Saturday, 8 October 2011

A Retrospective Update: The Lake District Day 1

For our first climbing trip to the Lakes, we headed to Borrowdale. Staying in Keswick we were well-situated to get to Shepherd's Crag, and the rather high Black Crag, home of the classic Troutdale Pinnacle (S). Sadly, we were only there for two days, but we got a fair bit done in that time. 

Day one, we headed to Black Crag and after a bit of wandering around we finally found this beast staring out at us from the peak of a forest: 

 Black Crag, imposing itself on the valley below.

Excited to get up there, we made the trek to the base where we found a couple of other guys from our area about to head up. From what we could gather, they'd had quite a night and were feeling a bit worse for wear, so they let us head up first. The route we were going for was the most popular of the crag, Troutdale Pinnacle, a nice, 100 metre Severe. I led the first pitch with ease and Matt followed me up. He headed up pitch two on the sharp end, and I was joined at the belay by one of the lads from the bottom. Good to have some company  on route! 

"Safe!" came the cry from above. "Off belay!" I shouted back up, and the rope began to disappear up the crag. The rope draws taut, he sticks me on belay, and I head up. I reach the stance earlier than expected, and, consulting the guidebook, begin to realise that this may not be the intended belay. It certainly didn't look to me like a 'large ledge'. Oh well, how bad can that be? 

Quite confusing, as it turns out. On pitch 3 I had a mini epic as I wandered all over the above slab trying to work out where the hell the route went. Eventually I found the stance that preceded the famed traverse, but not before amassing a considerable degree of rope drag. I hastily build my anchors and begin pulling the rope up with great difficulty. Long story short, Matt reaches the belay and sets off across the traverse, stopping only to check out the final section of the pitch, a climb up to the ledge. I follow him, glad to be off my increasingly uncomfy ledge. 

I head up pitch 5, more of a scramble, and there it is. The Pinnacle. The view's quite stunning, but it's not over. One more pitch finishes the classic climb. Matt leads it as I lay back on the pinnacle, comfortable in my new position. Half an hour later and it's over...

 ...and all that's left is a dash back to the car, where my dad's been waiting for the last half an hour!

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