Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Reviving the Lake District

Dad climbing Communist Convert.
I've spent the last couple of weekends up in the Lakes and have managed to get a bit of climbing in. On the first weekend despite a less than ideal forecast I headed out with my Dad. When I was a student I'd have probably laid in on an iffy forecast but five days of work and five more days to follow is a stern motivator. We headed to Raven Crag, Thirlmere which was brought to my attention by the Arc'teryx Lakeland Revival, a great initiative to encourage folk to climb some of the less frequently ascended routes in the Lakes. I'd climbed at the crag a few times before and it was great to revisit. We climbed Communist Convert, which was really good and not at all dirty. Go and do it.

After that we headed to the even more esoteric Thackmell Crags on the side of Thirlmere. After bushwhacking our way through vertical grass I did a great E1 wall called Yowie in the drizzle. Still hungry for more we headed to Harrop Tarn Crags, also known as Fairview Dome - don't get too excited the resemblance is only passing - but by the time we arrived it was properly raining. We called it a day and headed to Needle Sports to collect my free chalk bag.

Caitlin climbing the third pitch of Preying Mantis.
I was back up again for the August bank holiday weekend. I wasn't really supposed to be climbing but managed to convince my sister to come and hold my ropes on Sunday evening. We climbed Preying Mantis on Goat Crag. I'd last climbed this in 2003 or 2004 with my Dad. It was the second E1 I ever seconded. I got dragged up it. I can distinctly remember watching Dad lead the crux and a big positive hold on the second pitch, which was still there. The climb is brilliant, quite low in the grade, well protected, clean and dry. Saying that the top pitch felt quite tricky for 4c with darkness fast approaching.

The guys at Arc'teryx have made a brilliant little film about climbing in the Lakes. If watching this and the prospect of a free chalk bag for just climbing a route on the list doesn't motivate you to get up there than I'm afraid I can't help you.

Arc'teryx Lakeland Revival

Friday, August 15, 2014

Recent Antics

It's not that I haven't been getting out. I have. I just haven't had time to write about. Here are some photos of some (but by no means all) recent antics in no particular order:

Have I told you about my wife the Iron Man? Nikki chuffed to bits crossing the finish of her first Iron Man.

Seconding the Gates on the Cromlech. I ha a great day out with Heather Florence, despite backing of Left Wall for the second time. I've seconded it now, maybe one day I'll be good enough and brave enough to lead it. 

Onsight soloing without a clue what you are climbing. Does a climbing experience get more pure than this? Malcolm Scott leading the way at Helsby while I show my enthusiasm. Photo Ben Silvestre. 

Hamish Dunn camped by the Sella Tower during a week of awful weather in the Dolomites. I now have a severe case of van envy after spending a week in Hamish's VW T5. 

Duncan wading back across the river after an after work trip to Cheedale. I got spanked by Meditation but got up with a rest and a point of aid and Duncan forgot his rock shoes.

Hamish at the top of the Kasnapoff route on the Second Sella Tower. The next day we managed another route on the Sella Towers in between showers. Before escaping to Switzerland, where the forecast was better. Guess what, it rained. Oh well. 

Malcolm Scott and Clair Muir having a ball on Concrete Chimney in Wen Zawn. This was one of the first routes I did at Gogarth back in 2007 and it was a pleasure to climb it again. 

Me having a snooze beneath the Rocher du Midi. After our abortive trip to Switzerland Hamish and I tried our luck in the Chartreuse Massif. We got to the base of the route and the clag came in so thick we could barely see the base of the route. We sat and waited expecting it to clear. It didn't and we came back empty handed. 

Clair Muir leading Britomartis. The next day Ben Silvestre and I did Bluebottle a brilliant rising traverse that starts at the same point. 

Duncan leading Sirplum at Cheedale. My thirtieth route in Hard Rock and a pretty tricky one to boot. I've got to do thirty more to tick the book. Needless to say that means a lot of routes in Scotland and finding someone who wants to aid the Scoop.