Two hard new routes in quick succession have marked the start of this year's 'Grit Season' for Pete Whittaker.
First on Pete's ticklist was the bold left arete of the Hawkwing buttress on the lower tier of The Roaches, Staffordshire. The classic E1 of Hawkwing weaves a line that finishes on the upper reaches of this arete (seen clearly at the right hand side in the topo below) and Pete's new route tackles the line of the arete itself, at E7 6c. Pete was surprised that it went so reasonably as it was an obvious unclimbed feature. The arete is now called Goldcrest.
Next up was a visit to Stanage with Richie Patterson, who took the set of photographs above.
Pete's new route is on the Tower Face area, just right of Tower Chimney, climbing the narrow buttress that is the left side of the technical E7 of Flight of Ideas. Pete commented on the new route:
"I called the route 'Common Misconception,' (as I think people think that there is nothing left to do on grit), whereas, yes, I suppose it is nearly worked out, but I think you just have to look (maybe climb) harder.) As for the grade I think I'll stick with E6 6c, although it did feel a bit more spicy on that top arete with that wind, haha!"
Richie Patterson commented:
"This was the first time I actually thought I was going to see Pete back off a route as the wind was ferocious and he made that classic 'quick glance' down that all leaders with a really committing move ahead do. Luckily he realised that trying to reverse would be grim and the fall was too big to jump and so he ploughed on...it was a good one to watch..."
Hawkwing Area of the Roaches - Rockfax Western Grit Guide
UKC News, Sep 2010