Climbers vs Nettles

July 26th, 2012 by Carmen

On a still and humid Tuesday evening Simon and myself headed to Peak Scar in an attempt to avoid the midges. Instead of midges we found ourselves battling through a flourishing sea of nettles, but at least it was a pleasant temperature. Unfortunately the tree clearance a few years back has opened up more light and space for the nettles – dread to think what they are like at Whitestone Cliffe at the moment.

Having made it down to the far end of the crag with just a few stings, I decided to have a go at one of the new (2010) routes by Tony Marr and Mike Tooke – Solitude Direct MVS 4b. All in the name really – a direct take on Solitude. It does have some nice moves going over a small overhang – however the upper ledges are rather filthy – moved back left at the very end to finish at the same point as Solitude.

I had heard some thrashing in the undergrowth whilst climbing the route, and when belaying at the top the culprits identified themselves – we were joined by Paul and Jamie who had taken an alternative approach via the far right of the crag, from where they had to fight their way through the last few metres of nettle forest, probably discovering a few new species on the way. They soon made it around the corner for Paul to lead Downbeat (VD). Meanwhile Simon took over the lead for a repeat ascent of Cobweb (VD) which goes up the outside of Murton's cave – a pleasant route apart from the muddy top-out.

We then had a swap of places with Jamie (brimming with enthusiasm) leading Cobweb – which he admitted enjoying afterwards. I went around the corner and led Gone (HS 4b) which we had not done for a few years. Steep but juggy climbing – didn't seem as loose as last time but not sure about the overall security of all those blocks! Fortunately they held and Simon was soon up to join me. We met the others at the top and retreated back to the car in the fading light. As if we didn't have enough already, Simon managed to bring a monster pet slug or snail back with him – with trail all around the boot of the car and over all the stuff dumped in the hall upon arrival.

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