November 4, 2009 George Foster

Looooooooovely Lines….mmmmmm lovely

Lists are the order of the day for the forseeable future, they’re easy, quick, take up a lot of room (so you can kid yourself at your own productivity) and i’m lazy. Here’s a list, that again will be added to at my leisure, of some nice things that people have climbed up. Feel free to add some of your own suggestions:

Nowt Burra Fleein’ Thing E8 6c, Wasdale
Some Birkett creation in the arse-end of nowhere, the sleepy backwater that some delusional people believe to be the birthplace of traditional rock climbing…..in the whole world…..the Lakes! A seriously stunning line up a severely overhanging prow involving all sorts of 3-D wizardry and more rusting pegs than you can waggle a branch at. Another crushathon courtesy of DB. How many is that now? I lose count. 

Bachar-Yerian 5.11c X, Tuolumne
The single most inspiring line on the planet or is that just me? I hope people don’t just remember JB for this line alone, though it is freakin’ astounding! HAND-BOLTED ON LEAD!!! The man killed it! Hanging off tied-off snappy knobs or sitting back on sky-hooks balanced over said snappy knobs is MENTAL. Doing that while pioneering a new route, ground-up, on-sight is simply RAD. You can see the line from Half Dome (if you owned some bitchin’ bino’s) and standing underneath it, looking up at the black streak disappearing into the sky, is the single most awesome thing i have done……though i guess climbing it would be kinda cool. The ‘X’ rating is for the first half of the first pitch, the rest is ‘only’ R/X. What you waiting for?

Iron Man Traverse V4, Buttermilks
Zeus himself summoned the lightening bolt to split this boulder in half so that us mere mortals could sample the delights of traversing across the perfect shelf that runs across the alarmingly overhanging backside of the rock. Massive holds all the way, in fact it’s just one big hold all the way to the end, yet surprisingly pumpy with a cheeky little dynamic slap so a sloper/jug….oh go on then just one more lap.

P.S. Doing the ‘Iron Man’ has no relation to that time i got very drunk with a stranger named Willhelm and ended up in an alley in Amsterdam at 3am…no sir, nothing at all, quite the opposite in fact cos it actually means girls will sleep with you if you do it.

Dalriada E6/7/8 6b/c, The Cobbler
The route i most want to do in Britain. Just gotta wait for that grade to settle down first i guess……make up your mind fellas. Came close to being onsighted but this is Scotland after all where every hold is wet. As a line is there any better?? Trumps DB’s effort by being on top of a fairly gnarly lump of rock in the first place…..meaning alpiniste skills just to get to the base of it. Gary Latter had aesthetics on the mind when he plucked this feather. Another rotting peg-fest…..looooovely.

The Screaming Ab Dabs E6 6b, Lewis
Dodging the inbred islanders is the main battle finding this route….if you the miss the glaringly obvious Screaming Geo you’re a twat and should go home! I have no authority on the matter however as i have never actually been there but come on it’s gotta be big from what i’ve seen. Surely?? Alas you’ve found the route and doesn’t it look a beauty. Trace your way up a GINORMOUS arch to arrive, via some roof thrutchyness, at the top of one of the most beautiful pieces of rock in the known universe. Incidently there’s meant to be an awesome E4 called The Prozac Link if you can’t be arsed with the mother-route.

Exasperator 5.10c, Squamish
It’s a crack. On the Chief. About E2 in pounds sterling. Looks a bit wierd. Can be climbed a bit wierder. I spent 6 weeks there and never touched the thing…..IDIOT. It looks ACE!!! Heard some dodgy beta and thought better of it…….climb it like you’re trying to open a garage door?? Piss off i wasn’t born yesterday buddy. Met Tim Emmett on the plane home. Got talking. He’d just jumped off the Chief with a handkerchief on his back. Big deal. ‘Did you guys do Exasperator?’ says he. ‘No….heard some shite beta for it and sacked it’ says i. Explained it to him. ‘Yeah that’s how i did it’ says he. ‘Shit’ says i.

Master’s Edge E7 6c, Millstone
The Fawcett has landed. Jerry Moffatt?? Who’s he? It’s all about the old-school…..except that i guess Jerry is now the old-school?? Ah well, read somewhere that if Big Ron wasn’t happy with how he’d climbed something then damn it if he didn’t come back down and do it again until he was. LEGEND. Anyhow he nipped in on another one of ‘Grit’s Last Great Problems’ yadda yadda and gave birth (LITERALLY) to the one we now know as Master’s Edge. Square cut arete, clamp a bit, sketch a bit, put some gear in, don’t fall off and break your back, sketch a bit, clamp a bit, jump a touch. Done. Blown your onsight haven’t i? Sorry.

Comes the Dervish E3 5c, Vivian Quarry
Same as Exasperator except single pitch and on slate. Haston did it didn’t he? Anyway it’s not bad. If you lap it, and let’s face it you’ll want to, try leading it with the rope tied round your nuts. Interesting now eh?

Chain Reaction 5.12c, Smith Rock
It’s like a massive fuckin’ axe. Piece of piss up to the second clip, but then isn’t everything…no. Gets steeper and progressively gnarlier as you snatch a way up the blade, giving up all thoughts of looking French and stylish. This climb is all about desperation. Eyeing up the final bucket just over the lip, your arms drowning in lactic acid (that’s if they haven’t fallen off already) it all comes down to tactics. Did you have to have that rancid bagel this morning? You know the one that’s weighing you down and about to explode out your ass with the exertion? WTF? Dunno.

East Face of Monkey Face 5.13c/d, Smith Rock
No not the sport part of it…..BORING! This is all about those tiny wires and sketchy cams, except i guess not at the same time cos the gear sounds like it’s pretty much the ‘b’ in ‘bomber’. Sonnie T, a close personal friend of mine (why doesn’t he return my calls??), showed us the way with a boltless bitch-slap of this rather sexy piece of rock. Piece of piss right. Fuck that it looks NAILS. It looks like you’re gonna fall FOREVER. And it looks like a wild amount of FUN. Fires right up the ass-crack of the monkey with INSANE exposure. The words in this section are mostly BIG, like the MONKEY FACE, like AMERICA!! WOW it looks good……2nd on the ‘most-wanted-to-do’ list…..

Next………………

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