Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Slip Slap Slop

It seems like an age since Caroline and I hopped it down to Kyloe Out for some bouldering amidst all the busy-ness that was the end of June. Having got used to the fact that it would probably rain on us, we were a bit gobsmacked to find ourselves slapping and slipping around madly on greasy County sandstone. Were we nuts?? Touch of the sun maybe.

Having recently bought the new Northumberland bouldering guide, we realised there was a whole lot of bouldering to be had at Kyloe Out. Previously we'd always been to Kyloe In. Granted, In The Woods is better than Out but this year we seem to be using "try new stuff" rather than "try hard stuff" as our motto. Kyloe Out was a pleasant surprise. We picked the Quarry as our first (and as it transpired, only) stop. We had the place to ourselves, with only a wee yellow bird for company. He sang his little heart out delightfully from the very top of the crag, although we were too far away to be able to identify him with any certainty.

Caroline sitting next to the bird perch, having soloed her way there. I went up in bare feet which was both liberating and terrifying at the same time!

We spent a lot of time trying to remember how to mantle onto this slopey shelf. It isn't particularly high, and therefore one would think not particularly scary, but the angle of the slope one has to mantle onto is much more tricky than it looks. I don't suppose it helps that we're not well versed in the art of mantling, and given the heat maybe this wasn't the best day to try it!! Still we had a lot of fun - and nobody can say we don't challenge ourselves! I think we managed one mantle at the near end of this picture and one slightly further along. The problem seemed to be getting feet sufficiently high to be able to jump high enough to push one's centre of gravity over the lip. Neither of us are particularly tall, so it did seem that a little bit more height would have been advantageous balance-wise. A bit more gumption would have been good too!

After enough slapping around, we moved on to a 7a crimp-fest on the quarry wall. Again, not a good thing to try in the heat, but we gave it a good bash until the sun moved onto it. We managed about a half of it, failing every time to make the next move to cross a left foot through, and reaching for the next cubby hole in the very thin crack. The horizontal break was fine, but the diagonal crack (used for both hands and feet at various heights) proved pretty tiny even for our pixie fingers. More fingerboard training required. And maybe some cool dry autumn weather.

While Caroline is infinitely stronger than me, on this particular problem my balance appeared to give me one more move. No pics I'm afraid. It's a beautiful move though, one of those flowing movements that reminds me of the years of dancing, one that reminds me why I climb. Fantastic.

...until that inevitable gravity-laden moment of groundward motion!

Once the sun moved round it was about time to move on; no skin, hot sweaty and tired. We wandered along to the left to have a look at the other bits of crag, feeling inspired to come back again. In a moment of untold self-assurance, Caroline suddenly announced she was going to solo a route. Given the way she'd been eyeing up Birdlime Crack and asking questions about it, I wasn't surprised. She scooshed up it, no problem. So I went too.

High step on Birdlime Crack (MS)

For those who are interested in such things, we also saw some little bats squeaking away in a thin but deep crack above the left hand side of the roof on Overhanging Buttress. They sounded like baby birds, so we were looking for a nest, but eventually saw the wee things scrabbling around in the crack. I don't think it's part of a formal route or problem, but I guess it's worth noting that the crack seems to be a handy hiding place for them because it looks eminently climbable to me.

1 comment:

caroline said...

Thanks for the nice pictures of me, all pictures of you on my blog. Maybe we should swap sometime :o) x