The Lakes is in. But Wales is closer. But routes have been done in the lakes... Decisions. This was the basis of mine and Tim's talk during the week building up to the weekend. In the end, we decided on the Lakes, and quite right we were...
We drove up to the Lakes on Friday night and parked up in Swirl Car park along Thirlmere reservoir. Not having a tent, and not feeling a night walk in the rain to bivi below the crag, we opted for biviing under the lean-to shelter outside the toilets. Classy.
Saturday morning, we geared up and headed uphill into the CLAG to find Brown Cove Crags. At first there was no snow, until we got above about 300m. After an hour, the crags loomed up ahead. We stopped by a small rock outcrop where we put on crampons, geared up and set off. We met some other climbers who pointed us in the direction of our climb: Two Grooves (IV, 6). Me and Tim looked at a small groove which we thought we'd solo to get to the climb. At first it was easy, until pulling over the top rock step which was a bit fluttery. Not until we saw the second pitch of our climb did we realise that we had just soloed the first pitch! Now, being the crux pitch, we both wanted to lead it. To help us decide, we used the scientific method of Rock, Paper, Scissors. The tension was mounted. 1...2...3... Me: Paper, Tim: Scissors. 1...2...3... Me: Scissors, Tim: Paper. 2 all. I had to win this one. 1...2...3... Tim: Rock, Me...
|Me on Two Grooves|
We descended back down to the base of the crags via a grade I gully and dumped our packs. Our next intention had a team just starting the route, so we opted for soloing a grade III instead called Right Buttress Crack. There was only one real difficulty and that was pulling over a chockstone, but the rest of the route was solid snow and ice climbing. We passed all the difficulties and decided on traversing across a grade II snow gully to get to a very nice looking chimney on the other side. As we were crossing the gully, other teams appeared. It was a busy day here after all as there were teams on every pitch of this climb. I climbed up the side of the chimney and proceeded to take pictures of Tim as he soloed up the climb. We continued up the mountain and finished up the final slope of the grade II where we met a team of 4. We stopped and had a chat with them and then headed back down to collect our packs.
|Tim soloing Right Buttress Crack|
Where we had geared up in the morning, we stopped here again and had a play around on some ice that had formed there. We also tried a small mixed 'bouldering' problem which would possibly get a VII 7 if it was on a route as we failed to complete it.
After a long hard day, we retired to the Apple Pie Shop in Ambleside for a well earned tea. Tim had decided he wanted a belay jacket so picked one up from Gaynor sports, only to return it 10 minutes later after finding another one in the Adventure peaks bargain basement. And on a final note, that chimney Tim soloed, it turns out it's a grade IV in the new Lake District winter climbs guidebook.