More Janus and whinging pommes!

9th Oct 2007

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Well, I was just about to start writing my blog about Janus when the phone rang. It was a friend telling me that the threads related to the news piece of my ascent of Janus were getting a bit derogatory in places. She was pretty angry about this and it’s kind of upset me a bit too.

I rarely look at these things because so much drivel is written; it’s easy to get offended.

I was just about to happily write and now feel like it’s tainted and probably will be hard to be upbeat about it.

I can’t complain about being in the news but it’s hard not to let people’s comments affect you.

So anyway…Janus.

As I said, I’d never head pointed a route before so although I don’t believe this ascent is groundbreaking or particularly newsworthy- I am very pleased to have done it.

I don’t know what more you can say to that. I have been very honest about how I did it and as we are all individuals, we should be able to choose how we climb. Not be dictated to by a few who think they are in the know!

I have always wanted to do Janus. It’s an amazing feature that has always caught my eye and the fact that Curbar is probably my favourite grit crag was another plus.

Having recently decided to get on some harder grit lines, Janus was close to the top of my list.

I had a couple of goes with Katherine Schirrmacher who had put her rope on it and thought the climbing was just as amazing as it looked. I got really fired up, even though it felt pretty tenuous, balancy yet powerful climbing I kind of knew it would start to feel easier with a bit more practice.

I left it a day because my skin was so sore, there are some small fingertip laybacks on it and my skin is very thin at the mo. As I’ve been climbing a lot and not giving it a chance to heel!

So went back on Friday 5th October. Phew what a scorcher! It really was unbelievable; we left Sheffield prepared for autumn conditions, got to Curbar, which had been transformed into a giant sun bed overnight!

I love the heat but I have to say I was fairly dismayed to be faced with clear blue skies and no wind whatsoever. It was full on sunbathing weather. I had to borrow a pair of pants off my friend as my warm trousers were sweltering.

Anyway, I got the rope set up and got climbing. As I thought it didn’t take too long for it to feel much more amenable. On my second go it went clean and felt doable. I lowered down and sorted the gear and found a good position to place it from, it was starting to look like I was ready for the lead.

I hadn’t banked on this happening today but felt psyched at the prospect. It was now 3pm ish and not cooling at all. But I just felt that I would try anyway. Although the gear is very small in places, you’d be unlucky to hurt yourself badly- so what had I got to lose.

Looking up without the gear in and no top rope was a little daunting. And having never been in this scenario before, I felt a little nervous. But the only way to get to grips with something is to get on and try it.

So off I went. About 1/3 the way up is a little ledge you can sit on and contemplate the upcoming moves. It was quite pleasant with the sun blazing in my eyes.

Feeling nervous I pulled onto the first hard moves and propelled myself upwards.

Once you know this route, I don’t think there is an obvious crux- it’s fairly sustained 6b all the way.

So it was a case of just keep steady, don’t make any mistakes and try not to get pumped before topping out!

I definitely felt more pumped leading it, especially putting the gear in but didn’t feel like I was ever going to fall off which was a relief.

For many reasons I am so pleased about this route but I think the main one is that I’ve looked at it and admired it for so long, that to have actually been on it and climbed it is a fantastic feeling.

I am definitely going to do more head pointing, as it is a great process to go through.

I feel like I need to say something about the UKC threads but can’t really be bothered anymore. I am just being open about what I do and the way I’ve done it. Apparently this route is an E7 that is grounduppable (is that a word??). Who has done it in this style? Katherine said that Simon Nadin had done it years a go but didn’t on sight it- still a great effort. I would love to know who else has done it. Having asked around, no names are coming to light.

Just because there is potential to ground up it (if you were mad enough you could try and ground up any grit route), doesn’t mean everybody has to do it like that.

As I have said, in the past I have always tried to on sight grit routes and have come a cropper (hospitalised once) several times and they weren’t all hard grades. What I have found with grit is that it is very unpredictable.

Especially for someone who is vertically challenged like myself. The grades have almost become an irrelevance to me. I climb a line because I like the look of it and I can see there will be gear in it.

The amount of times I have got on something supposedly easy and found that for me it’s nigh on impossible. I regularly get burned off by my friends who are climbing way lower grades than me, that’s just the way it is.

I have learned that cracks are the way forward because you always get gear and there will always be a hold, you just have to jam- I love ‘em!

I’m off now, more blog soon…