Local hot shot, Lindsay McMorran, recently took her first trip up onto the Unknown Stones. Our roving reporter caught up with her to find out all about it.
So Lindsay McMorran, thanks for making time to talk to Unknown Stones Magazine. How was your day today?
It was fantastic, there are few things more pleasant than being up your naval in bilberries on Barden Moor.
For our reader(s)’ benefit, where did you go today?
Carncliff Top South, the Gemini boulder. Also Sartree crag to warm up a bit, because I’m a beginner and can’t warm up on anything harder than f4.
Ah well, we’re all beginners in the eyes of Our Most Benevolent Master, The Good Lord Ondra. So what made you head that way? You don’t get many folk climbing there. You must be the 4th party to go that way I think?
I thought it would be hilarious if I had a first ascent. Also on a warm Sunday in June, most of the usual haunts would be heaving. Nice to have some unpolished rock and solitude except for the sheep and the odd curlew.
Now you’re talking my language! So first ascents, is that something you’ve done before?
Never. I’ve tended to stick to guidebooks and well worked paths before.
So is this your first Unknown Stones experience?
It is yeah. I’ve been meaning to go up to Gatehouse Crag for ages though, I’ve heard good things about there. Lots of easy grades and good landings.
Yep, that’s what I’ve heard. It’s a favourite haunt of a few I think. So did it feel different from going to Caley or Almscliff or wherever?
Um, yeah I’d say so. I mean I still had a topo but there’s no obvious path to follow, the boulders aren’t as easy to spot. You never have to clean at Almscliff, it’s polished, no sand, no lichen. You might need to clean Caley over the winter if it goes green but once the traffic starts you just rock up, put your shoes on and go. And no tick marks, you actually need to work out your beta. And even though it’s only round the corner from Bolton Abbey you feel really isolated, you never feel that at the Cliff.
Hmmm, so maybe more adventurous? More wild?
They didn’t call it wild bouldering for nothing.
What you said about working out the beta, I’ve always found doing new stuff is really creative. You have to force yourself to think differently and try stuff that you didn’t expect. Did you have a favourite new problem from today?
The crack on Gemini, I had to really work for that first jam. Skin was lost. It’s really easy after that. Not pretty, typical crack, just stick anything in there that fits and shuffle your feet up.
Classic. I can see the exfoliation there. People pay good money for that in salons. What did you call your two new moorland gems?
The one on the end is Beginner’s Luck. Maybe f3? Might even be a f2+. Very easy. The crack is A Bit Of A Handful. Struggling to grade that one. Maybe f4 or f4+ for the start. Once you’re off your arse it’s much easier. I’m worried about doing a James Pearson and being told they’re all 2’s.
Just give it 8A to pick up some sponsors. You wouldn’t be the first.
Hahaha nah I’m not a total dick.
I hear you burnt off [your partner] Rob today. How did it feel to leave him vanquished? Best feeling in rock climbing?
To be honest, I do that every week even if he follows me up, he just reaches rather than climbs. The other week at the depot he used a heel hook and I nearly fainted from shock.
Well, that’s all from Unknown Stones Magazine. Anything else you want to say about your moorland experience that I didn’t ask you about?
Yeah I got sheep shit on my mat and there was a really cool millipede.