Spud Guns and White Hat Wearing
Since watching that classic production Consumed I have always wanted to do Grand Potato, which in old money used to get E7 6b but now with a few pads is more like font 7a+. Last year it was popular with a number of ascents but I never managed to get to Baslow to try it.
However as the grit season is drawing to an end and spring is upon us, a moist but cool Wednesday morning seemed like a perfect opportunity to get out and try our luck on the ‘big pomme de terre’. Katy, Ned, Rich and I hauled in some mats to make it as safe as possible. After all we can do this nowadays so why not (cue ethics police onslaught)?!!
A brief sandy break traverse was ample warm up and Ned was off up the big potato quicker than you could say King Edward! A few goes later I managed to scramble (pun intended) my way up the arête to the ‘oeuf’ like slopers at the top. Katy was getting through the crux but was all beefed out from the gunny roof section at the bottom, next time! Rich was just there for moral support and an egg-stra pair of hands!!
Katy eyeing the' oeufs' on Grand Potato
With a few hours spare before I had to be at work we decided to go in search of The Art of White Wearing (7b) at Curbar, or is it at Froggatt, no Curbar, Froggatt, ah who knows! I had heard this was a brilliant highball-technical and tenaciously tiring upon ones toes! After a longer walk-in than necessary, we went off the main path too early and had to fight through felled Silver Birches, we arrived in a sweaty state at our destination. In today’s terms this is probably pretty low for a highball but the quarried ramp line that ascends up the centre of the wall makes for a stunning feature.
A friend of ours, Mr. Dixon had said his toes got tired climbing this and I can understand why. One attempt down and I was changing my sloppy Quantums for a slightly stiffer 5x. A few goes of figuring out beta (we managed to forget each time) and we all got to the top! A very satisfying climb rather like West Side Story but easier and all on the left hand. Thanks for balancing us out gritstone!
A short but successful morning, nothing ground breaking but a nice reminder that the gritstone creates extraordinary features for us to climb at heights that are slightly unsettling and so makes for a great experience.
Contributed by: David Mason