Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Wintry North Wales

A bit of catchup with activities from a while ago.

On Good Friday we headed down to N. Wales for some slate action. After a leisurely breakfast just off the A55 (we weren't slow, just the service), it was off to the quarries.

Everything was somewhat white, in fact there was around 20cm of snow on the ground so I hadn't high hopes that we'd get anything done. After ploughing up to the bottom of Australia, an area I'd never been to before despite living in the area for nine years, it seemed that there were a few dry routes. Now slate dries quickly after rain has cleared but melting snow is slightly different and some routes were getting wetter by the minute. The whole feeling was somewhat alpine with rockfall on the scree slope in the middle of the quarry.

Steve heading out on Looning the Tube.

After a couple of VSs and an easy sport route we'd got damp enough so we headed back along the A55 and did a couple of routes at Llanddulas Cave before the rain called an end to activities.

A bit of biking action on the Sunday - heading round the Bingley Loop, in daylight for once.

It now looks like the summer monsoon has arrived early :-(

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Eastern Lakes Rock

In looking around to figure out where to go for the weekend's climbing both Mike and I had thought about Gouther Crag in Swindale near Shap. Mike had never been and it had been 3 years since I'd last visited. It's a cracking little crag with a range of good routes from VDiff to E4. A team of three since Steve was joining us.

When we got to the car park it was packed but it turned out that these were all walkers and we had the crag to ourselves for most of the day. We started off with The Fang, a classic easy VS. I have to say that I wouldn't like to be doing it when breaking in to the grade as the first 10 metres or so are pretty hollow and you have to be careful with gear, then you run it out for quite a way until you get good gear. Good climbing though.

None of us felt up to leading Bloodhound (bold E2) which is one of the best slab climbs around, so we top roped it. Next up was Hernia, a steep crackline. It used to be HVS but was upgraded to E1 in the latest guide. There's only one hard move though the crux of the VS that it joins near the top felt just as hard.

Mike on the crux of Hernia - E1 5b

Mike and Steve wanted to play on Castration Crack, one of the classic E3s of the crag. I'd done it a few times in the past so just chilled (literally) and watched them. The lower half is well protected but once past the crux it's a dirty slab -it was likely that this was the first ascent of the year.

I've still plenty to do here so will have to come back again.