Friday, 15 April 2016

An Abrupt End

Turning the corner, our intended objective was black.  Blacker than black.  We settled for just having a quick easy day instead.  I think I muttered something about being on top for lunchtime.  Questing off up the first pitch of Eastern Promise (VI,7), I found it laced with verglas.  Inching higher and higher, further from kit, I found it quite committing.  ‘This should be easy I thought’.  Bringing Uisdean up, I was glad to hear a shout of relief when he sunk a tool into some bomber neve at the top of the corner.
Pitch 2 was no push over either.  Again, another pitch that ‘should have been easy’ kept its guard and made us work.  The top pitch, it was fine...once you accepted there was not many runners to have.  It was climbed all pretty much on ice.  Lunch was late.

Uisdean on Pitch 2 of 'Eastern Promise'

Myself grovelling up pitch 2. (Photo: Uisdean Hawthorn)

Myself starting up pitch 3 (Photo: Uisdean Hawthorn)

Eastern Promise (VI,7), a highly recommended route I think, but maybe just a tad harder than the guide suggests.

In a way, Immortal Memory (IX,9) which we did a few days prior felt easier.  At grade IX, you know what to expect.  I was kindly invited to join Ian Parnell and Uisdean for their day out.  We had a sociable walk in with Steve Perry and Dave Macleod.  5 of us breaking trail.  It felt like cheating.  Turning the corner, the cliff was plastered in rime.  Any line on that cliff would have been without question ‘in good nick’.  The boys settled for Immortal Memory.  I was the third wheel so was happy to just do what was asked.  Ian took us up pitch 1.  Keeping the theme of this crag this initial pitch consisted of bold turfy mantels with little protection.

Far East Wall and Eastern Ramaparts.

Ian starting up Pitch 1 of 'Immortal Memory'

The rack was handed to me for pitch 2.  Something about 'good gear but not much feet' was Ian’s comment.  He was quite correct was my conclusion on arriving at the next belay.  Relentless and pumpy I might add.  Uisdean took us to the top.  Again, another strenuous beast.  On following his pitch, I suspect it felt quite engaging on the lead.  A first class, turfy mixed, solid grade VIII pitch.

Me on pitch 2 of Immortal Memory (Photo: Uisdean Hawthorn)

Uisdean approaching my belay at the end of Pitch 2

Uisdean on Pitch 3 of 'Immortal Memory'

I don’t know what happened after those days out.  My winter seems to have stopped.  I held some psyche for some spring Ice, but those days never materialised.  I became suckered into regaining rock fitness at the local highland sport crags.  Now, I am sat here in the shade in the south of France.  It’s too hot in the sun.  I am whinging about the heat.  Mhairi is out basking in the sun.  We are on a visit to Saint Leger.  The past 8 days have just disappeared.  I was clawing up routes last night ‘that should have been easy’.  My forearms are still pumped as I type just now.  I think I will have a rest day…

Samuel from Switzerland on 'Le Linceul de Penlope (F7b)
Mhairi despatching 'Clement Comme Il Respire (7a+)