Wednesday, 22 January 2014

The Problem of employment

The wonderful Pink Granite of Upper Tier in the Western Section,
Pass of Ballater

Having a job is great. Especially somewhere like the Cairngorms. From its wild and forgotten glens to its barren ice clad peaks, its an amazing place. The only problem is, working 5 days a week you don't get to enjoy it that much! Don't get me wrong, my job with the CNPA gets me outside a lot and with GIS I don't even need to leave my chair to explore it, but its not quite the same as being out and about!

So this afternoon with a good forecast and some flexitime built up, I took the afternoon off and went over to the western section of The Pass of Ballater. Due to everything being a wee bit wet from the rain torrents of recent times I had to steer clear of big cracks and slabs so face routes it was to be. I decided upon Peel Wall (E4 6a) as it was completely dry when i checked it (and its supposed to be a classic!).

Just before the first go. What a setting!
So with the top rope set and a cheeky wee look at the route when abbing down I started getting psyched to give it a go. Standing at the bottom with the rope hanging away from the face the whole way down I questioned my motivation for choosing something so steep. Maybe I should have found a nice VS slab?

The Peel Wall (E4 6a) where the rope is hanging. The arete is tackled by Smiths Arete (E5 6a),
with the corner of Little Cenotaph (HVS 5b) on the right.

After a few man up pills a fierce start using tiny feet and underclings sees you grunting up some strenuous layback edges followed by a couple of finger jams. After this once you have your foot placed above your shoulder you rock up with the last of your strength and grab THE JUG. Another jug right above it then leads to the crux (typically the last bit before the top).

A photo from the internet demonstrating the incorrect way
of negotiating the crux

A recent lack of any kind of rock climbing and an obscene amount of food over Xmas meant this point is where the onsight was slain. After blowing it once and going for the honourable ground up approach I descended to try again. After getting smashed again and again I decided to toss the honourable approach out the window and dogged the shit out of it with eventual success.

Great route, think i'll blame not getting out enough training on the job though. Maybe they're not so bad after all!

A cheeky initial exploration the other day with Rob. We had a crack at a
couple of VDiffs well after dark in big boots by head torch. Weekday climbing
is thwarted by the 16:30 sun set in Scotland!

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