I've now had three sessions on the route. The first was with Tess, on one of our seemingly regular 'it's wet in the West, Brin is the last resort' days. I'd not been on the route before and was very glad of use of her clip-stick to dog the draws in, otherwise I reckon I'd still be projecting the third clip. That day I had a couple of tries on top-rope, sussing where it all goes, quite how powerful the crux is, and how easy it'll be to pump-out on the top wall if you can't get much back from the rest.
The second session was an evening after work with Mhairi, and it's fair to say that work that day wasn't hugely productive as I started piecing together the route in my head. I'd not done an evening at Brin before, and what with the Vietnam-style bracken slog it's hardly roadside convenience, but Mhairi had an appointment with One and Only, so was keen. My aim that session was to work a sequence for the crux and integrate clipping into it. I guess in that respect it was a success. It's tedious reading other people's waffle about sequences and holds, but in summary the crux section of this route boils down to working round a roof and having to use a righthand gaston, matching it and turning it into a layback to pull up into a distant undercut. The difficulty comes from the complete lack of footholds that you really want on the left which would allow you to lean out rightwards from the layback, so instead you're all bunched up using feet straight beneath you. I told you it was tedious. Above the crux there's a half decent rest (only half decent, mind you), followed by easier but brilliant climbing. More importantly, Mhairi redpointed One and Only.
Andy Wilby showing how its's done, and seeminky using a totally different sequence to me.
(Photo: Dave Douglas)
On my third and most recent session I was joined for another post-work jungle-bash up the hill by Andy Moles, a man that I'd last seen throwing shapes in a sweaty tent at Tiree Music Festival. The aim this time was to start redpointing and making links, which I guess could be described as successful too. There was an initial false start when I found the hardest move impossible despite doing it in previous sessions - having matched the gaston and worked the feet up to turn it into a layback (hooray for dismal climbing chat!) I just couldn't stand up into the undercut. However, Moles was on hand to talk about flagging feet and counter-balancing and I think I've now got the crucial knowledge. On my third go (first to get the clips in, second to warm up) I linked from the floor into matching the gaston flake, which seemed a million miles away when I think back to my first session nine days earlier. Just two more moves and then it's a rest. More importantly, Andy onsighted One and Only.
Whinging consultant Dave Douglas entering the crux (photo: Ian Taylor)
Time was tight this weekend (wedding admin, aka 'Wadmin') but I was all set up for a Saturday morning session but rain spoiled play. I'm lined up with Dr Clarkson, one of the route's namesakes, for tomorrow night but there's rain in the forecast again. I'll keep you posted...