Cold & Bold

Earlier this week (Sunday 28th & Monday 29th October) I met up with Andrew to climb on Yorkshire Grit stone in some favourable weather conditions for climbing but less so for the finger tips!

Sunday we met up at near the Cow and Calf at Ilkley as the original idea had been to climb in Rocky Valley, however the bitter cold wind blowing through and the number of people around the crags pushed us to make an alternate decision. After a quick look in the guide book we opted for ‘Eastby’ which is a small crag near the village of Embsay, with a range of short gritstone routes and ,more importantly, South facing it looked a good choice.

I’ve climbed with Andrew previously in Cornwall, the Peak District and on Anglesey but we hadn’t chance to meet up for a while. Andrew had suffered a nasty ankle injury back in February so had spent the summer concentrating on letting that heal and was now looking to get back on rock.

The cold but clear conditions were ideal for grit stone climbing as there was little moisture in the air so there is more friction on the rock, which is important whilst climbing grit stone as there tends to be very little in the way of holds on some routes!

Grit stone climbing is all about good foot work and looking for even the smallest placements that will help you progress through the climb rather than slip off.

Enjoying the warmth from the sun whilst being sheltered from the wind we climbed a number of routes from ‘VDiff’ (very difficult) to VS (very severe), with ‘Eastby Buttress’ (VDiff) being notable for being thoroughly enjoyable and ‘Nose Climb’ (S) being notable for its unprotected traverse beginning.

Monday we met at Embsay Reservoir and made the lovely walk to ‘Crookrise’, again due to the cold conditions we had opted for a crag that would allow us the benefit of climbing in the sun and with its South Westerly aspect it was quite warm at the foot of the crag.

I have to blame the fact that I haven’t been climbing very long as to why I hadn’t visited ‘Crookrise’ previously. With free time often at a premium I usually see myself heading to multi pitch climbing venues and not exploring venues that are reasonably close. Crookrise is an amazing venue! With lots of routes over the grades, a great walk in, South Westerly facing and great views it’s definitely straight up into my favourite areas to climb.

Again we had the crag to ourselves and chose various routes to climb from ‘VDiff’ to ‘VS’. The most notable being Andrew leading the entertaining 3 star Hard Severe ‘Long Climb’ and for myself leading the (quite bold upon reflection due to lack of gear!) VS Octopus Direct.

Summary It was great to climb with Andrew again. He has much more climbing experience than myself and is a holder of the Mountain Instructor Award which I would like to gain in the future, being a thoroughly nice bloke he’s always happy to give good advice which is most appreciated.

These were just 2 ‘off chance’ days climbing as Andrew was in the area so get excellent conditions and visit 2 crags I hadn’t been to before was excellent.

Cheers Andrew!

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