It seems that Buckbarrow crag in Longsleddale has been a venue on both of our lists for a while, so it seemed appropriate to eventually go and have a look at it. My interest had in it had been re-ignited after reading through the recently published Rockfax guidebook. This hails the route as a bit of a classic and well worth it.
I had forgotten how long the valley of Longsleddale is (The long valley of the river Sprint). The narrow and sinuous lane seems to go on for many miles. Still, the scenery is pretty and the traffic light.
The ground between the bridleway and the base of the crag didn't appear to be too steep, but wow it was a really lung buster! We took a breather before sorting the gear in preparedness for the climb. As neither of us had been to the venue before we both took time to study the guidebook thoroughly too, paying particular attention to the descent options. I would urge any climber to do the same when visiting a venue they don't know.
Our chosen route was Sadgill Wall - Severe 4a
I led the first pitch, which felt more difficult than expected, but provided some fine climbing with exposure building very quickly. Protection for the leader was only just adequate so I was glad to reach the safety of the belay stance.
Iain led through and cruised up pitch 2, this also gave some fine positions and excellent climbing that led up to an airy stance.
From this stance pitch 3 looked sensational and I couldn't wait to get started on it. With Iain poised for photos as well as belaying, I set off across a large slab, traversing rightwards with dramatic exposure. The holds were all massive and protection good, meaning I could fully enjoy the experience. Near the top of the pitch I had to climb a section of steep heather / bilberry! This will be better in a month when fruits appear on the bushes.
The final pitch of proper climbing was then left to Iain and he chose a variation finish. This was likely about the same difficulty level as the original route but took us on more of a tour of the upper crag. What was left was a delightful traverse across a series of huge pinnacles and the climb was in the bag.
Now to get back down!
This involved a steep down climb followed by some scrambling up to the level ground above the crag. From here we picked a route to zigzag downhill, crossing various gullies and taking in some very steep grass, to finally reach the bags and our lunch.
There was time for another shorter route, so we ticked off a single pitch VS climb on Low Crag which lies to the right of the main buttress. This certainly packed a punch and made for a grand finish to a great day out.
Cheers Iain. Hopefully we'll get out for more of the same soon.
We are very much open again and taking bookings. All our activities are available and we can operate them with social distancing. If you are planning a day visit to the Lake District this month, or a longer visit later in the summer, please do get in touch so we can plan some fantastic activities for you.
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