Friday, 9 September 2011
Multi-Pitching in the Lake District: The Wet & the Dry of It
Before I start my attempt to distill the adventures of this weekend into a condensed blog post, I want to make a quick disclaimer: For anyone out there who has yet set foot on the volcanic rock of the Lake District, no blog post will ever give it justice - it m-u-s-t be experienced! There, with that out of the way, this is my attempt to summarize my experience!
After a couple of hours in the car and a quick standing dinner in Keswick, we made our way to Baysbrown Farm Campsite in Chapel Style. The beautiful Langdale valley, surrounded by majestic mountains, set the scene straight away. Setting up the tent went surprisingly smoothly (I guess that’s part of using a tent a whole lot better than the average festival tent?) and after a warming brew, pink donuts and quite a bit of chatting we fell asleep as the first drops of rain started to fall on the tent.
On Saturday morning, we woke up to a light but dense rain and a thick fog covering the valley. Despite an incredibly bleak weather forecast, I still managed to feel deeply excited when driving towards the first crag and route of the day: Route 1 of Upper Scout Crag. After some recaps from my previous outdoor climbs with Cliff and some new additions (including a communication system based on “tugs”, which is almost as exciting as it sounds!), we were ready to face the rock and the rain. Falling on the very first move on the first pitch of a multi-pitch course might not seem like the best way to start, but at least I got that out of the way first thing! After the first pitch I was already starting to feel a bit more confident, despite a quite slippery volcanic rock! The rain was getting heavier and if it wasn’t for the strong feeling of adventure and challenge I might actually have minded the rain streaming down my sleeves as I was reaching for holds and the sharp drops of rain being blown into my eyes by the wind.
Another delicious cake experience marked the end of what had turned out to be a weekend of extremes. The challenges of rain and the wind on the Sunday, the pure pleasure of the sun and the views on the Saturday – both with lots of glorious climbing in common! I know I will be coming back for more soon.
So after an absolutely brilliant adventure in the Lake District we were suddenly on our way back to the North East in a stinky car. But who really mind the stink of wet gear when the scent of warm heather at the peak of a mountain is still fresh in your memory?
Jonna Nilsson (Ed. Multipitch climber extraordinaire and all round nice person :-))