Tuesday, 24 April 2012

E Is For Easter

Excuse the tardy update. Some bugger gave me some work to do. Outrageous. Anyway, when I last left you I was lying in bed whilst the rain hammered down outside, sulking about the injustices of awful weather. Eventually I managed to coax myself into the real world with the lure of baking and a possibly climbable forecast for the Wednesday afternoon. T'internets came up trumps for a random partner, so 24 hours later I was sitting in a car park in Ambleside with a freshly baked lamb dhansak pie in the passenger seat, waiting for a man called Frith. It had been snowing in the morning, and it was blowing a gale, but the sun was out and I was full of unreasonable optimism.

Man Of Straw

Frith turned out to be a friend of a friend, and a general good egg, which was nice. We decided that White Ghyll might combine the holy trinity of being in the sun, out of the wind, and not covered in snow, and it was. We had the crag to ourselves, and had a brilliant afternoon climbing Moss Wall, Laugh Not, Do Not Direct and Man Of Straw. None of which felt desperate, being well supplied with small, positive holds. Man Of Straw was particularly satisfying, being a proper E1 and everything (although I'm having the E point for the second pitch of Do Not Direct too, as falling off the 5a moves would have been a tremendously poor idea).

I spent the evening in the CC hut in Grange, before meeting my second random internetter, Phil, in the car park below Black Crag. It was chilly, but the sky was blue and we had the crag to ourselves again. We romped up Troutdale Pinnacle Direct and The Coffin (with its rather character building gogarthesque finishing pitch with an added frozen moss cornice for good measure), wrestled with Obituary Grooves (which has quite a lot of very for a VS) and struggled up The Shroud (including a rather lonely and ill-advised rematch with the now-defrosted moss cornice at the very end of the ropes some distance past my last gear, all a little type II fun). A cracking day out in spite of the vegetable interest.

Dan was right - vegetables are evil...

Good Friday was a bit rainy and uninspiring, but luckily team win (comprising Matt, John, Mo, Stacey and Chris) had chosen the super-psychetastic venue of Windmore End. But apparently it was wet, so I met them skulking in an unpronounceable tea shop in Brough and hatched a plan to sample the delights of Jackdaw Scar. Everyone was a bit underwhelmed when we arrived, but after waiting an age for my phone to download the pdf guide we found some reasonable looking stuff and generally had a gay old time.

 The forecast seemed friendly for Saturday, so we got up super-early to secure a car parking spot in Langdale. Turns out everyone else is supremely lazy as we were the 5th car there at about 9 o'clock. There was a little residual dampness when we arrived, so J-Ro and I warmed up with a pleasant little Severe on the top slabs, before an unprecedented bout of manning up saw me setting off up the crux pitch of Forget-Me-Not, an E1 on the same slab. An easy traverse led to a good RP3 placement, before a couple of hard moves and then some sustained 5a crimping for what felt like a very, very long time with the RP becoming ever more of a distant memory, led to the belay. Phew. I soloed the other Severe whilst waiting for James to make his way down the descent rake and we moved down the crag. A quick bamber up Slip Knot left it as my route choice, so I decided to push my luck and get on an E1+, The Palestinians. I placed far too much gear (although in my defence none of it was incredibly confidence inspiring) and it felt quite tricky, but thankfully the looming overhang near the top turned out to be jug-infested, and we were soon hurrying back down to the car, with Masood's mega-curry awaiting us.

Claire having a three star time on Haste Not

Easter Sunday saw J-Ro and I do a bit of pottering at Gouther until some terminal drizzle set in just as we were getting warmed up, and the rain didn't stop all of Monday, so I ended up at the Depot in Leeds feeling weak before an appointment with the mighty Pelican that evening. A rifftastic end to a rather spiffing few days.

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