Monday, 13 October 2014

Dawes Rides a Shovel Head (Alex Moore)

When I was in school (not that long ago, 3 months maybe..), we had a poster, in the outdoor education department, of Steve McClure on Dawes Rides a Shovel head E8 6c. When I first saw it, I was inspired, Steve has his heel way up high, a facial expression that showed he was trying hard and a reasonable gap between him and his gear.

"Is he worried about the fall?" I asked 

"Is he pumped?"

"Why would he not tie his shoe lace for an onsight?!"

I couldn't help but let my mind wonder, would I be scared, pumped, I didn't give a load of thought to the shoe lace thing, I wear Velcro shoes so...

Great Langdale Valley (Raven Crag on the right)
With that in mind, yesterday afternoon was an eye opener. I was at about half way up the route when I discovered that a no hands rest could be attained by standing on a good ledge and pressing your face in-between the wall and a good block hold, this rest was, at best uncomfortable, inefficient but novel. as I relaxed, around 200 medium sized fly's evacuated the gap in the block.. Id say it'll come off without too much effort. 

Once rested I moved on to the most committing and technically demanding part of the climb, as I moved off I saw one of the fly's had got out, and, almost immediately got stuck in a well placed spider web. I felt bad for the guy, 24 hours to live and he/she was facing immediate doom.

As you can tell from the tangent about fly's above, I was not in the right state of mind to be doing this, I fell above the crux, thankfully not onto the peg I had bent the week before (which I hope to replace soon). 

After the disappointment of the fall, I was annoyed with myself for going about the move in just the wrong way, having done it on gri-gri I just expected to make it, this was not the case, I fell a fair distance, albeit a safe fall. I took all the gear out but one quickdraw clipped to a piece of tat, which I used to lower off. 

Alex Moore below Thrang Quarry
 on a wet day (yet dry rock) 
My second attempt when a lot smoother, no fly's, no train of though that nobody needs to hear about, just climbing and trying to keep a cool head. At the crux I made the powerful moves with a fair amount of power scream going on, (sorry for breaking the peace at the crag). while going through the hardest move, a press into and undercut, I remembered a friend shouting "make that rock ya b***h". so, while close to laughing at that I took a rest at a good hold before making the classically pictured move to the last jugs and hard move. 

Once again the peace at the crag was broken, as I celebrated my top-out. I'm so pleased that this was my first route in the lakes, hopefully the first of many in my three years here. 

I intend to replace both the damaged peg and the cord on the route, as many more falls will likely see them break. Also the condition of this gear may put people off climbing the route, which would be a shame.        


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