Black Carn North and South
2nd April 2021
Gelert – HS 4b – Second
Pudsey – VS 4c – Lead
Doc – HVS 5b – Lead
So after Lockdown number 2, Chris and I finally got out for a days climbing. This last batch of lockdown has seemed increasingly drawn out. Coronavirus continues to dog the world, tearing up the norm and replacing it with some form of twisted altered life… similar to before but not quite the same.
As Chris climbed into my car, I couldn’t help but catch myself thinking ‘is this safe? Am I doing the right thing?’. That’s what 12 months of isolation does to you. Its the new norm. Every decision has the virus at its root. But is it more dangerous than climbing? Not today it wasnt! As usual Chris and I set out for a relaxed ‘re-connection’ with climbing, but in usual fasion it turned into an epic. And why not 🙂
Being fairly rusty on all things at the crag, our first dilemma was whether Chair Ladder was bird banned. BMC RAD advised it was from Lacertian to Mitre. Where the hell is Lacertian. We didn’t find out on the day but after a bit of research we figured it must have meant Laceration. Didn’t really matter in the end, because we headed off for some Black Carn shenanigans.
Repeats of Gelert and Pudsey followed, rekindling the climbing vibe. Interestingly I found the scramble in and around the crag equally as enjoyable. It was just good to be hands on granite. Black Carn is a lovely secluded location. Drop down by the wall and then angle across bouldery ground for a neat little area with steep and pristine granite.
Feeling confident, Chris and I headed over to the zawn on the South side, an area we’d not been to. Some tricky scrambling leads down to an amazing gulley with a sort of massive chock stone. This creates a pool behind but is just a lid allowing the water to flow under it. Very cool and a definite location for a swim when the sea warms a bit. As a potential practice for the Cuillin we thought that trying the ‘easy’ V Diff corner we had spotted would be perfect.
Doh! Not V Diff. Turns out it was Doc, an HVS 5b. In approach shoes. I did my best to look thoroughly terrified as I tried to top out way above my gear. Gone were any ethics on knees, teeth and any other part of my body that could grip the rock. A seal flop onto the top gave me enough respite to place gear and finish off with a little more elegance. Still I’d rather be lacking in style and alive. So much fun. That’s type 3 fun.
Nursing our scars and cuts Chris and I ambled back to the car with that stupid contented grin you only get when things have pushed you beyond. Fuck COVID. I can find much more interesting ways to kill myself if I want to.