Sunday, 27 December 2009

Winter Madness - Part 1.

It's been a while since i found inspiration to write about my climbing exploits, a combination of poor weather and lack of psyche meant to bugger all climbing to speak of. Admittedly, a cool trip to Tremadog with the LUUMC and Franco was a good bit of weather dodging wales action. A snowy Slate Quarries allowed a quick ascent of 'Goose Creature - E3' and then a showery Tremadog allowed a beautiful climb of the uber-cool 'The Plum -E1'.

However, the winter came on the week before Christmas. Phonecalls and Facebook planning saw myself and Franco meeting up in the Lakes at Grizedale.
I was 'psyched' not to repeat the events of 2years ago in Scotland on the Ben, i was quite content to tick a load of III's and possibly a IV, but just happy to get out and get experienced.

The first morning saw us climb to Nethermost Cove, with an idea of doing the grade II gully, prominent on the hillside. However, it was clear that the route was not 'in'. Snow was limited and although it was cold, there was a lot of rock exposed in the gully, this was Mixed conditions.
So, staying true to my ambitions of grade III cruising... I allowed franco to talk me into climbing a potential First Winter Ascent of a prominent bulging corner, around 100metres to the left of Nethermost Gully.
We arrived after some grade II mixed steps and soloing, which was about as close as i came for the whole long weekend, to 'easy' climbing.
Franco geared up for the imposing overhanging start to the crack. It was the sort of climb that looked HVS in summer. A couple of useful turf tufts proved inviting enough, we also new that 'Torquing' would prove invaluable. Franco started and amazingly onsighted the heinous corner, with aid of the iced crack, i asked if the belay was bomber!!! It was.
I started up the corner and removed the tricams in the ice crack. Bomber... I then placed my axe in the crack pulled and then smashed the ice out. Pisser.
As a result i had to torque my axes more in the crack more than Franco, but it was probably of similar difficulty. As we wandered down Striding Edge, we laughed at our first lakes route, indeed, our first mixed route being an FA, onsight! We had no idea what grade it was, but we knew it would be something like V, 7 due to the fact it was a nails move, but very well protected by winter standards! Its a clear crux pitch, around 30metres with scrambling before and a 30metre grade III/IV up the continuation corner. All in all, we believe it is a good addition to the routes in the Helvellyn range.

Listening to madness in the Landy.

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