070609 Stanage - Dovers Wall

Overview - Having had my plan to head over to the open day at the Roaches with Dad highjacked by Joni (token American female), the three of us headed to Dover wall, and the ~VS delights that are there. Most of these I've soloed before, but when done all in a rush it left me feeling pleasantly tired! An amazing day seconding for Dad, with his first HVS 5a and VS 5b flash. He's really getting into this climbing malarkey, and can do routes I wouldn't expect many beginners to be able to do having only been out for a few days!

Dover's Wall, Route 1 (1* S 4b):

Led - Well, led in sandals to make sure it was vaguely interesting. A bit of a power move at the top, but otherwise a good intro to ledg-y crack climbing.

Dover's Wall, Route 4 (VS 4b):

Solo - Pleasant enough climbing up to the capping roof, where there's a great knee-bar, allowing the reach around right to be completed without a worry in the world. Nice.

Beady Eyes (HS / VS 5a):

Solo - If you climb the arete itself, using the crack on the left higher up, it's HS. Restricting yourself to just the arete and wall right, it's VS. The HS version has the best low-grade rock-onto-an-arete move I've come across, and is just wonderful. The VS version requires a bit of reach at the top and some commitment to laying off the arete on smears. Good fun, both of them!

Long Reaches (HVS 5c):

Solo - This one took me a few tries to get, and I'm still not sure I got it right. The line in the 2007 BMC guide is slightly left of where I climbed, using a small rugosity for feet on the long reach (which still managed to feel 5c/6a). The problem on the first few attempts was off-balancing into the corner having made the long reach, but I eventually managed to hold it. An odd one, needs further discussion with others (as neither Joni nor Dad fancied even trying!).

Cleft Wing (1* VS 5b):

Led - Any route that has a loop shown in the guidebook line has to be worth doing, and this one is almost as much fun as BAW's! I reckon the crux is actually getting off the ground, though the pyscho-crux is definitely falling across the gap (note - the roof helps!). Big gear is available behind the upper flake and there is gear at either end of the far break if you're long enough to place it. The swing around the far arete is simply fun, on traverse holds that are good enough never to panic. Great fun - Dad found some great hands-free rests at the top of the cave, and Joni thought it was good enough to second twice!

Eyes (VS 4c):

Led - Really good high step using jams, followed by a delicate step into a high pocket, with other small pockets for hands. Very worthwhile for VS, if a little easy and short (pretty much just those two moves, with gear wherever you need it).

Nothing to do with Dover (1* HVS 5a):

Led - Previously soloed, this route was just what I remembered. Quick easy crack section followed by pumpy reaches between breaks on positive holds. I'm absolutely stunned Dad managed to flash this... Way to go!