“Bloody hell, these aren’t holds. Just really, really bad footholds!”
My first ever experience of what an 8b looked and felt liked, at a time when I could just about climb 7b. Digital Quartz at the Diamond, in it’s first 5 metres contained a miserable selection of match-stick edges and tips-only slopey pockets, how could anyone hang onto these let alone move up them?
Cut to summer 2006 and a short play later I discovered I could now hang these same holds but couldn’t figure out how to move between them, unfortunately any further play was curtailed by the arrival of the midges. Yesterday, after two days of dogging and two days of redpoint efforts, I finally clipped the chain. A route that’s taken me 11 years to climb and it's 3rd ascent in 14 years.
Digital Quartz 8b
I’ve got a soft spot for Glen Ogle; all of the 8s that I have climbed here have meant something in some little way or other to me. Off The Beaten Track was my 2nd 8a, Ceasefire became my first ever 8a+, Solitaire is probably the only route of MacLeod’s that I’ll ever get to downgrade (going from 8b to 8a+) and Spiral Tribe 8a is just fantastic which I always seem to recommend it as a good first 8 for those in the central belt.
But judging from some of the reactions, including Sam Clarke snootily informing me he was going to climb “somewhere good”, you would think Glen Ogle was some back-water, wet, chossy, badly bolted midge infested venue…eeerrrr. Anyway, all the aforementioned 8 deserve more attention : they are all on good rock, well bolted, a tendency to crimpiness (but not sharpness), ten minutes from the road and an hour and half from either Glasgow or Edinburgh. Come on guys, we live in Scotland not Yorkshire or Catalunya: just climb on what’s available and stop bitching about how crap Scottish sport climbing is…(it is, but that’s not the point).
Many thanks to Tony Waite for holding a desperate man's rope, probably the UK’s most famous belayer at present. Glad I didn’t break his reputation by failing on this lowly 8b. What next Tony?