A select foursome made their way to Stanage on Sunday, with the expectation of chilly weather, but were pleasantly surprised at the improving conditions which made climbing rather pleasant. Sociology (S) and Physiology (VD) were the warm-up routes, with which the leaders were quite satisfied, but the seconds were not, with one complaining about the awkwardness of Physiology and the other going ‘ology crazy by sampling sections of both Physiology and Anotherology during her ascent of Sociology.
Things settled a little on Black Hawk Hell Crack and Little Ernie, both (S), then the top rope was deployed for Townsend’s Variation (HVS 4c). To describe the upper section of this route as exposed would not do it justice as it really is out there, even on a top rope it’s quite scary, and with no runners, plus 18m ground fall potential, the method of ascent felt entirely justifiable. Having caught the top-rope bug, we then decided to have a look at The Kirkus Original (HVS 4c). This is less serious than Townsend’s, but still has an unprotected crux, which is definitely not 4c, in fact, I would suggest 5b, and the top rope was fully utilised as we worked out the moves.
After these challenging efforts, Leaning Buttress Crack (VD) and Soft Shoe (HS) provided a more gentle finale to a satisfying day.