The Roost

On October 2, 2012

I have heard rumors and rumors of rumors about ‘The Roost’; but whatever the crack is the roost has several and in my opinion this small gritstone quarry is a hidden gem for the addict. It is one of these fixes that you hear about in disbelief, vowing to go and experience it for real but is always pushed from your mind in the good weather rush to more popular destinations.

Crunch time at the top of One Over Eight E5 6B. Credit Dom Joyce


It is a strange morning when the sun blasts down and the air is crisp but the house is in turmoil. This was partly because we had an unknown in our midst, (My best mate from school, Dom Joyce was down for some filming, changing the dynamic of the day) but the week of rain was also hanging over us. For a week we talked excitedly about Milky Way at Ilkly the notoriously pumpy E6 finger crack with its off-width crown, a dramatic and classic climb, the  perfect challenge  for your endurance trad climber, that would be me with my sport fitness and baby grit technique. With a weekend of climbing classic E5 cracks on Gogarth it felt like the perfect time to have an attempt at the next level. However a green Ilkly hung in our minds and the green filled the room as we tried to think of a crag that would be in condition after such a drenching.

“The Roost”, It was a spark of inspiration as the static of indecision was reaching a stressful climax so we bundled our energy, with few second thoughts into the car and drove off the beaten track west as the rains sealed our decision.

The brutal walk up to the hidden quarry left little space to worry about the water running down the path. Dom slogged his way up with a bag full of weights and a 7ft boom pole for the filming. To our relief the compact hanging face that we stumbled underneath had a couple of lines of dryness and although the weather continued with sunshine and showers we were able to climb in the dry. Our faith in the guidebook had paid off, even after a week of late summer rain the water had yet to seep through and infest our climbing day with the blues.

The main quarry really is for your crack addicts as the routes kick off at E5. So after a short rock paper scissors battle I set off on One Over Eight E5 6B. Apart from the slightly close and out of bounds sidewall the climb was superb with clean and interesting moves in and out of the crack with flat finger ledges on the face mixed up with a spattering of jugs and a few almost reassuring pegs. The climbs all have a somewhat out of place but very pleasant shiny double bolt lower off which really makes this a pretty unique experience.

Moving out from the crack, One Over Eight, Credit. Dom Joyce

The day had pressed on by the time we had all had an attempt on this, some more successful than others. Connor had a bit of a short straw attempt on a bunch of bad gear after myself and Jacob had lowered off on it all! There were limited possibilities now, in-fact the only half dry route was Con Dem Nation E6 6b. Jacob and myself looked up at the gently dripping off width at the top in trepidation. However the first ¾ looked dry and the tight finger cracks looked protectable and well pegged so I decided that it was within my ability and that now was the time to step up to an E6 route and give it everything.

Full focus on Con Dem Nation, E6 6B Credit. Dom Joyce

It was a good job I went with this attitude because it demanded everything from me. The start, technical and thin with some old school pegs refined my vision. I had a desperate struggle to get the gear to fit bellow the intimidating hanging crack and I was forced to stay on the poor holds for ages trying to fit it. The onlookers found my gear nightmares the most entertaining part of the day. The cruxy clean-cut finger crack required a fully committed lunge for a hidden hand jam guarding the way to the top section. These primary defenses were not abandoned as the fight drew to an end. They were backed up by the gaping off-width chimney crack that tried its best to digest me and spit me back out. The walls slimy and the holds filled with decaying plant. Right until the chain was clipped the beast gave battle and the outcome was uncertain.

On the ground my mates congratulated me. My face radiated with the beasts mouth, smoothed into a triumphant smile. Sitting down I looked back as my body released the tension that had got it out in one piece. I tried to remember the feeling of climbing my first E6 but the 15 minuets it had taken were shrouded in mystery, lost to the moment. 2 weeks later I can still picture the rock and the holds but the only way I can describe the battle that took place in the middle me is with mysticism and dragons. All I can say truly about how it felt is that I was really alive and living for that moment and nothing else. That was pretty exciting to experience!

A big thanks for Dom who filmed some of the climbing from the day, look out for his short film that will be on here soon!

Battle for the middle you with Julio Bashmore –



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