Journeys in the hills and mountains
With my summer holiday entering its twilight, I’ve been in thesis-writing mode. It was nice, therefore, to get an email from Joe asking if Tom and I would be interested in joining him, along with Matthew, Andrena and some of Andrena’s friends, for a weekend of climbing in the Peak District. I was, unfortunately, too busy to go for the whole weekend, but Tom and I did go for a day trip. The weather was near-perfect, though the wind did at times whip up the gritstone dust. We arrived slightly before Joe and his party, and Tom and I set up at the Watch Tower on Stanage Edge.
We warmed up with a couple of solo climbs, taking in Delightful and Gabriel, both Moderate climbs, if possibly a little hard within the grade. As Joe and co arrived, we launched into our first pitched climbs. Tom led us up Delicious (HVD), which involved a tricky move to cross a smooth slab, and then I led Delicacy (HVD), a nice climb though, like many in this area, poorly protected, at least without the ‘friends’ that we still lack from our racks. We moved a little further along the crags to continue, and I led Pal Joey, a tricky VDiff which involves climbing a steep, exposed crack, before Tom led us up Palermo (VDiff), which was equally awkward, if a little less exposed. As both of us were keen to push our grade a little this trip, we now turned our attention to some Severe routes. We took it in turns to lead Older Still, a short but pleasant climb which involves laying back off a flake to reach the top. Having successfully led our first climbs in this grade we went in search of other routes. Returning to where we began, Tom led up Delovely, which was graded Severe more due to the lack of protection than the technical difficult. After lunch we moved back east, and I led on Newhaven, a pleasant Diff, and Dieppe, a Severe with good handholds and a tricky exit. I followed Tom up Ramsgate (S).
After climbing a rather dull VDiff called Wing Wall (which nevertheless gets a star in the guidebook), we moved further along to Pisa Pillar. I led Pisa Pillar (S) itself, finding some protection where Joe claimed there was none. Tom then finished by leading up Recess Rib (VDiff) which was as challenging at Pisa Pillar, though better protected. We finished our successful day by top-roping Dover’s Wall Route 3, a Very Severe route which Joe had led with Matthew earlier in the day. With 15 routes climbed, it was an excellent day.