28 October 2010

A Wash Out

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I spent the afternoon down at the Bowderstone and to put it simply: it was a wash out. The rock was bone dry, but the rain continued to fall and thoroughly soaked my mats, which wasn't great for the climbing psyche.

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

24 October 2010

Back in Yorkshire

The limestone pavement atop of Chapel-le-Dale's Lower Teir.

It has now come to that time of year when climbing on the rock is almost a write off, because of the rain showers, which frequent these autumnal months, but with a bit of thought it is still possible to get out on the rock. This does mean that a bit of driving is usually needed as the Lake District rhyolite is not suited to these damp conditions, but the county of Yorkshire is blessed with rock, be it limestone or gritsone, which is ideal for these autumnal conditions.

Looking out across the Dales from the Umbrella Overhangs.

And because I was on the gritstone on Wednesday it only seemed fitting to get out on the limestone of the Dales. The venue of choice was Chapel-le-Dale, which looks down on Oddie's Lane, an old Roman road, and the River Doe, which flows south-west into Ingleton, and it must be one of the best outlooks in the Dales.

Just after the sun disappears behind the crag and below the horizon.

I suppose it was a shame that the routes were not befitting of the outlook. They were, at best, ten meters high and the difficulty was usually found in the first couple of moves needed to leave the ground. It was an enjoyable day however and provided some respite from the work/university routine that I am slowly falling into at the moment.

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

21 October 2010

Visiting Yorkshire and Scotland

Balancing up the slab of Centre Point (Diff).

I went climbing yesterday, which isn't uncommon, but instead of checking in on the Lake District crags or the Northumberland outcrops or the limestone of the Dales, we headed further afield to the gritstone crags of Brimham, which are just outside of Ripon. This did mean we had an early start to make the four hour round journey worthwhile, but we did get four-and-a-half hours under cloudless skies with perfectly conditioned gritstone. Then today, we headed to Scotland for the day.

Poling up the River Annan, Scotland.

When I say Scotland I don't mean the Highlands, but rather Dumfries and Galloway, which is only just a stones throw from Carlisle, and has many a perfect river for messing around in boats. The river of choice was the Annan, which we have visited on one previous occasion, but failed to get on because of the unusually high river levels. Today, the river was much lower and it was a perfect way to spend the day.

Paddling down the River Annan, Scotland.

Negotiating a cheerful Scottish fisherman on the River Annan.

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

13 October 2010

And... now it's October

I got out climbing again today and it was, without a doubt, an October day. Not only was it cold, but also damp because of the low-lying cloud. This was unlike Sunday's climbing marathon and, to a degree, yesterday's bouldering session at Carrock Fell. However, the rock was, at best, dry but it was greasy and in places there was some seepage from the vegetation, which was glued to the rhyolite buttresses.

Supermodel (E1, 5b).

What was similar with Sunday's climbing marathon was the fact that we visited a couple of crags, rather than basing our operations at one venue, which meant we had plenty of good routes to go at. We began the day at Fat Charlie's Buttress, which lies close to Langstrath Beck, and after ticking two routes here, we headed a bit further up the hill, away from the beck, to Bleak How, which I have visited before.

The Reiver (HVS, 5a).

We ticked The Reiver (HVS, 5a), which I backed-off from on our previous visit, before decided on tackling the impressive, and foreboding slab on the left of the crag, which Brush Off (HVS, 4c) weaves it's way up.

The bold and foreboding slab.

Looking across the cloud filled valley whilst climbers work away on Brush Off (HVS, 4c).

Trying to find the cleanest bit of rock on Brush Off (HVS, 4c).

More pictures of the day can be found here.

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

12 October 2010

Some bloc action...

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Tuesday's are great. I only have one lecture and that is at 2pm so I have a fair few hours free in the morning. This means I can do a variety of things: university work, indoor training, outdoor climbing or even kayaking.

I went for the outdoor climbing option today and this was in the form of a bouldering session at Carrock Fell. The fell was clad in a thick fog, but the blocs remained dry and this gave some excellent atmospheric bouldering on the rough Gabbro problems.


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

10 October 2010

Who would have thought...

it was October: blue skies and dry rock.

A morning mist hangs over the Langdale Valley.

I mentioned in Tuesday's post that I would be heading out to satisfy the need for adventure, partnerships and big challenges on Wednesday. Well that didn't happen, but it did today. The challenge was certainly a big one and it might have been too big for a Sunday in October: the weather shone through though and after ten hours of climbing we achieved our objective.

Looking across White Ghyll Crag to the valley floor far below.

The objective of the day was to summit Pavey Ark, but there was a slight twist. We started climbing at Scout Crags, which is ten minutes from the road, and finishes no where near the summit of Pavey Ark. However, the top of Scout Crags does finish near White Ghyll Crag and the top of this is only a short walk from the base of the crags on Pavey Ark.

Pavey Ark towering majestically over Stickle Tarn.

This idea of linking several routes together to ascend a Lakeland fell is nothing new, but in order to reach the top of Pavey Ark we had to use three different crags and five different routes. This meant we had sixteen pitches of climbing and two-hundred-and-eighty meters of climbing to get through before we could stand, successful, on the summit of Pavey Ark.

Stickle Tarn with the Langdales beyond from Pavey Ark.

The five climbs we ascended were by no means hard or technical, but that wasn't the point of the day; it was about moving in the mountains and climbing was just one of the mediums we used in doing this. To be honest climbing should be more about this and I think at times some individuals, and I do as well, get too hooked up on the grades of climbs and lose focus on the real reasons for climbing.

Heading home at the end of the day: heading down Jack's Rake.

Once at the top of Pavey Ark we used the classic scramble of Jack's Rake to descend down to Stickle Tarn below, before jogging down the well established path, which runs parallel with Stickle Ghyll, down to the New Dungeon Ghyll and the Stickle Barn. I'm now heading to bed for some well needed rest before a day of lectures.

More pictures of the day can be found here.

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

07 October 2010

Back in a Boat

Floating down the last hundred meters of the River Mint to join the River Kent.

Over the past two years of university there have been modules focusing on outdoor activities and this is no different for the third year. Today was the first of five practical sessions looking at coaching Canoeing and we floated down the River Mint for a couple of hundred meters before joining the River Kent and floating down through Kendal.

Playing on the many small weirs as the River Kent meanders through Kendal.

We couldn't have asked for a nicer day to be honest. I suppose we could have done with a bit more water in the river, but there was enough to float down the two rivers without much hassle.

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

05 October 2010

Who would have thought....

that a sheet of plywood could provide so much enjoyment for such a long period of time.


With my third year well and truly on the way my timetable appears to accommodate the need to engage with outdoor activities really well. I suppose the thought behind this piece of timetabling genius was to allow for plenty of time in the library, but I am convinced that, with a bit of self discipline, some of this free time can be spent climbing and such like.

Today we attempted to boulder on the Bowderstone before an afternoon's lecture in Outdoor Leadership and the Entrepreneur, however the weather had other ideas; it lashed it down. This meant that after one attempt of Picnic Sarcastic (Font 7a+) we retired to Keswick Climbing Wall where we spent a good two hours crimping backwards and forwards, up and down on a sheet of plywood that was no more than two meters by three meters.

You wouldn't think that it was possible to have so much fun on such a small piece of plywood, but it certainly is, and Dave MacLeod talked about this only a couple of days ago and I can agree with him 100%. However, this plywood climbing only provides satisfaction for one facet of climbing; physical movement. The need for adventure, partnerships and big challenges still has to be satisfied and it is hoped that tomorrow's visit to Bowderstone Crag will achieve this.

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