Impact Day & Raining Bats and Dogs
Over the Jubilee Bank Holiday weekend I had a break from Sport climbing and went away with my Dad trad climbing to the Lakes. We got really lucky with the weather and had 4 daysin a row without any rain, amazing! We met up, just by coincidence, with my friends; Charlie Woodburn, Dave Pickford, Hazel Findlay and others who were all up for the weekend from Bristol. I had a great few days getting back into placing wires with my dad. It was just like when I was younger going out and ticking the routes out of extreme rock, only I was doing the leading this time. The last day we all went up to Pavey Ark and Charlie, Hazel and I tried Dave Birketts E8 called Impact Day. I had thought about trying to flash it (It’s the route Ben Bransby fell from the last move on trying to Onsight it with no chalk on it when it was still graded E9!) but just didn’t want the stress and fancied a more relaxed day out with mates so opted for a top rope. I didn’t find it too hard on top rope, about F8a, but didn’t flash it (such an impressive effort from Ben back in 1999) so I was glad I tried in on a rope. The start is bold but not too hard unless you’re short, then the top is hard, the crux being the last move, but safe. I had another go up it to sort out the gear then decided to have a go. I got way more pumped than I thought I would and almost dropped the last move….almost. So next up was Charlie who felt pretty tired after lots of climbing but went for it and fell on the last move…so close, it was a great effort! Next up was Hazel. Everyone’s probably read her account of her fall so I won’t say too much, but thankfully it was just a few bumps and bruises and she was ok. It was the first time I’ve ever had to hold a factor 2 fall when belaying!
Raining Bats and Dogs 1st ascent. Pic: Nick Brown
As the weather over the next few weeks was rubbish it was back to sport climbing and back to Malham sooner than I’d thought. Thankfully it was still cold and good conditions. I still wanted a break from Rainshadow though so got on the link up of Bat route into Rainshadow. Steve McClure did a longer link a few years ago that started up Bat route then traversed left into Rainshadow and then carried on traversing further left before finishing up Overshadow which he gave 8c+. But know one had done it finishing up Rainshadow. It took me 2 days trying it to get the link done but I’d had a day a while ago remembering the crux of Bat route anddone loads of links on the upper wall of Rainshadow while trying Rainshadow this spring so there was just a short new section to try. I gave the Link up 8c and a few people have since questioned it so here’s my thoughts on why I graded it 8c.
I view Raining Bats and Dogs (RBD) as doing 2 8b’s with a good but core intensive rest in between. So yes I think it’s harder than Bat route, as that’s 8b into 8a+, but don’t think it makes it 8c+. As Bat route is considered to be an easy-ish 8c then I think RBD is a hard 8c. If you compare RBD with Rainshadow (Rs) then Rs does an 8a+(no chain grab remember) and then a font 7c+ to get to the join with RBD and RBD does a 7b into a font 7b, a big rest then font 7a+. Even if you took the rest out the RBD is still easier! So my view is IF the rest wasn’t there on RBD then yes 8c+ for sure but it is so its hard 8c. Also RBD’s is easier than Steve’s Batshadow link which he gave 8c+.
It seems like the weather’s got even worse over the last week and now even Yorkshire’s seeping. Hopefully it’ll stop raining enough for things to dry out and I’d love to get some more trad climbing done.
Contributed by: Neil Mawson