What makes the perfect climbing day ? Bouldering with mates in the sun, but with perfect friction? Quality new problems you've never tried before ? Looking out over the sea at a snow covered Isle of Man and Scotland. Performing like a donkey on roller skates but not really caring 'cos you're back doing what you love and you realise just how much you miss it when you can't ? For me it's all of that and being back touching real rock for the first time in months - and getting a bacon and egg butty on the way back to the car to top it off.
I didn't believe my ( eternally optimistic ) mate who told me at the wall on Thursday that St Bee's was 'awesome' at the moment. -7, according to my car, doesn't sound awesome to me. But the seed had been planted. The planned trip to kendal wall was cancelled and the result was ....awesome !
Decided to check out the 'new' South head problems - wrapped up like Michelin man. The walk in wasn't promising. St Bee's slippy green stuff with ice is not a good combo. Took us ages to get there.
We walked past Sectors A-C without knowing it. This may be due to me forgetting the topo, us staring at our feet for fear of falling over or because there isn't much there. We got to Sector D and were impressed to be honest.
The problems that I could do were really good fun. Short 1 move dynos, pumpy traverses, technical aretes. Everything in one little spot. It had a slightly different character to St Bee's North - more open. The harder problems really do look amazing. Some superb improbable lines, really striking aretes and lip problems. Need to get strong - quick !
We ( or rather Mario ) added an extension to Red Whale ( a 2* V2 ) coming in from the right as far as possible. Heel hooking, swinging and flagging galore. I may be biased but i reckon 3*. It's an obvious extension so i would be surprised if it's not been done before.
Even better it gets the sun early at this time of year. The layers soon came off and we were roasting. In the end we left as the problems in the sun got a bit greasy.
It's well worth checking out and remember to stop off for a butty at Hartley's caff on the way back for the perfect end to the perfect day.