July 2010: Limekilns

I’m so glad I waited until now to go Limekilns – it’s a whole new playground! It may not be Yosemite or Stanage, but Limekilns has something not that many crags do round here… CRACK CLIMBING!!! And good crack climbing at that. Despite previous access issues, all seems peaceful at the moment, hopefully it will stay that way… A beautiful forest, unique limestone blocks and quality routes of all grades. I had low expectations coming here, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised. It’s never even that busy, although apparently on Tuesday nights a local climbing club descend… The perfect place to get your trad head back into gear, because after all, it’s been a while.

Choosing the wrong cam for the wrong crack... Elgin's Crack, E2 5b(ish)
Crux at the bottom of Velvet Glove

Since coming here I’ve acquired a new project: Velvet Glove, E4 6a. Not technically a crack climb but there are definitely cracks involved. (It might be meek but…) I’ve top roped it twice  and today lead it for the first time – I fell. My first time doing hard moves above gear since August 09! Once I got my disco leg under control it all felt pretty good, hopefully it’ll go in the next couple of tries. In the grand scheme of things E4 isn’t the biggest achievement, but it’s got to be done, such a wicked line! And hopefully it’ll get my trad ball rolling for the rest of the season.

Craig Marshall attempting an onsight of Velvet Glove, E4 6a, Limekilns

Next to Velvet Glove is one of the coolest looking lines we’ve ever seen in Scotland, Iron Fist, E5  6b, a perfect splitter that just gets harder and harder the further you go. Alex already crushed it and now I’m all inspired. I got on it for the first time today and it is HARD, exactly the wrong size for my hands or fingers most of the way. But Beth Rodden said she could only do one in ten moves on Meltdown at first, so I’m feeling positive. If I taped my hands up enough maybe they’d get fatter… or I could try and employ some skill. Watch this space!

Alex on Dead Ringer, E1 5b

Meanwhile Alex has been ticking off every line there is at Limekilns, hopefully I can send my two projects before he does them all.

Crux

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