Wed 24th July 2008
Dunkeld again on Wednesday, this time just me and Ellis on a mission to bag an HVS.
Arriving at the carpark early, we were surprise to find the crag already busy with 4 other parties of climbers, some of who we knew from AVW.
Ellis started off on Reccess route, an interesting V Diff 10m left of Hairy Gully. After a quick abseil down, we moved over to the far right of the crag to look at carpet beater (HVS 5a). From the belay it looked horrific, so i was in two minds as to if i should try it.
I started up the first few metres only to encounter loose rock and no gear, so moved a metre right, got some gear in then started the interesting traverse left. A delicate traverse using underclings on a flake, with small slabby ledges for feet, it was a challenge just to move towards (and protect!) the crux.
Arriving there, i looked for gear, only to find one size 2 nut placement, which i only had 75% trust in. Not exactly confidence inspiring for the crux section which is an 8 move boulder sequence over fresh air. I worked at it, each time gaining confidence in the holds and my ability to use them accurately and efficiently. However I was still not 100% sure about the gear, so searched for another confidence piece. Thankfully Ellis's watchful eyes had spotted what looked like a decent placement for the biggest cam i had. BINGO!!!
It slotted in just under the crux, giving me much greater confidence. Another practice, and then i was away and through the crux before i realised what had happened, only to be greeted by an un-protectable slab. Still, it was easy climbing from there (apart from the brambles that blocked my way to the belay), so i made my way up, and brought Ellis up.
I think he was more chuffed than i was! We sat for 5 minutes discussing the route and watching the scenery. Dunkeld really is a special crag.
Time for one more route. Ellis lead Cuticle Crack, a lovely Severe, with great flake and crack climbing all the way to the top. As i said to Ellis, all this practice we are getting outdoors is doing both of us the world of good. Ellis's gear placements (and his confidence in them!) get better with every climb. My head certainly seems to be improving with VS being my new comfortable grade, it's only a matter of time till i crack my E1 lead.
We are out off to Glen Clova on Friday to tackle another few HVS's (and to recce a possible E1 lead), so expect some good pics from Ellis.