Monday, 22 September 2008

A crowded Glen.

Sunday 21st Sept 2008

Crowds in the glen.

Ellis, Ben and I met Phil on the way to Glen Clova on Sunday morning, and made our way along the road expecting to get the crags to ourselves, but upon our arrival were shocked at the huge number of people at the bottom of proud corner. Using my binos, i counted no less than 26 people spread out across the lower North West crag, and around the central crack region out to the right.

After the strenuous walk upto rockface, we discovered that of all the days we chose to climb, we had picked the bloody Edinburgh University Mountaineering Club freshers trip, with a coach load of scruffy and hormone fuelled whipper snappers. Still, at least they were keen to try some hard routes, so we squirmed in amongst them and made our way up some interesting routes.

Ben had joined us after spending 2weeks digging mortar pits in Poland on exercise with 7 SCOTS, and was keen to try his first trad route. Not wanting to bore him with technical issues, i felt it was best just to drag him up as many routes as possible, to give him a feel for trad. We started on Monsters crack, not far from the ever prominent Proud Corner. Graded at HS, it is not technically hard, but has 3 distinct sections, with the crux right at the top in the form of an exposed overhanging layback. I felt a wee bit wobbly on it, so took my time and sorted my head, before topping out and enjoying the view.

Just a shame the peace was marred by screaming students (more commonly known as Braying Jeffries) letting their mates know they were safe whilst hanging around the loose and slippery cliff edge. Highlight of the stupidity had to be the guy who abbed off the top crag to get his gear back, only to find out his rope was too short, and he had forgotten to knot the end. Luckily the vigilance of his climbing partner saved him from a nasty plunge!

Ben came up and was not best impressed, so i thought it was time to step it up a bit. We moved to the right and saw Ellis top out on Wandered, an HVS he was desperate to crack. Welldone mate. Excellent climb.

Me and Ben moved over and climbed Parapet Route Direct (HS), which is a lovely easy climb, with awesome holds and just enough gear, but not too much to encumber the climb. Highlight of the climb was being greeted by two stunning fresher girls on the halfway ledge. YUM!!!! Ben raced up and was soon beside me enjoying the view (of the glen, honest!) Despite his slick West coast banter, they were having none of it, so we made our exit swiftly and had lunch.

Ellis and Phil, joined us and we enjoyed the food, and listening to the students struggle on routes they thought would be easy. Ha! Clova is not easy, it's complicated, but classy!

I felt obliged to push the grade a bit, so queued up at the bottom of Wanderd, only to be sat behind two parties with their eyes set on it. Buggers! Not wanting to sit around all day, we moved bak over to Parapet route, a 3star Severe, and climbed that. I lead through the chimney and up to the VS variation, deciding it was a better option, only having a single rope. Once above it, I followed the wonderful flake line up to a small pinacle then up the slab. It was only as i neared the top of the slab that i realised my nearest gear was jangling down the rope towards Ben, then past the overhang, a good 15m below me. Gulp... Two more steps and i was safe. Few

Ben came up with little triuble, until he made it through the overhang, where he appeared and told me he couldn't get my cam out lower down. Well i was not for losing another one (see previous posts!), so i showed him how to work it out, and lowered him down, this time he got it no prob, making the rest of the climb with no probs.

We planned one more route, but it was filled with young hot blonde girlies, so we chose not to climb, and instead to watch (purely out of interest, honest). As seemed to be the trend for the day, one of the girls leading was having a nightmare, leading 3 J's chimney a short vdiff. Despite her protestations, he belayer was not having any of it and urger her up, finally clearing the last move.

As we watched, something caught my eye, and i looked up towards Wander only to see Ellis topping out. The bugger had only cleaned it (an HVS!) straight after Wandered (another HVS). It was obviously the attention of all the Nubile blonde lovelies that drove him to greatness. (Pam, if you read this, he was a true gent, directing them all in my direction ;o). Despite Phil's ongoing wrist problems, he still made both climbs look easy, so i'm looking forward to him getting it sorted and getting back pushing hard grades.

We made our way the pub, and nearly ran over a few of the studos on the way back to their bus that was about to leave without them (and did leave a few behind!). A nice meal and a drink in the pub, then off home. All in all a fantastic weekend, one of the best this year, which says a lot. I've had quite a few good weekends, and looking back i am very please with all that me and my climbing buds have achieved this summer.

Ellis leading E1 (by mistake!)
Phil still cranking out the grades despite his disability
Dave getting back into trad with aplomb
Euan's first trad lead
Ben's first trad climb
Iain's firs trad lead in a few years
Me passing SPA, leading E1, bagging a classic cairngorm multipitch route, and the weekend in Ben Nevis.

Still more to look forward to this year though!!!

Andy K's Psychovertical lecture in Birnam
Kendal Mountain film festival
Dunde Mountain film festival
Winter in Scotland
Possible Ice trip abroad

It's looking back at the year, and looking forward to things to come that makes me reaslise how lucky i am with so many great adventurous people to call my mates. Life would be boring without you guys!

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