/ Shepherds Crag - scary walk in?
My wife and I are visiting the Lakes this week, and today, on the walk-in to Gimmer my wife had a bit of a panic on the narrow path to the foot of the gearing up area and couldnt carry on, and had to walk back.
I was just wanting to know whether Shepherds crag had a similar steep sided path to reach the foot of the Chamonix buttress? We're both keen to do some classic easy multi pitch up here but i think perhaps a less exposed crag than gimmer would be a better choice- would you recommend Shepherds crag? Or if not, where would be a good bet?
You just have to be joking, please tell me you're joking...
The path takes 5 mins, if that, from the café. It does go up a slight hill, over a fence, and across some boulders. If that is enough to put her off, how on earth she'll fare on something like Little Cham must be in question......?!
There's always Head End......
It's very pleasant, not many crags in the Lakes with easier access.
Thanks Jonny, that's just what I wanted to hear.
It's ok, I'm a long time lurker and know what to expect from UKC!
For the record, we're both terrified of heights, and I'm quite proud of what we manage to get out and do.
OK, more helpfully ....... ;-) Shepherds has a lot of trees around the crag, which to my mind make it feel distinctly less exposed than a mountain crag like Gimmer. And knowing you're 5 minutes from the cafe certainly helps.
Woden's Face might be worth a look - landrover track passes close to the base, and easy 1/2 pitch routes (depending if you can be bothered to split them).
The top pitch of Little Cham is certainly airy though. A lovely crag, and that's a lovely route if you're planning on it.
I dont mind a bit of exposure when i have a harness on and have a bit of gear in (despite a recent groundfall), its just the sketchy/slippery narrow paths on mountainsides and cliff tops that give me the willies!
Thanks for the (helpful) responses. I'm looking forward to Little cham!
The path is fine but watch out for the bandits who will kidnap you and make you spend all your money in the cafe.
> For the record, we're both terrified of heights, and I'm quite proud of what we manage to get out and do.
I don't wish to teach anybody to suck eggs, however if you are both scared of heights would it not be better to do some single pitches where one or other can be lowered off rather than be stuck a few pitches up a route and then think about retreating?
> I dont mind a bit of exposure when i have a harness on and have a bit of gear in (despite a recent groundfall), its just the sketchy/slippery narrow paths on mountainsides and cliff tops that give me the willies!
Whatever you do; don't go to some of the lower great/Littel Orme cliffs!
Shepherds Crag has to be one of the most user-friendly crags on this planet. I haven't climbed there for 15 years, and can't remember anything at all about the 'walk in', which suggests that it's utterly trivial.
And what's all this nonsense about routes that are exposed? (Like top of Little Cham.) Isn't one of the points about climbing that you get into excitingly exposed positions? Otherwise, it's a bit like someone wanting to be a racing driver who wants to drive very slowly at first.
I can kind of understand how a walk in can be scarier than a climb. I sometimes feel a bit dizzy (touch of vertigo, I imagine) walking along the edge of a drop - it's something to do with how the foreground moves relative to stuff in the distance. In my case it's mild enough I can control it anyhow. But far, far less of an issue on a climb, when you're moving more slowly.
As others have said brown slabs or woden's face might be a good place to start.
Yep, I get bad vertigo in certain situations, not nice. I got gripped on the bad step on the walk in to White Rhino buttress at Berry Head yesterday, the DWS on the other hand was fine.
The walk in to Shepherds is fine.
Ignore the gully and carry on past it to where a path will bring you down to the track coming up from the farm/cafe.
You may be right, perhaps I should stick to single pitch, or stop climbing altogether.
But I got into climbing because i was fed up of having panic attacks walking across the clifton suspension bridge in bristol 8 years ago. Since then I've come quite a long way, and now i enjoy (admittedly often retrospectively) all my climbing.
What's the point of climbing if not to challenge yourself? Some people find the physical aspect the challenge, others like me, its the mental side.
I think we've now got a respectable number of single pitch routes under our belt, and we enjoyed them, but we found the odd multi pitch route we did to be incredibly fulfilling, hence us wanting to do some proper mountain routes. I admit we bit off more than we could chew today, hence me asking about other multi pitch in the area today... I dont see why our fear of heights should stop us from wanting to push ourselves and overcome our fears - we deserve that post climb pint as much as anyone else!#
Apologies for rambling, ive been down the pub!
Wow, the wankers are out in force today.
Well at least I answered the question in more detail than anyone else.
For what it's worth, I've seen a couple of people with exposure issues go to pieces on Little Cham (the move off the block seems to be the start of the problems). Hence my other comment which, though could have been put better, was seriously meant.
Get a sense of humour yourself maybe?
Apologies if my first post was a bit OTT. To be perfectly honest, I thought you were probably a troll...
> Well at least I answered the question in more detail than anyone else.
> For what it's worth, I've seen a couple of people with exposure issues go to pieces on Little Cham (the move off the block seems to be the start of the problems).
yes, its an interesting one, isnt it? i paused for thought for a while before making that move....
> I can kind of understand how a walk in can be scarier than a climb.
Plus 1. I find the walk/scramble up to the bottom of Cenotaph Corner distinctly thought provoking...
To those who are mocking the OP, for some people there is a clear difference between exposed walking/scrambling and roped climbing. My wife once got totally freaked out on the scrambly approach path along the bottom of the Upper Tier at Gogarth, and was certainly nervous on short sections of the walk up to Gimmer.
Yet once she was roped up no amount of exposure bothered her (unless she looked at my belays :) .
A more pertinent question for the OP may be whether the descent path from a particular crag is OK, as the same principle may apply there. Can't remember much about the descent from that bit of Shepherd's.
I get rubber legs at height but can cope just fine with climbing and gliding. It's moving around un-roped at edges and on steep exposed ground I find debilitating, it doesn't need to impact on cragging though it can be a restriction accessing more adventurous routes and in winter where friends are happy un-roped and I'm not.
OP: White Ghyll has a very reasonable walk in if you want to get up a little way out of the valley.
Didn't Willans suffer from Vertigo? Didn't seem to hold him back much!
I fell 50ft down Raven (Langdale) a few years ago after slipping on some wet grass. Fortunately I was only badly bruised. Easily done...
The reason I can wholeheartedly sympathise with my wife yesterday is that I had to turn back from the approach to dream of white horses with another climbing buddy a few months back. I was only 20 metres or so from the abseil point, it was very frustrating but I was in a right state by that point so it was probably best I didnt try and get on the climb! Although I think i'd have been fine once roped up.
I guess i shall have to scrub cemetery gates from my wishlist then!
Both very easy walks in, and off, both close to each other (10mins walk), and loads of single pitch to go at.
I completely understand the nervousness about moving about above high drops on dangerous ground (eg. wet grass). I take extreme care myself and don't want to end up a statistic. However, I don't recall anything particularly memorable about the walk in to Gimmer (assuming the OP and partner didn't try the scramble up to the Ash Tree Ledge).
There is an exposed section around the top as I recall but it's fairly short. Most of the descent is ok. This is going to be an issue with many crags.
> However, I don't recall anything particularly memorable about the walk in to Gimmer (assuming the OP and partner didn't try the scramble up to the Ash Tree Ledge).
The week after my fall on Raven I went up to Gimmer with a partner who decided ascending the scree to the left of the crag (as you look at it) was the best approach. I was a gibbering wreck by the time we arrived, and then had a big 'bursting into tears' meltdown on the descent from one of the routes down a blocky gully. So dignified.
Yes, my recollection of Gimmer is just scree slopes (and not *that* steep) after a long flat walk. Pretty unpleasant to walk across/up but I don't get the exposure bit. Hey ho.
Anyway, the non-climbing partner of a friend of mine walked into a couple of Lakes crags with us and had a bad time just getting up to Castle Rock and Swindale. I think that was a mixture of physical effort, being off the beaten track and on rough terrain. Funny how "we" get used to it, or perhaps odder that some people in their comfortable day to day lives seem to have forgotten what it's like to do anything mildly adventurous. That's not intended as a criticism incidentally, just an observation.
> Ignore the gully and carry on past it to where a path will bring you down to the track coming up from the farm/cafe.
You could always try the 3(?) pitch Diff nearer the cafe, Jackdaw Ridge, if you think Little Chamonix might be a bit hairy. Descent is by the track mentioned above.
> ...I went up to Gimmer with a partner who decided ascending the scree to the left of the crag (as you look at it) was the best approach. I was a gibbering wreck by the time we arrived, and then had a big 'bursting into tears' meltdown ...
I had a similar experience up there, with a climbing partner who shall remain nameless. He wasn't at all keen on the steep scree approach and had a real wobble attempting the traverse, above the lip, on Ash Tree Slabs, which resulted in him backing off the route and slumping, in a dejected heap, back in the gearing-up area.
> Yes, my recollection of Gimmer is just scree slopes (and not *that* steep) after a long flat walk. Pretty unpleasant to walk across/up but I don't get the exposure bit. Hey ho.
I vaguely remember a section of narrowish path with a drop to the left, but it's been a while since I was up there. I think the point is that it was completely trivial to me (didn't even notice it), but my partner found it a bit more nerve-inducing. When we got there, NW Arete and F Route were no problem whatsoever though.
I should point out that the main reason for my emotional state was the tumble down Raven the week before - I was feeling a little fragile about anything where I felt I might slip and tumble to my doom.
Not entirely unreasonable, I suppose. But don't you realise how embarrassing it is for other halves when they have a whimpering, sobbing partner at a busy crag? Everyone gives you dirty looks, like you're some kind of abuser.
The descent's a bit "interesting" though
I've only wept at the crag twice - that was one occasion, and the other was due to my partner of the time being a bit of a bonehead .
Yes, if you mean the descent where you end up climbing up again (unroped above a considerable drop) and then dropping down the exposed chute below White Ghyll Wall.
Two other easily approachable crags in Borrowdale - Black Crag and Quayfoot buttress.
I couldn't picture it at all so assumed it must have been trivial.
It's as described by Skyfall. And the bit where you start going up again is easy to miss (ie I missed it first time!).
I expect there might be a longer alternative way off, eg by carrying on to the top of the gully and walking back down.
> I've only wept at the crag twice - that was one occasion, and the other was due to my partner of the time being a bit of a bonehead .
Well that's less than me :-). Now there's a thread we haven't had before...
lol - that's almost exactly what I was thinking.
You mean where there's a huge arrow scratched in the rock... But, yes, I think I almost walked past it the 1st time. It's one of those places where you need a "stop, that way lies danger" sign ;)
I think one of the worst descents from a major crag I can think of is Raven in Langdale and, yes, I am aware there have been fatalities there. Both the gently sloping grassy section at the top (not that uncommon though) and, more specifically, the block/chimney section above the top of the finishing ledge for routes such as Revelation. Not nice. If there's anywhere I think could do with some xsnsible fixed gear/rope/chain that would be it.
I'm trying to think where TC may have slipped on grass and fallen 50ft. If off the top, I'd have thought that would be a lot further and terminal. On the LHS of the crag (looking out)?
> Well that's less than me :-). Now there's a thread we haven't had before...
Me too, I suspect. Probably because I'm a bit of a bonehead too...
I'd agree with that. Very scary, particularly as the first time I soloed down in gumboots :(
> The top pitch of Little Cham is certainly airy though. A lovely crag, and that's a lovely route if you're planning on it.
Don't forget that the down climb contains a few rather precarious and well polished slabs.
Yup, that's the one :-)
I missed that the first time I was there too. And almost did exactly the same again when I went back (for the third time) the other week - I'd completely forgotten anything about it. It caught me out as it (almost) looks like you could get down to the left...
I'm a bit worried it's a sign of getting old :(
(Sharing the embarrassment) I've also wept at the crag twice. The first time was almost 20 years ago, when I clipped the chain on something I never dreamed I'd get up. Luckily there was no-one else at the crag - a popular Peak venue - but my partner/belayer. She was touched.
The second time was last November at Toix. There was a bunch of Help For Heroes people at the crag. Really gutsy folk. Left a little note for them under a cairn by their gear. Came back a couple of days later and named a new route after them. Makes me tearful now remembering them. Gutsy folk.
I climbed it absolutely yonks ago, and honestly can't remember the down-climb. I've never been bothered by exposure though (except on sea cliffs; something about them gets to me).
The OP wasn't asking about the exposure on Little Cham; he was asking about exposure on the walk there. Which IIRC is obviously non existent, - it's by the road, FFS! - to the extent that I even suspected a troll.
And FWIW I've not known a single climber who ' started off learning the ropes to help deal with vertigo on mountain walks or easy scrambles'. Not one.
Not compared to mountain v-diffs surely?
> Not compared to mountain v-diffs surely?
Yes, even when compared to mountain VDiffs. LC is fully deserving of its classic status, and that's despite the man-eating ants that reside in the trees at the top of pitch 1.
Agree about the approach to the Old Man of Stoer... But not a patch on the scramble to the bottom of Gob at Carnmore if you don't climb something on the lower tier. I'm usually okay moving on scrambly terrain, but that one is hair-raising!
I know loads of people who got into climbing precisely because they were scared of heights. Lots of exposure to something that you are scared of definitely makes you less scared of it in the end. It works for anything - public speaking, riding a bicycle on the road, travelling, spiders....
Excellent plan and well done! It's so easy to pen yourself in with your own fears and to end up with a very narrow and restricted life as you get more and more fearful...
I've had meltdowns a number of times, but only when I've been with an idiot partner. I solved it perfectly by getting rid of the partner...
Some of the approaches on Lundy are quite exciting too, and I agree about the approach to Wen Zawn! Most exciting! I thought I was going to slip on the grass and shoot into the sea. But I was with nice people those times so had no meltdown...
Really? I've known 2, 1 of whom still climbs. And it was certainly part of my thinking when I started, though not my main motivation. I was mostly fine with exposure when walking/scrambling in the hills (where a slip could kill), but on fairly safe but very exposed terrain I went to pieces - I even once had to close my eyes when walking across a suspension bridge (with high sides so a slip was impossible).
And Shepherds is still a roadside crag...
We did that scramble descent in the wet in hiking boots and it scared the bejaysus out of me. The actual climb on the Old Man is fine but that descent... <<shudder>>.
The descent to the bottom of Wreckers Slab is a bit grim too, but that's because it's loose and covered in thorny vegetation. Not nice but nowhere near as scary as Stoer.
I think you need to re-read the OP - he wasn't saying that Shepherds has a scary walk-in, he was asking whether or not it does.
At least you know what to expect on the route itself
I've never liked very exposed paths where there is some real danger (e.g. where the path is very small and a bit insecure) but, like Skyfall, I have no recollection of there being anything remotely scary on the walk up to Gimmer, and I've climbed on it about a dozen times spread over 40 years. The crag itself is monstrously exposed, yes, with some quite scary descent routes.
I could list dozens, possibly hundreds, of well-known crag approach routes that are many times more scary than the approach to Gimmer. I don't think it's even as exposed as that climber's traverse, or whatever it's called, on Bowfell.
BTW, if one is on good form/fit etc, by far the best approach to Gimmer is to solo up Middlefell Buttress, and then you just have the easy horizontal path.
> But not a patch on the scramble to the bottom of Gob at Carnmore if you don't climb something on the lower tier. I'm usually okay moving on scrambly terrain, but that one is hair-raising!
I can imagine. In fairness you are basically going two thirds of the way up the cliff.
I remember the approach to some of the lower tier routes being bad enough! Quite steep ground below. Also recall 3 pitches of heather bashing in the middle section - not a lot of gear but better than being unroped.
>> Shepherds has no scary walk in, children go there. When you are there notice the bench in the caff. below the crag. The one that mentions Ray McHaffiie and bow to it.
Hey up Rob. Shame you can't adopt this attitude when you're talking about crime and war ;-)
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