Monday 14 June 2010

Still shivering on Hoy

Thanks for the thought

Mmmm, inviting! After a long session on the wall, I was too late to make the last let-in time for the fantastic hostel facility in Moaness. I was hoping Fay would volunteer to open the hostel and let me leave money out for her, but sadly not, so it was a shivery night in the pier building for me. Some ridiculous sessions of aerobics every couple of hours through the night were required to keep the shivers at bay.
Among other things, I took a couple of days to venture back onto Hoy by myself to spend a couple of sessions on the crux pitch of the Longhope project. I had underestimated how dialled I had it when I was having sessions last summer and the effect of one or two of the smallest holds wearing down a tiny bit and just tipping the difficulty in the upward direction.   
The pitch is definitely feeling like F8c. I feel like I have to be climbing at least ‘90%’ to redpoint 8c. What I’m not sure about is if I can walk in and climb 420 metres of pitches up to there and still feel 90%? The two other big problems with getting this route done are the temperature and the bloody birds. I hoped that by now summer might have edged up as far as Orkney, but yesterday I was still climbing in full winter mountaineering clothing and duvet jacket with completely numb hands in the relentless wind. On the crux 50 metre pitch, there is good gear most of the way apart from a long runout early in the pitch up to a break with a hole in it. Most unfortunately, a fulmar is poised right in the back of the hole ready to puke it’s grim stomach contents right into my face right as I would take a 70 foot fall with some nasty ledges within clipping distance. The next gear is a long reach off the hole (the break is too sandy and rounded to take anything else).
So there are still fitness and timing problems to solve. But at least good links have been done and I can get on with rounding off my fitness on some big mountain trad days in anticipation of my nest Hoy venture, whenever summer arrives there?


  1. Anonymous14 June, 2010

    Would you say it's still a bit cold for a visit to the Old Man this weekend?

  2. The old man will be fine, looks like a great high pressure for this week. Maybe summer will hit the north now...

  3. Anonymous14 June, 2010

    Could you use an air horn to scare off the birds as you climb?
    Maybe not the most environmentally friendly suggestion but it's probably not much fun for them to be puking on you all the time!