The Sorcerer, Ghost Valley

The Sorcerer, Ghost Valley

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Finale last week

We arrived in the Dolomites late Saturday night & woke up to snow on all the hills and the roads looking impassable, which was without going over any of the higher passes – 10cm of new snow in Cortina!
After a coffee & a fresh look at the forecasts for the week we saw freezing overnight temps and more snow flurries, so we decided to bail out and head further south.
We arrived in Finale on the Mediterranean coast 4hrs later and were greeted to 26 degrees with the forecast predicting it to get even hotter – fantastic

Finale Ligure

You’ve just got to love it here, it’s a beautiful little Italian old town situated right on the Mediterranean coastline with quality limestone cliffs scattered everywhere.

Finalborgo - the old town of Finale

Immaculate steep pocketed limestone

Looking down to Finale & the beautiful Mediterranean Sea beyond

Ali enjoyng the climbing high on a remote cliff

Ali enjoying steep multi-pitch climbing at Monte Cucco 

The fantastic cliffs of Monte Cucco

Great views across the valley from Monte Cucco

Ali enjoying leading at Monte Cucco, a beautiful wall of great pockets & edges

Fantastic climbing at Crag Telematica in Colletta nr Castelbianco

The village of Colletta nr Castelbianco

Sea cliffs right in the town of Finale Ligure
Will enjoying the sun rock Mediterranean experience

The climbing here in Finale & surrounding areas is so varied with plenty of multi-pitch routes with many crags in a remote setting. It was also a great time to visit with warm but not too hot temperatures and also few other climbers around. I also love the Italian way of life, it always feels very chaotic but relaxed at the same time with everyone out making the most of the sunshine with a healthy work life balance.
Me - back in the Lakes at the weekend to cooler & slightly wetter and very windy conditions and a couple of sessions at both Ingleton & Kendal walls just hasn’t been quite the same! Although it is firing me up for another trip in the not to distant future!

BMG Summer Rock Training

I convened the summer rock climbing training for the new trainees on the British Mountain Guides training scheme here in the Lakes just over 10 days ago.

We had a great week focused on 3 key eliments of summer UK rock guiding which was a guided climbing day, a short roping mountain day and a teaching day.

Ben Bradford leading the rope on the guided climbing day, Raven Crag, Langdale

Dave Evans short roping Bruce Pole & myself on Dow Crag, Coniston

Bruce Pole on the teaching day on Black Crag, Borrowdale

It’s been a very healthy intake for the BMG with 8 trainees all passing their inductions at the end of last year. I meet them all as a group for the first time on the cascade icefall climbing day back in January which was great.
It’s a tough road going through the BMG Guides scheme and it’s so important that we as trainers give 110% every day we work with them. I’m sure everyone took away with them valuable learning points & it was inspiring for all that attended & I wish them all the best for their coming summer UK rock assessment later in the year.

The Lakes

Well it’s been a super busy last 4 weeks.........
The weather here in the Lakes has been great and with all the high mountain crags being dry, it's practically been a carte blanche to climb anywhere.
Adrian & I had a great day climbing up on Gimmer Crag in Great Langdale. It felt unseasonally warm for the end of April & were treated to warm rock & few other teams climbing on what is one of the best crags in the valley.

Adrian Walter finishing up the final pitch of the classic Kipling Groove

Tom Hull took this photo of Gimmer Crag, the day we were climbing there.
 It's a great view looking into the upper NW face, with the upper W face in pofile & the Great Langdale Valley below.
You can just make me out leading the steep rib on the 2nd pitch of Kipling Groove with another team in The Crack

The weather contiued to hold with Chris Corlett & I having a great week of climbing together.

I headed back up into Great Langdale & we climbed some of the great classics on Raven Crag such as Revelation, Centipede & Bilberry Buttress, before heading up onto Gimmer Crag again late afternoon early evening for some more climbing.

A team on Revelation, Raven Crag, Great Langdale
Then we headed over to Coniston & into Dow Crag. It's an East facing crag which is awesome in both summer & winter, giving quality routes of all grades in a fantastic setting. The rock's Rhyolite from the Borrowdale Volcanic group, which in climbing terms gives you great friction, good solid holds & good quality gear when you place it.  

Our first view of Dow Crag walking in from the Walna Scar road

Chris's first lead on Giants Crawl, Dow Crag.

Enjoying the views on top of 'B' Buttress

An amazingly quite day again considering the weather, with only one other team climbing on 'A' Buttress
Climbers on Eliminate 'A', A Buttress, Dow Crag

Chris seconding the final steep pitch of Eliminate 'A' on Dow Crag

A topo of some of the classic routes around 'A' & 'B' Buttress's

Dow Crag, Coniston.

'A' Buttress
Eliminate ‘A’ VS - red
'B' Buttress
Climbers descent – green dash
Giants Crawl VD - blue
Nimrod E1 5c – lime green
Catacomb E1 5b - yellow
Holocast E4 6a - brown
Tumble E4 6a - black
Pink Panther E2 5c - purple
Murry’s Direct VS - orange

The following day we headed up the lower & upper Scout Crags in Great Langdale, to get us up into White Ghyll.

Chris leading Route 1 on Upper Scout Crag, Great Langdale

In White Ghyll we climbed the classic Slip Knot on the lower wall & then descended down to the base of the upper wall and climbed Haste Not which is a brilliant route at the grade.

Upper White Ghyll, Great Langdale

White Ghyll, Great Langdale.
Haste Not VS - red
Haste Not Direct E2 5c - green
Gordian Knot VS - orange
White Ghyll Eliminate E2 5c - blue

View down into Langdale from White Ghyll

We then headed North over Dunmail Raise & climbed on Castle Rock at the head of Lake Thirlmere. It’s another great crag with a steep and intimidating North Face and a cluster of classic 3 star multi-pitch routes all finding weaknesses up its overhanging walls.
We first climbed Overhanging Bastion which takes an unlikely line of weakness directly through the overhanging face. It’s a fantastic route high in its grade & amazing in its exposure.

The easier Zig Zag is another classic route weaving its way up through the steep face. It's an unwelcoming steep wall,apart from the steepness of it all it always looks green & unclimbed on. But as soon as you start climbing a route the holds, cracks & features unfold giving great climbing in the most unlikely steep & airy positions

Nigel heading up the 1st pitch of Zig Zag

After lunch we headed into Keswick and then on into Borrowdale & climbed on one of my favourite crags in he Lakes - Reecastle in Watendlath

This is just one of the best single-pitch crags anywhere. The rocks compact, fantastic quality, clean and as you stenuously pull your way up the steep, barrelling face you’ll find surprisingly good reliable gear when you need it. The climbing here is just awesome and only a short walk in from the road.
It’s a NW facing crag and does take time to dry, but when it does its just some of the best climbing anywhere.
We climbed the super classic White Noise which takes a leftwards slanting crack line in the centre of the crag. It’s a great 40m pitch with most of the steep climbing pulling into the crack at the start.
There are so many great routes here, which alone has inspired my climbing recently. Having said that, you can’t help being inspired when the weather in the Lakes is this good.
Happy Climbing