Ellis, Ewan and i headed up to Clova today for another trad session, and were greeted with a bright blue sky and no wind. Wonderful!
After the short and powerful haul up the hill to the base of proud corner, we decided to start easy and headed over to the south west buttress, where Ellis lead 3 J's Chimney (V dif) and i showed Ewan some rope work. Before long it was Ewans turn to head up the chimney, and when i reached the top he was sporting a large grin. Definitely a trad boy!
Ellis took advantage of the excellent light to get some great pictures of the glen. Ewan and i moved round the buttress to tackle Parapet route direct (Hard Sev), and it was truly a great time to climb. The sun was out, the rock was warm and secure, and i was feeling great about the climb, so managed it with minimal protection, leaving behind my normal pattern of sowing up the route with copious gear!.
Ewan came up the route with no probs and we enjoyed the views from the ledge half way up the rockface.
Me in instructor mode...
Me in instructor mode...
In the distance we spotted Phil parking up then heading up the hill (complete with black trousers tucked into his white socks...) to join us.
Ellis took the lead, and headed up Parapet route, this time taking the VS variation. Phil and i watched Ewan struggle through the crux, but with perseverence he pushed through and topped out.
Moving back to proud corner, it was time to lead something a bit harder, so i looked at The Beanstalk (don't call me jack!), a VS 4b running in the corner between Wander and Proud corner. After an easy first 10 metres, it starts getting a bit harder with some loose blocks on the crux section, but plenty of protection. Mentally, I was in a good place on the climb, enjoying the testing, but not outrageously hard climbing, with spaced but secure protection where it was needed. Fighting the pump in my arms and shoulders, i slowed my breathing and focussed on the next large ledge, and made my way upwards to the final vertical crack line and found the mother of all jugs waiting for me at the top out. WOW!!! what a climb!
Ewan looked like an ant from the belay and i shouted down encouragements to him before he set off. Making steady progress, he willed himself up, with some power grunting and self-encouraging words, he made it over the top. Awesome!
Whilst we were climbing, Ellis took on Wander (HVS) which has a technical, then exposed crux section, which after 3 weeks off climbing, Ellis was not confident with, so phil took over and showed the benefit of experience of the route, leading it clean.
Time for one more climb, this time i wanted Ewan to lead an easy route, so i took him over to 20minute route and showed him the basics. Sending him off up the severe variation (he leads 6a+ indoors), he made his way upto the first belay and brought me up. Well done that man. All the gear was bomber and just enough to protect the harder moves. Great lead!!! Now to get down. I traversed across the face of the buttress and downwards to a grass ledge, where i belayed Ewan down to the ground, before scrambling down to a baying reception from Phil and Ellis who were gasping for a pint.
Destination, the pub... Some great food, great drink, and stinking chat. Cant beat it!