Troutdale Pinnacle, another popular climb in the Lakes which I was really looking forward to climbing. A grade up from my previous routes I did get a little scared in places, I’m not afraid to admit. I’m new to trad so for now that’s allowed and have no doubt that fear comes across us all once in while. Fear keeps us alive, it reminds us that we are not immune to failure. Keep it in check and remember to breathe, keep your head together and carry on or get your partner to lead for a bit.
I managed to lead the first 3 pitches but did get a little freaked when a solo cimber passed me enroute. It shouldn’t really bother me that much but I didn’t like the look of the next pitch and after getting across the traverse I came back and to the belay and let Patrick lead from there.
Can you believe we finished the route in daylight after some exhilirating climbing on the final pitch… definately a bit of a scary pitch but well worth it!
Oh and a flyby from the RAF jet through the valley whilst climbing was pretty cool too… so pleased I wasn’t on a crux move at the time.
What an interesting night I had for my first solo bivvy….
I started out late to head up into the hills looking for a tarn which was past another tarn. Oh yes I hear you say should be easy, plenty of hills to use for navigation marks, a big tarn right next to a well used path. Keep following the path and it should take me straight there.
Marvellous, all sorted.
Well maybe not quite so sorted as it turns out. Make it to the first big tarn which appears to have a DofE group camping on its shore for the night, so I decide to skirt around them not really wanting to disturb them as they were settling in for the night. Uh oh, where did that path go…
In only the way know how I managed to lose the path under the cover of darkness and end up waist deep in bracken… damn it now my trousers are wet. Ok so there’s the tarn just head up to the gap inbetween the two peaks and I should find the path again. Oh why did my feet just sink… wet boggy grassy shit… damn it, now that’s wet trousers, socks and shoes!
Wrong two peaks and no path but the tarn is only just down there how far off can I be! When it’s dark and getting a wee bit chilly it feels like a long way when all you keep doing is walking in streams coming down from the peaks that surround you.
Not to worry, lovely big flat rock with mossy, grassy stuff on top makes for the perfect bed and mattress. With a clear sky and under a blanket of stars there was nothing else for it but to set up my bivvy for the night and watch the shooting stars. So many as it was only a couple of nights from the scheduled meteor shower.
As day broke I quickly saw the error of my ways and rejoined the path heading back to my car to find some dry clothes and a cup of coffee.
So I never made it to Codale Tarn but it was an amazing night sleeping under the stars 🙂
Simon and I headed out to Langdale to link up some routes on various crags all connected by short walks. At this stage it’s important to get the mileage in so I can become slicker and more effecient with my gear placement and ropework.
First route of the day was Cub’s Groove, great big ledge to stand on and I couldn’t even find a place for my first bit of gear, what a fantastic start to the day this is. A small group of beginners turn up at the bottom of the crag and I come down shortly after. Disappointed I send Simon up to get things sorted, not just one but three bits of gear were very quickly placed and shown to me. These are the days in which I must soak everything up and learn as much as possible, it’s not always about getting it right so long as you learn from it and more importantly… move on. Well in this case it was up as I went second and cleaned the route. A short walk up to the start of the next route had us quickly back on the rock.
The route chosen was Route 1 a nice easy climb with a big slab section at the top of the second pitch to finish off. Easy climbing, yes. Exposed, yes. Slow, doesn’t even begin to describe my climbing style just now. Once at the top I had a bit of bother trying to find good anchors for my belay. 25 minutes later the belay was finally sorted after much frustration and Simon made his way up the route in about 5 mins. He knew I’d had trouble finding the belay and sent some vibes up the rope for me. Maybe this is when I made my decission to move to the next ledge where I quickly found the anchors and had everything set up ready to go shortly after that.
After a short break and chat with an amazing view right along the valley and across to Langdale Pikes we were on our way again up to Whitegill Crag. Rain… started at 2pm very light but wasn’t due till 5pm. This is not good, we waited another 5mins to see if anything was going to come of it and it did. Getting heavier we decided it was a good time to bail on terra firma rather than at pitch 2 of 4. We headed across towards Stickle Tarn and took in the view from this higher point as the rain gradually got heavier and set in for the rest of the afternoon.
So the climbing had been slow and the rain getting heavier it was time to think about a late lunch down at the pub. The best days I’ve had outside have always been in atmospheric conditions. It’s not always about getting the best of the weather which in this country will be difficult over the coming months but more about the experiences and what you make of your day hanging out with mates.
My first multi-pitch and monkey off my back sorted.
Route: Little Chamonix, VD***
Location: Shepherds Crag, Lake District
Date: Sunday 21st July, 2013.
No roller skates, boxing gloves or wedding dress in sight!
Patrick was the instructor for the day and Simon was there to capture my first multi-pitch on film.
I sit here two weeks later in the comfort of my home thinking back to how I felt on that day. In all honesty I probaby felt more comfortabe there on the rock than what I do now sitting on this hard wooden bench at the dining table. I’m sure my family won’t be pleased to hear it but when I’m up there climbing it’s the sense of freedom that I have to express myself that gives a kind of rush you just don’t get when doing the housework. Now I know that sometimes this will come out in a form of verbal language that my mum would cringe if she heard but for the most part it is simply the connection I feel to the rock which allows me to move in such a way that feels to me, normal.
Patrick was my guide for the day, he is a very calm and patient instructor. We began by walking through the belay set-ups at the bottom of the route while climbers headed up the route which can get very busy on good weather days like it was that day. After feeling more comfortable with setting up the belays Patrick headed up the first pitch with ease. Next it was my turn to head up as second and clean on my way. First hex… jammed right back in the crack and I drew blood trying to get the litte bugger out. Pitch 1 complete. A short scramble up to the second belay point where Patrick consolodated the belay setup once again and then it was my turn to climb. Heading up the crack to the polished block I was anxious to place my first bit of gear before the block. This was after we had been discussing fall factors and shock loading on belays and ropes, with the ledge below from where Patrick was beleying you can understand why I wanted that bit of gear placed asap.
The block was certainly interesting to say the least, as Simon pointed out you don’t get moves like that on the indoor wall. I loved it! It took me a few minutes to get myself sorted but got myself turned around and off the block stepping out onto the facing wall which takes you up to the saddle belay.
I felt relief like you wouldn’t believe when I got my leg over onto the saddle belay. I know the climbing wasn’t difficult but when it’s your first multi-pitch which is being filmed at the same time it is a relief not to fall off. My arse was sat on the saddle and wasn’t going to move, I set the belay up from where I was and possibly took a while to do it but wanted to make sure I had everything right before sending Patrick up. Again he climbed it no problem and was up in a flash which meant it was my turn to head up the third and final pitch.
The pitch was apart from being higher than anything I had climbed before it was also the most exposed (yes my clothes were on just to clarify) on a rock face I had ever been before. When I had looked up before climbing I thought I was going to be climbing behind the big oversized flake but after going up, it soon became apparent that this was not the case. Massive jugs to hold onto but out and around it was for me. After composing myself for a minute off I went and up to a big ledge and stood there trying to place some gear, nuts would fit and cams weren’t right. Simon spotted me getting a wee bit flustered and popped his head over the top to see what was up and quickly pointed out the great big spike I was gripping onto would be perfect for a sling! Oh yes why didn’t I see that obvious solution. Thank you Simon for your words of wisdom delivered at just the right time.
A few short moves and I had made it… the relief was overwhelming to the point that I was almost devoid of all emotion. I think it was a combination of so many thought process going through my mind. Not just the climbing but everything that I had planned from the moment I had put my expediton ad on UKC to this point. Talking with and meeting new friends is an experience that am finding increasingly invaluable and satisfying.
Thank you to all who made my first multi-pitch one not to forget.