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  • Writer's pictureGrant Edwards

New Problems Wot I put up Last Night!

Surprisingly, I managed to haul my backside up 3 new things on one block at Crock Pits, Woody Bay last night.

The surprising part being that I actually got on the problems at all... I've had these 2 projects (that became 3 problems) on the back burner for a while. I've not had loads of sessions on them but circumstances seemed to be getting in the way of success.

Session 1 - was spent cleaning and trying all the moves. I did some of the moves on the lower half of the problems during this session but not the top moves.

Session 2 - a spring tide had soaked the the break you start in and the lower footholds. I managed to dry some higher feet and worked the top outs with success. Game on for sending next session.

Session 3 - arrived at the parking spot, got out of the car and then it started to rain. Not really a session at all. Damn it!

Session 4 - was last night and I was psyched! Neap tides meant the boulder wouldn't be touched by the sea and it was not going to rain this time. Since my last visit, the ocean had been busy depositing sand and pebbles burying the start of the problem (see photo above). The footholds that would make the start possible were 2 feet under. I sat on crash pad and pondered for a while. I decided I would make use of being there and decided to try and dig it out. I found a good flat rock to use as a shovel and began work. Eventually, I got to the footholds! Game on again!

First up was 'The Hero of Haarlem' - this starts with a jam using the right hand in the break which allows a reach for the only decent hold in the crack that runs up the centre of the boulder. 'Decent' maybe over stating it a little, as this hold is the key to all of the problems and it really isn't that decent. I found stuffing in the ring finger worked best for me, across between a 'mono', a 'lock' and a 'stack'. I could then reach out to the right arete and work my way up from here.

Next up was 'The Silver Skates' - this time starting with a jam using the left hand to access the mono/lock/stack hold with the right hand. A reach out to the left arete and up from here using a heal and cheeky knee bar/scum to bump further up it found me topping out.

I then wondered whether I could climb it without either of the aretes. I could with a wee jump! 'The Hero of Haarlem Direct' was done.

I haven't a clue on the grades the mono felt awful on the first acquaintance but last night I was able to pull on it well. Could be anywhere between 6b and 7a (they're definitely harder than 6a and I didn't feel like I tried 7b hard but who knows, perhaps digging is a good warm up.). Silver Skates felt hardest to me and the jump may be easier than using the arete??! They are really cool problems with lovely slopers on the aretes and a vicious crack, they involve a variety of technique, (small fingers!) and cunning to get up them. I think they are quality! Get on them and let me know what you think. (If you know Crock Pits, it's on your left at the top of the beach before you get to the main area).

About the names... I always remember being told a tale at school about a Dutch boy who plugged a hole in a dike, with his finger, all night long, in order to save his town from the ocean. It turns out the myth comes from a short story called The Hero of Haarlem within the book The Silver Skates written by an American Author called Mary Mapes Dodge (published in 1865). It seemed relevant, during these times, when those with power are unable to recognize the science of climate change or choose to ignore it. Perhaps, stories like this create the impression that we can simply hold back nature with a single digit. We can't.

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