Wednesday, 29 February 2012

One Down, Six to go

Another quick hit in the Lakes getting minor Wainwrights done. This time I was in the Eastern Fells, Wainwright's first book. I'd only four left to do but they were all isolated from one another and there wasn't really a sensible route to do them in one walk so it was a pair and two singles. 

First up were Arnison Crag and Birks, both pimples on a spur from St Sunday Crag really. Being early in the day I didn't see anyone on the fell. Then it was round to Glenridding to tackle Birkhouse Moor. There was a hunt setting off so getting parked was slightly tricky. I decided to head up the NE ridge which Wainwright describes as an easy scramble but then anything that involves taking your hands out of your pockets is a scramble to him! In reality it was just steep grass across a rocky steepening.

The summit is all of 10 metres above the surrounding terrain, again a pointless summit. I was pleasantly surprised that I could walk properly on the descent - the physio on my hip is obviously paying dividends. On getting back down to Glenridding the police arrived - it looked like a group of anti-hunt protesters were filming the hounds out on the fell and some hunt supporters weren't happy.

The final top of the day was Hartsop above Howe, yet another excrescence on a long spur. The going was easy angled if a long way for such a minor top. After lots of false summits the highest was reached and Book One could be put to bed. I'll still visit but only the major tops like the Helvellyn range and the Fairfield Horseshoe.

Am now getting to the climbing wall several times a week - handy that there's now one ten minutes from work so no excuses :-) I'm slowly getting fitter but I think it's going to take a while.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Climbing and Skiing

It's been a bit of a gap since I've posted anything - I was away skiing last week but have also got a (little) bit of winter climbing done.

I went to Brown Cove Crags with Steve a couple of weeks ago - another Lakes winter crag that I'd never been to before. The weather was wild and forecast to get wilder but Steve needed a haircut so we didn't get away until mid-morning. After a bit of a plod up in to the mirk on the Helvellyn path we reckoned that we were at the right spot to traverse in to the crag. There followed a traverse across a scree slope with legs disappearing down large holes with a bit of a descent to get round the toe of the first buttress.

We settled on Right Buttress Crack, a grade III, which proved easy apart from a squirm round a chockstone halfway up the main pitch. The route is a lot longer than given in the guide with three pitches of close to 60 metres and the other a good 40 metres. It was by now very wild on top and it was fortunate that the descent path was close by.

By the time we got back to the car there was about 6 or 7cm of fresh snow. I then made the mistake of turning left out of the car park and heading back over Dunmail Raise. It seems that despite the last two winters UK drivers still haven't learnt how to drive in snow and we spent some time sitting around waiting for people to get up very shallow slopes. At least we had our flasks with us! After two hours we had only got to Newby Bridge (the Windermere road was solid with stuck cars) and it was another 2 1/2 hours before we got home.

Last week we had a week's skiing based in Morzine. Good snow with reasonable weather but I came back with yet more injuries having pulled a muscle in my shoulder/back and rather bizarrely getting thwacked in the head by the foot rest of a chairlift that hadn't properly returned to the up position. Fortunately I didn't do any obvious damage to my knees or legs.

It now looks as if winter is over for a while with temperatures rising to over 15C, time to get training for summer.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Turning the Tables

Not such good weather this last weekend but good enough to get out to Gigg South for a few routes. Due to the constant rain and snow melt, the crag was as wet as I've ever seen it. The crag is a little bit steeper than Robin Proctor's and my lack of rock fitness showed again. Ah well.

As it happened I knew nearly everyone at the crag, all golden oldies, presumably the youngsters are inside cranking on the plastic.

Slightly more amazing was that we finally got the table installed that we'd ordered nearly three years ago! We'd put up with IKEA/PCWorld computer tables for ages but now we've got a bespoke oak table and it's lovely and looks the part.

Our new table :-)