Sunday 30 August 2015

Guiding a Lake District Classic Rock Climb. August 19th 2015.

This is a report about Nick & Freya's second day of Guided Rock Climbing with Iain. It has also been described on our business Facebook Page as "bagging a classic before the rain set in".

The pair had climbed so well the previous day that Iain thought the idea of a further progression - that being one of climbing a famous high mountain multi-pitch Rock Climb, was in order. Nick, at least, was keen to accept the challenge - having already heard of Bowfell Buttress.

The only thing with "high mountain classics" is that they often involve a long walk in. In photo one, Nick & Freya are on the "Climbers Traverse" path approaching the foot of our intended rock climb. It had taken us almost two hours to walk in to here covering a distance of  three & a half kilometres and this included a height gain of almost 700m! Ideally, Iain had wanted to be starting the climb at around 11am; and he hoped that we would be just about finished when the forecast rain arrived at around 3pm!

So, after that couple of hours of hard graft putting the previously mentioned "walk in" behind us, we did indeed, start on the route at around 11am. Also, on the walk in, the weather had improved in so much as the cloud had risen and we could now see the whole of our route and great views all around. Fab!

A couple of hours later and we were already halfway up the climb. Photo two was taken by Iain at the top of the crux of the climb the "slippery crack" just over halfway up the route. Again, Freya found this hard but Nick seemed to manage it with ease - good effort!

Photo three was taken by Iain an hour later at the top of "pitch six" looking down on Nick & Freya on the stance above "pitch five" (the start of which was the slippery crack).

So far, the weather had held off and the route had remained mostly dry (important when guiding on a multi-pitch mountain route of "Hard Severe" in standard!). There is little point in climbing on Lake District rock when it is wet as with the lichen and slime which tends to grow on the rock in the mountains; once wetted, the rock becomes very slippery indeed; and makes rock climbing a dangerous proposition!

Above this stance, there remained only one pitch; and that was a well vegetated, but relatively straightforward chimney. As Iain set off up this, it began to feel more like the forecast rain was approaching as sporadic bursts of light rain were increasing in frequency & volume. It looked like we had got our timings spot on!

The final photo from this post about guiding Rock Climbing on a high mountain Lake District classic rock climb finds Nick & Freya ensconced on a safe grassy area about 20 metres above the top of the climb and pulling in the ropes as Iain scrambled up the grass towards them.

At this point we took off our helmets & harnesses and untied from the ropes, the time was around 3pm.

As we got to the top of the buttress and started the walk across to Bowfell summit, the rain started to lash down, so, as previously mentioned, our timings couldn't have been better! The pair were extremely satisfied with what had been a demanding day both physically - in terms of the sheer graft required to get to the foot of the route; and the technical ability required to climb the hardest bits of it. We were off and back at our vehicles at the Old Dungeon Ghyll by 5pm.

This was a technically demanding guided Rock Climbing Day organised by an experienced Mountaineering Instructor; and the cost was £80 per person (minimum of two persons) for this full day out. If you would like to experience the thrill of climbing a high mountain Lake District Classic Rock Climb then contact Iain here to arrange your day out. We look forward to working with you!!

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