A classic climb dating from between the wars. Its co-protagonist Graham Macphee commented on the staging of hard climbs as time goes by, ” An inaccessible crack- The most difficult climb in the Lake District – An easy day for an undergraduate” . This climb shows clearly that with ageing this works in reverse in just 14 years. Well almost, it was never easy.
Well my first guidebook graded the three pitches 4b,4c, 4c, so even if you don’t understand what that relates to, it means the first pitch is technically easier. I seconded this in 2004 and thought it was the hardest bit, teetering across a wall with a polished foothold down and along, and a sideways jump to the next handhold. It is now graded 4c, and was not the hardest bit on a recent outing on our decent dry June weather, which I next thought was the second pitch, an upward diagonal traverse on a good foot crack with no handholds. OK if you have good balance. I don’t, particularly, and age has obviously not helped as this was remembered as fine. The hardest that is, until the crux on the final pitch, which I fell off, probably as the left foot slipped, annoying as I’d changed the right boot due to wear (see post Holy Tree Corner), but kept the left! Need I say I was seconding? Now this is 9.30pm a long way up from the ODG hotel and the last drink, usually called somewhat before 11pm, so I unashamedly pulled on a long abandoned piece of gear, to get up this grunt, and the long up along and down descent past where the late evening sheep had been seen hoovering the vegetation on the opposing spur. Ian was dispatched down at the Mickleden track to run for last orders, looking like a training squaddie with his son’s military rucsac full of the gear and two ropes – I still have a bad knee, and I’m sticking to that – which he managed, bless him.
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