Last week was spent in the Lakes so here is a summary.
On the Monday I went for a wonder up Langstrath valley. I left early to beat the Bank Holiday crowds and had it to myself. I headed up Cam Crag buttress a grade 2 scramble to get onto the broad ridge of Glaramara. There was some good sections of scrambling and with the harder route taken some of the sections were of about diff climbing. It was good to revisit the ridge that I had my steep ground day on my summer mountain leader assessment about 4 years ago. I then dropped into Combe Gill and Dove’s Nest crag to solo Outside Route (Diff). The first section was very slaby and then a rightward traverse along a ledge brought me to a large detached block. Once squeezed through the next section was up a deep chimney with lots of chock stones, which had to be negotiated. This brought me to a cave where I bumped into 3 guys who were have a bit of trouble and were heading down an adjacent chimney. It turned out that they had done a winter course with Ken Applegate of all people on the Ben, small world. The last section goes up a nice wide crack to the top. An enjoyable route to head up if there is some time spare at an end of a day.
Tuesday I fancied working my legs a bit. So I went for a bit of a fell run. From Stonethwaite I headed up Greenup gill and on to High Rise with great views over to Langdale and Great Gable. I then headed round to Angle Tarn and past Sprinkling Tarn to Styhead Tarn and headed round to Seathwaite and then on back to the car. A good couple of hours out to stretch the legs in the fells gain.
Wednesday I headed back into Borrowdale and parked at the little village of Grange. I headed up Gate Gill a grade 3 gill scramble. Having never done a gill scramble my mind was open. There were some good slaby sections of grade 2 scrambling and 2 sections of waterfalls of grade 3 which were very good. Having the added dimension that if I slipped I would get quite wet as well as having to land on my feet.
I then headed back to the car and drove to Seathwaite again to head up Sour Milk Gill. This Gill was much more open with fewer trees and more boulders. There is a couple of long sections of slab which are very pleasant on grippy rock. There are many options along the way so the grade varies, however it ends with a very good section of grade 3 next to a waterfall on good holds that is very atmospheric.
It was then onto Gillercomb crag and North East Butterss to finish off with another grade 2. This is a pleasant buttress with a few steeper steps at the top section. There was also a lot of chalk on the boulders at the base of the buttress which looked like some good problems and there was a team on Gillercomb buttress a popular 7 pitch severe.
On Thursday the weather was forecast to come in so I headed out early again to beat the rain. I headed to Helvellyn and Brown Cove crags on the north east side. After heading up White Gill a simple grade 1 I traversed across and up to the base of the crags. I first headed up the grade 2 of Steeped Ridge which started with a good long section of slabs for about 30 metres. I then came to a steeper wall with a few options, I headed for the crack recommended by the guide book. At about ¾ height the ‘good holds’ that the guide describes ran out and I was left with a side pull on lichen for my right hand, a good hold for my left foot, smearing with my right and shoving my fingers of my left hand in the mud as far as I could to pull up. A bit disconcerting 6 meters up. I then headed back down the gully and round to Central buttress which is a grade 3. This is the better of the two with a winding route up and very varied rock features to work out. Compared to the crack on Steeped Ridge this was a breeze and very enjoyable. I topped out and with the weather holding I had time to headed to the summit and down Swirral ridge with the view to come back up Striding edge.
Having never done Striding edge and hearing many stories about it of people getting in too deep I had always avoided it due to the crowds. However I stepped onto it with only two other parties around and with the wind blowing quite strongly I made my way along the ridge. It is quite a pleasant way to get to the summit of Helvellyn and can see why so many people go along it but glad that I had never made a special effort to do it. The most travelled and polished ridge in the country?
On Saturday the weather again looked changeable so Claire and myself headed for Langdale with the view to bail to Ambleside if the weather came in. We headed up Mill Gill instead of the main path towards Pavey Ark. With some good shorter sections of scrambling it made for a pleseant way up. We then headed over towards Tarn Crag over a short buttress which we pitched. The plan was to head up a grade 2 but there was a good looking ridge to the right of the crag at about diff to v diff which we headed up. By this point the rock was very greasy and the rain had just started so we made tracks and 3 pitches later reached the top and put on our waterproofs. A good little climb, even more so as I found two nuts on it.