This summer I have plans to fulfill a climbing dream & climb the old man of hoy (original route). I've only led one e1 before so I may well not lead the e1 pitch, but looking for tips/advice on preparing - any other climbs I should do in the mean time that will help give me an idea of it or any particular kind of training I should be doing (stamina? Overhangs? Technical stuff etc...)
In reply to Fiona McFarlane: I don't think you can prepare for TOMOH, just climb a lot , get the grade, and do some cracks, grit is good for this.
The main thing is be good at rope work for coming down unless you have a really long rope, and if you don't, don't forget to fix a rope on the way up for the diagonal abseil down.
....and don't overlook Stromness either it's a great wee town. Excellent museum and fresh scallops straight off the dive boats. The ferry trip from Scrabster is stunnng and gives great views of the stack and St John's Head.
> (In reply to Fiona McFarlane) Keep the birds calm, talk to them.
I found the reverse - start swearing loudly and fluently as you approach a ledge to give the birds ample warning of your arrival and allow them time to back away. The last thing you want to do is pop your head into their personal space unannounced. Nasty stuff, fulmar vomit.
Ergo, practice basic Anglo-Saxon. Far more use than any of that fancy ropework of which I have heard people speak.
> (In reply to Al Evans)
> What Al says.....
> ....and don't overlook Stromness either it's a great wee town. Excellent museum and fresh scallops straight off the dive boats. The ferry trip from Scrabster is stunnng and gives great views of the stack and St John's Head.
Use 60m ropes. Be aware that in damp conditions, the crux pitch is very intimidating even to second, starting as it does on a slopey traverse totally out of sight of the belayer. Practice being slick at lowering and abseiling.
In reply to Fiona McFarlane: don't be complacent walking down to the base .a slip here will seriously spoil your day!
I only seconded the climb but found the traverse second pitch was a bit of a rush and the hardest move!
wouldn't worry too much about climbing ability apart for that one move on the crux pitch its reasonably straightforward climbing.
best day of my climbing life by far.
check this vid http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SljaV0Cc9d0 out to get your juices flowing!
In reply to Fiona McFarlane: Would say Victim of Mathematics is right - but the offwidth is best avoided up the wall. 60m ropes get you to the ground from 2nd belay - no messing about. Solid E1 not a soft touch, traverse about VD! Top pitch awesome VS. Grit stylee not stamina or overhanging. 2nd ab a bit of an arse, make sure you get back to the niche of the 2nd belay on the right looking out, if you dont its a bit of a pain getting back to it - or in our case the rope looped around a gargoyle way out on the left requiring a climb back up the green slime to get in position to reach the niche!
We did it May bank holiday and only a few birds mostly interested in each other. Bothy great, locale great, but would not fancy the approach in the wet - uber steep narrow muddy path. All in all brilliant, just go enjoy.
In reply to Fiona McFarlane:
Work on your photography. TBH the climbing's not great and was only given HVS when we did it. That seemed about right but I'm happy to take E1 for it. But for all its shortcomings it could just be the most memorable route you do in your whole life so enjoy it and take loads of pix.
Actually, that's a really good point. The belay at the top of the second pitch is easy to miss from above, and scrambling back up the green sliminess is no fun. Make sure you don't go past it on the right (looking in).
Also, the green slimy bit that you climb isn't as green or slimy as it looks from the approach path!
In reply to Fiona McFarlane: I did it last year as part of my wedding trip. I promised myself if I went back I would take a knife and some new tat to de-tat the route and then re-tat it. As the others have said (that have said it) take 60 meter half ropes so that you can abseil to the ground from the stance at the top of pitch two. this is a long and wild abseil.
Regarding the crux I was just about leading E1 when I did it and i found it difficult and exposed feeling, despite it being safe enough. Take big cams with you, it will really help.
With regards to setting off on P2, think very carefully about the rope drag that a right angle in a rope can give. I got vomited on by a fulmar, it was vile, scary (because my reaction was to flinch away i.e. backwards) but did wash out.
My top tips would be commit a couple of days in case the weather is too poor, stay in the Rackwick Bothy, practice on sandy climbs as suggested above, take big cams (seriously, take big cams). Don't be afraid to dog it. it would still be an amazing experience.
In reply to Fiona McFarlane: I remember comparing the top pitch to Green Gut on Froggatt. Except its finer because of the finish. You can see right through the stack at some points on that pitch and I could see the ferry going past through it. Rushed to get on the top in time to wave to the passengers . There were a load of puffins sitting on a ledge to the left just below the top that didn't seem at all worried by our presence.
> Also, the green slimy bit that you climb isn't as green or slimy as it looks from the approach path!
I second that, underneath the green there was actually some really fun VD/S climbing on lovely sculpted rock.
In reply to puppythedog:
> With regards to setting off on P2, think very carefully about the rope drag that a right angle in a rope can give.
I actually placed and extended a bomber piece under the first roof and then downclimbed and took out the lower piece(s?) I had placed. I can't imagine what it would be like without that.
Also, have a plan for communicating (or not) on that pitch. I caused my second a lot of grief because I didn't know when was the time to actually *pay out* rope to allow him to do the downclimb from the belay...
I wouldn't over-worry about acquiring large cams - the biggest things I had were a Friend 2.5 and a No 9 rock and wasn't worried. having said that, there would indeed be loads of opportunities to place them.
I found the climbing straightforward, but the position is without compare.
I found the wind blowing out of the final crack rather unsettling until it opened up enough to see daylight through it - the Old Man actually has two heads......
There was a puffin living in a burrow on the top when we were there - friendly little chap.
We had 45m ropes - the back-rope and pull back in from space added extra spice - nothing quite like abseiling towards rope ends that are dangling in mid-air to focus one's attention!
A couple of big cams are useful. We had a Camelot 5 which was perfect at the crux. A couple of other large ones useful for the rest of that pitch. The rope work with twin 60s is easy. As for the fulmars it is the person that leads the easy pitches that will get it. I was the 4th man of the day up and the fulmars had run out of vomit.
> (In reply to Theeni)
> I didn't have any big cams for that crack, though I did use the in-situ wooden blocks, old and tired as they were.
As of the past year or so apparently one of the old wooden wedges is no more? We never used cams either as big hexes (the 3 largest sizes) are far more secure and less likely to damage or explode the soft rock...
In reply to Dave Garnett: Some are, yes (as of June last year).
I also second the sugegstions to think about communication. I had serious rope drag having put a right angle in the rope and I, in thta way that you can only think when on the pointy end, that I had run out of 70metre rope. I was unable to communicate with Mark who was seconding that pitch and this incresaed the difficulty and anxiety.
It was the only E1 I led that year, so is low in the grade. It was a bit of a fight though - the feeling it left me with was more akin to having done a winter chimney than gliding over sun kissed rock.
I would try to climb in exposed, (mountain / coastal,) situations as the exposure can be quite intimidating if you are not use to it.
Take long slings for the wooden chocks on the main pitch, (if they are still there?)
I'm not a great crack climber and it wasn't a problem - the route climbs cracks rather than being a crack climb if that makes sense.
not sure when in the summer you are thinking but Rich will be helping some of our clients to also fulfil there dream to get to the top. If you are there at the same time come and say hello. 14th till 24th July, we will be staying at the campsite in Stromness.
In reply to Fiona McFarlane:
We did it at the end of April last year and there was no problem with gulls. The belays are all a bit in need of TLC, so take extra gear / tat / maillons to back them up if you feel nervous. Pitch 2 would be very conditions dependant. We had perfect conditions and it felt around HVS - would feel much worse if damp. Cams above WC 4 not essential but the odd one would be handy. Utterly fantastic experience.
Those of our party in proper boots on the damp descent path were less nervous than me in my trainers.
Enjoy, its fab.