Mountaineering Days in the Lake District - Murray's Route on Dow Crag
Mountaineering Days in the Lake District
Here in the Lake District we’ve been enjoying some amazing weather of late. Long overdue sunshine and we’re loving it.
Interspersed with lots of days out working in the mountains, we’ve found time to escape for some of our own climbing adventures too.
On Monday of this week it was Pavey Ark that drew us in. The biggest crag in Langdale and a proper mountain venue, rising forebodingly above Stickle Tarn. There are many fine routes on this crag, I’ve done plenty of them, but one of its easier lines was still on my to-do list.
Cooks Tour - V’Diff: 5 short pitches of varied climbing and some scrambling and the guidebook gave it 2 stars. To gain the base of this route we first climbed a 3 pitch ‘Severe’ called Crescent Slabs. This was a lovely prelude. Cooks Tour was less lovely, but still worth doing. The first pitch was fun in the traditional sense. The next few pitches followed a lot of vegetated ledges with only occasional forays onto rock. But the final pitch was a stunner and the very reason we visit Pavey Ark. Immaculate rock, amazing positions and views.
An easy scramble led to the summit and more contrasting views.
On Tuesday I was helping Trail magazine with a feature about mountaineering. Taking Jenna up Middlefell Buttress whilst explaining various techniques for staying safe whilst being efficient. An abseil was included too as well as the obligatory scramble down a loose scree filled gully.
After a refreshing drink in the ODG we said our fair-wells. I was then back out with my friend Emma. We enjoyed a couple of lovely climbs on Raven crag whilst hatching plans for the following days outing.
Along with good friends and mountain professionals Emma and Iain I headed out to the outstanding Dow Crag. Perched high above Goats Water and commanding impressive views of Coniston Old Man. I have enjoyed many wonderful days on this crag and today was no different.
The plan was to keep the climbing straightforward but interesting. So we started with Murray’s Route S/HS. This gives 4 pitches of impeccable climbing, forging a path through improbable terrain to give increasingly airy positions. We enjoyed much good banter and lots of laughs.
Back at base we hatched a plan to tackle ‘Arete, Chimney and Crack’. This is a slightly easier route but longer and time was running away with us. So it was decided we would switch to a higher gear. It’s a 5 pitch route but we managed to do it comfortably in 3 long pitches and this worked very well. We were all cruising and just enjoyed the atmosphere, watching the mighty Dow cast its shadow over Goats Water.
Topping out we came back into the sun and mega views into the Duddon Valley and over to the Scafell range. Magical.
In recent months I’ve felt my climbing mojo has been lacking and that’s really bothered me. These last few days it has returned and is stronger than ever. To be climbing in the mountains is the best feeling in the world, I love it.
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Big thanks to Jenna, Tom, Anna, Emma, and Iain for joining me these last few days. Your company makes all the difference.
Mountaineering Days in the Lake District - Dow casts its shadow
Mountaineering Days in the Lake District - Pavey Ark
Mountaineering Days in the Lake District - good and efficient belays are integral to mountaineering days
Mountaineering Days in the Lake District - Centipede on Raven crag, Langdale