Lucy trains and coaches at the Leeds Wall. Read her May report:
The Leeds Wall May :)
Not to be pessimistic but it would appear that history is repeating itself weather wise :( we endure an average winter, (some rain, some snow, lots of wind, little sun) not very exciting, some lightning or a blizzard now and again would spice things up...
but no. Then all of a sudden as we finally get some time off work and after having almost developed seasonal affection disorder due to never-ending dullness feel it almost necessary for our health to book away to a nice sunny climate... say France for example, but low and behold the sun splits the sky in Yorkshire the whole time! You arrive back praying it’s still sunny ... It is! Brilliant! And there I was thinking "that’s it, summer over, I missed it. Another wet, humid couple of months pretending to be summer" what a pessimist! So off we go clip stick in hand, headed for Kilnsey after reports of superb conditions. Can’t fault the reporters one little bit! It was delightful! ... But will it stay this way?
Now on to some unfinished business of mine. In-between the horrible days of the wannabe summer we had last year, I had managed to get a good amount of routes climbed at Malham, Gordale and Kilnsey. Mainly Kilnsey! All of which were superb (Supercool, the Thumb, the Ashes and Comedy being top of the list) and all of which I was very happy to have gotten the opportunity to climb complete :)
One that stumped me however was 'Last Action Hero' goes around 8a/8a+. Say hard 8a until it has more ascents :) It’s the extension to Metal Guru at Kilnsey. Sadly its relatively unheard of in comparison to the bulge, the thumb etc. This is a shame because it’s incredible! And probably one of my favourite routes ever! It did however not give in easily! It all began last June when I was a newbie at Kilnsey ... but an enthusiastic newbie to say the least. Every other day I was there, climbing until everyone else went home, in the first few trips I managed a good few routes up to 7c+ and in another few an 8a or two. Then the weather took a turn for the worse and day by day fewer and fewer people were keen.
I really enjoy climbing the same route as my partner, and it’s not that if I really, really had to I wouldn’t go and try a different route but luckily there are plenty of routes that I’m very happy to try, probably very few I’m not, and although I do have routes that I would really like to climb, I’m under no illusion that the crag is going to disappear in the next year or so, so no need to worry greatly. With that in mind I found a partner and got on Last action hero.
Pulling over the first bulge is powerful, and then a little scary, and then a little sharp … and then there is a BIG rest! This is when it all begins to get fun! Instead of heading out left to Metal Guru you go direct and eventually join up with the top extension of ‘Stolen and Bullet’. It’s this middle bit that I think is just superb! Good but precise feet, big but not overly dynamic moves, a little bit of luck and a lot of Grrrrrrrrr and then you’re at the crux! Thin holds and a balance move, a big throw, keep it together, and …. You’re on the jugs! Relax, shake out, BREATHE one big move and you’re done! Clip the chains from a lovely heel hook and lower off the top of the crag in style! Doesn’t that all sound lovely? Well that process didn’t all happen in a day for me … basically it all went averagely well first go or two, making good progress but feeling hard ! then I got the start sorted and was making it half way each time… crux sorted, clips sorted … BUT one freaking big move … problem :( out to a big but flat undercut and up, up, up to a pocket … physically couldn’t reach :( … ‘Sigh’ a rest point for some, an improbable crux for me … not to mention the move leading into the actual crux! Got everything else sorted but with great difficulty on certain doable but big moves … it wasn’t looking good. And with the words ‘maybe this one isn’t for you’ making their way to earshot… it all got a bit demotivating. But this was my route! Why would I want to give up? … It was perfect! Powerful, pulley start, flows perfectly into the technical but strong middle section and then you’ve got big moves on big holds nearing the top … and a particularly pleasant clip of the chains if you can’t quite reach! I couldn’t give up!
Sadly everyone else did … the right hand side of the crag dried up and the herds migrated, and I followed. I couldn’t forget about it though!
This year I came back! And I came back with someone who wasn’t going to give up either!
I love this route but it really does know how to get to me…it does know how to fight back! First time up the start felt easier but the moves felt wrong, my feet were all over the place, I fell off again and again. But weirdly it still felt easier. I got to the previously undoable move … and I did it, in fact statically! I still can’t reach off the undercut but I can however pull on a dish above and lock! How cool is that? Bouldering worked … who’d of thought it! Next go up was much better so good in fact, I got further than ever, skipped a clip, then fell off, and fell hard and far :( … maybe stronger, but now terrified! Then exam, a couple of weeks later back again … easy? No. It just never is. First go and it would appear that actually we are at a different crag, I had never seen the route never mind tried it before. See it just seems to keep giving! Next go better. Next day and everything was sore, give it a go anyway. Unbelievable! Finally … it felt easy! Every move 100% solid … wasn’t even pumped! And … then my foot slipped ‘sigh’.
But! Major progress! And despite everything it had been one of the best days I’d ever had at Kilnsey!
The following dry day it gave in … such a great route, such a battle… such an anti-climax.
Like I say I love climbing a route with someone, love looking, thinking, trying, talking improving, linking and both of us clip the chain at the end. Team effort!
That dry day it was meet at crag, warm up, put draws in, climb route, strip route and move on … just as if it was nothing. It’s not that I want a celebration … in fact that would be my worst nightmare! But for me it wasn’t ‘nothing’, in fact it meant a lot … Guess I’ll just have to do it again! … It’s raining now :( Boooooo