Avoiding the sheep

September 3rd, 2008 by Simon C

Evening light on CurbarIt was only a week since we last went to Curbar, but it's so good we couldn't resist a quick return.  There are dozens of routes left to do, we'd not been down the far left end before, and it was quiet on a sunny Bank Holiday Sunday so should be quieter still on a normal weekend.

We arrived to find an in situ top-roper. Would we have to queue? No, we were safe, he was working the E9 next to Peapod, probably a little beyond us for a lifetime or two. So we warmed up on Alpha (HVD), the only do-able route on the Eliminates wall. Rather harder than it looks, felt like top end HS 4b.

Beech Buttress VS 4bNext, it was on to P.M.C.1 (HS 4a), which we'd been unable to climb last weekend due to a group having a top-rope on it for most of the afternoon (none of them got more than 3 feet off the ground).  Carmen had already led it a few years ago, but it's such a good route it's always worth a repeat.  Didn't feel any easier this time round, hard cracks (4b?) to start, then an easier wall, thankfully better protected than appears from below.

Next it was on to the far left of the crag, just a few minutes from Froggatt, where there were several teams queueing for routes, and giving a masterclass in the best use of climbing calls ("take in slack!" "Slack? OK." "No, TAKE IN SLACK!" "But I I'm giving you slack!" etc).

Luckily, none of the queueing climbers thought to wander a couple of hundred metres to the deserted buttresses of Curbar, so we had our pick of routes. Beech Buttress (VS 4b but really poorly protected VS 4c), Amethyst (VS 4c), Campion Groove (HS 4b but probably only S 4a), Pillar Slab (Curbar-Diff, ie about HVD 4a).

Hot air balloonsFinally, we wandered back rightwards. A brief abortive look at Grooved Arete (VS 4c and very steep), and Carmen opted for Potter's Wall instead, HS 4b – the 4b bit is well protected, the top section is unprotected but 4a. It was getting late and the midges were coming out to feed, so in between watching hot air balloons fly through the haze towards the setting sun, a quick ascent of Right Triplet Gully (classic VDiff back-and-foot chimney), and it was homeward bound.

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