What Ted Kingsnorth doesn’t know about Yorkshire Limestone isn’t worth knowing! Ted is part of the Scarpa Team and is a regular many of Yorkshire and the Peak district’s best climbing spots. In this blog Ted gives us a rundown of the highlights of the 2021 Yorkshire Limestone season.
Yorkshire limestone 2021 – Reflections on the sport climbing season
Now seems to be as good a time as any to look back on the year that is swiftly coming to an end as the crags get wetter and the temps drop. Most people bar the hardy few have now retreated into training mode. Its time for a much needed power topup or some well deserved rest and recuperation.
Time to dust down that training plan perhaps? 2021 will be remembered as one of the better sport climbing seasons we have had in recent years. The crags started off dry in April and bar a cold spell in May, that continued right up until early August when the first serious deluges rolled through.
These proved to be no more than temporary setbacks for the serious Kilnsey redpointers, resulting in some minor adjustments to that all-important redpointing schedule. For those with time on their hands, this summer was the time to bring it all together and make the push to that elusive next grade or bag that pesky long term project.
For crag regulars, it was excellent to see the influx of recruits to the ranks as some new faces were welcomed to the scene with everybody keen to share beta and psyche. One of the best bits of having a regular attendance record at Kilnsey is the social scene and saying hi to a friendly face, especially after the recent lockdowns, The Yorkshire Limestone Facebook group was a great source of partners for many without a regular belayer or failing that, just rocking up and offering to belay resulted in a catch being secured on many an occasion – who knows just how many spontaneous sends resulted which otherwise wouldn’t have happened?
I will try and remember some of the many, great ascents that took place at Malham and Kilnsey although with the disclaimer that there were so many that I will inevitably miss out a few – if I have erred, answers on a postcard to give somebody I have missed their rightful place in the pantheon! (Crag coverage limited to the Big 2 crags because that’s where I went most of summer!)
To sum up some of the high end action at Kilnsey, Northern Lights 9a got sent twice by Will Bosi and Josh Ibbertson. I was lucky enough to witness Will’s ascent and saw Josh get very close on multiple ocassions before he did it. It was amazing to see these high level performances and the sheer level of effort and dedication on show.
From a personal perspective, my saga with Progress 8c+ finally came to an end in June, which felt strange to be finally able to move on and bring a multi-year siege to a close. It was awesome to see Josh, Eder Lomba de Ipina and Pete Dawson all clip the chains too and share the new kneebar beta that emerged, which proved to get the key to getting over the line, margins between success and failure being wafer thin at your personal limit.
Alex Barrow succeeded on Preposterous Tales a new 9a through the big roof at Kilnsey; its great to see that the crag is still yielding new lines, it looks like a funky piece of very difficult climbing through a gob smacking feature. Tim Palmer, Josh Ibbertson, Pete Dawson and me managed to send the tricky Northern Exposure Part 1 8b+ after several years of this nearly forgotten test piece lying fallow. The extension to this line, Northern Star 9a/+, Steve McClure’s superroute from 2007 did see some attention with a crimp or two parting company with the crag most inopportunely back in June, rendering it likely harder. One can only hope that the line is still possible, although with the dismaying levels of strength displayed by today’s up and coming young climbers, perhaps it is no bad thing that there are test pieces out there still to be freshly claimed.
Several well deserved ticks of Urgent Action were bagged, both male and female, including by Thea Cameron. It was certainly the year to lay your North Buttress project to rest with the usual worries of impending seepage dispelled for weeks at a time. Rhoslyn Frugtniet swiftly despatched Full Tilt 8b, along with several others with some strong teams laying siege to the full line, True North 8c. I am sure next year there will be many clipping those elusive chains!
The Yorkshire Ripper 8b received a rare ascent from yours truly which will hopefully lead to more from other climbers. Half the battle seems to be cleaning up dusty holds and getting on the thing, which leads to others showing an interest and helping to clean up the line still further. Indian Summer was sent by Josh Ibberton and his dad James (if I am not mistaken) and Neil Mawson with Tom Newberry adding All Out 8c to his ticklist to round out the action down this end of the crag.
Mandella 8a+ was sent by several parties including Tanya Meredith and Ella Russell, again a great tick for a dry summer, no better time to add this mega classic to your trophy cabinet! Bullet 8a+ proved popular with Naomi Buys, amongst others, succeeding on a well-deserved tick.
Moving on to Malham, Eder Lomba de Ipina ticked Rainshadow 9a and Batman 9a/+ in the Spring, as did Josh Ibbertson and Toby Roberts, more recently in the autumn. There were a few ascents of Bat Route 8c, John Lawson sending it in the Spring and Tom Frost ticking it stylishly in September.
Jim Hulbert ticked The Great Escape 8b+, the link of Cry Freedom into Predator with impeccable timing before the Autumn rains. Many worthy ticks of classics at a slightly lower grade took place. These were too numerous to mention by name suffice to say that many elated redpointers toasted their success in the Listers post-send on GBH, Zoolook, Austrian Oak and The Groove. The tough Victor Hugo 8b, the extension to Thriller 7c+ (above Consenting Adults 7a) got send twice by Pete Dawson and I, leading to mutterings on a possible upgrade but I digress.
Unfortunately, all good things come to an end and by early October, the crag was calling time on the season with some Autumn gales barrelling through and bringing some drastic seepage lines to the crag. My inroads into Sabotage 8c+, Neil Gresham’s major extension to Predator will have to wait until next year after I invested a considerable number of sessions into the line from mid August through September.
Rainman 9b may just hold out another year before the coveted second ascent, although I may yet have to correct this if last year’s late ticks of Rainshadow by Josh and Toby are anything to go on!
So, happy training everyone, enjoy some downtime from the stresses of redpointing and the at times full-on nature of being immersed in a long term project. 2022 may yet be your year!!