Murray’s Route – Dow Crag

dow-cragEvery time I’m in the Coniston area I find myself gazing up at Dow Crag. Having seconded Murray’s Route a few years ago I’ve kept promising myself that I’d return to lead it; but a combination of poor weather, poor planning and a long walk in have kept me away.

The first day of June however saw the Lake District basking in glorious sunshine, so I took the day off, picked up Dan at the Priestly Centre, then drove as far as possible up the Walna Scar road. There was no danger of rain and no time pressure, so we strolled up to Goat’s Water, the up the steep scree to the stretcher box.

As it was around midday, we ate our packed lunch then began to gear up. As we were sorting out the ropes another climber and his female companion appeared and were obviously dissapointed that we’d got there first. Having tried (and failed) to persuade us to cut the 4 pitches down to two so he wouldn’t have to wait too long, they disappeared to climb another route.

start-of-murrays-routeI led the first pitch of Murray’s Route (74m Three Star Severe) which contains the crux moves onto the slab and around the corner, missed the obvious belay point (duh) and climbed a few metres past it. Dan took the short pitch 2 to the belay in the cave then we rotated again with me leading the superb hand traverse and chimney pitch. Dan finished the climb and as we descended Easy Gulley we watched the climbers we’d met earlier tackling the first few pitches of Eliminate A.

On the route back down we stopped occasionally to look back at the crag and noticed that the climbers on Eliminate A were abseiling back off.

A pint in the Sun at Coniston rounded off a great day out.