Moon Blog / Bouldering / Highball March
Well I’m finally over the 4 weeks of various illnesses such as tummy bug, cold and then an infected ear drum….
Not long ago we went on a trip down south, our trip was damped by fog and mist but we still got to some nice places like Brean Down, Ansteys cove, Dartmoor, Portland and the Churnet. One big highlight was cycling roundLondonwith my cousin; man is that E10 or what!!
For the last few weeks I’ve been mostly climbing high boulder problems. These tend to offer that added bit of spice to keep the trad climber in me interested.
Ed Brown and myself headed down into the Froggatt Woods to do battle with Renegade Master, this is now a high 7C+ and not an E8 anymore. Ed had been on it very briefly before but apparently the session ended quickly on the start moves when he peeled off backwards and was dumped back first onto the protruding boulders below.. ouch.
We got stuck in good and proper and, once the defences of the knacky start were knocked down, we were getting up high to the tough crossover move. After a long rest, I managed to get rocked round with one foot on the ledge and the other on the crimps out left. The reason I mention this is that I know some say it’s a cop-out to go right but I feel I could not do the Bentley lock to the top from the crimps and was keen to top it out. In the end it seemed the logical way for me to finish. I only had one day to do it.
Ed cruised it next go too, very inspiring.
Next was Thumbelina at Ina’s rock, again Ed Brown was psyched for the visit. I managed to flash Thumbelina the E6/7 or Font 7A/+ with minimum fuss. Well, I say minimum fuss, but I did have to give that last move to the top some welly. Later Naomi my wife went on to do this in fine style looking super solid whilst the rain came down.
I had a go at Cornelius to the left but I never got higher than my flash go, the big lock off move to the slopey break. I blame my 6 hour training session the day before at Redpoint wall inBirmingham… I was not expecting to be climbing the next day…
This font 7C was Ed’s main goal and he did it with ease, finally sealing the deal on last year’s efforts!
Off to the Lake District
I then got chance to go to the home of hard Lake District bouldering, the Bowderstone. Boy, what a boulder. I caught it in such fantastic conditions. My mate Jonny and I got stuck into the ladder face, the only place I know where your thumbs get as much of a work out as your fingers. I did things like Hot Air and then Phantom of the Opera caught my eye. Quite a good line really, climbing between Picnic Sarcastic and Grand Opera on the weakness that is a line of tiny sharp crimps. It gets slightly high at the top but the landing is mint. I had a gaggle of American tourist chicks waiting to see the send so the pressure was on. I did it for them. I think it made it onto their holiday snaps and no doubt made their holiday!
We moved on to the mighty countyof Northumberland. I had a fab day and a half at Back Bowden and half a day at Front Bowden. The first day it was hotter than the sun, had a good play with friends bouldering around up to 7B+ and had a quick couple of tries at the highball called County Ethics which used to be E7 7a but is now just considered font7C+. Boy, them black crimps were hot and just getting warmer!! So I ran back up to the car and grabbed a rope and a trad rack.
This might have been the first trad I had done since November last year, crazy really seeing as I love doing it. I guess the weather has just not lent itself to ledge shuffling…
I did a cool E2 called Witch’s something, a burly E3 called Hard Reign on which I found two knee bars. This sort of stuff makes me happy!
Next up was a super cool line called Merlin on the big back wall. I set off up this E5 6a with a couple of cams and quick draws for the beacon of safety that was the pink in situ sling threaded through a hole in the black sandstone. The route involves a lot of shuffling on the lower ledge for your hands and then it really kicks in once the cams and sling is reached. I can’t recommend it enough if this is the level you aspire too.
Back to the hotel for a tapas meal out and time for the sun burn to calm down, signalling the end to a good day!
The next day dawned about 10 degrees cooler and a bit cloudier too. As Nao had been working at the Newcastle climbing centre on day one I thought we should make a return visit to Back Bowden as I knew she would like it there and I had unfinished business to take care of now the temps had dropped. Again the team headed down to do battle, Naomi had a good boulder and I just soloed a few E1′s to try and get the blood moving. Dave Mason turned up with his entourage and got me psyched to retryCountyEthics. When his umpteen mats lined the floor beneath I could not resist another go even though I was pretty tired from all the crimping the day before. Dave had a pretty good flash go and did it next try in fine style. I had one quick go whilst all the pads were down but fell off below my previous high point. They went, we stayed. Later on the team convinced me to have another blast above what mats we had. The temps were so much better than the previous day when blacks mats in the sun were too warm to walk on bare footed!!
As it happens I got up it no problem and really enjoyed the experience. What made it special too is that Paul captured it on video….
Video of Jordan Buys on County Ethics 7c+
We then decided to wander over to Bowden Doors to have a bash at The Crack. It gets font 8A but who knows hey, it feels easy when you do it and frustrating when you don’t.
Paul and myself had a try but it was still in the full sun so we went along the crag to let others try stuff on their list. I should have been resting, waiting for the good conditions to come as the sun set, but I just got carried away trying everything that looked good. I did none of them and just stumbled about panting like a dog in need of water.
Paul had sneaked back to the Crack after resting like a pro. He then went on to do it two more times for different camera angles, legend. He convinced me to have a go and what do you know, I went and did it. Bueno, a great day was had and I really learned to feed off the psyche of others.