Climbed two more pitches today - the climbing slow and careful (much of the rock is pretty fragile) a mixture of easy’ish aid and free climbing, but all in a XS setting (ice falling from the summit, dripping water, loose rock everywhere). I’d not recommend the route (or the Troll wall) to my worst enemy, but it’s not dull - I’ll give it that. Also note to anyone who reads that the route has bolt belays. This is true, but so far all bolts have been of the peak limestone variety circa 1980 (two home made, one good one).
Find switching from aid to free very gripping, as invariably the hand holds are loose (foot holds are good though!), and each time there is a huge checklist of things to do so as not to start free climbing, only to find I’m still clipped in to the last bit of gear. Not wearing rock boots at too cold, so climbing in Sportiva Trangos, which are good on this kind of thing (fingers crossed I don’t come across any slabs).
Have fixed two 9mm statics up to pitch 3, and need to haul tomorrow up to pitch 5, although doing so feels like a big commitment, as I’m sure more bad weather is on the way. Being on the ground is so much more civilised, and rapping my ropes and getting back to my bivy (climbing kit off, into sleeping bag, book and tea and chocolate) was almost worth it in itself. Maybe I should just go camping more often!
A Snickers bar costs 60p. Were these words worth as much?
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Andrew Kirkpatrick is a British mountaineer, author, motivational speaker and monologist. He is best known as a big wall climber, having scaled Yosemite's El Capitan 30+ times, including five solo ascents, and two one day ascents, as well as climbing in Patagonia, Africa, Alaska, Antarctica and the Alps.Follow @ Instagram