Summer has come early

Easter 2008 was preceded by some of the grimmest weather of the whole winter, this year however things have been entirely different. Over the past few weeks we’ve had some glorious conditions and we’ve all been trying to make the most of it.

An image of Time on Bracken Clock

Stu was out this weekend at the final round of the Open 5 adventure racing series for 2009. The Open 5s are a great introduction to the sport, taking place across the North of England throughout the winter. The format is a combination of mountain bike and traditional orienteering taking place over the course of 5 hours pushing your fitness and navigation skills to the limit. Stu and his partner finished up in 7th in the Male Pairs category this week and ended the series in 6th overall.

I managed to hurt my arm on a boulder problem at Caley on Friday so I was forced to take things easy this weekend. On Saturday I took a trip to Eavestone Crag in North Yorkshire. This is a wonderfully esoteric spot, a pair of lakes set into a deeply incised, wooded valley with looming and sizable gritstone edges protruding out towards and sometimes into the water. In summer the rhodedendrons take over the place but at this time of year it’s a lovely spot for some climbing with classics from Severe up to E6 and some fun bouldering to boot. On sunday I did my first sport climbing of the year with a sunny morning session at Giggleswick South.

Tim had an altogether more adventurous weekend, I’ll let him explain:

“Expecting the glorious weather of last week to continue I headed to the lakes for the weekend.  By Ingleton it was raining so we decided to check out Trow Gill, a bit of an esoteric sport climbing venue, we were not overly impressed by it and after climbing a very wet 6a decided to keep driving to the lakes.  On heading further west the weather cleared; we headed to the fast drying Lancashire quarry Trowbarrow, which is absolutely brilliant with steep 30m trad pitches reminiscent of Pembroke.  I climbed the classics there Jean Jeanie (VS), Aladdinsane (E1) and Cracked Actor (E2).

Sunday we headed to Pavey Ark in Langdale, with the summits shrouded in mist it was a bit of a gamble but it paid off; on arriving at the bottom of the crag the mist lifted and we enjoyed a couple of hours in blazing sunshine before cloud rolled in again.  We started with Bracken Clock a 4 pitch E2 that we had heard was rather bold, this turned out to be a lie with the climb accepting protection everywhere you looked.  After this we moved onto Astra another classic E2, this is an absolutely amazing climb although the difficulties are quite short lived the positions gained on the climb make it more than worthwhile.  We finished the day with Aardvark (E1) as a warm down, a lovely pitch on the worlds most knobbly rock.

Jake finally returned from skiing this week to discover that he was a day late and had missed out on the best flying conditions of the year so far. He’ll stick up a post about his various skiing exploits over the last months once the disappointment fades.