Stanage is pretty damn big… 4 miles of big! As a result, there is loads of climbing I’ve not seen on there and I’d never even been to Stanage End! It was on my radar though because I’d added Incursion to my wishlist based on a recommendation and I wanted a look at it.
The sweatiness of Sheffield had pretty much disappeared once we got out of car. It was warm enough to not wear a coat and a nice cool breeze looked promising for keeping the evil midges away. It was a nice 15 minute walk up hill from car to End Slab, the first large piece of Stanage End and we were surprised to not see another person at all!
We started out warming up on The Ariel which Rich lead delicately. Quite a nice climb to be honest, a bit longer than expected. The slab, although a touch green had plenty of friction. After that it was my turn to lead and I sized up The Green Streak. This is the route that shares the start of Incursion so could give me a taste of it’s seriousness. Nervously I started up it, faffing with a cam in the first break. I’ve not actually done that many VS’s yet, although I do like slabs… Eventually I started to find the motion of it and begun to trust my feet on it. There are couple of really good gear spots, mostly for cams, but there was a slot that against all common sense sucked in a small nut that must have taken 10 minutes to remove. The last half of the climb was an exercise in keeping calm and trusting those feet; the sense of relief was amazing once I reached the break near the top with it’s lovely juggy hold.
Next up, Jen lead The Pinion which was probably one of the most nervy HVD’s I’ve ever been on. Nice lead!
Both Rich and I eyed up Incursion a bit. Definitely one for later when it’s not quite so late and we’ve summoned up the courage…
We finished up with a quick solo up The Rack and them bouldered over some of the small rocks to the left. By this time it was about quarter to 10 and the light was rapidly failing so time to go! Overall, a really nice evening of climbing. No sunburn, no midges and no crowds!