|Date: 18th-19th March
Submitted by: Michael Hassan
So, the temperatures have gradually risen and the rain is beginning to go elsewhere on weekends. This could only mean one thing - trad season cometh again! I got to open the account for the year with a few days at Lower Cove in the Mournes over the past two weekends. The goal this year is to try to visit more crags and tick off routes, classic or otherwise, that I've never been on before. With this in mind then I ventured to first corner buttress last Saturday (10th) with Guio Garcia and did Dot's Delight HVS 4c and The Great Treacle Sponge Robbery E1 5b. Dot's Delight is a classic Mournes traverse route - the first half of which is easy but with no gear really, the second a bit airy , but nice moves on positives holds. Great Treacle Sponge Robbery is another pleasant route with good face climbing. We finished off the day with Guio easily climbing Kram VS 4c, a very handy route for VS.
On Sunday 18th, a few of us were back at Lower Cove where I had the three star route of Swing Low E1/2 5b in my sights. This climb is brilliant. It's never desperate but it is steep and pumpy with fine moves. I started belaying in sunshine and finished coiling the ropes in a hail/snow shower. Thankfully that didn't last too long and in awhile it had dried and Clare was keen for Yukon VS 4b,4b. After working out where it started Clare was away, combining the first two pitches together. We really should have paid more attention to the guide book as to how the route finished because the final pitch involves delicately crossing a ramp/slab before climbing a short wall. But we forgot where on the wall. We picked an obvious looking line to follow and Clare started up this. But it proved a little harder than she expected and the final move to the top was challenging - a wet hold not helping. Back on the ground I checked the guidebook and discovered we'd actually climbed the last section of an E2 route. Much fun.
Monday 19th turned out to be sunnier than originally forecast, so it was back to Lower Cove - again, for some more action. I picked out a two star route - No Highway E2 5c,5a to try. Described in the guide as an “excellent and demanding outing” I gave it a go. Another steep route, a little run out at points, but with good holds, it is excellent. I got fairly pumped at what I assumed was the crux - hanging around forever on flat holds looking for a way onto a ledge. I eventually found a hidden hold behind a heather bush - and the move was done. It was so windy at the belay that I was shivering taking Clare up on second while she herself was getting battered around. That ended the day's activities and there was no more climbing to be had as it started to get just a bit too cold.
22 Mar 2012
Great to see a climbing pic with blue skys, time to get back to my V,diffs again,
29 Mar 2012
Yes, truly great weather brings out the best. I'm hoping Keith will give me a piggy-back into the Mournes and treat me to some diff-delights this year; what I hope will be my final op is this Friday. Hope to see you all soon.