Once again I found myself heading north back to Kilnsey: this time with a group of people. Accompanied by Orrin Coley and Billy Ridal, we drove up and arrived psyched. Naomi Tilley had organized the trip and her grandparents allowed us to stay in their house in the village of Kilnsey just a five-minute walk from the crag.
After the drive up we found ourselves sheltering under the big roof at Kilnsey to get out of the rain. Disaster. Still, at least it hadn’t seeped through yet. After warming up I decided that I would get on 50 for 5 F7b+. I went for the flash on this route and set off. I climbed through the bottom strongly and found myself at a rest. With the pump almost shifted I set off again for the cruxy top section. I fluffed a sequence up and then found myself popping off the finishing hold. The route went second time though and was a good tick on the first day.
Second day saw me back on Dead Calm F8a. This was the route that I had tried to on sight on my last trip to Kilnsey but came off on the last hard section. First time back on it and I got a new high point. Only three more moves were in the route before pulling to the finish jug. I rested up and went again and came off one move higher and my foot popped off. I later realized that this was because of me missing an intermediate foothold. With the light fading and people wanting to go home. I had one last ditched effort. I timed my rests carefully and made sure that I didn’t have too long on each rest. I was then on the top section. I made it to the last hard move. I was so boxed. I hurled my foot on the hold. It was on. I managed to keep it all together and pulled somewhat dynamically to the jug. Sweet. It was ticked.
Third day and I decided to get back on The Bulge F8a which was another route that I was close to ticking in the last trip I had to Kilnsey. After dogging up the route and familiarizing myself with the moves again, I got on for a red point attempt. I got through to the top section and did a very powerful clip causing me to fall off because I got very pumped. I went again and decided to miss the clip and carry on resulting in me taking a huge whipper and bashing the wall pretty hard. Wasn’t going to be doing that idea anytime soon again. With me done in we headed back and had a BBQ followed by a swim in the river. Refreshing was one way of putting it.
Fourth day and I had discovered that the swim in the river had done my muscles the world of good. They felt fresh to tick The Bulge. I had three big goes on the route today and kept dropping the big lurch for the final hold. With this we headed back with still no tick on The Bulge.
The evening saw us back at the river but this time with a slack line. Me, Orrin and Billy swam across the river to fix the slack line up. We then started un-wrapping the slack line and bringing the un fixed end over to the other side of the river to tighten it up. One small miscalculation left us three metres short and stranded in the middle of the fast moving river. With the river winning we ditched the slack line and swum back to the bank. With everyone very un-motivated it was down to someone to swim back and retrieve the slack line. Three guesses for who that may have been…
This was the last full day that we had at the crag and I was determined to get The Bulge done. I warmed up and felt good. I went for it. I came off. I went for it again. And came off. With people wanting to go I tried one last time and came off. That was it. Finished for the day. But I wanted to try to work out some better beta for the top section of the route. I managed to find a really big Egyptian that meant I could static the move that I had kept dropping. With this under my belt I decided to go home for the night and tick it the next day.
Rain rain rain. I heard it all night and I knew that The Bulge would be soaked by the morning and I was right. I got there and the whole two clips at the bottom were dripping. So I sacked this route off and went on and tried some other routes. I managed to get a route called Ground Effect F7b on my second go and then I did Pantomime F7b+, which is a route I have done before but wanted to repeat.
Big up to Naomi for organizing the trip and thanks to everyone else that made it an awesome trip. And thanks to Evolv, PrAna and Metolius.