Mountain Journeys

Multi-pitch rock climbing and a day of roped scrambling – fun times

On Sunday I had the pleasure of a morning with Andzelika & Eugene from Ulverston. We've now climbed together a few times, but so far this has always been in the Langdale valley. Eager to show off more fine climbing venues in the Lakes and somewhere a little closer to Ulverston, I chose Wallowbarrow crag in the Duddon valley.

A multi-pitch route of 'vdiff' standard was chosen, 4 pitches in length and providing excellent and varied climbing the whole way. Trinity Slabs was to be their second multi-pitch route to date (the first being Middlefell Buttress in Langdale) and I think the exposure and moves were thoroughly enjoyed. It's always a fine achievement to arrive at the top of a long climb, and today was no exception.
As well as enjoying the climb, we took the time to practice belaying, look at various anchor set-ups, and chat about other safety considerations. Climbing in 'series' allows for a more relaxing time, less rope management problems, and more time for teaching skills to each climber.
All in all, a grand morning, and it stayed dry!

Monday was spent working on CPD, and specifically Rock Scrambling skills and techniques when moving as a team of 3.
So along with Kristina (who was looking for a good mountain day out), and Si (who wanted to recce the routes we were about to do), I headed out into Langdale and Middlefell Buttress followed by Crescent Climb on Pavey Ark.

My motivation being the ability to try out new techniques and further consolidate existing skills and have direct feedback on a continual basis.
Middlefell went very well and we made a rapid ascent, even the final steep wall proving quick an easy, clearly we were all moving well today.
So far we had looked at distance between the two seconds, length of an isolation loop for the person in the middle of the rope, stance management, belay methods, and various ways of attaching scramblers to the anchor system, phew!

Once clear of the top of the crag we un-roped and moved quickly to Pavey Ark, where the next chapter of scrambling would begin. There were already climbers on a neighbouring route (Crescent Slabs) ,but this was unlikely to effect us. After a brief rest we roped up again and I set off up this 'Moderate' climb / scramble. The aim initially was to find a belay within about 25m of the start. Thankfully this was duly found, an excellent spike, although slightly shallow, the rock was totally sound and a downward force would keep a sling firmly in place. A very good start to the route.

Belaying with an Italian Hitch, it's easy to quickly tie off when the first scrambler arrives, thus leaving both hands free to manage the rope for the second climber. Sometimes I was able to use a counter-balance to secure Si & Kristina, other times clove hitches were more appropriate, and the immediate feedback from both was invaluable.

We hit a minor traffic jam on the traverse pitch (the other climbers we'd seen earlier had arrived on the traverse at the same time as we did), so a little patience was called for, as well as some good humoured banter.
The final pitch of this route is very straightforward, if exposed, scrambling up grassy slopes to reach Jacks Rake. From here we un-roped and made our way down the Rake and into the valley.
A very good day out, thanks both. Feedback was 'Nice and slick' - splendid.

And yesterday was back onto rock climbing once more. This time White Ghyll.
Jane being a very experienced climber, we were alternate leading the pitches of Slab Routes 1 & 2. These give some very interesting climbing on excellent rock. Protection is adequate but never overly generous, this helps keep the mind well focused on the task.
Climbing in this way is very efficient, so we soon had the first route ticked and were back at the crag base in time for an early lunch.
Then it was onto the second route. Although described as a 3 pitch route, there are definitely 4 if using a single rope as we were. The climbing wanders around quite a lot in the early pitches, but this brings with it some amazing positions. The upper sections are quite straight and it's more a case of head towards the sky style climbing, picking what looks best along the way.
We briefly touched on some skills along the way, but mostly today was about time on rock, enjoying brilliant Lakeland rock. White Ghyll delivers. 

Thanks to Jane, Kristina, Si, Andzelika, and Eugeniusz



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