Navigation, barefoot walking and multi-pitch climbing in the Lake District.

Pashley and I drove up to Langdale to meet Laura and Sarah for a day of navigation training. We enjoyed some great weather and fantastic views on a walk around the Langdale Pikes, whilst I taught the ladies all I could about contours, handrails, bearings, timing and pacing. My boots were off within a few minutes of leaving the road and Pashley soon followed suit.

Misson Impossible!

Misson Impossible!

Pashley, Laura and Sarah on Pavey Ark.

Pashley, Laura and Sarah on Pavey Ark.

The following day began with a luxuriously late start and a leisurely stroll up Lingmoor. I left my boots behind, Pashley’s boots were soon in her pack and Laura joined in too. Two more converts to the joys of barefooting in the mountains! Every step has a meaning, you feel a deep connection with the ground and nature gives you a free all-day reflexology treatment. Try it out…

The Langdale Pikes from Lingmoor.

The Langdale Pikes from Lingmoor.

As nature intended...

As nature intended...

Pashley and I said goodbye to Laura and Sarah after coffee and cake in Ambleside. Then we went to the Golden Rule for a pork pie and a pint. Back in Langdale, we ended the evening in the Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel and walked out out of the pub to find one of the most beautiful starry skies you could hope to see.

The night was just too good to miss so we packed bags with climbing gear, sleeping bags and mats, a stove, coffee and porridge oats. We walked along Mickleden and up Rossett Ghyll to sleep near the col and stare at the stars. The sunrise brought a warm and bright morning that we enjoyed over coffee and porridge. Simply sitting still and enjoying the view for hours was a pleasure.

Our bivvy site for the night and breakfast perch for the morning.

Our bivvy site for the night and breakfast perch for the morning.

We finally got moving at mid-day and walked up to the base of Bowfell Buttress to climb the classic route right up its centre. It may be polished but it’s still great fun and furnished with bundles of huge, positive handholds. We climbed the route in 5 pitches and it provided Pashley with a good opportunity to learn more about multi-pitch ropework and belays.

Bowfell Buttress

Bowfell Buttress

Climbing with full packs for the first time in a while was a good reminder of how it raises your centre of gravity and makes you feel very heavy indeed!

Pashley on the tricky traverse.

Pashley on the tricky traverse.

We reached the top of Bowfell and were greeted by a warm and orange sun low in the sky. The views that evening were wonderful…

Looking south from the summit of Bowfell.

Looking south from the summit of Bowfell.

Thanks to Andy Docker for this last photo. Here’s a link to Andy’s Flickr page. Take a look at the rest of his Bowfell sunset shots. They’re very good and you need your whole screen to really do them justice.

Posted: October 14th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Barefoot, Lake District, Mountain Walking, Multi Pitch Climbing, Navigation, Trad Climbing | No Comments »

Sea cliff climbing in Cornwall.

Martina and I spent a weekend on the granite cliffs around Lands End. At Chair Ladder, we climbed the classic Terrier’s Tooth, the exposed and gripping traverse of The Mitre, the fantastic South Face Direct and the meandering Neptune. At Bosigran, we climbed Zig-Zag – a wonderful second pitch and The Armchair – steep and testing moves on the first pitch and a jug-filled corner on the second.

Martina on the top pitch of Terrier's Tooth.

Martina on the top pitch of Terrier's Tooth.

Martina on the top pitch of South Face Direct.

Martina on the top pitch of South Face Direct.

Martina scrambling along the base of Chair Ladder.

Martina scrambling along the base of Chair Ladder.

Posted: September 23rd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Cornwall, Multi Pitch Climbing, Sea Cliff Climbing, Trad Climbing | No Comments »

Multi-pitch climbing course in North Wales.

I joined Robin and Paula for two really enjoyable days of multi-pitch climbing. They have been climbing indoors and leading sport climbs on rock for a year or so. Now they wanted to experience longer routes with traditional gear and I had the pleasure of guiding them.

The weather in the mountains was quite wet on our first day so we drove to the coast and climbed at sunny Tremadog. Our first climb, Gilljo, is surprisngly run-out  for the grade and forces you climb some way above the ground before finding your first worthwhile protection. Both Robin and Paula found this introduction easy and we moved onto Valerie’s Rib – a fun and varied route with 3D corner climbing, an exciting traverse, a long pitch up an exposed rib and a layback finale.

Our second day was reasonably dry so we drove into The Llanberis Pass to climb the memorable Main Wall on Cyrn Las – “One of the most enjoyable expeditions in Snowdonia – a great Welsh classic.” – according to The Climbers Club guidebook. The route was wet in places, making the footholds slippery the handholds slimey and demanding much extra care and attention. Higher up, the rock is exposed to more sunshine and we enjoyed the lofty, exposed positions to the full!

Here’s what Robin and Paula had to say about the course:

“A great introduction to multi-pitch climbing in Wales – professional and fun. Thanks for the experience!”

Paula climbing out of the wet and greasy chimney and onto the traverse of the 2nd pitch.

Paula climbing out of the wet and greasy chimney and onto the traverse of Main Wall's 2nd pitch.

Robin approaching the belay on the third pitch of Main Wall.

Robin approaching the belay on the 3rd pitch of Main Wall.

Paula climbing the 'delightfully exposed' slab and arete on Main Wall's 5th pitch.

Paula climbing the 'delightfully exposed' slab and arete on Main Wall's 5th pitch.

Posted: August 9th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Multi Pitch Climbing, North Wales, Trad Climbing | No Comments »
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