"A word on the spot is worth a cartload of recollections"
James Maggs, Southwold diarist 1797-1890

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Hangovers make for Cold Feet

Actually we weren't all that hungover, but we may have had a Grizzly Paw pilsner or 2 more than we should have. We were both a bit sluggish this morning, so we stopped off at the general store in Field for coffee and home-made cake as a second breakfast. We took away some very fine home-made apple strudel too.

Feeling a bit more human, we slogged up a steep snowy hillside through trees to the start of Guinness Gully (240m WI4). The climb was in a pretty battered state, quite steep but with steps kicked by previous parties.

My hands got cold while I was belaying Nick on the second pitch , and by the time I had climbed up to his belay I could feel the onset of a bad go of Hot Aches, as the blood began to return to my frozen hands. If you've never had Hot Aches it's pointless trying to describe it. For the next 4 or 5 minutes I was in a sea of pain. I wanted to vomit. There's absolutely nothing you can do until it passes.

After completing Guinness we continued up the gully for a further couple of hundred metres to another climb: High Test/Stout (WI4+). I led the first easy pitch and Nick set off on the second. This was much steeper and, as it turned out, longer than our 60m ropes, so, as Nick neared the top, I dismantled the belay and we climbed simultaneously for the final few metres.

Although it wasn't technically difficult, the final pitch was probably harder than anything we've done here. The ice was particularly hard, quite brittle, and mostly vertical.
It was OK for me on a top rope:

but when I got to the top Nick said he'd been so scared leading it, he'd actually felt sick.

So over the course of a day, one of us had felt sick from pain, the other from fear. What a day out!

There was nothing for it but to go back to Field for more apple strudel.

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