070906 Lawrencefield

Overview - I've been proclaiming for weeks that the E2 highest on my ticklist was Suspense - especially as I've not previously visited Lawrencefield. Well, after the fantastic evening on Stanage, Dave (PeakDJ) talked me into a visit, in addition to admitting he'd had a go at Suspense and had to retreat. Gauntlet truly through down, we headed down into Millstone's baby sister. Lawrencefield as a crag feels almost removed from the rest of the Peak district, as it's below the main road and hidden by thin forest from the rest of the Hathersage valley. A bit of a wonderful rabbit hole, but one that can probably be climbed out to a certain grade in an afternoon - though all of those grades are probably too low!

Meringue (1* HVS 5a):

Led - As a warm-up this got the blood pumping! Nice technical slab moves the whole way up, and halfway up I said it was tempting to just solo the rest. It was tempting up to the top move... Any number of types of dodgy gear go in the horizontal break near the top, and provide various degrees of pyschological protection for the crux. Correctly graded, and deserves the star. Absieling from the top is the best way down, and can be left in situ for other routes on the same slab. Dave followed.

Once Pegged Wall (1* VS 5a):

Seconded Dave - Short route up ledges into the upper crack. The holds are all there, but deciding how to use the upper crack is tricky with various uses of the left arete. Not sure about the star, but the grade's about right.

Suspense (2* E2 5c):

Led - I'm going to describe this one ground-up, as it's the only way to get a feel of the route. The initial (gearless) slab is probably worth HVS/E1 by itself. A good wire or two, and a tiny cam in the triangular slot on the arete, and a breather. There are a few variations for the move around the arete, but all give a good ramp-up in move difficulty towards the crux. Unfortunately, there follows a big ledge on which to get stuck. There's a vertical crack at waist-height, that will take a bomber micro-cam, and numerous RPs can be slotted in... However, I found none of these reassuring! It took 40 minutes to leave that ledge, and it's via some of the hardest moves I've onsighted recently. The peg looks good, and is very reassuring, but there's still a move left to the top. I'm amazed this is high-end E2, and even the 5c feels stiff. However, the experience is worth every star. Dave seconded, and admitted he was glad he'd retreated...

Red Wall (1* E2 5c):

Seconded (Dave did Delectable Variations) - Nice first section, up the corners, but getting off the large ledge is near impossible. I can only assume the "desperate mantelshelf" refers to this move, and not the higher flake, but I just crimped up the wall. For the proper E2 tick, gear shouldn't be used in the left-hand crack, but I would think that it's probably a far more sensbile high-grade E1 with said gear. As a side-note Delectable Variations is a cracking VS.

Vanilla Slice (E1 5c):

Seconded Dave - By this point, I was climbing by shear will-power, my muscles having given up after the time spent on Suspense. A nice slab, with plenty of small wires for the crux, but it's a proper move to gain the upper wall! Good finisher.