Mountain Journeys

Rock climbing near Keswick – Gowder crag, Borrowdale….hmmm not quite a gem


Anna on the traverse pitch of Fool's Paradise - Rock climbing near Keswick

Rock climbing near Keswick - Gowder crag, Borrowdale

After a morning spent working at a warm & sunny Hodge Close quarry, Coniston, I dashed up to Borrowdale to meet Anna for an afternoon of rock climbing.
Our plan was to climb at the easily accessible Shepherds crag. However, as we walked in from Kettleswell car park, we came to a halt at the Lodore hotel. The footbridge is no longer there and no path due to building works at the hotel. Plan B was soon hatched and a visit to Gowder crag, which was directly above us.

Neither of us had previously been to this crag before, so were eager to sample the routes. We chose the 3 star 'Fool's Paradise' a 5 pitch VS about 100m in length.

The first pitch was utter rubbish, mostly on insecure rock and steep heather! However, the second pitch had an amazing move out onto the arete, this helped us forget about the first pitch.
The third pitch involved a long traverse over steep - biting ant infested - rock. Still, the climbing on this pitch was very good again,.

Pitch four followed a very steep groove, this provided wonderful climbing, well protected and on solid rock. The top section of the pitch deteriorated to loose boulders, so we were back to insecure, scary climbing again!

The final pitch felt hard to read, and we likely did a combination of routes that resulted in a slightly harder line for us, at least 4c and more like HVS due to the poor protection.

Despite the lack of continuous climbing and abundance of loose rock and vegetation, i'm really pleased to have finally climbed this route, it had been on my 'to-do' list for ages.

An easy path brought us quickly back to base and on down to the shores of Derwent Water in time for sundown.

Thanks for joining me on this one Anna.


Derwent Water at sundown, after rock climbing in Borrowdale

Evening light over Derwent Water - Rock climbing near Keswick



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