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Report on Culdaff

Date: 29th October 2006
Submitted by: Anthony Feeney
 Climbing in October doesn't seem to suit me. Especially climbing in October in wet conditions on a route I've never led before. Oooh the flashbacks... Winegums, my brain is telling me to remember the winegums... Anyway met George at Culdaff around 10.30am. Only half an hour late for a change. Started on Orange Blossom, the usual warmer upper, led by George. Followed by Tina's Crack (me), Grecian Gift (George, ) Absent Friends "Five" (me). Then George upped the level and we had a bash at Master of Puppets (HVS 5a). It was as hard as I remembered it, nothing for the feet and I was glad I was only seconding it. Swore till the air was blue and struggled up it on a tight rope. George was feeling up for another HVS 5a and we headed for Fluid Inclusions which was in damn good need of a wire brush cleaning. George attempted it but got feared half up way and saddled sideways onto a supposedly easier HS to the left, but the preponderence of green rock growth must have added a few grades to it. Like trying to climb a grassy hill in your rock shoes. Got myself a nice fall seconding this, my left foot giving way to the lichen and sliding me to a dangling position and George to sitting position up at the anchor. We tried Bean Bob (Vs 4c) next and managed rightly, George forgoing some gear placement because of the lack of a good hex / large friend mid-way up.  George was ready to call it a day but I'd had a look at Pea Bob, which travels left where Bean Bob goes right, and figured I'd be well capable of leading it. Unfortunately it started to spit rain. We were both kind of humming and hahing about doing another route but I got the old "feck it" head on and went for it, only to come a cropper on a nice wet foothold 3/4 of the way up. More blue swearing but the huge nut I'd just placed and George's excellent belaying skills saved the day. Lowered off, abbed down later for the gear, tried to hide the jelly legs and drove home in the worsening rain, nursing a nice rope burn to the web of my right hand. A great day out though.

So who was the stranger in the hat with a friend who greeted us from the car park whilst on Absent Friend "Five"?

Climber know thine enemy: wet rock and any kind of lichen (pronounced "litchen" in Cullybackey and like-en in Dungiven).

Photo of Route