Chee Dale was the venue this saturday. It's an old forcing ground of mine, I did my first 7a, my first 7c and my first (non grit) E3 here. Hurtling down the hill I broke through an old curtain of confidence I'd left here a few years back. I know where I stand in the dale; between a wall and a river.
Today I was with Billy L, Brad C, Noakesy and Steve, everyone was keen. We stopped at the max wall first, this is the scene of my first 7a and where I feel I really learnt to climb sport.
The send-train departed at 12:10 from Max Pact (6b), with five passengers. The first stop Max Headroom (7a) and billy got a flash with beta fom Noakesy, it was a good send to see, you could tell he wanted it. Next stop, Max 'is Wall (6c), me and Steve grabbed a quick retroflash, I had always found this hard in the past but today it went down smoothly. From this station we had to make a transfer.
We went down into the depths of the steep valley, limestone walls hemming you in on either side. It feels like an expedition back to the Carboniferous Era. A land where vegetation prevails, growing out from the left and the right, from beneath and sometimes above. You can never be fully sure you won't encounter a velociraptor snarling out from the undergrowth.
We made it to the Cornice without any Jurassic encounters. This is a 20m high wall of overhanging limestone running along for about 300m, just pick your angle (as long as its more than 90degrees). It would be the best sport crag in the peak if not for the fact its always piss wet through. Luckily a handful of routes were dry on the righthand side. I jumped on More Adventures in Greendale (7a) and got the onsight. Billy, Noakes and Steve got the flash, and Brad got his first 7a redpoint thanks to his positive thinking. Looking a bit nervous about going for the lead, he took a deep breath and declared 'I'm gonna do this cos I'm a bastard'. Sure enough he was a proper bastard.
Noakes and Bill began to seige The Corniceman (7a) its got a desparate bouldery start with a huge throw. Me and steve got on Cordless Madness (7b+), great moves for the first half on steep ground, I thought this was the meat of the route when a reach a flat hold where the angle reclined. I was wrong the top half is vertical with poor undercuts and poorer feet. It involves lots of insecure foot stabs and thumb pressing to stabilise the movement. No one got a successful send on either route, The train was out of steam. Although I reckon they're both 2 grades harder than stated. It was great fun though and I'm looking forward to getting involved in some redpointing again soon.
This will be my last blog until I'm back from Spain. I've really being enjoying writing it, it gives me a kind of creative outlet (yeah I'm not that creative). I hope it's inspired a few people to get out and go for it.
Summer is now here, go get on your project or inspirational route and enjoy it.