York Amnesics Club go west

March 4th, 2013 by rob s

Paul and I headed for Great End on Flexi-time, early-ish in the morning and half way up the A1 Paul mentions his paranoia about forgetting something, an idea-worm that slowly meanders its way deep into what I laughingly refer to as my brain. "OH BOLLOX" is the neural circuity's response to this intrusion.

gt end

After some neat diversions, including too many 3 point turns, we are picking up a pair of 'poons from Jamie's house in Sedgefield, not far north of Scotch corner (thanks Jamie!). Suffice to say the rest of the journey was not as direct as it may have been, but St Johns in the Vale is lovely at that time of the morning. Eventually we find our way to the crag with people enjoying Central & SE Gullys, the buttresses are almost black but the gullies are holding snow and better stil, fat ice is visible.

l3Paul has a hankering for Window Gully, which looks great and we solo up the first ice call and into the groove to reach the main ice fall finish. There has been some melt and refreeze on the major falls making them glossy and clean, but the short steps in the gully are hacked and err, stepped. l13.

Belayed in the shelter of the ice cave I watch Paul set off up the fall which has a few steep sections and some easier bits between in its 10m or so. Lots of scrabbling, and a tad of swearing, and at attempt to kick through to Wasdale later we are both on top in great suinshine and we can see everything for miles.

Down via Custs (the chockstone we went under last time is not visible!) and back via Sty Head Tarn (a less icey descent) as I thought the day wasnt ripe for an epic, back at the car before dark.

Fast forward to the weekend and most stuff is melting , Peri and crew are off to the Peak but Simon, Carmen and I head for Foule Crag on Blencathra for a look. An incident free journey did come to a grinding halt when we seem to be two boots short of a set (we had enough crampons though) Doh! Some interesting negotiations later, ACAS not needed, sees Carmen in Simon's boots and Simon in his best pair of Montrail Highlanders (fell shoes/trainers).

Cinderella's glass slipper?After the walk-in (over taking fell runners despite our winter sacs) we find all the gullies bare. Hmmmmm. There are some ice falls, which can be linked and we head over for a play (Simon's feet being quite cold by now). Carmen and I solo a few little steps, then we talk Carmen (i.e tell her) into leading the longer fall. These are very stepped and not too long but serious enough. All goes to plan and Im at the belay while Carmen replaces her boots with trainers and I down climb and lower them to Simon. It's unusual to get crampons digging into your thighs but I managed it a few times today.

smashing carmen At the belay I solo up the next fall on lovely plastic ice, while S&C mess about with ropes. Simon leads up to the only nut placement on the whole crag (and good turf gear). Unfortunately Carmen still had the nuts and hexes so I go get em and I ferry them up the pitch. l6On the return journey my payload is the boots and I am back at the bottom of the pitch. Carmen followed and I climbed back up for a third time. A snow slope led to the ridge which was soon negotiated and we enjoyed some lunch and drinks relatively sheltered rom the chilly wind.

At the summit we watch the paragliders before choosing and following Halls Fell ridge back to the car.

Watch this space for tales of what can we forget next time….

More Pix: Gt End and Foule Crag

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