/ Need info on good first time lead routs - Lakes

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molly2202 - on 08 Jan 2013
Me and the wife are off to the lakes for a very long weekend next week, and weather permitting, we'll get out on the crags.

Now, the usual is for her to second everything, and therefore need some info on some good VD's/Diffs/Severes/HS type routes where she can take the lead.....

She climbs F6b/c indoors, and has seconded me on some fine routes.

So, question is, where to go so as she can take the rack??

For Multi pitch, would need somehwere where the stances are good, no hanging belays etc....

All ideas welcomed!

Dervey - on 08 Jan 2013
In reply to molly2202: Sheperds Crag, Borrowdale. The proximity to the road, easy access and large number of routes makes it rightly popular (and polished in places). Brown slabs at the far end would be a good idea, with 4 or 5 D/VD next to each other. easy angled, simple route finding and very novice friendly. After that, take a walk along the crag and pick any if the routes at your grade. Lots of very good classics to go at.
Kid Spatula - on 08 Jan 2013
In reply to molly2202:

Middlefell Buttress in Langdale with the left hand start.

Take your sack up with you and walk off, as the descent route can be horrid.
blackreaver - on 08 Jan 2013
In reply to molly2202: I second Middlefell Buttress. It was my first multi-pitch lead/climb and it was great.

BR
xplorer on 08 Jan 2013
In reply to Kid Spatula:

There was an abseil point set up on the tree last time I was there. With a single 60 doubled you get past the tricky bits
molly2202 - on 08 Jan 2013
In reply to molly2202: Thanks for these - Shep's and MFB were my thoughts as well as going over to Armathwaite.

Forgot to mention. We would use a single line, as the "Sport climbing" wife not yet proficient belaying double rope......I know brown slabs is a direct route and a single rope OK.

Thoughts on Middlefell Buttress? Single rope OK?
Kid Spatula - on 08 Jan 2013
In reply to molly2202:

You can get away with a single rope yes. Have to be a wee bit careful with drag on the first pitch but it's piss.
Trevor Langhorne on 08 Jan 2013
In reply to molly2202:

Regarding Middlefell Buttress the following note was posted on the FRCC in November.

Middlefell Buttress D
"The rock supporting the pinnacles of the first pitch (LH start from the gully, just above the new gate) have shifted leaving several tones of rock with very little support. Probably best to avoid that area of the gully completely." john kelly 25/11/2012 21:07:17


Might be best to go to Shepherd's
Take Care!
mockerkin on 08 Jan 2013
In reply to molly2202:> Thoughts on Middlefell Buttress? Single rope OK?

>> All the Diffs and V.Diff trads in the Lakes can be done with single ropes. That's how they were put up many years ago.

molly2202 - on 09 Jan 2013
In reply to Trevor Langhorne: Good info - thanks! Seems there a number of butresses showing signs of instability.....a few years ago I recall going to the Raven Crag lower down the valley closer to Elterwater, and an upper quarter had recently come away, and isn't Castle Crag coming away aslo.

Anyway, thanks for the info.....
mikekeswick - on 09 Jan 2013
In reply to molly2202: Personally I would only use middlefell butress as an approach to gimmer. The first pitch is ok but the rest is a waste of time because it's soooo easy, grade 1/2 scrambling.
Sheperds is the obvious choice, good rock, good routes, good cafe but not really a 'mountain' feel! Your mrs's could do everything on brown slabs, including the vs in the corner as it's only a couple of vs moves right next to perfect cams then a pleasant romp to the top best done in one pitch. Great routes - finale, adam, eve, ardus, fishers folly (superb!), kransit crack direct etc etc
nocker - on 09 Jan 2013
In reply to mikekeswick:
> (In reply to molly2202) Personally I would only use middlefell butress as an approach to gimmer. The first pitch is ok but the rest is a waste of time because it's soooo easy, grade 1/2 scrambling.
> Sheperds is the obvious choice, good rock, good routes, good cafe but not really a 'mountain' feel! Your mrs's could do everything on brown slabs, including the vs in the corner as it's only a couple of vs moves right next to perfect cams then a pleasant romp to the top best done in one pitch. Great routes - finale, adam, eve, ardus, fishers folly (superb!), kransit crack direct etc etc

Mr Keswick is in danger of being accused of trying to "sandbag" you !
Skyfall - on 09 Jan 2013
In reply to nocker:

> Mr Keswick is in danger of being accused of trying to "sandbag" you !

lol - agreed!

To the OP - I wholeheartedly agree that Middlefell Buttress is a bit of a nothing really and quite underwhelming once past the 1st pitch or so. I partnered a novice leader up it once and we were continually frustrated by people scrambling down it and getting in the way! Maybe less likely this time of year but still...

The easier routes at Raven in Langdale (right next to Middlefell Buttress) - such as Evening Wall (Severe) - are nice and would dry fast but it's not really one to take your first leading steps on maybe? A little bit serious to be able to focus on the gear and hard to sort things out if she gets stuck?

If the Mrs really needs basic leading practice, despite being obviously technically strong, then I would tend to agree that at this time of year Brown Slabs at Shepherds may be your best bet. There are a couple of good easy (V Diff) climbs there up the slabs following the obvious crack lines (there are also some more bold outings best avoided). They are normally done in one pitch with big tree belays over the top and an easy scramble/walk off.

The crack in the corner, Brown Slabs Crack, is v well protected but hard (and v polished where it counts) more like VS 5a really. The guidebook says something like "one for the aspiring VS leader" - presumably because it's very safe - - but I can think of far easier and relatively safe VS's. Also, personally, I wouldn't point a novice leader, no matter how strong technically, at the likes of Eve/Adam as they are quite serious routes - though she would be fine seconding them I am sure.

Still at Shepherds just along from Brown Slabs, the great classic V Diff of Little Chamonix would probably be more fun and memorable if she gets on well on Brown Slabs and wants another challenge. Each pitch has interest, with the highlights being getting off the block (ungradeable) on P2, the saddle belay above and the steep wall of P3 to finish. If the last two pitches seem a bit too interesting for a novice leader and in particular the middle block pitch, you could always let her lead pitch one (tree belay at the top on a huge ledge), you lead P2 and then let her decide whether to lead the final pitch from the saddle belay which is again more straightforward but great value at V Diff.

So, yes, my suggestion would be something easy at Brown Slabs, then swing leads on Little Cham (with you taking the middle pitch) and then see what takes your fancy.
tmawer - on 09 Jan 2013
In reply to molly2202:

Troutdale Pinnacle may fit the bill nicely.
mikekeswick - on 09 Jan 2013
In reply to nocker: Who?? Me??
mikekeswick - on 09 Jan 2013
In reply to tmawer: Troutdale pinnacle is a great easy route and you could swing leads.
Andy Long - on 09 Jan 2013
In reply to mikekeswick:

Troutdale Pinnacle is a terrific route as long as you're confident on the traverse, which isn't brilliantly protected.

Nobody's mentioned Castle Rock south crag yet.

Lord of Starkness - on 09 Jan 2013
In reply to mikekeswick:

Not sure I'd recommend Troutdale Pinnacle for a novice leader at this time of the year -- parts of it are likely to be soaking, and in places it can be bold and very polished. It's a place for wet weather epics, but pure enjoyment on fine dry days! Shepherds is likely to offer more reliable conditions at the moment in the northern Lakes.

Langdale offers quicker drying crags, and more of them are south facing - a definite plus for January!
Skyfall - on 09 Jan 2013
In reply to Andy Long:

Castle Rock I really like - but the protection on the easy routes is not great. In fact, all the routes tend to take a bit of experience to protect properly. Funny as it was suggested to me as a good beginners crag many years ago, which actually I don't think it is - though it dries v quickly and has super climbing.

Also agree that Troutdale Pin, at this time of year, is likely to be quite damp and not a great experience for a novice leader.
nocker - on 09 Jan 2013
In reply to Skyfall: I agree with what you are saying about both crags/climbs and indeed others previously mentioned at this time of year when I would assume that each was going to be significantly harder due to likely conditions.
I recall seepage on Brown Slabs Corner (VS) in the middle of last summer and twitching on Gangway Climb at Castle in September due to lack of gear.
That said, I would agree with the merit of most of the routes given the right conditions / circumstances. Enjoy and stay safe.
GrahamD - on 09 Jan 2013
In reply to molly2202:

Gouter crag (Swindale) has some smashing, well protected, VDiffs. Truss Butress and Kennel Wall in particular are fine routes.
Andy Long - on 09 Jan 2013
In reply to Skyfall:

True enough. I tend to view these crags from the point of view of taking novices up them, rather than first leads.

It makes you realise what a remarkable route Little Cham is. Protectable and very varied, with that great rush of exposure at the end. You get blase after taking hundreds of students up it...
Skyfall - on 09 Jan 2013
In reply to GrahamD:

> Gouter crag (Swindale) has some smashing, well protected, VDiffs. Truss Butress and Kennel Wall in particular are fine routes.

Completely with you there sir. In that order they would be ideal and Kennel Wall would be ideal for a strong climber learning to lead as the moves are steep (for MS) but easy and v well protected after the first few metres. The opening slab on Truss Buttress does have a habit of staying a bit damp as I recall...
Skyfall - on 09 Jan 2013
In reply to Andy Long:

Yes, I love Castle Rock but your first leads there can be quite memorable. I have 'fond' memories of leading the ever wet Chapel Cracks (?) tucked away in the alcove on the left and almost taking a mid stance belay on little more than a twig. Anyway...

Little Cham is a rightly popular and remarkable route. I've seen it reduce people to tears as well as provide fantastic outings for all concerned regardless as to ability. I also once witnessed a small group take up a hanging belay around the flake on the top wall - I never established why....
molly2202 - on 10 Jan 2013
In reply to molly2202: Thanks chaps - this all really useful stuff.

As a few of you have noted, the Wife is technically a pretty good climber, so Im looking for that balance of interesting, but not going to scare her off Trad.... Think Sheps is a good shout, and was considering a place I learned to place gear, Whitestones above the A590 nr Cartmel..... good rock, not too sustained, and swallows gear....

thinks it's in the New FRCC guide book for Eden and South lakes??

Anyway, thanks for all the tips and advice.....

Col
Andy Long - on 10 Jan 2013
In reply to molly2202:
My best wishes to your wife! I do hope she doesn't suffer too much from "wall n'sport" syndrome. I've seen people freak out on ordinary steep hillsides, whilst others have been discouraged by having to drop a few grades during the transition. Never a problem for those of us who started out as hillwalkers and for whom the word "trad" translates as "climbing" and "wall n'sport" is "training".
molly2202 - on 10 Jan 2013
In reply to Andy Long: Thanks!

She's no mug, and am sure she wont suffer from exposure - she's done Aconcagua and Mera, Mera can be pretty exposed in places.

I'm simnply wanting to join the loops for her, and get her placing gear, and climbing Propper, but rightly dont want her to get put off dropping Tech grades too much, but guess the excitement of placing shiny cams etc will help, it's me that suffers seconding!
Offwidth - on 10 Jan 2013
In reply to molly2202: From long range forecasts take stuff for walking or climbing in snow.
Andy Long - on 10 Jan 2013
In reply to molly2202:

Sorry if it came over as rather cheeky, it wasn't meant to be!
Nicholas Livesey on 10 Jan 2013
In reply to molly2202: Corvus should fit the bill, big stances, some really nice pitches and goes in the rain!
Exile - on 10 Jan 2013
In reply to GrahamD:

Ad Gouther at the moment; it is a great crag but after this Summer it is unimaginably green at the moment.

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