Monday, July 6, 2009
Brandler - Hasse Training
Jonny Stocking, Adam Hughes and myself are about to set off on a Dolomites adventure, with the aim of ticking the classic 17 pitch E5 'The Brandler Hasse Route' on the Cima Grande. This jaw droping line follows a steep crack and corner system up an amaizing lime stone pillar and was first freed by German rock star - Kurt Albert in 1987. It was also famously solo'd by Alex Huber in 2002. We will most definitely be using ropes on our attempt as I tend to turn to jelly on the shortest of high ball boulder problems without a rope.
Adam has already climbed the 'Comica Route' on the same face, but Jonny and my exeprience of big rock routes only goes as far as trips to Gogarth and Mingualy. Not quite on the same scale! Because of this lack of experience, Jonny and myself decided that we needed to put in some extra training preperation for the big trip. With this in mind we headed to the classic North East sea cliff venue of Earnshaugh. This is a rather esotoric crag, that on first apearances looks as though it is about to fall down. Thankfully the rock quality is much better than first appearances might suggest and the crag offers a number of quality single and multi pitch lines in a steep and atmosheric setting.
We had decided that we were going to practice functioning at a level similar to that of Brandler Hasse Route in as quick and efficient a manner as we could. So we set our self the target of trying to climb the 3 classic 3 pitch E5 lines of the crag. As we hadn't arrived at the venue until after 3pm we both agreed that even if we were tired or we were running out of light, we would still ab in and attempt to climb all three in the one evening, or deal with the situation if we could not.
We started off with probably the most tried of the routes at the crag - Necromancer E5 5c, 6a, 5b. This is probably the least steep of the 3 routes and after a steep 5c Jamming pitch, you are faced with some rather thin 6a climbing on a sea grass covered slab. After a bit of scetching and flailing around the crux we soon found our selves sitting at the top of the crag avoiding the temptation to chill out in the sun and jumping straight back on the abseil.
Jonny had his sights on his first E5 onsight. He was determined to attempt the crux pitch of 'Prehistoric Monster'. A steep thuggy and yet technical 6a pitch with a huge amount of exposure. Quite a pitch to jump on for your first E5 onsight attempt! Things started of smoothly as I lead up the initial 5b pitch and began to bring jonny up on second. However, as he reached the belay it became apparent that he had left the guide book at the base of the crag. I then lowered him back to the base to retrieve it before attempting the crux pitch. Again Jonny climbed the first pitch, this time with the guide book in hand and proceeded to psyche him self up for the E5 onsight attempt. He was looking very focussed and geared up with speed, deperate to get the attempt underway. He then chalked up and prepaered himself to get stuck in. This build up was cut short by his useless belayer (myself), managing to drop one of his rock boots from the stance. A stupid mistake that would have much greater consequencies in Italy! A rather fed up jonny, lowered off again to collect the rock boot and climb the first pitch for a 3rd time. Finally he was ready to set off on his pitch. As always with Jonny, this went smoothly and he made the pitch look more like V diff than E5, and we soon found our selves sitting at the top of the crag, trying to avoid temptation to chill out.
As the light was starting to run out, it seemed to take a lot more motivation to ab straight back in this time. Yet back down we went and headed for the final of the 3 star classics 'Thugasaurus'. After Jonny climbing the first pitch, which was the same as the last one, for the 4th time today-sorry dude! I set of on the middle 6a pitch which lead to awesome steep juggy sustained climbing through a series of roofs and corners. Then Jonny quickly dispatched a steep technical fingery 6a pitch too finish. We finally got our chance to chill out at the top of the crag.
No sooner than we had pulled up the ab rope, the realisation started to dawn that we had only climbed 9 pitches similar to the difficulties expected on the Brandler Hasse and we were both Knackered. Add another 8 much longer pitches to the equation and I dont even want to imagine how we will feel. After a short conversation it was decided that another Italy training trip was in order and we both agreed it was agood idea to head to Gogarth within the next fortnight! Bring it on!