Friday, 7 November 2008

An OK October - Lakes

October was always looking like a good month, initally because quite often it retains some dry weather allowing for climbing and also it has the College half term, which means we could go to the Peak District to get some classic Peak ticks. However, October didn't really work out as planned.
On the second weekend, Ian Moore, Franco and myself travelled to the lakes to climb some lakeland routes and franco and I wanted Prana... It was wet and quite chilly with a brisk wind. The first day we decided Shepherds would be as good as anywhere and Franco could remember a route called M.G.C that he wanted to do there and i quite fancied 'The Black Icicle' though i don't know why.
We started off with the Icicle and Franco soloed Little Chamonix. The first pitch i reckoned would be the crux and i wasn't sure what Ian was like on 5b territory, having had limited climbing with him. The crux move is a delight and is well protected with a big nut. After that came the upper pitch which is 5a.
However, the upper pitch is a 'proper' E1 5a. It was pretty run out and involved a reach for a good but very thin feeling hold. It probably wouldn't go, but it certainly feels like it could! Ian climbed this upper part well and i followed him up. It was a good effort and a good route im glad we did.

Franco was now intent on climbing M.G.C and he did so quite easily.
I then climbed after him, but i found the going was quite strenuous after Black Icicle and i tired on the central part. The reachiness of the climb had me stumped so i fell off.
I then retried the line two or three more times, quite content to fall onto the gear as it was good practice, as i have taken very limited lead falls in my time.
The next day started quite chilly and it had rained. We opted for a crag i had not heard of called Buckbarrow Crag, near Honister Pass. It is a crag of natural slate which i was interested about and it had some classic HVS's that Ian was interested in, it also had an E2 me and franco thought about.
Me and Ian climbed a route called Alexas, which i think i'd heard of before and i seem to remember hearing it was quite stubborn for the grade. Anyway, we read the guide and i set off and realised that my first pitch was just a choss scramble to a crappy ledge where i disappointedly set up a belay. Ian came up and then climbed over the overlap and up the wet corner. It was disappoint really as it would have been two stars in the dry, but the wet slate was ultra slippy in the wet and it made lots of hte smeary routes quite bold. Ian however didn't fancy the next section climbing leftwards under the roof on the waterworn slate.
I followed up and managed to have a rest and take his gear on a very very cramped stance. I then attacked the slate slab leftwards, the moist holds and lack of friction made me really think i was bound to come off.
Luckily i didn't i and i ran it out to the top of the cliff from there placing a sling over a spike now and again. Ian followed up and we walked down to attempt the E2.
It was beginning to drizzle and franco climbed the starting groove well, bringing me and Ian up to a decent stance. I then climbed the next section which was a tad loose and damp and it felt unpredictable however i made it up to a lovely ledge where i sat looking at the steep continuation crack.
Franco and Ian climbed up and we finished up the upper crack, which was delightful and felt quite exposed with the Honister valley behind.
A decent weekend considering what could have been but we were disappointed not to have 'ticked' any classics we really went there for.
That makes two lakes trips with a lack of progress, if im honest.

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