The First Pitch of tech 6
Some mid-week Lakes action entailed me, Jack and big Steve heading for the lakes. A last minute call to Pete Graham meant we had a knarley lakes local to show us about and some comfortable lodgings in Coniston.
Day one was windy and cold and started with a quick walk up to Bowfell. Steve, being violently ill all night, had to sack the days exploration off; meaning Me, Jack and Pete were climbing as a three. Pete fancied giving the recent edition to North Buttress (Fight or Flight VII) a go, which is exactly what we did.
A wintery North Buttress
The crux pitch after Pete's cleaning
The route is comprised of three pitches; an easier and bold start pitch, an easy traverse pitch and then a difficult, but well protected top pitch. After 50 metres of grade II soloing we got to the first belay and I got sorted for the first bold pitch, after loosing a game of rock, paper, scissors with Pete to get the better-protected pitch.
Steve on Engineer's Slabs VI 7
The first pitch went fine after I got an OK cluster of gear low down and just ran it out and onto some good tech 5 turf. Jack lead through to the last belay on the route and then Pete styled up the beautiful crux pitch, taking his time to clear the hoar off the wall. I was pretty jealous he got the hard and safe pitch, which offered some really cool climbing with perfect gear in between moves, but then again I got to second it in total safety!
Once we warmed ourselves up after our chilly day out, we set out to try and repeat Dave Birkett's route 'The Jabberwock' up on Gable. The pitch grades were given 5,7,6, but Pete did an alternate start by accident which was pretty desperate. The normal route looked way harder than tech 5 anyway. I was lucky enough to get the main pitch, which was a 20 metre crack of superb quality on good hooks and then a further 10 metres of insecure torquing up another crack. I found it pretty tricky and it was definitely a fair bit harder than the other two sevens I've been on, but not really experienced enough to comment on the grade at the moment.
Crux of the first Crack is getting stood on the foothold
Pete's last pitch was another surprise and it soon got dark, making both his lead and my second a bit of an epic (especially when my headtorch failed). I thought the first and last pitches were a similar difficulty to the hardest stuff I'd done before, with the crux crack being a notch harder, but I suppose that's just typical Birkett!
The journey home was eventful after the car nearly rolled despite slow speeds. Jack skilfully avoiding a bus in the middle of the road and getting through a 4 foot gap. Pretty sketchy, driving up a wall and on two wheels for a while! we're all healthy though, so not to worry.
The Wall we mounted