Christmas Day Bouldering

It’s a tradition to go bouldering on Christmas day. It doesn’t matter if it is raining, wet, miserable or snowy, my friends and I try to get out. Often, it ends up that we take the bouldering mats for a long and soggy walk, but this year we were lucky.

We decided to go to Cratcliffe and Robin Hood’s Stride as we hadn’t been there for a while. We met up with our friends by T-Crack. I warmed up on a boulder slightly farther down the hill. It was cold, and the boulders looked pretty green but the rock itself was pretty damn grippy, so it boded well for some ascents of some form or another.

Robin Hood's Stride. Photo: CanadianKate

I am not known for my ability to climb slabs of any sort – especially gritstone ones. I knew that I probably wasn’t going to climb that much on Christmas day as usually we do more talking than climbing. So I decided to try and at least get up a slab climb. It took 2 goes, but I got the beta and my shoes (5.10 Anasazi LVs) are pretty much designed for gritstone. I could place my feet and feel really confident that they were going to stay there. The one time that my feet did sheer, I did a bit of a plummet and skinned my wrist. I had a rest and tried again. After getting to the same position, I was more careful with my foot placement and then stepped through and stood up. I topped a 5+ slab climb. Woot! The funny thing is that I’m really pleased with myself, slabs are not my forte at all, so even if its a 5+, that’s better than my previous attempts on slabs.

Not bad on my first climb of the day. Photo: CanadianKate

The bouldering mat is blending into the scenery. Photo: CanadianKate

After the rest of the group got bored of slabs, we moved on to T-Crack. I mainly watched Diane and a friend try it and enjoyed being outside. Diane and Will played on the problem for a while. Both had different sequences, but after a while those who aren’t quite as strong got pretty cold and we moved to the Cave in Robin Hood’s Stride. The OH has been trying the Cave Problem (F7a) for a while, off and on, and wanted to have a go again. I had played on it once or twice as well, and was interested to see whether I would get any farther than previous attempts.

Will playing on T-Crack. Photo: CanadianKate

Diane playing on T-Crack. Photo: CanadianKate

After scaring away two other boulderers (sorry!), we played on it a for a while. The strong people either flashed or retroflashed it, and then us mere mortals had a couple of goes. It took 2-3 goes to remember where I needed to put my feet to reach up to the sloper with my right hand. This time I could actually match this and figured out (roughly) where to put my feet in order to hold the swing. There are some really handy toe-hooks that help control the swing. I fell off trying to go for the little crimp with my left hand. I’d like to get back on it relatively soon, as I think I have a good chance of getting a couple of moves closer to the top.

By this time, most everyone was really cold, hungry and wanted to crack on with the main attraction of Christmas day – the eating! We packed up and headed back home to start preparing roast goose and trimmings.

Some stats:

  • Tried 3 problems
  • Topped 1 problem
  • Progressed on 1 problem
  • Got nowhere on 1 problem
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