Just got back from an afternoon at Birchen Edge. I really like Birchen Edge. Parking not that far from the crag. Open ground at the bottom of the edge so you aren’t tripping over stuff. Lots of climbs in the “green and orange” zone (Mod to HVS) which is where I’m playing right now. Strangely, I started the day on an HS, Captain’s Prerogative which was actually quite scary. Slabby and a set of mantles to get up it, I think I bit off a bit much on a first climb, but I think that somehow it got my brave head on! After that, we took a look at Nelson’s Slab which looked frankly awesome.
VS 5b. The 5b being the first move which I could NOT get off the ground on. A really high stop on my for my right foot, with my left jammed in a really polished crack. I’ve taken chunks out of my shin (as usual) from this! Kiri on the other hand, being a flexible little nymph, showed me how it was done and after convincing her that she’d be able to lead the rest, scurried up it quickly.
However, this left me at the bottom needing to second it to collect the gear. Er… hang on, haven’t we just worked out that I couldn’t do the first move? 5 or 6 attempts later, I gave up and instead decided to pull out a load of slack on the rope and solo up the start of Left Ladder Chimney, a Mod next to it, and traverse along the crack that ended up as the 2nd hand hold for Nelson’s Slab. Well, it worked! When I got home I was surprised to discover that I wasn’t the only person who had to do it this way, probably through need to recover gear! I present to you, Nelson’s Slab Indirect Start. The rest of the climb was a gentle, easy slab. Rather nice!
After recovering, we moved along the crag to Emma’s slab. Feeling brave I chose The Prow and got cracking. I really enjoyed this route, but entirely innocently ended up wandering off piste somewhat near the end for the overhanging top out. Shame really as I think I could have managed the final move properly.
Last climb of the day was Emma’s Delight which lived up to it’s name. Very nice, and tough too. Had my head going a bit on trusting undercuts and side pulls!
By the time we’d finished up that last climb, the midges descended in their hordes. We hastily beat an escape before being devoured! Urrgh!
(Photo from Mikey Bean’s Flickr photostream)