The 2Rays, aka, Ray Wood and Ray Saunders have put together a short film of The Trumpet Slappers climb.
I’ve never been the best rock climber, I never have enough time to reach a high level of fitness before heading-off on expedition, ice climbing or winter climbing and in doing so lose any gains made through summer, but I do love climbing routes that test nerve, body, stamina and most of all, mind.
The Trumpet Slappers was the culmination of several top-rope sessions, which on the first and second, I couldn’t work out how to do the moves on the traverse left from the crux of The 39 Slaps, or what moves would actually work to get me out there. In fact, climbing the 39 Slaps on the first two visits, a climb I led two years ago, felt desperate. I had to rest on the rope two or three times just to reach the Trumpet Slappers traverse.
By visit three and four, The 39 Slaps was feeling, kind of ok, although the big move up before starting on the left traverse still felt a million miles away. Eventually I found a sequence on the traverse which worked, but at the end of the traverse, way above the final peg on The 39 Slaps, the crux move, a feet bunched, powerful right arm cross-over, terrified me and in the same time excited me. It was a move that would be at my limit and had monster sideways lob potential with possibility of a massive rock spike enema. ‘Great!’
Visit five was a revelation, as it was the first time I managed to climb the whole route clean on a top-rope. No excuse then. But even walking up the hill beneath Scimitar on THE visit I was sure I would fall off on the hardest move…
People have said to me that climbing the 39 Slaps was like a sport route anyway as it’s on pegs. I’m not so sure, as climbing hard moves above pegs that someone else has sawn-off and placed, doesn’t feel like bolt clipping to me. Heading off on the traverse placing a skyhook in a shallow pocket before burling at my limit, and then pulling a 6c move, unable to place the two wires until after the crux, definitely stimulates, gets you going, and certainly gave me the mind and body work-out I was hunting. It definately didn’t feel like a clip-up! In the vidio clip what I’m shouting down to Jonny Ratcliffe after reaching the top is how I nearly didnt go for it as I felt pretty pumped, and then before backing out, I thought ‘Get on with it, just go and give it everything.’ This is what I mean by saying, for me, bolt clipping doesn’t give you this internal battle as bolts are 99.99 percent safe, skyhooks and monster sideways lobs are not and this kind of mental strengthening can only come from climbing routes like this and in doing so prepare me for trying hard climbs on-sight?
Finally for those who for whatever reason dont think throwing up a toppy on a route that is too hard for me to try and on-sight and use this method to get fit is not sporting, I’d say, no probs, the Trumpet Slappers is waiting its first on-sight, and to my knowledge, the 39 Slaps has only been on-sighted once, maybe twice, so its up for grabs… 😉
Cheers to Ray Wood for the fiming and Ray Saunders for the great edit and to Jonny Ratcliffe for the belay…