Well in keeping with the pushing myself. I had eyes on a hard route on the Dervish slab, I choose it because despite being bold it is essentially safe on the crux. I made it more so by climbing the Dervish to the overlap and arranging lots of gear there before heading all the way back down to the jug and stepping out right onto Flashdance and start eyeing up the top of Belldance.
At which point I am instantly bamboozzled by the way ahead to the overlap. The description clearly makes this the crux, chatting to Charlie yesterday he mentioned this is the crux and that you go much further right than you think. I essentially tried to go two ways each time scuttling back down to the good footholds each time, wonder what goes on. Out further right is a third and only remaining option, a hairline crack with a few what look like holds in it. After what seemed like an age I committed to see what the holds were like, knowing i’d be commited to the sequence, but with runners level with me I was going to be OK.
I managed to onsight the crux moves, a sequence of testing 6b tech to the overlap and quickly got my hands establish on two crossly crimps above. I look left at the rope arching towards the runners now level with me but about 30ft away, gulp. It took me a while to calm down and find the footholds to get over the overlap but again I committed as the climbing eases slightly above and I know it’ll be fine when I am stood on my handholds. Stepping my foot high onto a tiny dink I rock over and get my left over the overlap. Up and right are better holds, reaching up I am 4 inches short. Undetered I extend onto my tiptoes and bam.
My foot pops, I drop like a sack of spuds back down over the overlap, my feet brush the slab and send me backwards down the slab. I slam into the slab with my back, like I have been thrown by some Olympic Judo champion for ippon. By now was expecting to have started my deceleration but I seemed to be going faster. Just as I had enough time for the thought to go through my mind that shouldn’t I be stopping by now, the ropes start coming tight but I still keep pumpeting as Llion is pull off his feet, offering me a ‘soft catch’.
I come to rest way below the crux of the Dervish, in fact I fell more than half the height of the slab from where I was, slightly winded and crest fallen. Yet again I had done the crux of the route and blown the easy climbing as my foot pooped. I lower off. Llion climbs the Dervish and retrieves my gear. I recon it was a good 40ft+ fall although, just like the fisherman, each time I tell the story the size gets bigger. So it was a 50 footer now.
Before you all get worried for me. Remember that I choose this route because despite being bold, with gear in the overlap I felt it was ‘safe’. Be careful out there as what goes up must come down. Just after Llion came down from the Dervish, The Evans turned up, fashionably late, with a good excuse but very bad news. A friend has not been so lucky and is in hospital in Europe in a coma. I am not sure what happened, but we can only hope he pulls through. He’s in the best hands now.