I have been interested with teh quarries for a long time and spend much of my time enjoying the legacy of the 1980′s pioneers, as well as looking at the history of the time. This looking back at the history surrounding the quarries is interesting, as it really helps put it into perspective just what was going on at the time. I would expand on it here, but I have penned a piece on the quarries for UKC, and don’t want to spoil the surprise.
However I was today up on the conscience slab, so called by the main protagonist behind the development of this slab, as his conscience was rather troubled by the placing of the bolts on his routes. Which by today’s standards is rather odd, as bolt protected lines in the quarries are extremely common, given the recent move to grid type bolting and excavation of new routes.
When Mike Raine developed these routes, bolting was a rather new thing, something that was still raising an eyebrow or two. In placing those bolts he was stuck between the trad ethic of the time and the desire to climb this stunning if slightly overlooked wall. Anyway today the routes have seen a little bit of a renaissance, after he re-equipped them and added one bolt to a route where the previous wire placement had blown out.
Today I climbed Is it a Crime?, a simply lovely E3. Don’t believe guides that make it out to be E2, as if this is E2 then the Dervish is E1. The route feature some fine run-out climbing on easy terrain and then some nice thin crux moves next to bolts. We then went onto climb Never as Good as the First Time, another great E3, although Simon manned up and climbed the 6b top section of Sweetest Taboo.
The joy of this slab is that it is only a few minutes from the car, and you can get up and down these routes pretty sharpish, I think Si and I were only there for a little over an hour. It also gets the even sun, and was out of the rather brisk wind.