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REVIEW: Lake District Bouldering

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 UKC Gear 18 Oct 2019
Lake District Bouldering cover photo The Lake District is a bouldering backwater no longer, and this inspiring guide is the first resource out there to do full justice to the quantity, quality and diversity of the area, says Rob Greenwood.

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In reply to UKC Gear:

It's a brilliant guidebook, and I heartily recommend everyone buys it immediately.

But the truth is that the Lakes doesn't really have many good boulders. When the odd boulder gets big enough to have full size problems, they tend to get a grassy topping that keeps them wet. The sharp holds of Lakes rhyolite are pretty nasty for bouldering - the sandstone of St. Bees and Northumberland, or the grit not far away are infinitely preferable rock types for bouldering (although the Langdale boulders are really nice and frictiony, but that's anomalous).

There are certainly some great spots to be discovered for novelty afternoons - e.g. Cold Pike Bouldering - which is why everyone should buy the book. But I know I'll be driving away from the Lakes to climb on the grit and sandstone all winter!

None of which detracts from how good the guidebook is. And it does have St. Bees which is fantastic and 100% worth the 100h drive from civilisation, and Carrock Fell which is kind of half decent (Boardman's Boulder is, anyway).

Post edited at 21:44
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In reply to Jon Stewart:

I have to agree there. 

Travelling to the lakes with the sole intent of bouldering is like travelling to the grit with the sole intent of multi pitch climbing. It exists, some is good but it misses the point.

I love how articles about the lakes almost always include the term backwater. Keep it up, nothing to see here. 

7
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> But the truth is that the Lakes doesn't really have many good boulders. When the odd boulder gets big enough to have full size problems, they tend to get a grassy topping that keeps them wet. The sharp holds of Lakes rhyolite are pretty nasty for bouldering - the sandstone of St. Bees and Northumberland, or the grit not far away are infinitely preferable rock types for bouldering (although the Langdale boulders are really nice and frictiony, but that's anomalous).

I'm surprised to hear you say that, as this viewpoint is more akin to the old stereotype I was getting at within my intro, but - due to the recent developments documented within the guide - are largely redundant now. 

It almost makes me wonder if we're looking at the same guidebook?!

1
In reply to Presley Whippet:

> Travelling to the lakes with the sole intent of bouldering is like travelling to the grit with the sole intent of multi pitch climbing. It exists, some is good but it misses the point.

Two two aren't really comparable: the Grit doesn't have much worthwhile multi-pitch climbing, whereas the Lakes - as proved by the guide at hand - has a whole lot of worthwhile bouldering.

As for 'missing the point', this viewpoint really does represent the old school/backwards belief that there's a pecking order of superiority to each discipline of climbing: trad at the top, sport climbing beneath it, and bouldering at the bottom. I would argue that anyone who actually subscribes to this viewpoint is the one really missing the point...

> I love how articles about the lakes almost always include the term backwater. Keep it up, nothing to see here. 

If you read beyond the opening paragraph you would have seen I strongly suggest that there is something to see in the Lakes.

Post edited at 11:02
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In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

No hierarchy Rob, I enjoy it all. A visitor to the Peak would be missing out by not going bouldering, just as a visitor to the lakes would be missing out not going roped climbing. Each area has its strengths.

Backwater was levelled not just at yourself, it doesn't take a lot of reading about the lakes to see it used repeatedly. 

I am pushing 50 with fond memories of cycling out of Walkley over by Redmires to the plantation with my Tetleys boulder pad in my pocket. In those days the idea of a bouldering guide was an anathema. I assume that makes me old school and backward. Good job I live in a backwater

Greg's guide is really good. 

2
In reply to Presley Whippet:

> No hierarchy Rob, I enjoy it all. A visitor to the Peak would be missing out by not going bouldering, just as a visitor to the lakes would be missing out not going roped climbing. Each area has its strengths.

I guess this assumes that you're interested in those other disciplines, which - if you're exclusively into bouldering - simply isn't the case.

The most poignant example of this I can think of is when I bumped into a friend in Yosemite Valley years ago. I was there for the big walling, which - at the time - seemed like the logical thing to do. He was out there for the bouldering, which - at the time - I thought was totally and utterly insane; however, many years on - and a whole lot of bouldering later - I could easily see myself going back to the Valley for an outright bouldering trip.

Would this trip be a waste of time, would I be missing the point? No, because if that's what I'm interested in, and that's what I want to do, then that is probably the right decision.

Also, Midnight Lightning + King Cobra aren't going to climb themselves are they...

 KieranFallows 25 Oct 2019
In reply to UKC Gear:

Brilliant piece of publication. Hats off to Greg and everyone that contributed. 

 Bob Kemp 25 Oct 2019
In reply to Presley Whippet:

"Tetleys boulder pad" - I like it! I had to think for a second until I remembered! 

 Arms Cliff 25 Oct 2019
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

Glad to read people saying that it’s not worth driving to the Lakes to go bouldering, it’s this sort of propaganda we need to counter this excellent guidebook and keep visitor numbers manageable!

The beauty of the bouldering in the lakes, unlike the grit, it’s that it has all year round venues, from Carrock to the high mountains, which mean you can boulder hard all year. The mountain crags are also way more pleasant places to be in the summer than the lime bouldering locations near to the grit. 
 

I went to the valley with the sole aim of bouldering but did accidentally end up doing some multipitch climbing! 

 chris m fisher 25 Oct 2019
In reply to UKC Gear:

A brilliant and inspiring guide to what must be one of the best and most diverse concentration of boulders in the UK... 

What Greg and Lakesbloc have done for bouldering in the Lake District is hard to measure, this guide seems like the culmination of that, hats off!

Now if only the rain would stop ;-)

 afx22 25 Oct 2019
In reply to UKC Gear:

My guidebook is faulty.  Ever since I bought it, I’ve been rained off every planned trip

 mrphilipoldham 25 Oct 2019
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

All the multi pitch on grit is worthwhile - indeed there’s not much of it, but I can’t think of a bad one that I’ve done. That said, most can be done as one long pitch with good rope management and are done as separate pitches for the novelty/history of it.. but the point still stands. 

In reply to Bob Kemp:

> "Tetleys boulder pad" - I like it! I had to think for a second until I remembered! 

Way back when men were men and ankles were broken. 

 Bob Kemp 25 Oct 2019
In reply to Presley Whippet:

I think I had a CarpetRight mat at one point...


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