Wednesday, February 15, 2006

New Portlethen Testpieces

Tim Rankin has climbed the hardest confirmed boulder problem in the North East, and Portlethen's gnarliest creation so far, at V11. Here's the news from Tim himself:
'...heres the description and as for the grade I don't care but am tempted to give it a provocative 8a+ based on other things I've worked but it must be there abouts 8a/8a+.
This problem takes the challenge of the widest part of the Pit roof from the back then climbs the faint hanging arete feature to finish up "The Pain" Start sitting at the back wall under the widest part of the roof on the right side of the Pit. Desperately pull on using an undercut and a small side-pull, grab the good hold on the lip and power up and left to gain the good undercut and an easier finish straight up.'
February 2006
Tim Rankin has been busy with Chris Adams, best buddy Mark and new Devon boy 'cool-hand' Luke, who is eating up the local testpieces. This well-bicepped North East crew have created some truly hard bouldering monstrosities at Portlethen and Clashfarquhar recently. Latest to fall is Tim's long-term project coming out from the cave into The Pit Right Hand... the crux is a series of undercut reaches and power step-ups on smears. A taped up pair of denims on the right leg is crucial for holding an unlikely knee bar. This is a power problem which requires high-tension accuracy like a drawn bow... a modern classic which awaits a first repeat... Oh, he called it Georgie Boy (after his poor-boy underwear!) and it is a hard Font 7c+ or V10 if you want another number. Two British 7a moves gives you an idea what's needed!
Georgie Boy V10, Portlethen - Tim Rankin
On the wild soaring roof below The Pit, Chris Adams cranked out backwards from the mezzanine to gain the lip. Wild heel-hooking and tenuous sloper moves lead to jugs on the nose which gives EDGE OF REASON at about V7/8. Take plenty of mats and spotters, as this is a line which demands commitment! Rated by all as one of the best in the area...
Chris Adams on the first insane moves of his own Edge of Reason

Tim Rankin on Beyond the Edge of Reason

Tim Rankin put his shoes back on and showed us how to do the low eliminate of this line BEYOND THE EDGE OF REASON V9, which attacks the awful looming sloper below the jugs on the nose, continuing round into the groove. Cold conditions and a good spot are essential to break through this crux sequence.

Luke, cool as you like on the sloper lip of Beyond the Edge of Reason

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Trossachs Classic Problems

A number of new venues over the last few years has transformed the Trossachs from a traditional cragging backwater to a rediscovered gem of modern bouldering philosophy. The main areas are Loch Katrine, Stronachlachlar, Ben A'an and Ben Ledi.

LOCK STOCK AND BARREL V9 - Dave Macleod's testpiece on the Sebastopol boulder. This gut-buster sit starts under the blunt arete and hooks and slaps up to a desperate slap for the sloper on the original V2 problem of Sebastopol. The true cave start remains a big number.

BOOMER V1 - the excellent and remarkably easy dyno (if you commit!) on the Fence boulders at Stronachlachlar. From a handrail, wind up the spring and boom for the apex jug. Try not to let your feet helicopter you off, stamp your foot on the wall as soon as you can!

TOURIST TRAP V5 - Loch Katrine - From a sit start on this arete, gain a two-finger sloper with a long reach, then figure out the best body position to grab the lip holds. Traverse left to escape this trap!

WATERCOLOUR CHALLENGE V3 - Bob Ewen's excellent pocket problem on the well-hidden stream boulder at Loch Katrine. Snap up to the pocket, gain a side-pull and good footwork should lead you to a high ledge and direct finish.

NAVIGATOR V3 - Sebastopol Boulder, Loch Katrine. This sit-start on the main wall requires you to get into a deep Egyptian and poise before your slap to the sidepulls which leads into the right-hand groove of Sebastopol.

PALLBEARER V2 - The Ben Ledi boulders have lots of good highball problems. This one takes the south wall of the highest boulder and requires a long confident reach and strong left arm. The best problem here is actually Scott Muir's 'Dawn Wall' V3, the left hand-groove on the Sunstone, but I have no pics of that as yet.

STAND-UP COMEDIAN V5 - An esoteric gem on the Ben A'an boulders, this takes the sunny west wall of this boulder from a sit-start at the obvious ramp. A diversion right allows the lip to be regained and a frustrating slap up and right to improving holds is the crux.

JAWA TRAVERSE V3 - Loch Katrine - superb technical foot manoevres on the north wall of the Jawa boulder. Traverse the handrail from left to right, finish out right or by reaching up the original jawa to make it V4...

FIGHT CLUB V4 - Loch Katrine - the first boulder you come across on the south west shores of Loch Katrine, this obvious challenge climbs right from a jug through poor slopers to a hard pull over the bulge. Heels and cool conditions are your tag partners.

NAMELESS PIMP TOY V7 - Stronachlaachlar - the traverse of the Long Boulder at the foot of the forest above Loch Arklet. This combines the cruxes of three straight-ups, linking them togtether to create a sustained left to right traverse. Start at the left edge of the wee cave and finish far right at the juggy groove. The lip traverse on the boulder behind this one is Dave Redpath's excellent 'Virgin Suicides', about the same level of difficulty.