Sunday, 24 October 2010

A Day at the Roaches

Phil on the delicate slab of Track of the Cat E5

Dave seconding The Swan E3

On my favourite boulder problem - Three Pocket Slab V3

With a good cold and crisp forecast I couldn't resist the lure of the grit so on Friday Phil, Dave and I made the trip to the Roaches on the western edge of the Peak District. The Roaches is my favourite of all the Gritstone crags as it has such variety, great rock, a beautiful outlook over the Cheshire and Staffordshire plain and it was where I first started to climb outdoors as a teenager.

Gritstone is an amazing medium to climb on. For those not use to its subtle nuances (thats me) it can at times feel desperate and frustrating but when it all comes together it gives an amazing climbing experience. The key with gritstone is the friction - its amazingly grippy, especially when its cold. Climbs are often insecure with few positive holds so faith in the friction is paramount - if you don't believe you feet will stick to the rock then they wont!

I climbed the classic Elegy E2, a route which I have aspired to climb since I first visited the crag. It features a run out up a holdless slab at the top of the climb - if you keep you head and keep the faith you will be rewarded with one of gritstone most elegant routes, if you don't then prepare yourself for a 10m cheese grating slide back down then slab! Brilliant