A well attended meet in the Borrowdale valley. Lots of climbing, scrambling and walking.
Friday was cloudy and damp, so a few of us (me, Alan, Tracy and Max) decided to attempt Cam Crag Ridge, a grade 2 scramble up towards Glaramara from the Langstrath valley. For once, even though the visibility was pretty poor (we never saw the entire route as we were continually in the clouds, we found the route and stuck to it! The scramble was on good, solid rock with small sections along grass between crags. As the guidebooks explained, the most interesting (I.e. hardest) line lay to the right-hand side of the vague ridge, while things eased up to the left. Indeed it would’ve been possible to bypass whole sections of the scramble by walking around the rocks on the grassy slopes to the left!
Although we had set off with the ambition of topping out Cam Crag Ridge and then continuing on to Glaramara, the conditions were not favourable. Visibility was poor and we headed back to the campsite, following a northerly bearing until we descended out of the clag and found a path!
Earlier weather forecasts had suggested that the weather would improve after Friday, and Saturday was supposed to br the best day of the weekend. Alan, Tracy, Max, Anna and I zipped off to Black Crag in order to tick off a borrowdale classic: Troutdale Pinnacle. We thought we were leaving the campsite at a reasonable time, but Alan and Liz still had time to join in the ParkRun in Keswick beforehand!
Max and Tracy started off on the pinnacle route, while Alan and I climbed Troutdale Ridge. It was the only other Severe climb at the crag, and due to damp rock conditions (it hadn’t stopped raining for over a week), we felt it best to stick to that grade! The climb isn’t in the newer selective guides, so a fair amount of vegetation stood in our path. One steep wall section (led by Alan) was particularly tricky, with slimy holds and not much gear either. A higher slabby section (led by myself) was not much better! I was quite pleased and relieved to finish the route…
By the time we had climbed Troutdale Ridge, the sun had put his hat on and the crag was drying out fast. Alan and I then set off up Troutdale Pinnacle. The rock was mostly dry and was a lot cleaner than the first climb. The route definitely deserves its 3 stars. A superb traverse/down-climb pitch, followed by a belay on top of the pinnacle and then an airy final pitch all combine into a fantastic climbing experience.
One of the bonuses of our campsite was that there were two pubs within easy walking distance. Saturday night found us in the Riverside Bar in rosthwaite, with live music and good beer.
As people had expected Sunday’s weather to be not as good as Saturday’s, no one made a particularly early start. The night was cold and we awoke to condensation dripping inside the tent. Suddenly the tent brightened and we thought that clouds must’ve cleared as the change was so quick. However, after poking my head out the tent I realised that it was due to the sun rising above the hills – the skies were completely clear!
Alan, Max, Anna and I drove to buttermere and began the lengthy approach to Grey Crag. We found Anna and Andy Speed at the foot of Harrow Slabs (super early birds!). Max and Alan climbed the crags following some VS routes, while Anna and I climbed the VDiffs. Six long pitches (plus some scrambling), spread over the three main cliffs of Grey Crag found us on top of High Stile. The views were outstanding! The descent back to the car via the ridge to High Crag was beautiful. It was a long outing (nearly 8 hours car to car). Luckily we didn’t need headtorches as I hadn’t packed mine (because I knew we had a dinner reservation for 7:30!). The classic day out was completed in fine style by an entire group meal in the langstrath inn. Massive portions were well appreciated!
We left the pub to find an eery mist had swept down into our valley. The mist was still around when we woke up on Monday morning. This dampened everyone’s spirits, and after much faffing (cooking breakfast and packing up tents etc) a few of us went for a walk up High Spy. After we had climbed only a short way up the hillside, we found ourselves out of the cloud and into bright sunshine again! Having made the decision to go for a walk, we stuck with the plan and enjoyed lovely views and a popular path along from High Spy to Cat Bells. Ice Creams were desperately needed once we had descended back down to Grange!