Posts tagged Lake District
A sunny summer update
Heading up onto Sgurr Alasdair
The past month seems to have flown by, I suspect it has something to do with the fact the weather has been so good and I have been so busy.  I we flick back to my last post where I was on Skye in the sunshine, this post picks up from there.  I stayed on Skye and worked with Nick Carter and we took 8 keen walkers onto the South End of the Cuillin.  We could tell the weather was on the turn from last week but we had a dry day with some great views and good craic.  I was working for Moran Mountain.
Heading down
Girl Power on the Cuillin
Good view on the Pinn
The next week started with a 4 day Munro course for West Coast Mountain Guides and this time I was working with Ken Applegate.  The weekend saw the change of the weather and this week we didn't get a view from any summit.  Despite poor conditions, we all dug deep and completed all the Munro's on the Cuillin, spurred on by some enthusiastic members of the group.  Our final decent marked the end of my two weeks on the misty Isle.  I packed up, fixed up and made my way south to Wales.
Digging deep!
More learning for me!
So as I arrived in Wales on Sunday, I went straight to the sea cliffs of Gogarth and climbed 4 routes to shake off my mountaineering legs and get the forearms working.  The following 4 days were spent on my second training course in my advance to become a BMG based at Plas Y Brenin.  We worked with Martin Chester and a host of local Guides to develop our personal skills, our coaching processes and looked into the psychology of guiding which was very interesting.  We had guest speakers and a great deal of input from everyone involved.

Getting 'Chestered'

Assessment prep
High on Idwal Slabs
After the 'Rock 2' course I was straight into work with regular client and all round good guy Sean.  Luck was on our side.  The weather was to hold.  The mountains were dry, a nice cool breeze and we both had heaps of enthusiasm.  Day one we had a great day linking up five classic scrambles in Ogwen.  Day two we we did a couple of laps on the East face of Tryfan, one up and down in the dry and another up and down in the rain.  But 4 great routes.  Our final day was bone dry again so we romped into Ampitheatre Buttress on Creig yr Ysfa and took pole positions.  This was a fantastic finale to a brilliant 3 days.  I'm not sure how much mileage we made but everyday was oozing with fantastic climbing and locations.

Cneifion Arete
A busy Tryfan
Getting rays on Ampetheretre Buttress
Great Alpine prep
After 3 days of work I have just come back from 5 days of personal climbing around North Wales with a whole host of friends.  I was super keen for some mileage, so I climbed at 7 different crags in Llanberis Pass, had a day at Clogwyn Bu'r Arddu (Cloggy) and a day at Rhoscolyn.  Its been such a good week and currently on my way back to Scotland via the Lakes for a couple of days.
Amazing weather at Cloggy

Kev engrosed

The final top out

I think this summer is going to be great!
Setting up for the summer
They might be small but The Lake District has excellent crags and mountains
With my planned winter work well out of the way I'm now looking forward to the transition into the summer season.  With winter still stubborn in the mountains I will still be carrying axes and crampons on some of my objectives.  No light weight summer bag just yet.  I have been looking forward to 2016 I turn 30.  As do several of my friends and between two birthday weekends last month, one at a beer festival in Stuttgart and a surprise party down south, I have been trying to regain some rock climbing fitness, see friends and family and do a little exploring.  Whilst being in the Lakes we managed to get some days climbing at St. Bee's, Langdale, Borrowdale and near Thirlmere.  The nice weather has been surrounded with wet days so I have made use of The Ice Factor, Kendal Wall, Keswick Wall and Ratho.  Unfortunately, I'm weak as a kitten after winter.  The new wall opening in Fort William might help build up a little strength for the coming climbing projects this summer.
Can't go to a German beer festival without wearing a Leiderhosen and drinking a few Steins
Another course done, another signature in the book
Whilst in the Lakes, I embarked onto my first training course (after the inductions) to become a IFMGA Mountain Guide.  The course, Rock One Training, focussed on all aspects of British summer mountain guiding.  It was a great week with a wide range of fellow candidates, some with instructing and guiding backgrounds and some new to the concept of managing and guiding novices.  I have been asked to write a course report on the week which will be put on the new British Mountain Guide website soon so feel free to have a read.
Mountain cragging on Pavey Ark
We had fantastic weather

The milestone of turning the big 30 this year will be marked with some interesting climbing trips with friends, family and clients, both old and new.  I hope we all have dry rock and full chalk bags.  I left my camera up north so only have a couple of picture of my phone.

Bouldering ayt St Bee's whilst the crag dried
We were pretty lucky with the weather
Got very close to this little fella

Skye ridge training in the Lakes
The last two days I have been out with Chris and Mick for a spot of preparation for the Cuillin ridge later this year.  The chaps were keen to see if they were up to scratch and had fitness levels to suit the two days on the Cuillin.  I had Jeremy along to shadow for the two days, a old school friend who is wanting to refresh his outdoor qualifications again.

The plan was a two day trip with an overnight bivi but with a horrendous overnight forecast we decided against it and just went for two individual days.  I had been looking forward to these two days for a while now, despite growing up in the Lakes, I hadn't done a great deal of scrambling and the bigger hills.  This was a perfect opportunity to do this.  Mick knows the hills in the Lake district very well but has never really been off the beaten track or onto scrambling terrain so this was going to be new territory for him and Chris.

We met at Seathwaite in Borrowdale, welcomed by sunshine and light breeze, after a kit chat and check we headed off to the hills.  Our first point of call was Ill Crag (935m).  To summit here we headed up to Esk Hause (759m), and down to the start of the South East Face.  From the bottom we had a brilliant 500m scramble on some of the roughest rock I have touched in the Lake District.  With its sunny aspect, great length and options for variety at any grade, this was a fantastic scramble and I highly recommend it.  From the summit of Ill Crag we moved over Scafell Pike (978m), down Mickledore and onto Broard Stand.  Mick was very keen to do this as he has stood below it a few times contemplating it.  As an accident hotspot he was glad to have a rope on.  Fortunately we had it nice and dry and made it up to the summit of Scafell (964m) before descending back to Mickledore via Foxes Tarn, the walkers descent.  After we got off all the technical climbing and walking the heavens opened as expected.  Thumbs up to the forecast.  We donned our hoods, heads went down and we made our way down to the brilliant Corridor Route which lies on the NW slopes of Scafell and Great End all the way to Sty Head Tarn.  From here, we were back to a drenched Seathwaite, looking forward to cups of tea in front of the fire.

Day two consisted of a wet start and a dry finish.  After meeting again at Seathwaite we headed back up to Styhead tarn and this time headed west to Napes Needle.  We took the climbers traverse which had some interesting terrain to cover in the wet and was great practice for everyone.  We arrived at the needle and agreed that we should all do the classic Grade 1 and 'Thread the Needle'.  Classic it may be, on the day, E1!  Quite a contrast from Ill Crag, very smooth and slippy in the wet.  After threading the needle we stayed on the climbers traverse (we think) and continued scrambling, following our noses, weaving in and around the crag and ridges before questing up a gully, past Westmorland crag and onto Great Gable (899m).  On the summit, it was Saturday after all, were several teams, a couple thinking they were on Kirk Fell (1km away)....ooops!  After giving them some direction we descended into Black Sail Pass, over to Windy Col and back to Styhead Tarn and finishing our day back at Seathwaite.  Looks like Chris and Mick are ready for the Cuillin!

Pinnacle Ridge
Today John and I were in the Lake District to break up the journey to Wales. A mountain day was on the cards so we headed down Ullswater Lake to Patterdale and walked up to Pinnacle Ridge on St Sunday Crag which is a great wee scramble. From the summit we continued round to Fairfield and made our way back to the car. A good 7 hour day before our drive down to North Wales. John and I were both in agreement that the Lakes (where I grew up) are lovely, interesting and has fantastic climbing....but its just not Scotland!

Chapel Head Scar
Yesterday I arrived in the Lakes to see the family and today I met up with John for a few routes on bolted limestone.  Everything felt pretty hard here.  Ended up getting super pumped on route which usually feel ok at the grade and tried a couple and got nowhere due to the fact that my forearms were going to explode.  I cant remember which routes we did but it was great fun!
Day 2 in the Lakes

Today was the best forecast so we headed into Langdale for a look around a couple of crags.  We started off at Raven crag and climbed the uber classic Pluto (HVS 5a) which has 3 brilliant, contrasting pitches, a great little expedition.  I find that Raven crag has a bit of a grade gap (Not many E1-E4) so we headed over to White Ghyll which has heaps of E1's,2's and much more.  We started off on Do Not Direct (E1 5b), then hit White Ghyll Eliminate (E2 5c) which is fantastic and finished off on Feet of Clay (E1 5b).
Quick hit in the Lakes

Kenny and I had a short window to head down to the Lakes for a spot of climbing.  As Kenny hadn't done a great deal of climbing in the area we tried to get to several different crags and get some of the classics done.  Today we headed to Borrowdale and started off at Black Crag and climbed Troutdale Pinnacle Superdirect (HVS 5a) which is a great way up the crag.  I really wanted to climb Prana but unfortunately it was soaking wet.  It was super windy here so we opted a slightly lower crag and headed over to Quayfoot Buttress and climbed the classic Mandrake (HVS 5a) and then the Go Between (E2 5c).  Just as we got back to the bags the heavens opened so we bailed to the Shepard's Cafe for a slice of cake and coffee.  Eventually the crag dried up so we nipped round the corner and climbed The Bludgon (E1 5b) and Finale (HVS 5a).  All these routes are absolute classics so I was happy to do them all again and must do's if you visit these crags.