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 

1 comment:

  1. No, it's fine using my picture. Nice article. Your enthusiasm for the route is similar to mine. I don't remember that long reach at all – maybe it was too far for me – but two or three very interesting, technical moves on small holds and then standing on this superb ledge about 3-4 inches wide (perhaps the 'hold' you reached for?) Then nice short, exposed traverse right before heading to the top on superlative rough rock.