The Cornice in Cheedale in the peak district must be one of the wettest and dirtiest sport climbing cliffs in the country (so probably the world!). In the last few years that I’ve been concentrating on sport climbing it’s never dried out. Apparently the last time the left hand side of the crag was dry was 2006, and even then it wasn’t completely clean and dry!
This year however has been different. With an amazingly dry spring and early summer the cliff has dried out. Almost all the routes have been cleaned and climbed and even a first ascent done. It’s like having a new cliff to climb on for most of Sheffield and its been the crag of the moment, even being busy mid-week.
I’ve been climbing almost no where else this spring and so slowly ticking my way through all the classic’s I’d never thought I’d get to try. The whole time hoping the one route I really wanted to do would dry out, Monumental Armblaster. This is the striking diagonal crack line on the steepest, and wettest, part of the cliff on the left hand side. The route’s not had an ascent in almost 10 years because it stays so wet and dirty for so long.
The line of Monumental Armblaster
Early on I spent a day cleaning up Nemesis, the route starting up Monumental but breaking out left at the 2nd bolt. My aim was to clean Monumental in sections, luckily for me someone else beat me to cleaning the rest of it. Jon Clark, the one man bolting machine that has re-bolted almost the entire cliff, re-bolted it. The route I never thought I’d get a chance to try was finally clean, dry, re-bolted and chalked. All I had to do now was climb it before it got wet again! It took me 2 days but I had redpointed one of the best routes in the peak and in my opinion it’s as good as any of the 3* routes I've done in Yorkshire.
Myself working the very technical wall of love amongst the butterflies
With the cliff still dry, even after all this rain, and Monumental ticked I’ve turned my attentions to some of the harder routes. Hopefully it’ll stay dry long enough for me to get some of these done.