Heaven in your Hands
A very, very good gritstone boulder problem! I could leave it there but I will expand upon that sentence a little. This bloc is at a craglet by the name of Brandrith in North Yorkshire; it was climbed by Dave Sutcliffe a good few years ago now but seems to have seen relatively little attention. I had always wanted to get it done but kept for getting of its existence; you know how it is-climbs come and go in your mind depending on how many other bits of rock you are thinking about!
Fast forward at least 5 years and my friend Andy reminded me of its existence. Not only did he remind me but he raved about how good it was! Andy only has eyes for good lines; no eliminates, shuffling or low balls here! After trying to fix up a time to mission up from Sheffield we eventually got ourselves in gear and descended upon Brandrith on Wednesday.
Upon arrival it was warm and humid (the midges were out) and the local authorities were conducting controlled heather fires, creating clouds of smoke that engulfed us from time to time! I was gob smacked when we arrived; it really was pretty perfect looking. An immaculate, fine grained gritstone arête of about 5 metres in height with a good grassy landing!
Quite literally 'Heaven in your Hands'.
We set about trying out beta. The first part is techy arête climbing and this equals Andy’s bag, so in no time at all he was up to the crux about ¾ of the way up. I took a little longer but managed to put a halt to the barn dooring long enough to get established for the crux, now what?!
Tom ‘Gangle’ Newman then showed up, having tried this when he was still very tall but much younger he scooted up the first bit and managed to work out a method for the top, an hour or so later he was on top, leaving us to flail around with idea, after idea, after idea!
I thought I had a method but it was a committing jump for the top and the left hand pinch, in the words of Malcolm Smith, was f*%!ing greasy! So back to the drawing board, another method and I was close but next go I couldn’t seem to find the body position, in dismay I reached for the line of crystals Tom had decided to crimp, to my surprise I could reach, in excitement though I hoisted my foot way over the foot hold and fell back to the mats.
A few goes later and my left arm was feeling really pumped, I decided to have a really long rest. It’s funny how seemingly techy climbing can still leave you feeling pumped. After what seemed like a life time I decided to have a go, my skin was thin but I disregarded the tape and went for broke! Of course as the gritstone story goes this time it felt easy. Everything went perfectly; I looked and placed my feet, leading to an unpumped left arm and this lead to the top of the boulder.
One of the finest examples of gritstone arête climbing I have had the pleasure of doing, it left me with a split tip and a cramped left bicep but that was all worth it. Get up there before it gets too hot!
Cue left arm bicep cramp!
Contributed by: David Mason