Another Weekend in the Norries

So our plans of heading up to the ben for a few days this weekend didnt work out. The weather on saturday looked horrific so we decided to ditch winter climbing and head to the TCA glasgow boulder comp instead (which I can tell Keith was secretly more psyched for as it meant he got a long lie in bed). The comp in general was really good, as was their last one, but it was kind of irritating watching all the wall rats merely touch a hold as they fell off, turn around to their mates and say ‘does that count?’ mates reply ‘yes that counts’. FYI the rules are to hold the hold and move off it. not slap for a touch as you’re falling to the ground. So in that respect the entire thing was a total farse. It was just a good training session for us really as we have only been bouldering once since before christmas due to my horrid snowboarding injury. I came 5th and Keith came somewhere in the middle in the male seniors. Several people scoring higher than him did so in a very unhonest manor, as we actually watched them fall off things both Keith and I had onsighted. but hey ho, thats indoor climbing for you!

Anyway, today (Sunday) we opted to head up to the norries. Not very exciting to be honest, but the weather was drastically better on the east, so wasnt much of an option. The corries were absolutely heaving! I have never seen the place so busy (and it is always busy). There must have been about 300+ people!

We headed up to Mess of Pottage, and the only free route was Yukon Jack (IV 5 *). Upon reading the guidebook afterwards, this route is graded for ice. There was no ice. Keith was leading the first pitch, there was absolutely NO gear. 2 rubbish nuts, a hex, and dodgy bulldog in 20metres. Doesnt really sound like a grade IV – and that was after the epic powder clearing. After 1.5 hours of me freeeezing at the belay Keith managed to climb up an overhanging face (off route) to get some gear to bail from! The guy I was speaking to at the base of the crag was having a good laugh telling me he has several mates who’ve attempted the route and thought it was at least a V 6 under powder. Keith found it much harder than The Message which is tech 6. hmmm.

Keith on pitch 1 of Yukon Jack

Once that epic was over and done with, we headed over to join the last people in the queue for Hidden Chimney Direct (IV 5 **) – an actual IV 5. After hanging about having a wee snack, I set off to lead the crux pitch. Was quite tricky, but not as hard as Central Crack route (another IV 5) that we did a few weeks ago. I got scared on the easy snow slope near the top of the pitch after all the hard climbing was done, for some reason there was a lot of ‘watch me Keithy’ and actual screams at this bit haha. We then decided to ab off the insitu tat so that we could both lead the crux pitch instead of queue to climb the grade 3 bit above. It also avoided the walk back down the hill, a definate bonus. 

Janey on P1 of Hidden Chimney Direct

We walked off the hill and back to the car before dark, then decided to head back to Edinburgh instead of camp and climb tomorrow as we’re knackered and I do have an exam on tuesday I really should be revising for.

posing for a photo on the walk out

Janey and Keith