Not the November we’d planned (which would have involved chasing the sun around Europe’s finest climbing spots!) but you’ve got to make the most of what you’ve got… Having The Peak District on the doorstep, flexibility to grab any promising weather windows and the occasional keen “single individual from another household”, I’ve been lucky enough to have had a fairly productive lockdown 2.0.
Jake’s move to Leeds has added another potential partner into the mix, and one schooled in the family YECTOYD tradition – You Either Climbed Today Or You Didn’t. Super-keen but constrained by a gruelling rota as a Foundation Doctor, we’ve clutched a couple of trips from the teeth of unpromising weather.
Buckstones Edge seemed like the perfect meeting spot for a bit of chilly bouldering – something like halfway between us, with a southerly aspect and more or less roadside. Leaving home with sunshine and optimism, all boded well to within a couple of miles of the crag, which happened to coincide with the edge of the weather front.
The visibility at the parking was down to 10m but we set out for a shufty. The rock was mostly dripping wet, but the east side of this impressive Canon-shaped feature at least had a few dry holds. The sopping conditions couldn’t dampen Jake’s enthusiasm, and made his subsequent flash of Pig in a Pokey, 7A+, even more impressive
There’s a topo covering this and more Royston Vasey-inspired route names at http://www.kirkleesclimbing.co.uk/pdf_downloads which also features numerous other local venues (for “Local Climbers” no doubt…) Not sure about “you’ll never leave” but we’ll certainly be back!
Almscliffe, affectionately known as “God’s Own Crag” in the White Rose County, provided another meeting point, though I felt a bit sandbagged by Jake’s reading of the forecast when we arrived to this:However, the fact that some hardy locals were braving the conditions spurred us into action and Jake romped up Z Climb Eliminate, worth every bit of E1 5b with numb hands.Buoyed by his success, we surveyed “The Big 3” classic Almscliffe E3s to see which was in the least grim condition. Surprisingly, Big Greeny got the nod as least-worst, and Jake headed up as the clouds rolled in. Fortunate timing meant the torrential downpour arrived just before he committed to the runout crux, and we bailed to dry out in the cave. Our reward for sticking it out was a damp ascent of The Traditional Climb, VS, but a bit spicier in the conditions, by which time a gap in the clouds afforded a spectacular late burst of sunshine. … illuminating and even drying Black Wall and its excellent Eliminate, E2 5c “Slightly butch and totally brilliant”.
No sun on Big Greeny (not in November anyway!) but the sight of drying rock had Jake roping up again. Even confident enough for a cheeky hands-off knee bar before cruising the big moves through the crux. One down, two to go, but they’ll have to wait for next time!
Froggatt: Closer to home, another weather window blessed us with an appearance and enabled Stan and me to tick a few favourites including Brown’s Eliminate, Big Crack, and Chequers Buttress – bumping into Martin and Jon (completely by coincidence and at an appropriate distance of course). In between doses of Grit there have been the inevitable visits to the usual post-Industrial holes in the ground, including a few to the much-maligned Horseshoe Quarry. Leonidio it ain’t, but when it comes to bagging a few routes in unpromising conditions it’s an absolute godsend for Peak-based climbers. Other similar south-facing, quick-drying options include Colehill and Stoney West … and of course, if there’s no sunshine and it’s mizzling with rain, there’s always the perma-dry paradise of New Mills Torrs Lockdown 2.0 has also provided an excuse to dust off the MTB for a few local rides … and test my dodgy knee with some gentle jogsNot bad for a month of “isolation” and all achieved without straying too far into the grey areas of the interpretation of the guidance (certainly no trips to Barnards Castle).
The end of lockdown 2.0 heralded the arrival of the first snows of winter… Hrmm… I wonder if The Downfall is in yet… 😉