Moon Blog / Old website blog / Mike Adams - Blakey Ridge, The North York Moors (part 3)
Mike Adams - Blakey Ridge, The North York Moors (part 3)
This is really very much the central area for bouldering in the North York Moors. It’s a bit like a less concentrated version on the Burbage Valley, only being a ridge instead of a valley, but still with lots of different areas all around the outskirts. It is one of the latter parts of the Moors that I ended up exploring and funnily enough, it probably turned out to have the better bouldering.
First of all I’ll mention Clemmitts in the Woods. This place has a unique atmosphere to it, having it’s own special character. I decided to start here as local climbers had already extensively developed it. I think when you enter a new area it is polite and important to repeat what’s already been done as a nod of respect in addition to getting a feel for the grading. I managed to do just that and quickly turned my attention to the obvious gaps. In the couple of sessions I spent here I managed some great first ascents. The best and hardest of them was probably Tsunami Arete, which could be 8a. This had some great powerful moves off small holds up to a terrible sloper and a scary and sketchy top out. It does need to eliminate some big side pulls on the left wall, but this doesn’t spoil the problem at all. The second was called Iron Heart, after a friend noticed a heart shape in the rock. It follows a rising diagonal iron streak from sitting, to some hard moves to finish. The holds on this are very small and I had to have many attempts before succeeding. I originally gave this 7c+ but I think looking back and after other people’s comments, this is perhaps 8a. It may even be harder than Tsunami Arete. These lines along with some great 7b/7b+ ish lines I also did, were videoed and they can be seen here http://vimeo.com/29997590
The second place I am going to mention has perhaps my favourite wall I climbed on in the Moors. It’s the Rainbow Wall at Round Crag. Round Crag is strange to boulder on as it doesn’t appear to have much, but it does have some great and classic problems. Most of these had all been done by the time I got there. However the two main lines up Rainbow Wall were still up for grabs. The first and most central of the two I did in my first session. It involved pulling up on small edges, placing a left heel, and then turning the edges to finger tip mantle and press out to the top where there is a change in angle of the wall. This was simply a classic and as good as anything I have done anywhere. I called it Chasing Rainbows and it weighs in at around 7c although its difficult to grade moves like that.
Above: Chasing Rainbows 7c at Round Crag – Photo Lee Robinson.
The second line is just left. I tried hard on it that first day but had to leave without success. It’s a funny line and follows some big moves, which are okay up to a small slopey dish. From here the only option is to paste the left foot on nothing and try to dyno/slap the top edge. I kept almost getting it but always coming up short. I returned one day feeling stronger and was disappointed to find the same thing happening. I just couldn’t get the extra couple of inches I needed. Then at the very end of my second visit I said to myself ‘right one last go then I’m done’. Just before trying it I set up the camera as I thought it might motivate me a bit. I was right, this time I pulled on, got to the crux and seemed to float up to the ledge. I am very chuffed to have completed this line. I called it Colours of the Mind and reckon it’s a solid 8a. It’s certainly the most frustrating of the 8′s in the North York Moors.
Above: Colours of The Mind 8a at Round Crag – photo Lee Robinson.
As I mentioned previously I videoed this along with another first ascent of a 7bish roof line also at Round Crag. In the video there are also some repeats of other locals hard lines close by. These are found at Stormy Hall, which is a convenient spot close to the road. Preceded by the magnificent Oak Wall, which was developed by Mike Gray, and has one of the best 7b+ lines anywhere called The Mighty Oak. http://vimeo.com/30348969.
Not on the video but worth mentioning, Mike Gray did what is probably the most fingery of the 8′s in the Moors when he climbed the left arête strictly on it’s righthand side to give Four Seasons 8a. A fantastic effort from Mike. In the above video I do not climb it strictly as I didn’t know about the rule with the left hand (this way it’s probably only 7c). I since returned with a friend Dawid and managed the ‘true line’ ground up on my second session. Dawid made a video showing me attempting this and some other stuff from our sessions in The Moors. Unfortunately we didn’t press record for the send of the Four Seasons, but you can’t catch them all! http://vimeo.com/32048361.
I visited three other smaller areas, which are worth mentioning. First up was Camp Hill and whilst I didn’t think this was a great spot for bouldering, it did have the classic Phileas Fogg. Right next-door was also a fantastic un-climbed line I did which was equally as good. I called this Jules Verne and graded it 7b+ish. Both are well worth seeking out. These and more can be seen here http://vimeo.com/31124511.
The second area I visited was Rosedale, I thought this was a lot better in terms of having a concentration of good tricky problems. When I visited here there were still a lot of projects, which meant I had a great session cleaning, working them out and then climbing them. The best and hardest was a fantastic hard, crimpy dyno up the centre of the Rosedale Monolith I called Outcry graded 7c. A video of this plus some other climbs around 7b are here http://vimeo.com/30881434.
Thorgill Crag was the third area I explored. Again this had lots of potential but only in the mid 7′s. I had a day here with a friend cleaning and exploring the possibilities. I managed to get the first ascents of a lot of lines again in the 7b/+ grade range, leaving still more stuff left to do for anyone who returns; we just ran out of light. The video of that day showing what we did is here http://vimeo.com/31283731.
I’ve saved possibly the best venue until last to talk about. The fantastic Duck Boulders. How they got their name I still don’t really know; but they hold a fantastic circuit with lots of really great climbs. By the time I was taken down here lots of people had already got done the most obvious lines, namely Mike Gray and Nigel Poustie. Nigel even declared to me on my arrival that it was a climbed out venue. Undeterred I set about having a look. A nice unclimbed arete was pointed out and I decided to have a go, quickly climbing it. I called it Eyes Wide Shut and it’s around 7a/+; Nigel repeated this and then I added a sitter at 7b just for good measure.
Above: Eyes Wide Shut 7a+ at the Duck Boulders – Photo Lee Robinson
After that it was a case of repeating what had already been done and keeping my eyes open. The problems were all great and I even found some okay lines that people had missed at about 7b. However a true prize, that didn’t even look climbable, I found in a pit. It had signs of cleaning but I was told no one had managed to even get lift off. I spent some time resting and building the landing up to the level of a bad sharp boulder. Then somehow managed to find a way to lift myself off the floor, after that it was only a matter of time before I managed to get to a good sloper on the lip and hold it. I called it True Morphology and it’s a great hard three-move power climb. I originally graded this 7c+, but I could well see other shorter individuals finding it much more tricky, hence the name.
Above: True Morphology 7c+ at Round Crag – Photo Lee Robinson.
That about concludes my exploration of the Central Moors. The bad weather forced me to climb on some of the faster drying areas on the outskirts; I know I’ll be back in the spring though and looking forward to it.