High Tor and other crags beginning with H

The bizarre weather continues – lashing it down one minute and blue skies the next, with the forecasters struggling to call the difference (just pick the forecast that tells the story you want to hear!)

It’s a time for clichés: “Fortune favours the brave” and “If you don’t go, you’ll never know!” and I’ve managed to clock up a fair few bits ‘n pieces of climbing on that basis – adopting a risk-mitigation strategy of easily accessible / escapable venues. Strangely enough, all these begin with “H”.

Rucksack Club Wednesday evening meet at Harpur Hill (rain-interrupted but still half a dozen routes)

Sunday at Horseshoe

… and a couple of trips to Hobson Moor (desperate times call for desperate measures, and at least I’ve only been forced indoors once this summer).

Monday’s forecast (or at least the rose-tinted one) and a Dad’s Cabs request to pick up Jake from the eastern Peak, took us to High Tor – another “H” but a different calibre of crag: one of the few bits of Peak Limestone that would still get climbed on if it was miraculously transported to the south of France!

Chilly to start with and intermittent drizzle, but we set off up Nightmare of Brown Donkeys, E3, as a “warm up”. You used to do a scrappy VS pitch to access the Castelan cave, but now there’s a “sport” 6b approach alternative (I use the inverted commas, as the first bolt is quite high and the second one is the same distance again – a bit pokey). This brings you to the “start” of the route, and a first pitch which it shares with Delicatessen – a short but tenuous 5c undercling traverse.

The next pitch is the crux – up a bold open groove (with potential for a factor 2 fall onto the belay) to a rusty bong and a hard (6a?) traverse left on pockets to a stance beneath a roof. The final pitch, also 5c, is another undercling traverse leftwards under the roof and then up a rickety groove to the abseil tree. A pretty sustained outing and well worth it’s 3*s.

Jake had now warmed up and so had the weather, so we roped up beneath the main wall for a go at Tales of Yankee Power, one of iconic E5s of Peak limestone, taking the left side of the huge shield of pockety rock right of Original Route, with a spicy run-out which has a reputation for spectacular air-time!

Here’s Jake romping up the initial corner (the direct start to Original Route)

Heading across onto the shield (now shirtless)

… and celebrating arrival at the jug and decent thread after the sketchy run-out

There’s still a fair bit of climbing above this, with arguably the technical crux moving past the upper break, but the gear is better – anyway, Jake romped up it and still had enough energy to haul his Dad up. Fab crag!

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