Tuesday night climbing at Heptonstall

Tuesday night with the CMC again. My friend Richard also came along and we climbed as a three with Chris.

A lead of Peepod to warm up, which is straightforward and Richard and Chris had no trouble seconding. I asked Chris what he’d like to do next, wondering if he fancied a lead. He said he hadn’t lead outside before and could I give him any instruction, so from then on I tried to explain some of the basics, especially of setting up the belay at the top.

The Chimney next, which I’ve seconded but not lead this year. I wasn’t fazed and did a good lead so I was feeling pleased with myself. Chris up next, no difficulty, and while Richard followed I explained to Chris about finding anchors that are in opposition to the expected line of pull.

I’d done Mille Feuille on a top rope a few weeks ago and I felt confident about leading it. I did what for me was possibly the crux in good style, the delicate move to reach the good hold just below the roof. I put a couple of pieces of good gear in, a good thing because the delicate top half didn’t have any gear at all but I managed to keep cool and do it in good style. I think this route is a soft touch at MVS. Chris and Richard didn’t have much trouble again and I explained to Chris about watching for rope stretch when your anchors are a long way back from the stance.

I thought the others might appreciate something bigger and harder so we went round to the main quarry to top-rope Main Line, a hard, sustained and delicate VS. I set up the belay with a friction (AKA italian) hitch direct belay and Chris climbed first. His indoor bouldering wall training showed and he did the route in very good style but was breathing hard at the end. Richard had a lot more trouble and came off a couple of times. Just before he started we had the most spectacular sunset that set the crag on fire. By the time it was my turn it was distinctly dusky but I remembered the sequence fairly well and go up without too much trouble, apart from an almost-off at the foot traverse across to the left hand crack at two-thirds height.

A great evening’s climbing.

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