>Can’t run, will Climb


Seeing as sitting on my bed, lifting my leg up and down whilst tied to a giant elastic band is not that inspiring I thought I’d better go cragging.

Despite the overcast and damp start to Saturday morning, I headed over to Langdale to meet up with Dan and some of his mates who were encamped in the summer metropolis that is the national trust campsite. Clouds hung perilously close and spots of rain were falling out of the sky at enough of rate for us to decide that perhaps Raven Crag was as far as we should venture that morning.

Bright but overcast in Langdale

So we kicked off the morning with the classic Holly Tree Direct. This HVS is still good, no matter how many times you climb it. I also still always manage to climb too high on the traverse on pitch 3, one day I shall learn, but until then I will mince about before down-climbing and making the relatively straightforward if delicate step across.

Dan negotiates the traverse on Holly Tree Direct

On the descent we spied a couple of lines above the Oak Tree traverse that we had not been on before, Muscle Crack and Campaign Crack. Both worthwhile E1 lines that are reasonably short and well protected. Muscle Crack is given 5c, perhaps a bit keen, but it nonetheless has a fairly commiting and furious start. Campaign Crack on the other hand, looks very amenable, in fact straightforward yet is anything but. It’s steeper than it looks, its sustained and contains a good number of mediocre holds, crimps and jams. Its great. I blame the rucksack for it feeling harder than it should!

After that it was look at Odin. A VS 4c to the left of Evening Wall. Perhaps a little contrived but worth a look and the moves up through the grooves and overhang are good value.

Dan on pitch 2 of Odin – VS 4c

I also thought I was beginning to halucinate as I neared the top, for I was convinced I could smell the waft of cooking bacon in addition to the rather ripe Sheep at the base of Raven Gully. It turned out to be some folks who were preparing to set up a top-rope on Muscle Crack and who were having an impromptu BBQ on the descent path! Best not to say anything I thought. The two lads looked like they were trying hard to impress their rather cold and dis-spirited looking girlfriends.

Rich and Dan, feeling a little damp atop pitch 2 of Mendes

And to finish, Mendes in the rain. We should have realised we were pushing our luck after missing the previous rain shower. Alas we did not take heed and a cracking VS climb was all the more entertaining for the large quantity of water being dumped on it.


About Richard Talbot

An accomplished fell-runner as well as being a keen climber and mountaineer. Since 2005 he has worked for the UK based manufacturer Mountain Equipment and is currently Director of Product. He has worked in the outdoor industry for over 15 years.
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