Sunday 30 August 2015

A guided Rock Climbing Day in The Lake District. August 18th 2015.

During August last year, we were joined by Nick Sutcliffe  and his daughter Freya who were visiting the area and fancied trying out some outdoor activities in The Lake District. On that occasion, Nick had found our website and had booked three activity sessions with us - a full day of climbing; and a half day of Ghyll Scrambling and Caving.

Returning to the area once more, the pair had clearly enjoyed their experience with us last year and had booked again - this time for three whole days out. Two of Guided Rock Climbing in The Lake District and one of Caving in The Yorkshire Dales National Park.

Iain met the pair in Great Langdale for their first climbing day; and as they had been climbing in the area before, took them to a different venue - this time, Raven Crag behind the Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel. Photo one sees Freya and Nick on the big ledge atop the first pitch of Middlefell Buttress - one of the areas most popular multi-pitch rock climbs and a pleasant way to start the day out!

Photo two sees both Nick and Freya a little while later approaching Iain at the top of the middle section of Middlefell Buttress. To get to here, we had already climbed three pitches, with the third being the steepest (the crux) of the climb.

Both had managed all pitches no problem although Nick was encountering difficulty; on occasion; in getting out Iain's well places anchors. They were well placed for a reason of course!

The ground in photo two is really only scrambling terrain with the steeper rock climbing below; although the whole route makes for a very pleasant multi-pitch rock climbing experience being graded "Diff" which under the UK grading scheme actually means it is very easy.

Above here, there was one additional pitch to be climbed - Curtain Wall, also graded at "Diff"; and a nice finish to a great Lake District multi-pitch rock climb!

After lunch we moved from  Middlefell Buttress across under the front of Raven Crag to its right hand foot to tackle a route called Savernake.

Described in the Fell & Rock Climbing Club Guidebook as "A pleasant route weaving the easiest way up this part of the crag" and graded at "Severe" with a technical difficulty grading of 4a, Iain thought this  would be a reasonable progression for Freya & Nick who has led on rock in the past.

The first pitch was easy enough - climbing up alongside a deep cleft to a good stance. The second pitch (allegedly the crux!) was more exciting (photo three) and involved climbing a chimney which gets steeper towards it's top. Freya found this quite challenging, but Dad - being considerably taller, fairly romped up the pitch!

The final pitch of Savernake is every bit as exciting as the previous pitch weaving a line rightwards up a ramp before one moves precariously out left on "thin" holds to a shallow scoop where the climb continues up a detached block to a spacious ledge from which projects a large Oak Tree complete with "Ab Tat".

So what is "Ab Tat"? See the loops to which everything is attached in the top left hand of photo five - this is old climbing rope or slings or prussik cord which has been cut and tied into a continuous loop into which one can attach ones-self, provided you checked it for integrity!! Iain had done so and decided that it was suitable - not only for belaying (safeguarding the pair with) whilst they climbed the final pitch of Savernake, but that it would also be idea for a great finale: and that would be to abseil down on our twin 60m ropes to the foot of the crag!

As can be seen in the photo, Iain arranged the ropes in a "Stacked Abseil" configuration (that is to say that everyone else is already attached to the abseil ropes for safety and ready to go); and then he set off down - closely followed in order by Nick and Freya.

We all reached the foot of the crag about 4:15pm - just as the rain started. An ideal time to finish then!

The pair had enjoyed being guided on two routes today and had done a total of seven pitches of climbing during the day. True they had been stretched  by the second route and no doubt they had also been exhilarated by the "big" abseil at the end. It had definitely been a quality guided climbing day though.

Nick had paid the equivalent of £80.00 each for himself & Freya for this Guided Rock Climbing Day in The Lake District with an experienced Mountaineering Instructor. We think this is excellent value for money and a great experience!

If you would like to experience a similar Guided Rock Climbing Day in The Lake District or would like to learn the skills to go Multi-pitch Rock Climbing yourself, then the cost is the same - £80 per person (minimum of two persons or 1 person@ £160:00). Contact Iain here to book your climbing course. We look forward to working with you!

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