The week leading up to it I'd told most people I know my plan to go and try the arête so I shouldnt have been surprised Calum got wind of it the day before I'd planned to check it out. I abbed the arête on my grigri and was pretty impressed with the quality and difficulty of the moves as well as with Calums high point near the top which left me dumbfounded as to why he'd left it. Getting a feel for the moves I realised my old boots wouldn't work, Reeves arrived at the base and I abbed to him and picked up my new boots before jugging back up to get a better feel for the crux moves and to check the gear placements.
Just before setting off for a lead go I received a txt off Calum saying it would be nice if I gave him a week to attempt it before trying it. Not feeling (nice) like I had as much time as a young man to keep returning I replied an ascent was unlikely as I'd bust my tip and felt the climbing was tricky. It was however too fun not to try.
At 3/4 height the climbing goes from easy to suddenly steepening on the right side of the arête, a powerful move to a backhand and a reach to a sidecrimp on the arête using a poor foothold is followed by a wild step through to prevent a barndoor. You can place 2 good RPs here but they are difficult/desparate to place. It then follows a fantastic seam line with minimum footholds feeling like a gritstone problem. My first go I got through the crux backhand move but the demons of Muskett made placing the RPs desperate which combined with a rope fankle I only just managed to flummox to the last hard move before falling. I pulled the ropes and after an hours rest and some fingertaping I got it having left the gear in from my first go. Mark Reeves was as ever excellent company for such an endeavour. The climbing ways in at about F8a and Pete Robins thinks its one of the best around near that level and suggested the 7a tech grade, the E8 bit's open to question as the route is safe but it just feels that little bit too hard?.
The name is in homage to Calum and may make some more sense in the not too distant future. Although the name had an element of teaching a youth humility and some small sense of Ian Hislop smugness there was also a glimmer of guilt. That disappeared when a friend said its not like you've stolen his girlfriend and perspective was regained. I think Calum is closing in on a very good new project which I wouldn't be surprised to have named after me! I've some vague ideas of what these names might be.
The Wrinkled Retainer is definitely lacking attention at the moment considering its one of the best E5 6bs in the area giving a brilliant line and gear it comes highly recommended. One last point to make is this climb is way, way, way too hard for Jordan Buys.....