/ Recommendations for climbing on business trip to Blackpool
To help direct me, here's some details:
Probably won't be bringing gear beyond a harness, belay device, and shoes
Climb very moderate, but don't have any grasp on the UK grading system
Preference ordering of (with lead ability in YDS grades): trad (5.7-8) - sport (5.10) - bouldering (V2-3)
Alpine would be great, but again I'm planning to bring much gear so that option would be strained
Are people typically open to climbing with strangers (arranging to climb with an unknown yank) or should I be looking for a recommendation on guides too?
Thanks for any input.
You poor bugger.
Lake District is probably bout hour and a half away though.
Yorkshire Dales bout the same for sport.
Peak District maybe 2hours?
I would try and get to the Lake District which is a bit further away but would give some great views to go with the good climbing.
When are you coming?
Sorry I should have checked the OP closer... The start of June? Which weekend will you be free?
It should be the weekend of June 8/9, but I'll know more tomorrow.
If you had one weekend to experience some truly memorable climbing, representative of what the UK is best known for, within three to four hours drive of Blackpool, where would you go?
I'll figure travel, partner, and gear from there.
To get some classic routes in classic places, I'd go either to the Lake District or to Snowdonia in North Wales. However, the UK is probe to showers or weather fronts, even in June. In which case, the Lakes and Snowdonia could be a washout. In which case I'd go to the Peak District as there are some good crags (1,2 pitches) within easy reach of the road. You might well have to decide just a few days before..!
My club is based in Blackpool and has two huts in the Lakes - shouldn't be too hard to find a partner there, or on UKC. The club website is at www.fyldemountaineeringclub.org
It just so happens that I live in sunny Blackpool. :)
Before you plan any outdoor climbs, try to arrange partners first. Speaking form personal experience, I am happy to chat to anybody and everybody that I do not know at a crag but I would be very reluctant to share a rope with them.
I would have been more than happy to accompany you and climb with you next month but unfortunately I have an injury that stops me climbing, and probably will till next year.
As mentioned above, try to get in touch with the Fylde Mountaineers club. They are an excellent and friendly bunch with some of the best talent in the country.
AS for climbing locations, try to limit yourself to two hours travelling at the most. This will open you up to any crag worth its salt and will get you to the edges of Wales and Scotland.
It the weather is perfect then I suggest:
Lake District - Shepard's Crag
Peak District - anywhere, possibly Millstone, Stanage, Roaches
Yorkshire - anywhere, possibly Malham
If the weather is bad then, indoors it is. Don't even bother with Blackpool indoors, or the concrete towers. Head off north to Kendal wall or south to Manchester or Liverpool.
The chaps at Fylde Mountaneers will be able to fine-tune your trip. You could even contact the Preston Mountaineering Club as well for help and advice.
And if you are feeling really brave, you could sample a Saturday night out in Blackpool. Just make sure you have a strong stomach though. :-)
I'm based in Preston [about 20 miles from Blackpool] and I don't have a problem climbing with strangers. I'm pretty familiar with the Lakes, less so with Wales and the Peak. I have a pretty comprehensive rack, and it looks like we climb at roughly the same level. Feel free to give me a shout.
Snowdonia, North Wales. I'd love to say The Lake District as, being from Lancashire, it's my "home" ground and also because it's prettier, the pubs/beers are better (!) and it's nearer but N. Wales has better bad weather alternatives in Tremadog and especially Gogarth - look up photos of "Vector" and "A Dream of White Horses" and you'll see what I mean.
Incidentally I'm in the aforementioned Fylde Mountaineering Club as well. I was very gratified to read the other poster's opinion that "they are an excellent and friendly bunch with some of the best talent in the country". He's clearly not very well acquainted with us!
Not sure of my plans for that weekend but feel free to drop me an email nearer the time and see what's going on.
If you only came to the UK for one weekend, then these would be on your Tick List especially the White Horses.
Some interesting posts. Martin B's is probably the most helpful in reality.
If you are looking for classic UK climbing then forget sports climbing which only gets good at the hard end of the spectrum. There are exceptions but our main crags are not bolted and so sport climbing tends to be in fairly dismal quarries. There are of course some exceptions but, given your grades and apparent preference for trad, I'd focus on that.
Sounds like you lead around VS trad in our grades and your sport grade probably puts your seconding ability in the low Extremes (E1/E2 maybe).
Blackpool is actually quite well placed within easy (ie. less than 2 hours) striking distance of classic rock climbing in the Lakes, N Wales (Snowdonia) or the Peak District. We don't really have alpine stuff, unless you head well up to Scotland and, say, the Isle of Sky - which you aren't really going to manage on a weekend. Most of our trad is either single or fairly short multi-pitch, though we do have some longer routes in the mountains. However, many of our classic climbing is of a 'cragging' nature (ie. single or short multi-pitch) and that is probably where you will find our best routes.
We do have a lot of rock types for a small area, from the high friction but rounded gritstone (short routes generally) of the Peak District to the more positive volcanic rock (and generally longer routes) of N Wales and the Lakes.
For a variety of classic and historic routes I'd probably head to N Wales. If the weather is good there are some great classics in the Llanberis Pass. If the weather is not so great in or around Llanberis (in the mountains), it's often ok at Tremadog not far away but nearer the coast. In fact, Tremadog is so good that you might want to spend a day there anyway. If you fancied something really different and quite adventurous, maybe even think about getting on Dream of White Horses - maybe the most classic and sought after HVS in the country (VS climbing but in a stunning, and scary, position) on the Gogarth sea cliffs in N Wales.
Obviously do some research but have a think about the following in N Wales:
On Dinas Cromlech in ascending difficulty, look at Dives/Better Things (HS), Sabre Cut (VS), Cemetary Gates (E1), Cenotaph Corner (E1), Left Wall (E2).
Across the road on Dinas Mot, think about the Direct (VS), Diagonal (HVS) and Superdirect (E1).
At Tremadog, you could have a day climbing a stack of classic multi-pitch routes from Severe to whatever grade you like but it is probably best at around VS to E2 which is where you seem to be operating. Almost too many to bother listing for you right now. The routes are often slabby, though many steep ones too, with good protection possibilities and very positive rock. Easy access (more or less roadside) and with a great café to 'refuel' between routes.
As I mentioned, also have a think about Dream of White Horses (HVS) on Gogarth not far away from Llanberis/Tremadog.
The Lake District has a load of great climbing too and is, arguably, even better scenery than N Wales and better pubs etc by and large (but also more expensive!). Due to the main type of rock, the climbing is in some ways more subtle (and some would say more rewarding) than N Wales, the gear takes a little more thinking about on the whole and, for whatever reason, there seems to be less obvious and striking "lines" (if that bothers you). Oh, the weather is also about the wettest in England and Wales as well.... In all seriousness, the Lakes is a v beautiful area and you might want to visit it anyway and the climbing is excellent and often among stunning scenery.
I'll probably start looking for a partner here or through one of the options mentioned up thread about a week or two ahead of time as I get some preferences sorted out. I think the leading VS/following E1 or so once I get comfortable on any particular rock seems to jive with what I've gotten in the grade comparison charts.
Another question; how fickle is the weather in early June (let's say for Snowdonia or the Lakes)? Are we talking change by the hour, tomorrow's forecast is right 50%, or a week ahead I should know that I'll get rained out?
Thanks again for all the help.
> Thanks again for all the help.
The weather, on the whole is change by the hour and don't look at forecasts beyond three days and expect them to be accurate.
The weather is a national pass-time for us. Just don't look at the BBC's weather sites or you will think that the whole country is covered in rain or on the verge of raining.
When you come over let who ever you are climbing with suggest where to go as they will have local knowledge of where's best to play on the day. You may have your heart set on one area but due to our fickle weather you have to change plans quickly.
Our weather can even change from valley to valley in the same location. For example I once had a Bank-holiday weekend in Tremadog. The forecast said rain right across the area yet we were in perfect sunshine. The rain could be seen from two fields away but never reached us.
I have also climbed in the northern part of the Lakes and got rained off. I got in the car and drove for 45 minutes to the south and finished the day off climbing in a Tee-shirt and perfect sun while looking at the rain clouds north of me.
The weather is what makes our sport so interesting. :-)
I have to ask, what would drag somebody from the USA to the armpit of the north?
Please don't laugh too loud when somebody calls us the Las Vegas of the North.
As said, weather is changeable and long range forecasts almost worthless. We have complex weather systems which means it can change v fast. June is often showery but warm enough. Basically, anything could happen!
In terms of getting a feel for the climbing, it might be worth your while investing some of your dollars in a selective climbing guide for the Lakes and/or Wales.
The FRCC selective guide to the Lakes is a few years old but v good:
The Ground UP selected guide to N Wales is also excellent.
Both would give you an excellent feel for the type of climbs, topos and how to get there!
Hi Padraig, I'm in Blackpool too. Although we have no 'local' crags <our local crags still take 45 mins to get there> Blackpool is in fact a good place to live for a climber / mountaineer. Wales/Lakes/Yorks/Peak are all 2 hours away which is good when planning a weekend away as you can pick where the best weather is.
Locally we have quarried grit at quarries such as Wilton, Denham and Anglezarke and many other smaller ones. All have good but short routes around the VS grades. A little further afield as already said is Trowbarrow. An old limestaone quarry with some excellant routes at VS/HVS. The Peak takes me 2 hours but if out for a full day stacks of routes get done. Stanage is worth a trip if you have never been with routes and bouldering the mainstay, the Roaches are the is the other big Peak climbing pull with higher routes than usual for grit. Lots of other venues too from high trad limestone crags to single pitch bolted sport.
Wales and the Lakes offer everything from roadside to mountain crags but usually you need to factor in a hour or more walk on top of traveling time. Nearest sea cliffs are N Wales - Gogarth. Pembroke is 6 hours away so not worthwhile this time bud!
Just looked at my roster and I'm off on the 9th <Sunday> I have a car, spare harness, lid and full rack, if you want to hook up give me a shout. I know all the areas I've mentioned very well.
I'm off to CA myself in Aug and the American climbers I've chatted to on supertopo have offered me the same hospitallity for when I'm there. Only good karma to offer the same to visiting climbers!
In terms of weather I'll give you an example, 3 weeks ago I was rock climbing in the Peak in a tee shirt, 500 miles away in Scotland ice was getting climbed! Like I said, with B'pool being central ish, we can pick and choose where the best weather is. The higher you go the wetter it could be is the general rule. Tremadog has been mentioned higher up the thread as a wet weather venue (superb venue in fact) and it is because it's virtually at sea level. 20 miles away it can be tipping it down but you are much higher up...
Lakes and Wales are both on the west coast and our prevailing weather comes on SW winds which although generally warm they are wet too. Peak and Yorks are often drier and if you know the area its easy to pick a venue sheltered from the wind. I'll stick my neck out and say that in june, there'll always be a venue out of the weather :-)
Lol, a brave man indeed ;)
But, yes, you are probably correct and also about the Peak District and Yorkshire being drier on the whole.
I know it's largely a personal preference thing but, if you want history, classic routes, a variety of rock, wet/dry weather options and roadside cragging as well as mountain crags, I'd still pick N Wales.
summer of 2012 being an exception of course ;-)
> summer of 2012 being an exception of course ;-)
I don't recall it raining much last year, or did I miss something?
We've just reseeded the lawn, Loren had a party and to stop mud coming in the house we put some slabs down to the bottom of the garden <smoking area> these slabs then sank in the sodden lawn it was so wet! I reckon we've had a better summer this week than the whole of 2012
I work in product design and will be visiting a vendor who has made the injection molding tools that will produce the parts I have designed. With a free weekend during the trip, I thought I'd explore the local climbing.
Go up to the Lake District, there is a ton of good climbing, and it is incredibly beautiful, and full of history and culture. Overnight if you can, there are some excellent pubs and hotels. If weather is poor then you can still get out on the fells (hills) for superb walking, go to some great pubs, visit stuff, which will be infinitely better than going to some dingy quarry or climbing wall.
Limited gear since I'll be on a business trip to Blackpool from the US
Lead VS/HVS, follow E1?
May look into renting a car for the weekend
Anyone care to show a Yank around?
Elsewhere on the site
A fantastically versatile little pack; whether out running in the hills, hitting the trails on the bike or just running for the... Read more
Pete Whittaker has flashed the 32 pitch route Freerider 5.12d on El Capitan in Yosemite Valley over three days,... Read more
Manchester Climbing Centre is showing Reel Rock’s Valley Uprising on Tuesday the 11th of November at... Read more
Last year, Finn McCann wrote an article about climbing El Capitan with his terminally ill father Seamus, who had been... Read more