Then theres the brilliant grading. E4/5 6a/b. Hmmm so what does that mean?? i put a load of effort in for only an E4 tick?? its super sequency? a long reach? a crucial piece of kit? Ahh maybe i'll just climb something else.....
Previously this is what i've done, but yesterday, with very weary arms and thin skin from a hard session at the boulders the night before, Chris and myself thought what the hell, lets get it done. We bumped in to Malcolm and Pete in the car-park then made the short walk and loose scramble up to the base of the cave. There was a lively scene in the cave, Al Wilson and Mark Greenbank were strung on to Relayer, the E4 to the left, and Mr Birkett and wife Mary were doing battle with Blitzkreig to the right. "Its not been like this up here for 20 years!" Al enthused.
The main event "Gates" erupted from the back of the cave, vacant and waiting to be climbed. Excited, and eager to get going i jumped on to the first pitch. E1 climbing led to the "Hole" where i arranged the thread runners, before making the long horizontal traverse left, wild climbing blind and un-chalked had me pumped in no-time, i clipped the peg before realising it was useless, i fumbled in a small cam above my head, then fumbled the rope off the peg. Now really wishing i'd warmed up, i made the last 6a'ish move to bigger holds at the end of the traverse. "Fucking ****" signalled my departure from the rock, as did a jolt and "ping!" from the ripping cam.
|Following the first pitch through the roofs. From "Extreme Rock"|
A sunbstantial but safe winger, and 10 minutes of de-pumping exercises later, i was back making the moves again. This time not wasting energy on gear, but feeling the piercing gaze of Mr Birkett from his perch above and right on Blitzcreig. This time i reached the end of the traverse with ease and that "what the hell was i playing at the first time?!" thought. A smile exchanged with the eagle on Blitzcreig, led to the last balancy moves to my hanging belay. Chris dispatched the super technical Groove of the second pitch in good style, crimping it in to submission with his V10 strength.
|The thin second pitch.|
Feeling tired from the combination of our mere three pitches of climbing and a severe bouldering hangover, we nipped up the classic E3 Empire then called it a day.
What a route, i hope my overly-descriptive account will contribute to the route's stature, and initimidation of any would-be ascencionists. Otherwise, we should bolt the lot....
|Raven Crag, Thirlmere. The only crag in Cumbria to have been base jumped.|