December has seen an extended cold snap throughout the UK. These icy conditions have been capitalised upon by gritstone climbers and winter climbers alike.
In the Peak district Kinder Downfall has seen multiple ascents (You can check which winter routes have been recently climbed on our new page: UKC Winter Conditions) and on the grit the super-aesthetic line of Careless Torque has seen ascents from Dan Varian earlier in the month and more recently from Ben Bransby and James McHaffie just before Christmas.
Careless Torque was first climbed by big Ron Fawcett back in 1987 and graded E6 7a. These days it is considered a highball Font 8A as the usual style of ascent is now ground-up above bouldering mats. It was recently the scene of excessive chalk marking - see UKC News.
It is one of the most striking and beautiful lines on gritstone.
Bransby and McHaffie's ascents were photographed by Keith Sharples and you can see his images and report on his blog.
Just two days later saw several teams climb the classic ice routes at Kinder Downfall. Who needs the Alps?
PHOTO: Kinder Downfall just before Christmas