Thursday, July 10, 2008

Road Trip: Colorado

Off in search of some Sun, Mountains, Lakes, Buzz-worms, and Bears, oh and er... hot rock too. The countdown to our month long road trip is almost over. A couple of days to endure the pleasures of Heathrow, and away to the outdoor capital of the USA. Cant Wait.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Moy: Loch Tollaidh: Grass Crag

Busy couple of days. Spurred on by Rich’s comments that I would do alright up at a Moy (Thanks Rich). Stewart and I headed up there on Thursday and much to my surprise it wasn’t too bad. My first attempt on Little Teaser at 6C possibly 6b+ saw me within two feet of the lower off. With the sequence sorted it fell next go!. The 6a possibly 6a+made for a fun sustained route too. I hope to meet Andy up there one evening this week and have a look at bolting a few otherlines. I spied a nice arete and a couple of slabs which looked nice. As the camera was left at home I have borrowed this image of Andy on Little Teaser from Rich.

Yesterday saw Jamie and I head up to Loch Tollaidh in the morning, with wall to wall sunshine forecast all day we were in no hurry, and a good job really as we pulled over to change a puncture just outside Kinlochewe. To add a little spice to the rest of the journey the puncture was a result of some serious tracking/suspension issues with Jamie’s transport. As a result the other “good” tyre was down to the canvas, and offering a nice body shake if we went over 61mph. Still we arrived safe and sound.
Loch Tollaidh had been recommended to Jamie as possibly containing a good first E6 for him, it did all look a bit bold and hard to me but I wasn’t going on the sharp end so it didn’t matter. Anyway I warmed up on the lovely Rough Slab of Gairloch Wall, VS4c and 5 bits of gear on the 30mt route, so not one to do if you don’t like run out slabs. Which I don’t! After the turmoil of the morning we changed our minds completely and went for a some sport at the nearby Grass Crag.
With some words of encouragement from Jamie (not to be underestimated, as I would'nt have got on this without them)(Thanks Jamie). I managed my first 6c flash. All the Arts only 12mts but top fun. A powerful boulder start to a side pull and eventually a jug and awkward rest, from there a steady wall to a final awkward mantle and the lower off. So that’s this years target of flashing a 6c done!
The 7a’s felt a good deal more than a grade harder and indeed one was so thin that both Jamie(who can climb 7a) and I thought it perhaps has never been climbed because it was so stupidly thin. A great day out, in the lovely sunshine of the West Coast, if only more days could be like this.
Right time to start pushing the grade a bit and actually look for some 7a routes rather than avoid them!

Almost forgot but I climbed Duntelchaigs newest route on Monday with Davy, A slab he has cleaned to the right of Excavator. He has called it The Bonzai Slab, E3 5c. Sustained at 5b with a big run out past a sky hook to a good wire and final 5c move. Well done Davy.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

The search moves on to crag Y.

The search for a sports crag within the realms of Inverness continues. Its amazing how something can be almost perfect but not quite. After having doubts in the quality of the rock at Crag X on Monday night, I have spent the morning taking some photos of Crag Y. Another conglomerate crag ripe for bolting and provide us in Inverness with a handy after work sport venue. Today Crag Y (once found it took a while) seems to almost fit the bill, it doesn’t seem to have the lines of Crag X but there is a very steep face and some good looking routes. About 40mts in height, the crag is more vegetated! Mainly I think because its lower lying, though the hammer test along the bottom did seem to ring a little hollow, but the main face sounded solid. It was also perhaps the most midgey place I have ever been, but it was a very still sticky morning. I remain to be convinced, one of those magic ingredients seems to be missing, not least because you would be happy to be short roped to reach the base, well not quite but it is a bit of an epic. The walk in is 15minutes one way from the top, and about 15minutes up a very steep hill side the other. The bottom walk in is off the main road though and a few miles nearer town. Still have a look at the photos and video and see what you think.
Some Images of Crag Y.