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Project Time

Drilling a new sports crag, especially a steep one, is harder than doing the route itself sometimes, though it has its training benefits - holding a 6kg drill against a wall of rock leads to biceps like giant bubble wrap. I'd rented a drill for a weekend and with a good forecast was determined to drain the batteries and get as many holes in as possible. But I forgot the golden rule of bolting... take all your trad gear, I mean ALL of it! You tend to end up using so many clippers, krabs, bits of tat and old ropes that it turns into a full aid climbing expedition.

I abbed down the wrong line first, didn't bring my shunt and had to do it all over again. Then I couldn't tension the old wall rope tight enough to pull in - it bellied out like an elastic band and left me spinning in the air, drill whirring round my kneecaps. At one point the sling slid over the drill trigger and it went for my kidneys, I screamed and pushed at the murderous thing like being attacked by a monster mosquito. Which wouldn't surprise me in this dense forest of crags... beasts everywhere, and I've only got two months before the bracken, Jurassic ticks and midgies stop play.

The project is harder than I thought, but I got closer than I expected, managing the first crux match though tiny quartz crimps. 7b up to this point and this B6c sequence leads to a clipping pocket and good finger edge, but the wall is steep and the footholds tenuous. The top wall is fierce and harder than I thought, one long stretch too much for me at present, but it may go before the 'beast arrival'. 8a in my book at present, but we'll see, it always tends to drop a grade with familiarity. I'll release the whereabouts of 'Quarterdome' once completed... there should be a handful of new routes between 6a and 8a.


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