Monday, 5 February 2007

A Grand Day Out (in the Lakes)

A good forecast and dry condtions prompted a trip to Napes crag in the Lakes to do a classic rock route. All snow had disappeared from the fells so with reasonably light weight packs an approach from Langdale s was chosen rather than driving around to Borrowdale. A rough calculation was start at 10 - 2 hours walk - climb and summit by 3pm - back to Langdale by 5pm (20km approx) . It's a long slog up from Langdale along thee valley and up Rossett Gill. The cold frosty valley was left behind and the hard work soon started.

Thankfully Jules who was setting a storming pace had a new camera and stopped a few times to take pictures!

We sped past Angle Tarn over Esk Hause where Great Gable came into view at last. Then full speed ahead to Sty Head and the climbers path to Napes. The weather was holding with clear blue skies and rock actually warm to the touch as we passed Kern Knotts and Tophet Wall. We had time for a quick rest below Napes Needle and decided on doing Eagles Nest Ridge Direct as our original objective of Napes Ridge was busy with at least two groups of climbers. I won (lost?) the find a stone challenge set by Jules to see who should lead the climb and we were soon in position at the bottom of the arete of this classic mild VS.

The climbing was dleightful. There were enough gear placements to make it feel safe, but in places it is quite delicate and commiting for a mild VS, and having a rucksack on makes the grade feel a bit harder when things get steep. Passign the small ledges on the Eagles Nest and Crows Nest the large ledge below the crux was reached. here a great wire placement makes this a very safe move even though the holds are a bit polished. A full 50 metres leads to a large belay area below easier ground. Jules and Jez followed up and we then tackled the remaining section (diff?) of Eagles Nest Ridge with some VERY exposed moves onto polished ledges it is pretty good value!

Eagles Nest Ridge

Packing away the gear I dropped my helmet and down in rolled out of sight towards a big gully. From the continual sounds of stone fall it was obvious it had gone a long way. So Jules and Jez continued over Gable whilst I went to try and retrieve the helmet. Srambling down steep ground and back around to the bottom of the gully I could see a tiny white spec high up, it had hardly come down any distance at all! At least it was reasonably accessible and also had the extra benefit of getting to a really good viewing point of Sphinx Rock

I met up with Jules and Jez back at Styhead, then it was just flat out again back to Langdale, retracing our steps past Great End (completely snowless) and to big descent back down Rossett Gill with the the Langdale Pikes holding onto sunlight long after the valley was in shadow.

A grand day out it was indeed!

Winter skies near Great End

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