31 March 2011

Going Underground

Today was the last ever university practical and with no need for ensuring certain learning objectives were achieved we decided to head across to the Yorkshire Dales for a spot of caving. Caving was probably the only activity that would have provided any sort of enjoyment considering today's weather; it was blowing a gale and raining as well.

Abseiling down the Wet Entrance of Sell Gill Holes.

We headed over to the Sell Gill Holes network, which is above Horton-in-Ribblesdale, and requires a fair few ropes as we had to make three abseils down the side of a 45 meter waterfall.

Rigging one of the abseils to take us further into the cave system.

Looking up the Main Chamber of Sell Gill Holes as someone descends from above.

Once we had reached the Main Chamber we headed for the passageways that some of our companions had descended so that we could climb up their ropes, and remove them as we went. This allowed us to experience another section of the cave system, but it also made it feel a bit more like a journey.

Approaching the Dry Entrance of Sell Gill Holes, which we used as an exit.

Tomorrow it's back to work, and then I've got another three days off before rescue training begins.

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

28 March 2011

Evening Cragging...

Looking down the Watendlath Valley from Reecastle last August.

So I started back at Go Ape on Thursday and the clocks sprung forward on Sunday, meaning we've gained an extra hour of day light, which incidentally means there is more time, after work, for playing on the easily accessible crags of Borrowdale whilst the sun heads for the horizon.

Tonight I kicked off my year's evening cragging in good form up at Reecastle Crag, which is found in the hanging valley of Watendlath. This is one of the most beautiful valleys in the whole of Lakeland, in my opinion, and it was a nice place to spend the evening climbing The Rack: Finger Flake Finish (E2, 5c) and The Gibbet (E1, 5c) before darkness fell.

Unfortunately I left my camera in the car, hence the picture from August, however my partner for the evening's escapades had their camera to hand. I'll make an effort to get some copies of the pictures taken whilst I dithered through the crux of The Gibbet.
Watendlath's quiet nook.
A farm is there, and a slated barn,
And a waterfall, and a pebbly tarn;
And all the way to High Lodore
The banks of the beck are painted o'er
With red herb-willow and red loose-strife.

- Edmund Casson, The Wise Kings of Borrowdale.
Good lines, stay safe and see you on the wet stuff...

26 March 2011

Saturday Slate

I started back at work on Thursday, and this year, instead of being freelance, I'm there full time as university is all but over; I've just got to print my dissertation, hand it in and then I've finished, which is nice. This also means that I am able to get out on my day's off, instead of spending them writing assignments, so today, with the weather looking favourable, I headed over to Hodge Close Quarry in the Tilberthwaite Valley, just outside Coniston.

Looking into Hodge Close Quarry from the top of Behind the Lines (HVS, 5a).

I've been meaning to get over to the quarry for some time after once heading that way, but changing plans at the last minute, and since seeing this video, made by some of the students studying for a BA (Hons) in Adventure and Media, I've wanted to head that way even more. We started out on the three star classic, Behind the Lines (HVS, 5a), after abseiling into the quarry, and this was my first taste of climbing on slate.

Seconding Big Dipper (E1, 5b).

Once we'd topped out on Between the Lines and admired the beauty of the quarry some more we abseiled back down the wall and started out on Big Dipper (E1, 5b). This was an impressive line that takes a rising traverse rightwards across the quarry's central wall and provides some really good climbing in a pretty exposed position.

Hodge Close Quarry.

After completing the two pitches of Big Dipper we pulled up all the ropes, headed around to the other side of the quarry and abseiled back in, to take on Oiling the Lawnmower (E1, 5b). This was a really nice climb and provided two excellent pitches of slate slab climbing, which was, rather than being protected by natural protection, bolt protected so it is problably more fitting to attach a sport grade to the climb.

On the first pitch of Oiling the Lawnmower (E1, 5b).

I imagine I'll be back at the quarry at some point, as there are a fair few lines I would like to look at, and I enjoyed climbing on the slate once I had got use to it's intricacies.

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

22 March 2011

Grinding away on the Gabbro

Gabbro (pronounced: ɡæbroʊ) refers to a large group of dark, coarse-grained, intrusive mafic igneous rocks chemically equivalent to basalt. The rocks are plutonic, formed when molten magma is trapped beneath the Earth's surface and cools into a crystalline mass.

Carrock Fell with the Boardman's, Mushroom and Low Boulders left of centre.

Gabbro can be found on the flanks of Carrock Fell, Cumbria and that's where I spent the afternoon, whiling away my time on the problems, which can be found on the Gabbro boulders. Carrock Fell is probably one of the best venues close to Carlisle and for some reason I've not visited it since November of last year.

Problem 17 on the Aretes Boulder.

Crimping up Problem 18 on the Aretes Boulder.

I took in some new problems before moving on to a problem I have tried once before, but didn't get round to completing. I worked out a new sequence of moves, which got me past my previous high point, and then I couldn't make the following move to the top. I ground the problem into submission with countless attempts and instead of it letting up, my fingers let out. I had to call the session to an end as my finger tips started to spurt blood over the small sloping, but incredibly painful holds, as well as anything else I decided to touch.

However, before leaving I happened to notice that there's a large field of boulders between the two central groups of documented problems, which look to have a few lines, albeit above bad landings, that don't appear in the Lakes Bouldering guidebook. I may just be back before another four months pass to check them out.

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

18 March 2011

A day in the sun...

I was over in the Langdale Valley today and spent the majority of my time climbing up and down the aptly named Langdale Boulders. I repeated a variety of problems, which I have done on previous visits to this stunning location, and ticked off a couple of new problems as well.

There isn't much else to say really, as I think pictures are the only medium that could do the day any real justice; it was that amazing.

Back Boulder Left (V6) with the Langdale Pikes behind.

The Overhang (V5) with the Langdale Pikes behind.

Adding a sit start to The Overhang, which bumps the grade up to V7.

The Pocket with the Langdale Pikes behind (V5).

More pictures of the day can be found here.

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

14 March 2011

Another Bowderstone Session...

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

06 March 2011

Sunday Sandstone

As with the Sunday tradition I was out on the sandstone today. The venue was Rothley Crag, which is just over 4 miles away, as the crow flies, from Shaftoe, where I was a week ago. This meant that many of the boulder problems were of a similar nature to the ones I ticked at Shaftoe however I went with a definite motto in my mind, "send it within three goes or move on."

Working out how to mantel over Yorkshire Roof (Font 6b).

As a result of this, I walked away from the crag, three-and-a-half hours later, having ticked twenty-two problems. None of them were exceptionally hard, but it was nice to get a lot done, and now when I next visit the crag I'll be paying a bit more attention to specific problems, or maybe I'll carry on working my way through the remaining 196 problems.

Another Arete (Font 6a), another mantel shelf.

Making the leftwards traverse on Zig Zag (Font 6a).

We didn't leave the crag until 4:30 so we were blessed with a lovely light as I came to the end of the session and I was slightly excited for the drive back west along the Military Road, because the sun would be setting in the distance.

Pulling off the ground on South Sea Bubble (Font 6a) as the evening sun illuminates the rock.

The sun didn't disappoint and as we passed through Walwick the sun was sitting on the Military Road, and a couple of minutes later it was below the horizon and darkness started to set in.

A setting sun as we head for home down the Military Road.

More pictures of the bouldering at Rothley Crag can be found here.

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