Category Archives: Climbing

THREE DAYS IN MAY. 3 – CLIMBING AT POT SCAR. Almost perfect.

Third time lucky. Things have changed in the tiny hamlet of Feizor where you always felt you were intruding into the residents’ private territory. Someone has opened a tea room which is proving very popular. The added benefit of this is that lots of parking spaces have been provided in a yard whereas in the past parking was fraught. Honesty box for the Air Ambulance, you never know when you might need them.  It’s a short pleasant walk up to the limestone crag of Pot Scar in the midst of classic Dales scenery, rolling green fields and all those stone walls. In the background is Ingleborough and across the valley distant Pendle and the Bowland Fells. Wary of the polished routes on the main face  [I recall climbing here 40 years ago and witnessing that polish developing gradually on the classic lines of Nirvana, Addiction, LSD etc, there was a name theme here]   we head left to a little buttress with routes suitable for us oldies. The sun is shining and the day warms up quickly despite there still being a brisk wind. The first easy climb is on perfect cracked limestone with no hint of polish, maybe nobody climbs this end. For the second climb I become entangled in trees and vegetation on what would have been a good line, Dave admonishes me for all the delay gardening. Lunch is taken in the sunshine looking at the scenery with the occasional party of walkers going through to Stainforth, no other climbers appear. I next enjoy a steep crack climb with quite reachy moves and the usual grassy mantelshelf near the top. Despite warnings of loose rock Dave quickly climbs a crack, a tree and a flake, as I follow a lot of the holds disintegrate. Another steep crackline and we are ready for home but well satisfied with the day’s climbing. Next time we will visit the cafe and then try the polish.

 

Half way up Domino.

Out of the tree on Periwinkle.

Finishing Feizor with Domino to the right. Notice the blue sky.

For the record…  Fingers Climb D,  Dodger VD.  Domino S.  Periwinkle VS.  Feizor S.

THREE DAYS IN MAY. 2 – CLIMBING IN WILTON. Too wet.

The prow, Wilton 1.

Jonathon is a busy family man but he thought he could fit in this Saturday climbing. Mid week we made arrangements for a trip to maybe the Lakes or Derbyshire as the weather had been dry. Friday night when I checked the forecast I was dismayed to see rain forecast by lunchtime throughout the area. He knew the same so in the morning we decided on  more local rock to get a few routes done to salvage the day. A quick drive down the motorway and by 10am we were stood under the prow in Wilton One. I realise what a large and impressive face this is. The sky had already clouded over.

He had not done Fingernail so that would be our warm up route, both being a bit rusty. There was a bit of a struggle to get off the ground and lasso the metal hook but then he was away despite taking the direct layback line into Horrock’s Route at the top. I also dithered at the bottom, glad of a rope above. The holds seemed small and slopey  despite being clean and dry. In the niche I didn’t fancy the layback so traversed round the arete onto the exposed delicate slab the correct way, I had forgotten how exposed and delicate! There is some debate as to the correct grading of this climb Severe 4a to VS 4c I incline towards the latter.

Starting Fingernail.

The ‘direct’ finish

As we descend carefully from the prow spots of rain darken the rock. Back at the foot of the climbs we get into the familiar ritual – it’s just passing over, lets give it a bit longer, it will soon dry etc. Well it didn’t and the heavens opened, by the time we were back at the car we were thoroughly soaked. Our only consolation was that if we had driven anywhere further afield we would have done nothing and anyhow, as his wife said giving us hot tea, Jonathon would be able to do some more work on the house.

THREE DAYS IN MAY. 1 – CLIMBING AT ATTERMIRE. Too cold.

Sitting in Dave’s garden this morning drinking coffee in the warm sunshine  – what  a great day it was going to be. We decided on a trip to Yorkshire with a visit to Attermire Scar for an outing on limestone.

Neither of us had climbed here for years although at one time I was exploring here regularly with my cousin from Skipton, long evenings and walking out in the dark. There was often a bull in the field! I remember also an occasion, ?20 years ago, achieving 1000ft of climbing in a day as part of a sponsored event to raise money for a climbing wall in Clitheroe. That was a lot of routes. Each sector has its own character and memorable climbs Hare’s Wall, Fantasy, Brutus, Red Light, Flower Power.

When we parked up there seemed a change in the weather, the sun had gone and there was a northerly wind. But relying on the good forecast we were not unduly concerned, though I did throw in an extra fleece. It’s a great approach walk as when you breast the rise the whole extent of the scar is displayed in front of you reminding me of a set from a Western cowboy movie, I half expect to see Apache warriors appearing on the tops of the crags ready for an ambush.

Today we make the long traverse to the SW end passing under Legover Groove area, all the climbs here are tough. There is one line of weakness, Ginger VD, this will be our warm up. As I climb lovely big holds up the steep start I realise my hands are freezing, the temperature has dropped and the wind is blowing strongly across the face. A committing blank move left at half height on more compact rock has me thinking. Then it is simple to the top as the angle eases, grassy top outs are common here and care with choice of belays in the blocks is needed. The wind was even stronger up here and I was glad Dave climbed quickly. Back at base more layers were added and hot tea drunk.

The slab in the middle is Ginger.

We moved along the crag but could not get out of the wind. As I climbed the next route, Wrinkle Slab VD, Dave gave commentary on a cloud that tantalisingly hid the sun whilst all around the sky was blue. I was constantly having to warm my fingers to feel the small flaky holds. I wasted time by going left rather than right at half height which meant reversing and faffing with runners. By the time Dave came up his fingers were white and we knew it was time to retreat, we never did warm up.

Unlucky choice of crags and weather.

Under Wrinkle Slab, ready to go home.

‘CLIMBING ON A SUNNY AFTERNOON’ – King’s Meaburn.

Haven’t climbed with ‘Batesieman’ for a while so it was great to meet up for a trip to the southern Eden Valley. The best way to start a visit here is to come off the motorway at Tebay  [J38] and enjoy a coffee or even breakfast in the Truckstop cafe. This morning, being a Sunday with few trucks,  they were virtually empty. Quite roads lead through sleepy villages to King’s Meaburn where a lane drops down to a ford which at present is still suffering damage from last years floods. The concrete has been washed away and only 4x4s risk a crossing of the River Lyvennet. Apparently in 1745  Bonnie Prince Charlie crossed here to rendezvous with his troops in Shap, but he does seem to have been everywhere.There is parking and a short walk past an idyllic cottage brings you to the crag hidden in the trees above the river. The crags real name is Jackdaw Scar which becomes apparent as the raucous birds greeted us, occasionally one would fly out of a crack and there was excrement everywhere.The crag is unusual in that there is a base of eroded sandstone below the steep limestone walls. There are several bays which made for easy orientation even for us and we soon spied out possible lines.

A flake for later.

The sun was just coming round onto the faces and all fears, mainly mine, of a cold hands day disappeared. In fact the weather turned out perfect for climbing in this lovely setting. What followed was a great afternoon romping up a variety of routes. Juggy cracks of all widths, flakes  and blocky walls on steep solid limestone which seemed to give excellent friction, the sandstone band at the base adding to the interest. A couple and child arrived and set up camp below the crag, whilst the couple climbed the boy entertained himself in the trees and stream – an ideal family venue. We lunched by the ford and rounded the afternoon off with an exciting ascent of that flake.

The top of Bay Rum.

TD Corner – roots.

The arete of Scarlet Lyvenett.

The classic Marik.

Even completed the day with a pint and a curry.                                                                                    Perfect.

For the record…

Bay Rum VD   TD Corner VD   Percy Throwup VD   Kirsten Wall HS 4b   Scarlet Lyvenett MVS 4b    The Flake  VS 4c.

SIMON’S SEAT.

Bolton Abbey Estate riverside car park Tuesday 10am.

£8 please.

Eight?!

Yes it’s half term. But if you had come last week it would have been £4.

It has been in the news this week about airport carparks doubling their charges for school holidays so this is just another example of greedy businesses taking advantage of families. Rip off Briton.

The ‘pieman’ and I set off on today’s walk in a grumpy mood. We had chosen today to climb Simon’s Seat as there was sunshine forecast. Way back this was a regular winter walk for us, then we would extend the route to include the moors above Appletreewick [an interesting name] and Trollers Gill. A straightforward 9mile circuit was planned for today. The paths seemed to have changed now that the land is open access, I seem to remember sneaking in to some of these areas. At one time we also had a major offensive on the climbing routes on the summit rocks of Simon’s Seat – an atmospheric place to be on a summer’s evening. Stand out routes were Arete Direct VS and Turret Crack HVS. See later photos of crag.

The path into the estate passed by some ancient oak trees which must have been several centuries old. The Valley of Desolation was entered and the stream and woods followed upwards – the name derives from a storm in 1826 when most of the vegetation was destroyed but not the oaks obviously. A hidden waterfall was glimpsed through the trees. Once onto the open moor a cold wind kept us on the move. All the surrounding fells had rocky outcrops but we were heading for the highest group of gritstone, 485m, Simon’s Seat itself. The land rover track passed the shooters lunch stone. Scrambling up the summit boulders was tricky with slippy snow scattered on the rocks, it was still winter up here. Goback called the grouse. dsc05552

Below the crag we found a convenient lunch stone of our own, out of the wind, with views over to Perceval Hall and beyond. Classic Dales scenery. Reminisces of shared past trips kept us humoured, the Pyrenees, Greece, Turkey, Dolomites, France, La Gomera, Spain. Above we could trace routes on the rocks. We have been lucky.

Our lunchstone.

Our lunchstone.

The classic arete on the left of the crag.

A paved track cum water course took us steeply down into the valley where we joined the Dales Way, another old favourite. We now met people strolling the river bank commenting on the lovely weather – no idea what it was like up on the tops. We kept to the left bank path on the Wharfe which proved ‘undulating’. Good views down to the deadly Strid though.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mCSUmwP02T8

The car park was full of £8 vehicles when we arrived back at the busy Pavilion. Coffee at the pieman’s was the most economical option before driving home.

End of the line.

Bouldering in Crowshaw Quarry.

 

Since I last did a new problem up here  https://bowlandclimber.wordpress.com/2015/09/01/what-have-you-done-today/  I’ve been trying a traverse line on the far left-hand wall, hands on a sloping top ledge and intermittent footholds below. I always seem to be on this problem just before I go off on a walking holiday and I’m worried about my ankles if I fall off.  So today I seek moral and physical [moving the pad] help from one of my oldest climbing partners who now unfortunately doesn’t partake. I start on the easy bit, climbing up a flake to reach the traverse. A couple of damp hand holds lead left to a large footledge before the committing moves up to the highest point. From here I can use a couple of decent footholds as I hand traverse on slopers. There is a section where you have to smear to make progress and I repeatably chicken out and I skittle back, all good warming up. Frustrated with my progress and aware of my spotter’s commitment I try again maybe four times with the same retreating result. So forget about moving the pad – place it further left and go for it. Good left hand whilst my right foot is on a hold, left foot on a smear,  slap across and down  with the right hand, smear both feet and then stretch to a left foothold and follow with the hands and it is done.              End of the line.

 

“Even if you’re old and gray
you still got something to say”     Traveling Wilburys.

 

 

Warton Pinnacle Crag.

On the border of Lancashire and Cumbria is a wooded hillside, Warton Fell, prominently seen from the M6. A great gash of the fell has been taken out by a large quarry, a scary place to climb. Above in the woods are limestone outcrops which dry quickly and give short climbs on some quality rock. It has rained most of this week but the forecast is improving so it was time for a revisit. The Pinnacle Crag was our aim. The paths seem to be disappearing under vegetation and it is not till the last minute that any sign of cliffs appear.

We are back up to a team of three as Rod has returned from the States and also we are joined by Sir Hugh as an interested spectator, bits of his body having curtailed his climbing. Talk about last of the summer wine but we did about 10 routes so not a bad effort. They were all in the VD-S range but each one was steep and cruxy.

Rod, Dave and Sir Hugh.

Rod, Dave and Sir Hugh.

The first buttress we arrived at was a bit gloomy but the rock was excellent and we squeezed three lines out of it; Simian VD, Free Stile HS, and Ming S.

Simian.

Simian.

We moved over to the main area, Plumb Buttress, to get some sun and eat lunch. Above us reared The Big Plumb, HVS 5c, tackling a large bulge and then steep rock, I could only ever do it by constructing a cairn of stones to start, not today thanks. After a couple more minor lines Rod worked out the sequence to start Lone Tree Groove which gave steep climbing on clean rock which has become polished on the crucial holds. I then enjoyed a couple of severes on the left wall climbed mainly on perfect flakes, Flake and Wall and Clare’s Crack. The descent route down a gully is becoming very polished and care is needed.

Heading for the Lone Tree.

Heading for the Lone Tree.                               [Credit Sir Hugh]

Clare's Crack. Credit Sir Hugh.

Clare’s Crack.                                                     [Credit Sir Hugh.]

Another pair of local climbers and their friendly dog were in the area and added to the sociability of the day.

Team X on Flake and Wall.

Team X on Flake and Wall.

We finished off with two nice short routes round and down to the left, the arete Gremp S and the flaky Skutch VD, and never made it to the actual pinnacle.

The day had been sunny and warm, the views to the Lakes across Morecambe Bay were clear, there was as much chat as climbing and at the end of the day we were well satisfied wandering back down to the village. Simple pleasures.

 

Sir Hugh’s account may be found here – https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=1365582190126322848&postID=5013355740371114281