A few months ago Jordan Buys made the first ascent of the project arête right of Mind Bomb at Earl Crag in Yorkshire. Dubbed The French Juke, Jordans solution to this often tried last great revolved around guppies and twin clamping heel hooks; not exactly a simple sequence, so props to Mr Buys for working it out.
To cut a medium story short; after wandering over to look at the line one day whilst bouldering at Earl, I decided it looked like a good contender for a flash attempt, and not only that, thought you could place the gear on lead, rather than pre-placing it. I returned the Sunday before last with ideas of doing just that.
After warming up by climbing up and down the start of the route and hanging around trying to fiddle in various bits of small kit, I felt happy that I had the gear placed as good as I could be without placing it from an ab-rope. I was even happier to find that it was actually pretty good, which made me more confident about giving it a good flash attempt.
It was a very windy day and I was really struggling to stay warm. My fingers would turn numb all too quickly when on the rock, making it nigh-on impossible to hold anything but jugs. As the day progressed, it got a little more bearable, but unfortunately never ideal and by the time I had climbed into the crux my fingers no longer belonged to me and I just managed to reverse back to the ground.
On my second attempt, I decided to try another sequence, which was a bad idea and the Duke promptly spat me off. After milliseconds of uncertainty, the gear held true, time for round three. I returned back to Jordans sequence but was having real trouble making the guppy feel good. I guess due to its unusual nature, there is a good way to hold this hold but it may need a bit of practice to find it. However, it may just be that I am too weak/crap to use it! Unless I headpoint it, we will never really know. Anyway, I took the guppy, worked both my feet up and could just about start the next move when I was suddenly airborne again.
Attempt number four, sequence number three. This sequence was not really planned; it just sort of came to be and took me to my current highpoint of just tickling the top slopers. I locked off, reached up, came up short, locked a little deeper, reached up again and I was off. Frustrating but also encouraging.
The light was fading and that was enough for the day. As I climbed up to retrieve the gear I realised how absolutely shattered I felt, which made me feel a little happier about my final sequence. I hope that when I return, I have the umpf to lock to the top sloper from where I hope the next couple of moves will be ok.