09 March 2010

When lectures are cancelled

Setting out on the walk-in to Sergeant Crag Slabs.

Like I said yesterday, today's lectures had been cancelled and the weather was looking on the better side of good so the plan was to walk up the Langstrath Valley to take in some of the finest slab climbing in the Lake District. I'm not going to lie; the walk in was brutal and I suppose the main reason for this was our pack weights. The five person team were carrying between them: two sets of half ropes, two 60m single ropes, 80m of static rope and four-and-a-half racks. I suppose you could say: "overkill," but we wanted to be kitted out for all eventualities, which meant leading, shunting and top-roping.

Teams on Lakeland Cragsman (HVS-, 5a) and Terminator 2 (HVS, 5a).

Looking across to Lakeland Cragsman (HVS-, 5a) from Terminator 2 (HVS, 5a).

We eventually reached the crag, an hour later, and it was amazing. The rock was perfectly dry and the setting was one of the best I've experienced of late. We split into two teams and set about climbing two of the classic HVS routes: Lakeland Cragsman and Terminator 2. After abseiling back to the ground we swapped over and set to on the other HVS we had previously watched our compatriots ascend.

Strapping on a pair or rather squashing into a pair of Evolv Bandits before attempting Aphasia (E2, 5b).

One further abseil to the ground and I was left with a predicament: do I get on with what I had originally set out to do, which I mentioned yesterday, or set to on the walk-out. There was much umming and arring and a decision was finally made once one of the other climbers made the first moves on Aphasia (E2, 5b). I swapped shoes, tied into the lead and set out on the route I had planned on onsighting over a month ago.

Starting out on Aphasia (E2, 5b).

It was going well. I was reading the moves well, I was feeling impeccably strong and the change in shoes was helping no end. I had some good gear (one DMM 4CU), some marginal gear and then it dried up. This sketched me out a little bit. I ummed and arred once again, tried working in some gear and eventually bailed after glancing up at the next couple of moves; they were well within my capabilities, but I wasn't happy running it out in the hope of finding some bomber gear to prevent a ground fall.

After quickly packing up the gearing-up ledge, which resembled a very disorganised and untidy climbing shop, we skipped on down to the valley floor and followed Langstrath Beck back down to the car.

More pictures of the day can be found

Good lines, stay safe and see you on the wet stuff...

No comments: