Yesterday the weather was ideal for climbing gritstone, in my opinion - cool enough to guarantee good friction, though not so cold that your fingers drop off. So Damo and I drove up early to meet Dave J at Froggatt, in the Peak District. Last time I climbed there I was just breaking into E1, and since then I've been looking forward to having a go at a couple of the mid-grade classics - no room for error though!
Great Slab E3 5b
What a brilliant, brilliant route, one of the great classics of British climbing. There is no gear anywhere on the slab so there's no point with ropes or harness. Years ago I never thought I'd even consider doing it, but I'm really glad that I changed my mind. It's far from the most technically difficult route that I've done, but it still ranks as one of the finest, most exhilarating moments of my climbing career so far. I'm looking relaxed in the photo but that was before the crux!
Long John's Slab E3 5c
Another gearless Froggatt slab climb, harder climbing than Great Slab but less psychologically draining, as the moves are more obvious. The crux is stepping off the ground, basically, though the landing wouldn't be particularly pleasant. Barely justifies E3, but I suppose it would be a mean sandbag at E2.
Brown's Eliminate E2 5b
Yet another Froggatt slab climb, but this time with two good cams at half height and an easy top-out. The grade is spot on, and the crux moves, stepping off the half-height ledge, are great.
I also did Brightside E2 5c, but I think I went off route which made it rather easier - in which case it's a very contrived line and barely worth bothering with. And I had a play on the start of Downhill Racer E4 6a, but backed off from the low crux, as I wasn't 100% sure of making it. It's still there for the future...and, crucially, so am I!