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Holme Fell Scrambling

Some photos from this evenings trip out. A sunny scramble up the ridge of  Raven Crag (Yewdale), then over the top of Holme Fell and down to Hodge Close.  A nice way to tick a wee small Wainwright ( 317m) by using a grade 1/2 scramble.

Raven Crag Yewdale

The scramble takes the ridge above the crag – very grippy rock in the hot sun. Unfortunately the crag itself has nesting restrictions until the end of June. Wonder if the rock is the same?

Wild Cotton and the Pikes
Great views over the Langdales and the Fairfeild Horseshoe from the summit
Holme Fell
Looking back at Holme Fell from a small tarn.

VS

When I first started climbing I thought I’d be climbing VS in no time. But that didn’t happen. Then as the years passed I got content with being solid at Severe. Then a few big upheavels in my life bought some fresh perspective on the things that were important to me; I started to climb more.

There’s been a lot of learning in the last 18 months. Getting my confidence back, learning to be positive and learning to make things happen. There’s a lot more work to be done there, but it’s moving in the right direction. And so is the climbing. Hard Severe’s. MVS’s. A few gentle nudges from my climbing partners “come on Gueste, you can do that”.

And because I’m like that I didn’t want to take a route that was MVS in the guide but VS on UKC . And I didn’t want it to be a route I’d seconded before. I wanted it to be real.

Walthwaite Gully

Walthwaite Gully VS. Photo by Jan Bella

So yeah; VS.

And it felt pretty nice.

Quick and Dirty Backpacking

Inspired by Fiona’s talk of backpacking trips, and with an evening and following morning off work, I decided to head off on my own little adventure while the weather held.

Finished my days work at 2.30pm, so headed home to stuff some essentials into a haversack. With a vague plan to walk over to Goats Water and camp below Dow Crag I set off.  It was 5pm by the time I reached Tilberthwaite, and started uphill.

From Tilberthwaite I headed up the path to the top of Weatherlam. Sun on my face all the way, the reward -  views over the Langdale Pikes and Crinkles in the distance and views down to Greenburn. Next, Swirl How the days highpoint. From here the vista opened out to the Duddon Valley, Harter Fell and the Scafells.  Then a left turn and along to  Brim Fell and Coniston Old Man.

Sunset Summits

The fells are magic at this time of night; deserted apart from me and two runners, and the light is amazing. Being high up watching the sunset over the lakes as the sky around Scafell turns red and the mist starts to form in the valleys – just amazing.

Sunset over Scafell and Grey Frair

Ended up camping at Goat Hause rather than dropping down to the tarn. Didn’t really want to leave that view, and I found somewhere flat with running water.

Morning and waking up to views over Dow Crag (I think I have a crush), time to walk down to Coniston, and head home ready for work this afternoon.

A quick and just a little bit dirty backpacking hit – soul food indeed.

MVS

Is it just the Lakes where this grade exists…

Ardus

Ardus, classic lakes MVS

It’s a nice grade – I’m liking it as a staging post on the way to VS.

Murrays Route, Dow Crag

I know, it’s a bit weak really, I’ve never been to Dow; the hill or the crag, before. In my defence it does have a bit of a reputation, the kind that makes you want the right conditions before you take the plunge.

This week conditions arrived, and then some! Blimey it’s been hot. A trip to Pavey Ark, described by one friend as “a big sponge” had to be curtailed due to heat: In March!

First visits to any crag usually overawe me, I was expecting to be, and was duly overawed by Dow. The phrases ‘amazing rock architecture’ and ‘serious territory’ could have been applied if i hadn’t been busy trying not to get too freaked. At least our early start was rewarded with sun bathed walls.

Southern Slabs (S)

Mark’s route of choice was a variation start to C’Ordinary – Southern Slabs (S) came out favourite. From the starting belay there was opportunity to admire the hard climbs above Woodhouse’s Pinnacle (Woodhouses Arete E6, Shining Path E5 and Paths to Victory) lots of wild looking overhangs and even more scary looking rusty pegs.. Southern Slabs turned out to be a pleasant meander across the slabs looking for some kind of gear placement. One does feel one ought to try and place some.

The route finished at Easy Terrace. I was a little concerned about the decent; as I usually am in new venues. Having someone who knows the way off takes off the stress that you might go wrong and plunge to your death; Just the not tripping up and plunging to your death to worry about then. As these things invariably are, the decent turned out not to be to bad.

Murray’s Route (S 4a)

Murray’s was my route choice, I figured a classic rock tick might be nice. The proviso was that I led the 1st pitch; the slab of which is regarded the crux. I found the preceding chimney harder, certainly more intimidating, It took a cheeky thread runner and the appearance of some solid holds about half way up to bring back a little confidence. Conversely the slab seemed all there in terms of feet and holds, although a little polished. I quite enjoyed the working your feet across the slab part.

Mark led through into Abraham’s Cave. We split the traverse pitch into 2 – both sling-on-flake’tastic and some pretty wild positions. The final pitch also fell to me, some lovely moves I thought, laying off the edge of the crack. The difficulties over I managed to reach easy terrace , just! on our 40m ropes.

As we topped out we saw we no longer had the crag to ourselves, and watched a couple of guys on what we guessed must be Eliminate A – which also looks like it gets into some pretty wild positions.