Friday, 1 August 2014


The last month I've mostly been climbing with the mentalist that is... Ian Cooper.

This is a collection of our best days in July.

Arriving at the top of Hindenburg E7 6c at Mother Careys Kitchen in Pembroke it looked steep and terrifying. Not least because the guidebook warned of crucial pegs rotten or missing and that it may not have been climbed in it's current state. The fact that Caff had told me it was fine only served to make me much more scared!

We went down in trainers on two separate ab ropes and back aided into the massive overhang. We found some gear and replaced a few threads. Doing this turned a potentially life threatening onsight attempt into something much more enjoyable.

I managed a flash, doing some shouting as I passed the second bouldery section. This left Ian to test the peg (it held) and he managed to send on his third go. We ended the day on an HVS called "Inner Space". Calling this a climb would be misleading, it's more of a tunnelling and sideways chimneying exercise. The crux is not being too intimidated by the horrific sounds made by seabirds in the depths of the cave!

back-aiding into Hindenburg
Staffordshire Nose Challenge:
The challenge is to climb all 31 Brown and Whillans routes in Stafforshire as fast as possible. The difficulties lie in the fact that these routes happen to be excruciatingly painful and horrifically awkward, you can view the full list here. We finished in 9 and a half hours, both having to redpoint the desperate Ramshaw Crack. Other gems were Crack of Gloom and Masochism, routes to do before you die! Speed attempt next! Since we're competing against the Wideboyz we obviously need a team name, I'm pushing for "Jacob Cook and the Disasters" but for some reason Ian isn't happy with this... weird.

John Dunne has been making noises about creating a Yorkshire version. This is still in the pipeline but I've tentatively named it BIG JOHN'S YORKSHIRE HARD-MAN CHALLENGE and it's going to be beefy...

Verdon Gorge:
My PhD supervisor made the mistake of telling me he was going on holiday for the last week of July and somehow I found myself in the Verdon! The best route was "Alix Punk De Vergons" a 10 pitch 7b/+ up the mighty, overhanging and tuffa infested Duc. Ian and I were both surprised and chuffed not to fall off, team free onsight, booya!

I may have to report this to Jens...

We also tried the crux pitch of El Topo, an epic 14 pitch voyage up the biggest bit of rock in the Verdon, ending in an 8a at pitch 13! The style is pockety slab climbing with bad feet, Verdon at it's finest. We both had a bolt to bolt before being suddenly, unexpectedly caught in the middle of a thunderstorm. Unsure whether to cower in the cave or jug out to the lip as quickly as possible we opted for the latter. As I manicly jumared lightening struck the rim of the gorge about 30m from me... a close call.

El Topo clip from Jacob Cook on Vimeo.

Unfortunately I tweaked a finger so never got to have a redpoint and had to stand and watch as Ian went for glory and sent the pitch. Here's some photos from the glorious 8a 13th pitch, I'd love to go back for the whole route...

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