All of us were most psyched for the Pembroke leg of the trip, but when we got there we had a look around and realised that most of the things we wanted to do were wet. Given that Huntsman’s Leap and Stennis Ford were mostly wet we had to make a change of plan. Hans and I sort of wasted the first day checking things out to find them wet. James onisghted Big Softy E7, which was a good effort given its condition. Hans managed to flash it the next day, with some info about the gear from James. It was one of the scariest leads I’ve belayed, given Han’s erratic style and lack of concern in the face of minimal gear and wet rock. As I jugged out (I was resting) nearly all of his pieces pulled out with a slight pull of the rope.
The next day things were looking drier in the leap and Stennis Ford, but unfortunately the military chose that day to start blowing things up in the range, so we were only allowed in at 4pm. To make the most of the day we went to Mother Scaries first. Hans lead Just Klingon (which felt much easier than when I seconded Neil Mawson up it (I think he went the wrong way)) and I did the E6 to the left Fireball XL5. It’s amazing that the Cad and Fireball XL5 get the same grade. They seem to represent opposite scales of the spectrum. Fireball feels pumpy, steep but mostly a clip up, using a lot of threads, insitu and otherwise. Whereas the Cad has much easier climbing, is not pumpy but, has very limited or poor protection.
Although I wanted to try Ghost Train, and Hans, Point Blank, we only really had time to film James and Caro on the Jackals, a cool looked E8 in Stennis Ford. Caro worked out the moves and the gear, did it with relative ease, and then James flashed it using her sequences and gear beta. Although me and Hans were annoyed not to try our routes, it was cool to see James and Caro dispatch E8 so casually, and we got to solo Manzooku as the sun set, which is a really nice route at Stennis Head, and one of my first E1s when I was younger.