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Two weeks climbing in the U.K.
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dagibbs


Aug 6, 2013, 10:07 AM
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Two weeks climbing in the U.K.
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spoiler: trad leading in the rain is about as much fun as you think.

I just got back from a two-week trip to the U.K. for some climbing. I went with two of my usual crew, Jex and K8, and to meet with Phil a third of the crew who had moved back there. K8 and I arrived earlier, with Jex joining us around the third day.

K8, Phil, and I started with a couple days (Sunday & Monday) on southern sandstone -- in particular at Harrison's Rocks. This sandstone is soft. Leading is not allowed (nor safe), abseiling (rappelling) is not allowed, lowering-off is discouraged, and top-ropes should be setup to minimize wear on the rock. And, still, there are rope grooves everywhere. The cliffs are not tall (7-10m), the rock is mostly slopers, smooth slopers, smooth slopers covered in loose sand. Also, flaring cracks with rounded edges. But it was interesting and fun climbing, and a good way to do something not-too-challenging (lead wise) while we adjusted to the time zone.

Jex finally arrived Tuesday morning, and we headed north to the Peak District, aiming for the ultra-classic Stanage Edge. We got a couple climbs in that evening on High Neb, before being rained off. Then another day of climbing in or near the Unconquerables area. Gritstone is almost the opposite of the southern sandstone -- hard, grippy rock with good friction. I say almost, because it still has lots of slopers, and flaring cracks -- just with very good friction instead of almost no friction. (In some ways, the conglomerate at Stanage reminded me a bit of the rock at the Gunks.)

Thursday we drove up to the Lake district, and setup camp near Coniston. We had a couple days of wonderful multi-pitch trad climbing on various crags there, on the Borrowdale volcanic rock that is common in the area. This is good, solid, compact rock that seems to take gear well and leave good, though sometimes hard to see, holds.

Sunday, we drove up to Glencoe, Scotland hoping to get a bit of climbing in that area. Monday we got a couple pitches up a climb at Poldubh in Glen Nevis before being rained off. Serious 4b is a lot more serious leading when it is dripping wet and being rained on, I'll say. We spent the rest of the day hiking. Tuesday we were hoping to climb the Buchaille Etive Mor -- a combination of hiking and a 4-pitch difficult route, but had to give it up because it was raining. So we drove to Aberdeen, doing a rainy-crags tour across Scotland. Finally arriving in Aberdeen, we decided to climb a bit at the local gym, racking up my 50th different climbing gym visited.

Wednesday turned out sunny, so we headed to Meikle Partans, a granite sea cliff to the north-east of Aberdeen. I got in a couple climbs on the gorgeous rock, before I became too sick to climb any further and retreated to try and nap in the front seat of the car.

Thursday we left K8 behind with her family in Aberdeen, and Jex and Phil and I drove back south to the Peaks. Friday, Jex and Phil had a great day of climbing on Stanage again, while I spent the day trying to get better in our hotel room.

Saturday, we packed up and headed for Stanage for a last day of climbing. I was setting up to leave the absolutely brilliant Christmas Crack (HS 4b) as it started to rain. I lead it anyway, but with the raining getting denser and a bunch of driving ahead of us, we called the day at that point, and headed back to London.

And, Sunday, I flew home.


curt


Aug 6, 2013, 8:13 PM
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Re: [dagibbs] Two weeks climbing in the U.K. [In reply to]
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Sounds like you guys had fun. My only critique is that you should have probably hit up Froggatt Edge one day instead of spending 3 or 4 days just at Stanage. Froggatt is brilliant (as they say) and was very close by.

Curt


dagibbs


Aug 7, 2013, 6:02 AM
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Re: [curt] Two weeks climbing in the U.K. [In reply to]
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curt wrote:
Sounds like you guys had fun. My only critique is that you should have probably hit up Froggatt Edge one day instead of spending 3 or 4 days just at Stanage. Froggatt is brilliant (as they say) and was very close by.

Curt

Would probably have been a good idea -- but we had a guide book for Stanage in particular, rather than for the Peaks in general.


gblauer
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Aug 7, 2013, 2:38 PM
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Re: [dagibbs] Two weeks climbing in the U.K. [In reply to]
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sounds like it was fun to climb someplace different, although the rain is a bummer. I hate leading in the rain!


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