/ The "what did you climb this weekend?" thread
Once again, it's back - the "what did you climb this weekend?" (mid week climbers are of course welcome to chip with their contributions at the appropriate time in the week for their days off!). Mini-trip reports are most welcome, self excusatory ramblings explaining why you failed on your "proj" or a much desired onsight are even more welcome, although expect good-natured mocking as often as sympathy.
I went to the Lakes with Simon - after a winter of 4am alarm calls for one day raids from Sheffield to Wales or the Lakes, an 0630 alarm was relative luxury. We arrived in Seathwaite under sunshine and blue skies, and despite getting sweaty, the walk up to Styhead Tarn and on round to the Napes was lovely. We did Tophet Wall (HS 4a), a classic I've had on some mental list of things to do for a long time. The weather clagged in a bit while we were on the route, but it all felt atmospheric and 'big mountain' like with cloud rolling around. The team work from winter climbing has obviously paid off and we did the route reasonably quickly in three pitches, so stopped off and Simon led Innominate Crack (VS 4b) as we went back round to a bit above the stretched box where we camped for the night.
For various reasons we both had need to be home not to late Sunday afternoon, so after a super breakfast watching the sun come out and burn off the mist at first around and then below us, we head back down to Seathwaite before many walkers had even started heading up. We stopped off at Shepherd's Crag heading north - a crag I've climbed on a few times in the past but when nothing seemed too familiar I worked out it must 20 years since I did last visit. My lead, and it was still a bit greasy from the overnight rain, so I picked Chamonix (HS 4b) as something quickish to do. It's not a terribly good route but nice enough and I managed not to slide off any of the damp polished holds! Coffee and cake in the Shepherd's Cafe, then back on to the motorway and home under more blue sky and sun.
Lovely weekend and strange that it was only 6 weeks ago that we were last in the Lakes when we did a grade III on Green Gable in a screaming blizzard and some of the most full-on winter weather that I went out in this last year.
Arrived in Langdale at 11pm Friday, to be told by the staff at the Wainright that the bar had just closed, so turned in... Saturday, after a sausage butty at the NDG, saw us sweating on the walk up to Pavey Ark. We were aiming for Arcturus but it was wet and slimy so we did Capella instead. Climbing as a three, I seconded both then led 1 & 2 (together) of Golden Slipper. We debated going for a second route but were happy to keep it as a fairly relaxed day, and stopped for a quick swim in tarn before heading back to the valley. A cracking day.
I was on the Aspirants meet with the CC over in the Pass, spent saturday at Tremadog climbing with another member of the club, we did Meschach (first pitch was my lead and rather wet in places, second pitch avoided any noticeable wetness), then we did Nifl-Heim. I must have spent near two hours trying to figure out how to start the crux traverse before eventually bailing and letting my partner have a go, he duly dances across a traverse line about 3 feet below where I was trying to go (perhaps I need to be more flexible with my interpretation of guidebook descriptions)! Top pitch felt pretty hard for the grade too.
Then came the feeding of the 28 or so people on the meet, they lavishly dined on home made pies, curries, crumble and summer fruit pudding (hey, who said climbing didn't get to involve culinary delights?).
Sunday was a trip up Main Wall to get some photos for the club journal, I think we're sorted for a while!
Congratulations on ticking Tophet Wall, it was one of my most memorable days climbing last year.
I had three days down in North Wales with the CMC. Friday was a bit rough weather wise so did Flying Butress on the Cromlech then scuttled down to the quarries and did Seamstress and Seams the Same. It absolutely tipped it down half way up Seams the Same which was quite alarming in a sort of almost good way.
Went to Gogarth on Saturday, nursing a slight hangover. The abseil into Wen Zawn was more harrowing than I remember, in fact the scramble down to the abseil point was a bit emotional! However, once down to high tide start of Dream the atmosphere was actually lovely. Waves crashing and seals bobbing around, the sun came round just as we got onto the final pitch which turned out to be even better than it looked. We finished the day off with Britomartis which was also pretty fab.
Steady day in the pass on Sunday. Perfect.
Having spent the week looking after two kids while my wife was away working in Poland, I was given a day pass on Saturday, and used it to drive over to the Roaches with my pad. Climbed about 55 problems from easy to very easy with a few easy classics thrown in (Joe's Arete, Three Pocket Slab, Greener Traverse) but backed off Stretch and Mantle as the mantle seemed a bit high up. Managed to mess my back up jumping from the break on that one. Getting old and stiff sucks.
I've climbed plenty at the Roaches over the years but never bouldered, so it was quite fun to take a pad and look at the venue in a completely new light.
Great thread! Had a good, long session on Burbage to tick off some routes with a friend who's just getting his teeth into leading. Nice to get the classic, Knights move in the bag (didn't feel like a HVS). My 94 year old grandmother joined us for a couple of hours and we might have a project with her very soon. What a great day! More tomorrow.
In a happy co-incidence with Chris Craggs' "old farts" thread last week, I met up with an old friend I haven't climbed with for maybe 15 years. Initially thinking some easy Plantation boulder-bimbling might be thing, we decided to be bold and tie in. Got a few HS/VS starter routes done for our new leading careers. Leading stuff I'd previously soloed and noticed a few free upgrades from my battered old guide. My shiney new Big Camalot got used lots and after mulling over whether it was actually worth upgrading my rack (such is the slackness of my climbing) I'm down to a mere tenner a placement. Seconded up Goliath's Groove after a 25 year gap, shunning the elegance of stylish bridging for the full on knee jam, which if you commit to it and embrace the thrutch, gives virtually hands-free climbing in a cycle of struggle, rest, struggle. Real route of two halves with some nice climbing in the top half.
After a little break and collecting reinforcements from Hathersage station, a bit of bouldering on Burbage South. Went home tired and happy. Last night I picked off a couple of new boulder problems locally on the sandstone and got really close on something I'd almost dismissed. Almost as encouraging to fail on that as the earlier successes in a funny way. It'll go.
Last Thursday I confirmed with the local chough expert that no choughs were nesting in the quarry containing my favourite projects for the year so we were free to go and try them. On Sunday I went. Last November I had just bolted two climbs when the the weather finally deteriorated so they hadn't been led (it is N facing and cold and wet in winter). First I shunted these to see if they needed any re-cleaning after the winter. None was necessary but I spruced one up a bit. I hope to go and lead them soon. After that I cleaned and shunted a new line that also gave good climbing,
We were ticking classics in the Lakes too (up for a committee meeting on Saturday night).
Went up to Gimmer for what was probably the first time this century on Saturday for North West Arete (VS 4b) (very nice after a rather damp and worrying start) and F route (which, sadly, was very mossy and looked pretty wet up at the crux). Instead we wandered rather arbitrarily up what were probably bits of B, C and D routes (staggered to discover C Route is in Classic Rock).
Sunday was warm and sunny and we went up to Dow Crag, despite my warnings that, whatever it looked like, it would be cold. One party set off up Murray's Direct and partly to be sociable and partly because I assumed it would be pretty quick way back to the sunshine, we set off up Murray's Route (S 4a).
Dear god, I know it was done in 1918 and they did short easy pitches because they didn't have any runners, but I was losing the will to live by the time we finally zigzagged our way to the Easy Ledge. Jane was slipping into hypothermia. Even more staggered to discover it was also in Classic Rock...
Me and my climbing partner Christian went on a pilgrimmage to Stanage, where it all started for me, 36 years ago. Haven't seen too much grit action recently, about one visit every ten years. The weather was noticeably better than forecast, so we had an excellent two days, ticking off old favourites like Mississipi Buttress Direct and Inverted V (where we sadly got a Friend stuck in a stupid placement, do'h).
We also managed a couple i hadn't done before, Morrisons Redoubt (HVS in my 1982 guide, now E1) which has two bold moves and Hargreave's Original Route, which was really thought provoking for a VS, an excellent route. I failed in Billiard Buttress as i couldn't summon the courage to commit to the pockets. I've got a big bike holiday next month, so i couldn't afford a bad landing.
It was good to be back, even if half my friends shun it (cos they can't jam!).
Are they not any good? And you do know, you don't have to belay every 15 metres because the book says so, don't you?
> Even more staggered to discover it was also in Classic Rock...
surprised you thought that. Murray's was one of my final Classic Rock ticks and, I thought, one of the best; ludicrously exposed traversing on giant flakes. Better'n Tophet Wall, I thought!
A good weather forecast for the west of Scotland saw me in Galloway at 6am in lashing rain and flooded roads. A long awaited visit to Dungeon of Buchan was binned for a lonely splash over Cairnsmore of Carsphairn to Clennoch bothy and back. It cleared up later and there was a view from Arran to Skiddaw. I drove home in blazing sunshine, slightly disgruntled, with the Scottish dry season now on fast forward...
We did the Aonach Eagach in glorious weather on Saturday, which was fantastic, and then sat in a car for about nine hours on Sunday, which was less fantastic.
Borrowdale esoterica. Although when I say "esoterica" I'm talking about 3* routes on easily accessible crags - they just hardly get climbed in spite of being obviously wonderful. There's nowt so queer as folk, eh?
Mad isn't it? Been climbing in the lakes and Wales a bit this year and it's always nice and quiet. A few weeks ago we went to Stanage and with no exaggeration at all there must have been 200-300 climbers. Cromlech last weekend on a gorgeous, dry sunday just had me & Theo sharing the crag with a couple from France. Same thing happened in the Lakes a few weeks ago, went to the lakes and only saw a few people climbing all weekend.
Drove past Horseshoe Quarry the other day and the parking was full. F*cking Horseshoe Quarry!!! People are well weird.
Took a trip out to Gravvikheia on Sunday. It's a stunning crag with views over the inlets and islands of Trondheimsfjord. It's like our own mini Lofoten and we were completely alone. Climbed a route called 'Heteslag' which means heat stroke in Norwegian, a testy n4+ (Something between HS and VS ish), which given that it was 22 degrees with a warm southerly breeze was a fitting name.
It was a fun line with a few interesting moments. The main crack of the route was wet at the top of the first pitch, so had to improvise and follow two parallel cracks up a stem box to its left. With cracks too narrow for fingers and a box too narrow to stem. I ended up trusting a high smear and a lunge to a block which twisted my shoulder into an awkward position, aggravating my already injured rotator cuff.
The subsequent pitches went without issue, we abseiled off and went to the beach to swim and have a bbq. Great start to the season, but annoyed I already have to 'take it easy'.
> Are they not any good? And you do know, you don't have to belay every 15 metres because the book says so, don't you?
Yes, you're right, and if I ever do it again I'll at least miss out the Abraham's Cave stance and maybe run it all out in one pitch. From the ground it isn't so clear and there is some potential for huge rope drag if you don't really know where you are going next.
> surprised you thought that. Murray's was one of my final Classic Rock ticks and, I thought, one of the best; ludicrously exposed traversing on giant flakes. Better'n Tophet Wall, I thought!
I'm probably being a bit grumpy. I only noticed the exposure when I looked back at the ropes looping out over the drop. I'm being unfair expecting a killer line and a sustained standard on a hundred year-old mountain route! I'm normally a sucker for tradition but I hadn't done my homework and didn't appreciate it.
The weekend never stops now the evenings are light...
Thurs Cratcliffe on the way home from work, top boulders including an old Dawes problem which I don’t think will ever go ;-(
Fri Churnet to redo an old friend of a V4 traverse which has somehow become way harder since last year (go figure)
Sat Stanage North bouldering and solos. In my natural environment looking for sit starts
Sun Stanage North again, chin grinding mantleshelfs
Mon Cratcliffe on the way home from work
Tonight somewhere local like Birchens for bouldering session
Tophet Wall really is a cracking climb! Did it for my birthday a few years back. Apparently after the first ascent the climbers were greeted at the top by a party providing them with a punnet of fresh strawberries! No such luck on our ascent unfortunately but great climbing none the less..
Last weekend me and a few lads trekked over to the Far North West and climbed Am Buachaille in perfect spring sunshine. A few words and some photos here if anybody is interested http://wainwrightclimbing.blogspot.com/2018/05/climbing-am-buachaille.html
Right, let's be having you. Who did what? It seems most of us got sunshine.
I went to Dovedale with Dave G of this parish. We had another day where we seemed to do nothing but climb, but still managed to get incredibly little done. It's a special skill I know! ;-)
We started off on Simeon (VS 4c), a team beat us up to the start as it is shared with Ten Craters of Wisdom (VS 5a) which they were doing so it was all very social. I planned to do it one pitch, but found the wall above the possible first pitch belay rather hard. Up and down, up and down, getting more and more pumped and angry at myself for finding a VS so hard. Eventually weighed down with self-loathing I belayed on the ledge and brought Dave up. He very politely also found it rather tricky and went up and down a bit too, but of course got on with it and pulled through. He then had a bit of an adventure on the upper slab trying to find where the line of Simeon went. After abbing down I decided I would "shoot up" Silicon (HS 4b) as it would be easier and it would make me feel better. Of course it turned out to be nervy in parts and thuggish in others, I made it up but definitely one of the harder HSs I remember doing. A high gravity day I suspect. And some how that took up most of the day! Dovedale is beautiful, even if the climbing is a bit... well... inland-English-limestoney. Lots of others climbers out, the new guide and cover of the last Summits magazine shining a light on the dale I suspect.
Went up to N Yorks to finally hike the 3 peaks but my real interest was Twistleton Scars. After 4 small easy routes we were totally wiped due to the 25 miles hiking the day before. It's a great crag compared to some of the Limestone I've climbed on. Much swag to be had on there. We called one bloke up using the phone number label on a wiregate to see if he would like it mailed back, it's now in the swag bag.
No other trip reports?
Torro on The Ben on Saturday. Had the whole of Carn Dearg to ourselves. Superb route on amazing rock which was completely dry bar a few wet holds on the crux overlap. Been on the wishlist for a while and it didn't disappoint!
Fantastic. It looks like a number of the big harder routes have been done on the Ben over the last few days - I was looking at the new(?) UKC mountain rock conditions page, and obviously there has been some good weather up there!
Well I cleaned out a charmless traverse on Cheshire sandstone, unlikely to see a second ascent anytime soon. Retro-ticked a new boulder problem when I realised I'd done it before and not ticked it. And showed my new-to-trad climbing mate the way to tame classic Severe frighteners with modern gear. 4 bits of gear, 4 cams. They bred em tough, the tweed generation.
Cracking day on Reecastle where all the classic E2s and 3s were ticked by pretty much everyone there, which was quite a few folk. Crag in brilliant nick, great atmosphere, fantastic routes - and easy to tick when they're all chalked and you've just watched someone else do them (accidentally of course, I couldn't find my usual onsighting blindfold).
Had an ace day on Dow crag on Friday. Had Eliminate A all to ourselves. Was on the ticklist last year but had a bit of self doubt. Felt brilliant leading and enjoying every pitch. Top route, wont forget it any time soon.
That's high on my list of to do routes. Sounds great!
Crag Lough on friday (one other party there). Eye watering car park charges just introduced. Did repeat the very good Pinnacle Face and some stuff I'd not done before.
Lakes sat/sun, surprisingly quiet including the campsite. One other team on Buckstone How. Sinister Grooves was the pick of the routes. Honister pass does attract some idiot drivers Short day at shepherds yesterday which wasn't super busy by its standards, pleased to get P.S done and although being tall helps good foot work helps even more.
Some disagree, but I think Eliminate A is worth its reputation as "the best VS in England". It climbs the full height of the most forbidding buttress of a big mountain crag, with the climbing starting at the bottom and ending at the top (while B Buttress has cleaner faces it's broken into separate walls and the whole upper half of the thing is bilberry ledges). It weaves under and tiptoes over the overhangs, finding an easy passage right in the midst of the most spectacular terrain. I did it as a fairly early multipitch route (though I was climbing mountain E1s at the time) and loved every minute even though the climbing felt relatively straightforward.
I would warn though that that Dow is in general a crag to be treated with a greater than average degree of respect. Many of the routes are very stiffly graded, and some cross the line into being outrageous sandbags where the climbing is technically harder than advertised and there is no gear - while Eliminate A is fine, some of the classic routes are pretty gnarly (not all though).
It's funny, I don't remember it from Lakes routes I've done in the dim and distant, but since moving back to the UK in 2014 and now having visited the Lakes to climb a good few times (although still probably more for winter than summer climbing) I've come to the conclusion the rock is just on average more unfriendly for gear than Welsh mountain rock is. Of course there will be loads of exceptions - we did Innominate Crack on Kern Knotts last weekend, and that's safe and straightforward crack climbing for instance - but overall it just seems scarier than Welsh igneous. Just odd as I thought it was all similar rock?
I think Lakes climbing is generally pretty bold - as you say the rock just doesn't seem to give crack systems the same as in N Wales. There are plenty of well protected routes, but you have to seek them out, and if you don't you should expect to find yourself some way from your last runner.
The Lakes rhyolite varies hugely from the fantastic black bubbly stuff on the top half of Pavey - which has great gear on some routes too, e.g. Poker Face (E1 5b) to the abysmal chosspile that is Lower Falcon Crag. The latter is nothing like the same rock: it's shattered slatey nonsense with no meaningful gear, usually microwires in between loose blocks. I don't know how that crap passes is being rhyolite at all, when in stark contrast to what's obviously cooled lava full of gas bubble pockets, super-solid and rough as a cow's tongue, it's a frictionless disaster of tottering blocks.
lower falcon, the jewels of borrowdale, the essence of the crag revealed in it's bottomless crack systems - illusion, 4 or 5 star route. Upper in contrast does have some loose rock
Borrowdale has plenty of jewels. But lower falcon ain't one of 'em.
We were running (Kong Mini MM) in the Dovedale area on Saturday evening, I passed a couple of climbers but most had probably gone home by then (about 7.30).
On Sunday we climbed in the shade at Willersley, I've never seen it as busy (by which I mean there were about a dozen of us in total). Nice crag but hard work when VS is your maximum grade!
Made the most of two national holiday days and had a long weekend in the south. Camped out in hammocks near Moss and had the crag at Sperrebotn all to ourselves. A lazy day in glorious sunshine mooching about on some easier routes (shoulder still playing up) and letting some friends try out climbing.
Spent Sunday tanning, grilling, drinking beer and doing a little bit of climbing at the stunning Hankø. Glorious weather the whole weekend and even managed to get in a couple of 10k morning runs.
Tickets to the alps booked so despite the current turn in the weather I'm sat at work buzzing with excitement!
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