Friday, 12 August 2011
The belay in sight at the end of Maxwell’s Demon 8b+, Steall during the first ascent. Pic by Steven Gordon. Steven has uploaded a nice gallery from the day on his site here.
It’s not so often I get to the chain on two sport projects at Steall in one day, never mind two first ascents. Finally a break the humidity allowed me to get some redpoints in. First off, I took an interest in an old project climbing straight through the central cave, taking in the crux of Arcadia and breaking out onto the headwall to join the finish of Ring of Steall. Duncan McCallum had first tried the line in the nineties but abandoned it and it was de-bolted after some unnatural holds briefly appeared (and were filled in very well).
I re-equipped the start and finish (the middle bit takes in a couple of trad placements on the Arcadia crack) but it was always either too cold or seeping or I had a crap sequence. Anyway, the other day I managed to do it and thought it was excellent. I had originally thought it was 8b but after a bit of a scrap for a few attempts even in dry conditions it felt a bit more like 8b+.
Next up I went straight onto an excellent link-up possibility that Michael first pointed out to me. Climbing pretty much all of The Fat Groove (8a), across the lip of the roof of Maxwell’s Demon, reversing the crux traverse of Arcadia and finishing up most of Leopold (8a) to give a 40 metre diagonal stamina monster. Michael’s proposed that if it would go it would be a ‘5 star mega classic’. I can confirm that’s pretty much how it climbed. It takes in a lot of cruxes of 8as and harder, but with some good, if body pumping rests. I called this one Steallworker (8b).
What a nice way to round off a couple of weeks climbing at home before I leave tomorrow for the Gore-Tex Experience Tour trip to Norway.
Throw in another kneebar and press on! Halfway along the big link-up on Steallworker 8b during the first ascent.