Summer feels like a bit of a distant memory after a pretty average August, but what an incredible summer it was! Officially declared the joint-hottest summer on record, we had 679.3 hours of sunshine in England from 1st June - 30th August. With only occasional whimpers of bad conditions and humidity from those wishing to train, I think it's fair to say we all were basking in the warmth, enjoying those crags that rarely dry out and taking advantage of the warm(ish) lakes and tarns.
The Arc'teryx Lakeland Revival has had an incredible year with more people than ever taking part, enjoying the hidden classics in the valleys and up on the mountain crags.
For those of you who missed out or are unsure what the Arc'teryx Lakeland Revival is you can find more information here, www.arcteryxlakelandrevival.com, but the general gist is to climb a route from our suggestions on the route card, collected from The Climber's Shop, George Fisher or Needle Sports. Once you've ticked off as many as you can, hand it back in to claim your Arc'teryx prize.
A big thank you to everyone who got involved and attended the Big Mountain Weekend or climbed a route from the route cards. Hope to see you again next year.
Below is a story from a participant, Lara, who had her first ever experience of Lake District climbing this summer!
"In May this year, on a beautiful Lakeland afternoon and the last day of a holiday staying with friends up there, I climbed Via Media at Castle Rock of Trierman with one of them leading and the other following behind me. For context: it was my 5th route in 3 days, my 8th in 19 years and I've been bouldering indoors since 2015. Following two climbing holidays to the Lakes that didn't happen (a fractured ankle in 2016 on the first day, too much rain the week I was there in 2017) I was really keen, no, desperate, to get some climbing in this May.
I was confident as we walked towards Castle Rock, a shorter walk than to Long Scar and Black Crag where we'd been a few days before. I was joking about the Game of Thrones-ness of its name. I was a bit nervous; the VD and MS routes we'd climbed the few days before had been a bit challenging, mostly as I'm not used to being more than 4m off the ground. Castle Rock reared up ahead of us. 'Ohh, that looks quite big,' I said to myself. 'OOH are we going up there?!' I said to my friends, partly to pretend I wasn't nervous, partly to stop my inner voice from making me more so.
We get there, set up and I watch my friend travel upwards. I stop listening to my scaredy inner voice and watch her moving over the rock, placing protection, moving on. I'm excited about this now and after what seems like an age it's my turn to follow. For the first 15m or so I'm having fun; 'I've been this high before,' I tell myself, 'this is no problem, this is about the height we topped out on each climb those few days ago. I'm safe, I'm roped, my friends have been climbing for years, it's not even *that* hard technically. I'm having so much fun! It's different to bouldering yes, the granite so much scratchier, no comforting repeated shapes for hands and feet...but then it's so much stickier and I'm outside and it's a beautiful day! Wait, what? This is about the height we topped out on those few days ago?'
I look up, there's over halfway still to go. It looks increasingly vertical. It looks increasingly featureless. I look down. I feel a wave of nausea. 'It's fine, it's fine, I'm fine, shut up inner voice, you're doing this on purpose to scare me.' Make a few more moves. Gain a couple of metres. 'Are you okay?' my friend asks. I can't speak; I'm trying to breathe steadily, to focus on my hands, my feet and my breath. I can't speak. I nod my head. I am utterly miserable. Why did I agree to do this? No, actually, why did I ask them if we could do this? This isn't fun. This isn't fun at all. I can't go down, can't even admit that I want to, I have to keep on going up.
My friend belaying us from the top can't see what's going on but I'm pretty certain she's guessed as we've known each other for over half our lives. The friend I'm climbing with is cool and calm, tells me where to put my my hands, my feet, my weight. Tells me I'm doing really well. I'm sure he's lying and I might actually be scaring him but he isn't showing it. I shut my eyes, take a deep breath, try to reign in my fear, open my eyes and I keep going. If this was a metre off the ground I could do it, go on. I somehow get to the top, heart still pounding, I crawl away from the edge to make safe and sit down and wait for my friends to finish.
I look at the sky. I look at the view. It's utterly glorious. I smile. I also feel close to tears. I just did this, I was terrified and I did it. It's not major, it's only an S, but it's the hardest thing I've ever climbed and I did it. We walk off the top and back to the car. I'm still not sure how I feel, whether I ever want to do something like that again or whether that was actually enough. We get back home and walk to the pub for supper, it's a gorgeous evening. I leave for home the next day, watching the hills disappear past the train window. Yes, I want to do it again."