Thursday, 8 April 2010

Malham Weekend

Hey Everyone!

Haven't posted in a wee while as I've been incredibly busy, so today I will be making up for it with a couple of new posts! First one is on my recent (3 weeks ago) trip to Malham...

So anyway, I went down to Malham with my good mates, Neill "The Buzzard" Busby, James "Don't Mess" McCartan and Will "Choir Boy" Carrol. We stayed with James' and Will's good friends Chris and Catherine Speakman. These guys where incredibly generous and I am very grateful to them for letting Buz and I stay for the weekend. Having a good bed to sleep on and breakfast, lunch and dinner made for you is something you don't get on most trips down to malham thats for sure, they will be my new best friends this summer : P

The weekend was certainly eventful though, lots of climbing, climbing and more climbing, followed by some more climbing... This lead to me being battered and broken for the remaining three weeks, but hey, got some good mileage in though.

The first day started with a quick warm up, "Consenting Adults" 7a, "Free and Even Easier" 7a and then "Yosemite Wall" 7a. A good selection of choice routes to follow an excellent day at the crag. I left the draws in "Yosemite Wall" so that James, Will, Chris and Catherine could have a blast and not soon after, Will got his first Malham 7a of the trip! Only a few goes and he crushed Yosemite into submission! My sights however, where on the upper tears technical masterpiece "Toadall Recall" 8a. I had been told by a certain Neil Mcgeachy that this route would be good to onsight or flash (Neil had got agonizingly close to the flash on a previous trip). To be perfectly honest, I think that this route (for 8a) would be relatively easy to flash because of its very basic style of hard moves, the crux is simply, pull, hold, pull, hold, pull hold...

No need for any crazy foot or hand sequences, a pretty easy sequence for a malham 8a! So on I went with Buz belaying, cruising the first two clips, easy enough. When I arrived at a rail about 1/3 of the way up, the sun peered round the clouds and blasted the crag! Unable to see which way I was meant to be going, I attempted to mantle the very small rail, heel up and crimping on some total gash I stood up, undercutting the crappy crozzel i had crimped on I searched for the next hand hold, all was blind in the burning sun and I attempted to traverse li
ghtly across the shelf my feet where now standing on... Of course, It wasn't long before I was hanging on the rope wondering how in hell anyone could possibly have climbed that... but as usual, sitting on the rope now, I had a new perspective on the route, and as the sun (the evil "illegitimate child") passed under the clouds again, I saw a new path of chalk ebbing off the right and up what appeared to be a manky, choss tufa! Lovely! Getting back on the route I walked it up to the top, I can't believe I fell of there! The Crux higher up was easy if your strong on plastic, and if the sun doesn't blind you the all the footholds are easy to see... oh well... 8a flash/onsight in Britain isn't far off!

The next thing to do was perhaps either to try a harder route such as a potential project, or another flash/onsight? I opted for the latter and went for the flash of a famous 7c+ called "Mescalito"! After getting beta from Bruno Marks (another friend of mine whom I met in Spain) and another guy at the crag also trying the route, I headed up for the flash!

The bouldery crux at the first two clips I totally pissed, this was a good start, heading up the vertical face I encountered some more trickyish moves (apparently I used every foothold on the wall excluding all the handholds, making the sequence more like 9b!),

my hands began to get increasingly cold until they where totally numb by the main overhang... Unable to feel anything in my fingers, I stood before the daunting overhang warming them up on my neck... no use, they where FREEEEEEZING!!!! I headed up the steep face, every move felt easy but getting ever more out of control as the holds got bigger and the feet turned into smears! The climbing was excellent but my fingers where feeling pain now, real pain, I was determined to reach the top, still totally feeling fine, unpumped, unstressed about the moves I continued climbing, reaching some big jug undercuts I only saw one handhold straight up, miles away, I built up my confidence, saw my goal and leaped like predator catching its prey : P Catching the flat jug I yelled "YESS!!!!" Building my feet up, I felt totally at ease, still totally fine, no pump and the only thing wrong was my fingers where dead! Clipping the clip at my face, I built my feet up and move to the next ticked hold, couldn't feel it, before the end, I held onto three or four different holds before my foot popped of the giant polished edge it was resting on sending me hurtling towards the ground, stopped dead by buz's GRI GRI! I was so mad and so cold the only word I could say rhymes with chuck... Again not one of my finest moments but thats what happens when you devote everything to one simple goal, and its snatched away from you at the last second...

Still though... an excellent trip and I look forward to the next one!

Congrats to Will on his second grade 7 of the trip "Appetite" 7a which he almost flashed!!! And thanks again to the very hospitable Chris and Catherine Speakman!!!


  1. Cool account of trip dude! Atill can't believe you got sooooooo close to flashing mescalitto!