Coed Brenin Enduro 2014

Coed Brenin Enduro 2014

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Kipling Groove - at last

I have a small mental list of climbs I want to do before moving to Scotland. One of the most important to me is Kipling Groove, an HVS on Gimmer Crag which is reported to be ruddy 'ard......

I've really wanted to climb KG since I first did the reasonably stout 1+ hour walk in from the Old Dungeon Ghyll (Langdale) and saw Gimmer Crag and the route many years ago. I've been to Gimmer quite a few times but never managed to get on this route. Initially I was too scared (!), once it was taken, with people waiting in line, once we climbed a route up to the ledge and start of the route and it was freezing and we couldn't feel our hands.... etc etc (excuses).

Last night was 'the' night I hoped as I joined the KMC on their summer (solstice) evening meet. I teamed up with Neil and Chris and we 'warmed' up on Crystal a tough E1 Neil wanted to climb, which certainly warmed me up...

Looking down into the valley from the belay
KG is/was amazing, and actually worth waiting for. The first undercling pitch which is easy gives atmosphere to the route and leads to a great belay in a big corner system. After reading the guidebook description a few times I set off on the top pitch. Wow.... It starts up a straightforward but very enjoyable corner, before being encouraged out and around an arete onto the headwall.

Picture by Mike 99 (UKC) of first pitch undercling

The crux is just the most amazing bit of climbing I can remember from any route as you have to reach massively out right to a small horizontal break that you can only just see and get your finger tips into at full stretch - and don't really feel you can hold. I then had to push further right with my left foot trusting my right hand would hold and smearing a right foot cross through with my hands for a better hold. You are then holding this great thin horizontal break with both hands, both feet on smears whilst you hardly believe the exposed position you are in as you try and remain calm to get some gear in before making another hard reach move to go further along the break..... After this the finish is still tricky up an 'easier' crack.

I got to the top absolutely buzzing and feeling great. Its definitely the best route and lead I've done for a long while.

Hope I don't get in trouble for this. Picture by Gordon Stainforth (from UKC).
The climber on the headwall is on Kipling Groove (red/orange helmet)
I was thinking about the route on the drive home and when I went to bed and have decided if I had to come up with a list of my top 3 climbs of all time, it would be on the list. Gimmer Crag is amazing, and my favourite crag in the Lake District, it will be the thing I miss most about the Lakes when in Scotland.

Neil around the crux

Neil on the crux (or there about)
After last night my all time top 3 climbs are:
1st - Snake Dike - Yosemite
2nd - Kipling Groove - Gimmer
3rd - Dream of White Horses - Gogarth

The walk out. Looking back at the prominent Gimmer 

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Glass half full day

We knew that very wet weather was due to come in from the west today, but it was forecast to get wet from about 2-3pm. So it was initially looking like a wash out, and that the weather had come in early as I had to put the wipers on this morning, and the road got wetter and wetter the closer we got to Langdale....

Ben on Annie's Song
But I was reminded today that its always worth remaining optimistic as it was almost dry in Langdale, and seeing climbers on Raven Crag gave us the incentive to head to White Crag and see what happened.

Good time to finish
We had a great few hours climbing Bee-Line (HS), Annie's Song (VS+) and I Crashed a Vulcan Bomber (VS+) . At times it drizzled but the rain held off until we had finished the 3rd route. It was satisfying getting back to the car before the heavens opened, but I did feel sorry for the 2 climbers we spotted on the traverse pitch of Pluto getting drenched as we left.

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Hot hot hot (rock)

A great weekends climbing was had by me and Ben. Due to the dry sunny and settled weather we headed to Eagle Crag in Patterdale on Saturday to climb the classic 150m Eagle Front, a route of great notoriety that they say should only be considered during a dry period.

Eagle Crag further back centre (kind of)

Nearly there
I made a minor (nearly major) gaff by forgetting my water bottle and only discovering this after walking up hill for 30 minutes. Annoyed with myself for not checking my bag after packing it the night before I had to improvise and use a waterproof rucksack liner to gather water from the stream!! The route was fun, and we were lucky with the weather (not too crazy hot ).

Old pegs (and flower) on the nail ledge belay

Ben following the brilliant 7th pitch
Sunday saw another early start and red hot weather as we walked in to Dow Crag at 8.30am (I think). Wow was it hot, glad I had water this time. We were early (ish) but not the first there. We avoided the crowds and headed to Easter Gully (the amphitheatre) and climbed Great Central Route a 'brilliant' HVS. It packed a lot in, with a strenuous 5b (I think) crack/off width and amazing top pitch. I love the guidebook description 'A climb of great character up the imposing pillar......'. It was so hot that after this route all we could do is cool off in the lake before ice-creams in Coniston!!