Gordale take 2 – Light and Deliverance

After celebrating my last birthday in Eldorado Canyon, https://rockaroundtheworld.co.uk/2019/09/01/outer-space-eldorado-canyon-and-a-memorable-birthday/ the current travel situation was only ever going to make it harder to come up with an appropriate follow-up Anniversary Adventure this year. Jake came to the rescue with the suggestion to have another go climbing at Gordale (after our last attempt foundered with the stream in flood followed by torrential rain! https://rockaroundtheworld.co.uk/2020/07/29/blue-scar-and-kilnsey-two-greats-of-yorkshire-limestone/)

The clincher was the opportunity to get two long-standing ticks done in one day: Light features in “100 Best Limestone routes” and Deliverance is in Extreme Rock. He knows my soft spot!

The weather was far more conducive, but hardly seasonal at 17C max.

Thankfully the water levels were lower and a bit of hopping saw us across to the Deliverance Buttress with no more than damp shoes.

Light is only “Light” in contrast to it’s sister route Darkness – both occupy a dank North-facing wall that also “benefits” from a cooling spray from the waterfall, depending which way the wind is blowing. At least Light avoids the hideous subterranean cleft in the corner, taking a line just left of the arete followed by a “wild” traverse left around half height and a grovel up the final chimney. This photo, taken at the end of the day, shows that at least Deliverance gets some sun from mid afternoon, taking the wall right of the arete and then the steep wall above.

Whilst I’m a fan of Chris Craggs’ “Limestone” coffee table book, and the recommended routes are usually pretty reliable, I’ve got to take issue with the inclusion of Light – the first 20 ft are horrendously steep, on crumbly damp rock and the remainder is just horrendous (still on crumbly damp rock!) No pushover, even at E2 5c, at least in its current state (which I can only guess is pretty typical). Here’s the view down from the top, with Jake masquerading as me in my signature fluorescent green jacket.

Deliverance, on the other hand, is a genuine quality route. At E5 6b (that’s Yorkshire E5 mind) it’s a bit out of my pay grade, so it was good to take advantage of the rope gun Birthday treat. Precarious moves off the deck soon yield good gear, and a stiff pull brings you to a traverse rightwards onto a ledge. It’s a comfortable spot, and you can just about engineer a sit down, which is just as well as the next moves are utterly perplexing. Tiny crimps and very poor footholds enable a poor layaway flake to be reached and a further long throw is needed to hit a decent hold above the steepening. There is then a classic belay ledge from which to admire the surroundings and the droves of tourists making the pilgrimage to the foot of the falls.

The second pitch isn’t much easier (more 6a than 5c in my reckoning) but together they make for a very fine outing. Great effort by Jake to onsight it – according to UKC, not many do. He’s also getting pretty adept at hauling!

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