Sunday, 4 April 2010

It's not a Dale - Aka - Snotterdale

This horrendous/hilarious sounding crag perched in a plantation near Scugdale, has for the past few years been on the radar, but we've as yet never got around to going.
However, the recent poor weather (showers most days), combined with the fact i was having lunch with my family in the middle of the day and also a visit from Victor Scott, who popped by to very generously gift some surplus gear (pegs, screws, nuts, chocks and some original RP's) all in a rather cool old rucksack - pure Moors (and other areas, but they're not as good!) history.

Franco came down and we arranged to quickly motor to Snotterdale as we decided, if it was wet then we could just look at the crag for the next guide and also for any Last Great Problems or just FA's!
We pretty much ran up the plothery track to the head of the dale thats not a dale,so giving the crag it's name. However, upon arrival at the plantations in the area we found the description of how to find the crags lacking - the only part that made sense was "The crag can be difficult to find"...
Luckily, we used our loaves and were soon walking along a ridge in the trees and soon found the main buttress, with the well respected line of Desperandum (E2).

Franco quickly abseiled down the prominent arete, which would be an FA, to see if it was possible. He said it is, but felt it probably wasn't worth the effort currently, compared to our other goals on the moors.
Knowing that we were running out of time, we decided to quickly jump on, what is probably the route of the crag, Desperandum.
Franco climbed first, reaching and finger locking his way up the steep cracksystem. He described the line as being 'a myriad of finger locks, some of which are class'. He made a huge reach up to clip a peg from a lovely handjam and solidly polished off the line. He declared it well worth the effort in a similar sense to Warrior at High Crag - if you walked up to do Desperandum, you wouldn't be disappointed and there are other similarly graded lines there too.
I then climbed the line, but we left the gear in due to time restraints. The first few moves are on hand holds but at 1/3 height the crack climbing starts properly. With fingerlocks and some efficient footwork, i too made it up to the handjam at just above halfheight. The next move was for me quite tricky, as i gastoned and then laidback, into a reach to the crack above the peg. I found a poorish fingerlock, which i used to gain a much better one and then the top.
We chatted about the route as we wandered over to the rest of the crag, which is further to the east. Our general view was that it was upper end E2, with maybe a few 5c moves and with good locks that could easily be blocked by over-zealous gear placing - perhaps we did?
As i mentioned earlier, Warrior (E2) at High Crag is a 1 hour walk up Tripsdale and is probably worth the effort, as it's fairly unique to climb such a crack on the moors. Well, Desperandum is a similar sort of route. It's a less unique line, being a steep finger crack system, but its very good climbing and just adds to the plethora of good E2's the moors has to offer - It's worth keeping in mind, if your ticking E2 as you don't have to spend the whole day up at the crag, its a 20 minute walk in if done quickly and you find the crag quickly (we'll write up a better approach for Climbonline) and once you've done it and don't happen to fancy anything else, then Scuggy is 30 minutes away.
The Right hand crack had some lines that would be ok, they were reasonably clean - the impressive arete called Excalibur (MVS) was the pick of the bunch and i got some photos in the diminishing light.

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