Last night Mark, Penny and I went to Shepherd’s Crag, Borrowdale after work. It was a close decision between Shepherd’s and Castle Rock but since we had already been to Castle Rock this year Borrowdale won.
It has been a while since I last climbed, over three weeks, and neither of us was feeling like pushing too hard. We started on Derision Groove(MVS 4b), which is above the scree fan between the wall and Little Chamonix. Neither Mark or I had visited this part of the crag before and we were surprised by the size of the wall above the trees. This route is climbed in two pitches just to the right of Shepherd’s Gully. The first pitch has one or two tricky sections where you are pushed off-balance whilst climbing a rightward trending gangway. It was however reasonably protected and soon led to a belay ledge with good views back to Derwentwater and Maiden Moor. The second pitch had some loose blocks and the route finding was not obvious. This climbing was good and when I was confident of where I was going the moves flowed. It was a slight surprise to finish a couple of metres from the top of Little Chamonix having started so far from it!
Our second route was Fishers Folly (VS 4c), this is next to Kransic Crack, a route that I climbed towards the end of last year. The route is described as two pitches but they are both about ten metres long, this is due to the second pitch being an exposed left to right traverse. I planned to climb it as one pitch with some careful ropework using double ropes. The start is up a corner with some well-worn holds and placements, this leads to a pinnacle on the far left which is usually the site of the midway belay. I had placed almost all my gear on the left rope and after extending the top piece with a long sling I set off across the traverse. There was plenty of air beneath my feet and not much gear, I put one more piece on my left rope before finally getting far enough across to put a large nut on my right rope, which had one other piece of gear on it about three metres above the ground. I can see this section testing both leaders and seconds who are not very confident at the grade. All that was left was a quick scramble up the ramp on the right and to move back left above the route to belay from a tree. This allowed me to flick my left rope back so that it protected most of the traverse from above.
We had enjoyed ourselves, rediscovered some climbing mojo and not been eaten alive by midges. Penny had relaxed, watched and perhaps read a little of her book. It won’t be long until she’s back climbing (between feeds!).