THE SKY HANDBOOK
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
THE SKY HANDBOOK
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
It includes a chapter on bouldering no less, though they did call it 'rock gymnastics', as though they were slightly ashamed of the low-ball games of blocage. The book is a delight throughout, capturing the lost nuances of climbing as it was with no little humour and some sage advice. What is most encouraging is that not much has changed - Claude is still obsessed with gear and like a safety-Nazi 'floorwalker' he bores rigidly about techniques (quite rightly, of course, we want to pursue risk safely you know). He does witter on a bit about the 'tweenie maid' (mmm, enough said... ) - reassuringly, however, he suffers the same frustrations we still do today: A new rope is troublesome. It kinks most obstinately. So with fond apologies to Mr. Benson, here are a few of his more poignant obeservations:
"Gaiters - No one who has worn puttees will ever think of gaiters again. Some people use Fox's Spiral Puttees, but, personally, I prefer the coarse Tommy Atkins' puttee as being better fitted for the rough work, as well as cheaper..."
"I recommend all who can to imitate me. Let not false shame prevent them. Let them be bold, and brave the suppressed laughter of the tweenie maid."
"Shirts - Flannel is the best material. Those made to take a detachable collar are the neatest."
"Rope - there is only one kind of rope, the very best, the Alpine Club rope. It is to be purchased at Arthur Beale's, 194, Shaftebury Avenue, London, W.C., or at accredited agents."
"Rucksacks - See that there are separate pockets in the rucksack. It is just as well to keep your lunch, your hair brush, and your slippers apart."
"As a matter of fact, provided a man can go steadily and safely, I think he may be entrusted with the care of his own legs and feet without printed regulations, and the same is true of the position of his hands on the axe. Sitting glissades are generally deprecated, though there is no form more common amongst beginners except that on the broad of the back..."
Monday, June 08, 2009
Friday, June 05, 2009
On an earlier spring visit to Arran in late March, Niall McNair missed the ferry due to it leaving on British Summer Time instead of McNair-time, so he nipped back up the road to the Corrie boulder roof project. Right of Chris Graham's ealier left hand roof problem, this one was despatched before the next ferry. It goes at about Font 7b+ and is the hardest on Arran to date. He named it, rather drily, 'BST'. He also despatched the hanging arete by the fence on the giant Clach Dhruim a Charn at 7a+.
Tuesday, June 02, 2009
This the giant walled boulder with smaller duck-like erratics perched on top. It has a superbly textured high wall over a gravel apron and is accessed via the Lagan burn on the path to the Cioch face. Historical and used as a warm-up wall ever since Naismith and Collie roamed the corries. All problems feel quite highball but ease with height - imagine you are in tweeds and hobnails!
1. Surf’s Up Font 6a
The far left sloping bulges through the small roof at the top on improving holds.
2. Basalt Ladder Font 3+
The excellent basalt seamed groove of the left arête following the feature to the top.
3. Naismith’s Route Font 3
Climbs the ledged rock groove on the left above the gravel apron on polished holds. Blame Willie Naismith for polishing the rock with hobnails in the 1800’s!
4. Central Wall Font 6a
The tricky left central wall has a problem-solving finger-slot left of the thin crack holds in the crux bulge.
5. Collie’s Route Font 5
Pull up into the right hand groove just left of the overhang, finish direct. A classic highballer! Named after Skye pioneer Norman Collie.
6. The Groper Font 7a
Sit start the overhang low left and follow the edges right to lunge to the bra-shaped hold, then finish lengthily through another sloper up right. 6c standing start.
7. Tiggy’s Pinch Font 7a
A couple of metres left of the right arête. Difficult pinching leads to a lip hold, further pinching might gain the big jug. Niall McNair c 2005.
8. Duck Boulder Arête Font 6b+
The right arête. A long stretch to get started, but good holds gain height and a slap for the sloping bulge to the right allows the trucking slab to be gained.
9. Erratic Bloc Font 6b
The ‘duck’ on the top has a flying arête, sit start this with dynamic throws & mantel out the lip.
10. Eiderdown Traverse Font 4
Traverse from Collie’s Route to finish up Naismith’s.
I lost some photos of the Bloody Stone, so if anyone out there has pics of this giant boulder in Harta Corrie, please get in touch!