Thursday, 9 October 2014

Left to Right

 The thing about Peak Grit is its simplicity. I prefer Yorkshire and its stubborn complexities but sometimes you just need a rest.

Of the myriad of options available in the Peak, Stanage offers a really easy relationship, you open your door and there it is,seemingly supine, a grey-stone climbers watermark.

Stanage demands to be dealt with as a whole, not just a day on an isolated buttress.

I don't remember how it started or where the idea came from but someone said.......

"Lets just start at one end and just climb things till we get to the other end, you know, Left to Right".

Simple really! Why not?

 22nd October 2011 sees the Girl and me at a freezing Stanage Left Hand End gearing up at Start Buttress.

No big deal, just climbing what we wanted, looking at the lines, poking around in the forgotten corners.

11 visits later (of which only 9 involved climbing) and 70 odd routes later we have arrived at the Plantation path.

We have climbed nothing super hard, but we have been together, usually alone, looking out from the rock as 3 years have rolled past us.

Stanage, in a different mood every time has welcomed us in its stoic, stony fashion as we have relaxed amongst its folds and soaked in our own existence.

But this is the point, its not the difficulty of the engagement or the celebrity of the actors its your own involvement which makes these things worthwhile.
It doesn't need to be Everest or E12.

It just needs to force you to really take part. To recognise your existence

We both arrived at the Plantation path and looked South and what struck us most was the fact it was Bus Station busy.
People everywhere.Crags wrapped with ropes. Litter on the ground. No solitude.

Ready, Deep breath taken, we stepped across the Rubicon.

Stanage Popular ......We are coming to get you!

Monday, 17 February 2014


From the northern edges of Brimham rocks, on a sunny day you have an uninterrupted view across towards Pateley Bridge and Guisecliff.

Just down in the valley, straight ahead, behind the Half Moon Pub is a small crag called Park Crag.

I have noticed this crag over the years and have done the background work, It had a fleeting mention on Yorkshire Grit (RIP), 8 problems up to f6c, It was in the TC Bouldering guide as a Connoisseur crag....
Vague mentions in bits and pieces scattered across climbing narrative.

Just my cup of tea

Sunday morning sees me early doors, dropping the girl off at Harrogate Climbing Centre (she's working) and then off over the hill to Park Crag.

 2 mats and a rucksack over saturated water-meadow, coupled with blocked footpaths, cows, bouldering mats dropped in the river and mud up to the knees get the morning off to a good start.

But then here I am, amidst the combed down bracken, in the sun, on the rock.
Time slows to almost a stop, a buzzard joins me, I drink my tea.

Scouting around under the storm blasted thorn trees, I find the problems mentioned on the web, see some more and off we go..

An easy high-ball with mats sliding off down the hill, A sitter from within the overhung scoop, bridging out until hands hit the jugs and legs cut loose.

Next bloc, Three more problems, the long unclimbed rock surface sparkling in the wind-shine. A fun two stepped Arete. A confined crouch start out from a recess crimping on micro-edges onto a wall. A one move roof wonder.

Next bloc, four problems all on delicate chicken heads, all powerful sit starts, I can do three. A right hand start eludes me, right leg flagged an inch from the floor, right arm stabs fingers to a slot, adjust, then goes again, hits the worn groove and throws me off down the hill rolling and laughing.

I am lost within the crag, within the line that separates now and forever.

There is no need for anything else and the world stops at the edge of the field.