Climbing Update

June 5, 2008

Had a sore back so missed a week of climbing but resumed last Thursday evening with a visit to Wallowbarrow Crag. Sue led Digitation (48m MVS 4b, 4b) which merits its two stars. Got attacked by midges with very sharp teeth, who seemed attracted to my insect repellant. Went to the Newfield for a pint afterwards.

On Saturday we  took a drive to the top of Wrynose Pass and after parking hiked up to Black Crag. Sue led Jolly Rodger (16m one star HS) which was quite tricky at the crux. We then had a go at the one star Fun Run (16m MVS 4b). The route description didn’t seem to match well, but as it mentioned avoiding a perched flake, and no flake was to be seen, maybe it’s changed somewhat. I climbed it anyway, but it’s overgraded at 4b and wouldn’t get a star from me. We finished off with another one star route – Glass Clogs (14m VS 4b) which follows a crackline. Enjoyed the climb, and it’s well protected. Again though I’d say it’s overgraded. Called in at the Newfield on the way back, but it was mobbed out with fell runners, so carried on for a pint at the Blacksmiths Arms.

Monday after work was another trip to Wallowbarrow. We climbed with Will, and as this was only his second outing this year, decided on Thomas (two star 57m three pitch Severe).  If you plan on visiting the lakes, and you climb at around severe, I highly recommend a trip to Wallowbarrow, and Thomas is a must on your tick list – it’s a three star climb for me. The midges once gain made things unpleasant for us. Take very strong insect repellant, or smoke cigarettes constantly. Took refreshments at the Newfield afterwards.

On Tuesday evening we headed up to Eskdale and Bell Stand – a new crag for me. Directions: If coming from the South, turn right at the King George IV inn, past the Fisherground Campsite, past Beckfoot Quarry (another climbing venue). Soon you’ll see some chalets with wood tile roofs and a large b&b. Park opposite the b&b. Walk back down the road for 300m. You’ll see a gate on the right with access to the fell to the right of the gate. Follow the path, heading towards the rickety dry stone wall on your left. Follow the wall for around 10 mins till you are level with Bell Stand, then strike off right to the crag.

Climbing with Keith, I tackled Hollow Flakes first (one star 15m MVS 4b). Big cams needed for the wrist width slot behind the flake, and if you’re a reluctant hand jammer like me, a fair amount of balancing to get to a stance. Had three attempts at the crux before nailing it.

We followed that with Plumbline (two star 15m VS 4c) which was straightforward up to the crux. Another climb that had me thinking – it looked like a hand jam was the only way to sort out the crux, but after two attempts at it I found some footholds that enabled me to avoid losing more skin and make a step up to decent handholds.

I thought both of these climbs were around the same grade.

For a finale we top roped Black Dancer (10m E1 5c) with some difficulty.

The obvious pub for a post climb pint of Blubird Bitter was the King George IV.