesterday to the new dry tooling venue in the Lakes 'The Works'. After a full days dry tooling your body ends up being more wrecked than pretty much any other form of climbing but as Jon said the thing that was most bruised by The Works was our egos! This place has tough tough grades. Still congratulation to Brian, Paddy and all the folk who helped develop a place which has the potential to be the UK's best dry tooling venue (its pretty close to that already).
 This isn't actually one of the climbing areas, I think it's occasionally still worked on but that cave entrance is about 20m high and wide and 40m deep - could be the home for Greg and Andy's next M25s!
 We started in Bakestone Quarry, which seems to get a lot less traffic than The Works proper. We did the red line - Outside Leg a challenging and varied M5 (felt like a pumpy M6 to us). The yellow line is Outfield a very worthwhile looking M6.
This is The Fang an M8 that I worked the moves on including my first proper figure four. It was the best route I tried during the day and one I'm motivated to get fit for.
We then went to the industrial sector at The Works proper, the area that has probably seen the most traffic. This is Time and a Half the crag warm up and given M4! Considering this is pretty much the lowest grade in dry tooling it's crazy - solid M6. The guys climbing are local guns 'The Two Petes'
It's The Two Petes again this time on Stein Pull an M6 on the industrial sector. We didn't do this one but did do Overtime M6 and Grand Design M6+, both of which were good.
 This is where the wilderbeast roam! The cave is much steeper and bigger than it looks. The lines are 20-25m long each and range from 60 to 80 degrees overhanging. Left to right: (yellow) Bloodline M10, (red) Blood Donor M9+, (blue) First Blood M9+, (green) Project M impressive.
One of the Petes on Bloodline (no fig 4s for this young beast) "It's only got one hard move on it, about M8" Luckily Petes arms are much better developed than his ability to grade!

So in summary this is a great spot particularly at the grades M6-7 and M9+ and upwards.

Edit: I should have added the best thing about The Works is that OK its a series of industrial holes in the ground but yesterday was at times truly beautiful.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The loneliness of the long distance dry tooler

Training for winter climbing has long been a challenging process - scratching around of old stone walls or under bridges, and more recently upsetting other wall users with hooky rubber band axes. The best training is offered by dedicated dry tooling crags but until recently there was a choice of two Newtyle (a 5 hour drive from Sheffield) or White Goods (a 2 - 2 1/2 hour drive). Luckily there is a little more choice with a new (by all accounts an excellent) venue at Hodge Close Quarry in the Lakes (still 2 1/2 hours drive from Sheffield) and Masson Lees near Matlock (45 minutes drive - yipee).

There has actually been a couple of routes for a 2 or 3 years at Masson. A short M5 and an upside down M lots. There has been a fair amount of activity recently and now the M5 has an M6 cousin, the M lots has doubled in length and become M lots and lots! plus there are two further lines drilled one completed (the left of the two) at M8+ and the other, when its been finished, should be around M7/7+.
Jon and paid a visit yesterday - behind him (click on photo to see full image) you can see the 20 quickdraws of the M lots and lots recently put up by Andy Turner and called Marginal gains - from the dark cave on the left it traverses to the far right hand lip of the cave. The two easier routes are to the left of the picture just right of the tree and the M8+ goes through the overhangs on the right of the photo.
 Heres Jon on the M5 - almost completely drilled like most routes but actually quite good as a moderate graded training route/warm up. I personally didn't like the M6 just to its right which is almost entirely natural but uses several natural threads which feel like they could snap at any moment. An axe in the face seemed an imminent possibility but I suspect it was early season wussiness.
I dogged out the M8+ (this is the first half) again totally drilled. I found it desperate for the grade and there were some moves I couldn't do. It would be at my limit if I was going well and I'm definitely not going well at the moment.

Newtyle and White Goods have a lot more to offer at the moment than Masson. But being so close and desperately needing to sort out my fitness I'll be back for more humiliation and sore arms at Masson soon.