I ended up sleeping in more than the usual plan so arrived at Tom's place about lunchtime, no matter plenty of daylight (gotta love the summer!).
The drive out took around 1hr 15mins.. not quiet as good as Kyloe or Bowden but then it is a new venue for an extra 15 mins of effort!
Wainstones was the chosen crag, having only climbed there once with Derek back in my bumbly days I decided it would make a nice dry venue with hopefully enough wind to keep the sweat off but not get blown off the crag!
Thankfully I was right and our hard walk uphill - taking around 15 mins - was soon rewarded with a cool breeze and warm dry rock! A few people around but hardly busy for such a great venue on probably the only dry crag in miles!
I soloed a few routes, Tom took it easy and did the same, sicking to Diffs and Severe's.
Eventually we decided to stop 'larking about' and did some real climbing. Tom led the enjoyable Sphinx Nose Traverse - a 3 star severe and worth every penny!
I'd already soloed this so went up East Sphinx Direct to add some spice. Bloody hard work! Apparently VS 5a. Rubbish, didn't look protected and the moves are more like 5b! Although once I worked out the sequence it did seem much easier..
After this I had a look on 'North Route' a tricky problem up the main needle. This went fine, just a delicate section at the top, Rockfax gave it E1 but i'd say HVS is probably more on the mark.
Tom decided to jump on Concave Wall which ended up being a bit of a sandbag at HVS! Nice move and the gear is next to your waist.. but it's a hard move for the grade!
I'd had my eye on West Sphinx Direct all day.. it's a stunning line that weaves up the north face of the Sphinx buttress. There are two variations, one which does a tricky mantel move up the first nose then escapes out left on a thin crack then up the arete. The direct tackles the same set of moves but instead of running off to the left, you reach up high to an 'eye' then pull through this to the top moves over on the right side.
I decided to crack on and give it a go. The great thing about this route is that you can always escape off on the E2 if you don't like the look of the direct (which gets E3). Once i'd committed to the moves though I knew I had to finish it direct. It's just such a lovely line. Totally absorbing and although the gear is pretty questionable.. it probably would do the job if you fell from the top.
I spent a good 10 minutes trying to stretch up to the 'eye' before finally committing.. once I pulled up it all came into place, but the top move is no pushover and I had to use everything I could muster to scramble over the top. Great route.
After this Tom finished off on a HS (Ling Buttress) and we walked back down to the car. Great day and really chuffed to get a 3 star E3 on-sight.
On Sunday we had a lazy day and drove up to Harehope Canyon with a few of the usual gang to hang out and do a few routes. Joe was on fire that day and was already polishing off an E2 gridle traverse of the main buttress.
I decided to solo a few routes with Polly and ended up backing off one or two as I was feeling a bit tired. Managed to do my dads 'Andrews Grovelly Grove' as a solo which was nice for a bit of history stomping. Did one or two of the other trickier VS's which are more like boulder problems really.
Finished off on an E1 but found it pretty hard work, think the body had started to give up.
Watched Joe polish off an E3 6B!! Which looked amazing.. if a bit desperate.
Went back with the gang and watched the World Cup at Tom's place with a few pizza's and beers. SKY+ had started to run out of space and as the game was coming to an end it only had about 3 minutes left to go! Just as well it didn't end on penalty's!!