13 February 2010

Gambling with precipitation

It seems like my life is one big gamble with the precipitation; when I have my kayaking head on I am always gambling on whether there has been enough precipitation and when my climbing head is on - which is, without a doubt, stuck on firmly right now - I am gambling on whether the precipitation has had an affect on the rock.

Yesterday, during a three hour break between lectures in Anatomy and Physiology and Technology for Outdoor Adventure, I had a cheeky visit to Armathwaite in the drizzle. I know I visited the crag less than a week ago, but I enjoy making moves on the sandstone even though I have made many of them time and time again. The rock was, on the most, bone dry because of the overhanging nature of the problems and this allowed me to get one move further up Problem 7, which has been somewhat of a metaphor for the success of my training programme.

Problem 7 (V6) at Armathwaite.

Today I took that gamble once again; I left Carlisle this morning with the windscreen wipers on intermittent and the roads mildly moist from precipitation that had fallen during the night, in the hope that Gimmer Crag, down in the South Lakes, would be in condition.

Looking up the Langdale Valley to Bow Fell and Crinkle Crags.

To be honest I was extremely doubtful and I was more than happy to sack the day off as a bad job and go for a stroll around the Langdales or even, at worst, Ambleside. However, even when the snow started to fall in the morning the rock remained dry and it did through out the day. In fact on more than one occasion we made comments about how "we were too warm." The weather was that perfect.

A long way down; belaying on Bracket and Slab Climb (S).

We managed to take in, to a degree, three Classic Rock routes in the form of Bracket and Slab Climb (S), Ash Tree Slabs (VD+) and 'C' Route (S+) and throughout the day, when you looked out from the crag to The Band you could make out Neckband Crag where Gillette Direct (E2, 5b) hides away waiting for me to begin work on it during the summer. If I am being honest I am even more excited by the prospect of getting on the crag now; the Langdales must be one of the finest settings in the Lakes, and maybe even the UK, in which to work a route that will test your abilities to the limit.

Confused; trying to find the start of Ash Tree Slabs.

We finished the last pitch of the last climb as the sun started to drop behind Pike o'Blisco, which was not a problem in the least; in fact it was a joy to be still out on the rock and the descent back to the van was made the better for the fact that a Light Emitting Demon guided you off the fell and back into the valley bottom.

Looking across to where my project route awaits from the final stance on 'C' Route (S+) as the sun goes down.
Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.
Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees.

The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.

- John Muir (1838-1914).
Good lines, stay safe and see you on the wet stuff...

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