Sunday, 31 January 2010

Excellent Trip to the Lakes- Broken Ankle?

I also just found this picture of Luke on Mongol E2 5c- Beacon Scar

Me and Luke fancied a rematch on Soul Vacation at north Buttress on Bowfell, so when cold temperatures were forecast, we thought a trip to the lakes was in order, unforunately Luke had to hitch to the lakes from Preston, meaning he couldn't get to north buttress, so we elected to have a look at Hutaple crag.

It's a cool-looking crag, but wasn't in at all so we then wandered over Cofa Pike, Dolywaggon, Nethermost and eventually Helvelyn looking for stuff that looked hard. Eventually we gave up and decided to do some soloing on Red Tarn face. After some stupidity jumping off the cornice and running down the easy gullies I then managed to get my leg behind my back whilst sledging semi-out of control down the bottom snow slopes, spraining or breaking my ankle?

I tried to follow Luke up a III, but it was pretty painful, so started the agonising walk back down to Patterdale, which took about 5 hours. A moped back down to Manchester and the swelling is now huge. Bollocks.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Ravensdale Mini Guide


Situation and Character

A man-made quarry with two huge boulders on the quarry floor and a quarry wall rising to approximately 10-15 metres tall and spanning 200 metres of hillside. With beautiful views over Robin Hoods bay and out into the north sea, it makes for a pleasant day out on a sunny day.


It would appear as if there has been a lot of abseiling or top roping at the quarry for some time, although the first routes were not recorded until 1996, when A.Griffiths and Party ascended two lines up that largest boulder ‘Barry’. There was no more action at the crag until 2009, except for the bolting of two routes by unknown parties. The crag was then visited by D.Warburton and F.Cookson who recorded the first routes on the quarry walls, with the quality ‘Central Crack’ and ‘The Arete’. Little more has been recorded at the crag, despite the obvious easy cracklines and hard, bold faces. A definite playground for future activists.

Access and Approaches

Follow Signs to Ravenscar (not the Hasty Bank one!) off the A171 8 miles south of Whitby. Follow the signs to Ravenscar, turning left at every opportunity. Turn left at a windmill towards the obvious mast and down the hill for approximately a mile until a lay-by on the right and the quarry on the left is apparent, The quarry is a two minute walk from the lay-by, via a path cut through the jungle of Gorse. If the Lay-by is full (it won’t be) another layby is situated a little distance down the track that branches off left 20 metres further down.

The Walrus Wall

Perhaps the best climbing on the cliff, with brilliant bold and difficult face climbing twinned with some excellent cracks and the classic Arete.

The left wall 7m grade?

The line of Bolts (!?) at the far left-hand side of the quarry. A poor line.


On Crack 12m E4 6a?

The left hand diagonal crack is thinner and steeper than it’s counterpart.


Between ‘On Crack’ and ‘The White Scoop’ is an obvious wall which is even more obviously lacking in gear. The faint trail of holds would suggest it is possible, although certainly harder than ‘The Scoop’.

The White Scoop 13m E7 6b **

The Scoop is gained from 4 metres up Central Crack (last runner) and is followed throughout. A sustained route, with a definite sequence. Begging for the bold direct start.

Shunted Only

Central Crack 14m E2 5c **

The obvious central crack to the right of an orange roof is climbed, leading to difficult bridging moves up the scoop. Finish direct and fast. Protection is perfect.

Franco Cookson, Dave Warburton 02/Jul/2009

Another face with a rickety flake at half height, that would take RPs. Technical difficulties likely to be around 6b, and with potential for a few variations.

The Arête 12m E5 6a **

Stunningly sustained and reachy arête climbing. Great position, shame its not at Scugdale or Ravenscar etc. Unfortunately bolted, which makes the Climb (F6c+) as it's a clip up. Soloed at E5 6a.

Franco Cookson 02/Jul/2009

The Bay

The central walls encompass the buttresses between ‘The Arete’ and ‘The Right Flank’. They have some easier cracks and impossible-looking slabs and walls. No routes have been recorded despite the obvious potential.

The Right Flank

These are the buttresses at the far right-hand end of the quarry. The only part of the quarry to contain some suspect rock.

The Bar Steward 12m E3 5c *

The classic hanging jamming crack with a ‘big feel’. Situated 20 metres to the left of Seaside Slab and gained by a poor start up the slabby Scoop. Crying out for the obvious start up the finger crack to the right.

Shunted only

Slab 10m Severe

The wrinkled slab at the extreme right-hand side of the quarry with some snappy rock.

Franco Cookson Solo 21/01/2010

The Boulders

The Larger Boulder (Barry)

1. Barry the Boulder E4 6a

Steep and powerful moves up the undercut arête on the landward face.

Andrew Griffiths, Mick Taylor 7th July 1996

2. Barry not very Bold E1 6a

Tackle the seaward face of the boulder just left of the undercut face.

Andrew Griffiths solo 7th July 1996

The smaller Boulder (Bervert)

The Crack V7

The crack on the wall facing Barry gets harder as you get higher.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Ravensdale Action

I'd forgotten how good Ravensdale was- why has no one climbed these routes before? I'm actually amazed. The routes feel pretty big when you're on them- as big as the parts of Highcliffe which are climbable anyway; and the climbing is really superb.

I was alone, but still managed an FA of a poor slab (severish) soloing and then abed down a hanging crack to the left. It looks tricky and the gear is perfect, on bomber weathered sandstone. Probably around E3 6a, but stiff at that. It would have been a brilliant route, but alas the start was a bit rubbish, so probably only worthy of a lone star.

I then abed down what I refer to as 'Walrus Buttress', at the opposite side of the crag to have a look at potential there. I couldn't be arsed to pull all the grass out of 'on crack' (E4ish) so went about shunting the scoop to the left of 'Central Crack'. Me and dooge always thought it would be a bit 'Time for Teaesque', with gear far out right and some groovy moves up the scoop with a big run-out. Unlike 'Time for Tea' I soon realised the moves were dynamic and slopey and nails. I managed to link it though, which gave some really good sustained climbing and took me ages to find a sequence. E7 6b?

So basically what I thought was a HVS turned out to be E2 (central Crack), What I thought was E1 is more like E4 (On Crack) and what I thought was E3 is more like E7 (The Scoop). God knows how hard the difficult-looking lines are.

Friday, 15 January 2010

Kinder By Night!

Met up with Stuart Coxson tonight as it got dark. Quickly trotted up to the downfall, with the snow conditions not being too bad. We went the wrong way round the reservoir but it worked out ok. I led the classic grade three, although didn't place any gear. Stuart followed with ease (one of his first trips winter climbing) so I then led the grade IV, which was really nice with big fat hooks.

it was a bit of an epic as I had no harness, belay plate, ice axes or crampons and Stu's headtorch soon packed in, but we just about coped. Surprised how good it is!

The Ice conditions were good, with some of it hooked out and a lot of first time placements. Much of the snow that was sketchy when we arrived had turned into good snow you could use your pick on when we left (about 2?)

Monday, 11 January 2010

The Boring Post of the year.

Rarely do I talk about my thoughts on climbing on here, but I feel a lot has happened mentally recently.

My first delves into mixed climbing have proved ridiculously successful, considering I always considered myself to be a rubbish winter climber. I've attempted 4 winter routes on lead in total- my first a FWA which turned out to be about V 7, the second Bowfell Buttress, the forth an Epic Gully called Chock Gully in Grisedale and the third we ended up abseiling off the second belay due to a bit of a storm and it being totally dark.

The previous write up of our lakes trip describes this route as 'an obvious inspiring corner next to Bowfell' (we tried it the same day as Bowfell) and it was. the climbing we did was ace. On our return and Dave purchasing the winter Guide for the Lakes it turns out it was a grade VIII. This not only made me chuckle, but also brought back all the memories of how at every step with our climbing 'the moors crew' has put adventure above experience (and sometimes safety) and amazingly it turned out ok.

I don't really know what i'm talking about, but I get overpowered by a desire for epics and adventure whenever I think about past experiences and future challenges. I still don't understand why we always end up jumping on routes way above us and having semi-successes. And in regard to 2009, what a truly brilliant year. I mean the most superb year anyone could ever have (happiness-wise). I haven't made a huge amount of progress (E3-5, IV- VI, F6c+- F7b), but as an adventure it's been foykin cool.

A few Highlights:

*(seconding Luke on the) Whitestone Traverse FFA- HXS 6b
*The FFA of the main face of Roseberry topping- E5 6a
*Lakes winter on various epic pitches
*Spain Sport Climbing
*Linking the Danby arete on a top rope (H8 6c ish)
*I actually quite enjoyed my indoor routing (and falling)
*Landing properly on my face whilst trying a Dyno
*Figuring out Desperate Den onsight (E6 6c)
*The arete at Ravensdale is honestly Fantastic (E5+ 6a)
*Taking a factor two onsight new routing
*talking bollocks to people and having a good laugh
*Climbing Winter routes on the moors!
*Trying the big pitches of the lakes hills.
*Ticking all the Hodge Close Back Wall over a couple of days.
*My first Visit to Gogarth
*Climbing blitzkrieg, not being able to set up a belay, then down-climbing it all!

The targets for 2010

The main target for 2010 is to get technically good enough, fit enough and experienced enough so that I can do something bigger in 2011.

This will probably mean:

*Solid at E6

*I'd like to do a Scottish VIII before the winter's over

*A lot of Mileage in the alps- E5 or E6 above 3,500 metres would be pretty cool.

*And as a bonus- Magic In the Air onsight- i'd be lying to myself if I didn't say I was super- psyched

We'll see how it pans out. Objectives always change and you always get better at things you thought you wouldn't. Maybe we could tick four of the eights this year?