This spot had been on my to do list for decades, so I was fully on board when Paul announced it as our objective for the day when I picked him up in Kendal – especially when I found he’d lined up Jim as a rope gun 😉 You see, the thing that had held back a previous visit is that Raven Crag, Threshthwaite Cove is a properly hard crag with quite a fearsome reputation. The easiest route is E2 (and not low in that grade) and you’re soon into E3/4s. There might be fewer than 20 routes, but they share more stars between them than a crag five times the size – quality outranks quantity any day. It’s a very pleasant wander up from near Brotherswater
All be it the last stretch up to the crag is a bit of a lung-buster.
But what a crag: steep, clean (at least by Lakes standards) and highly featured – it might only be 30 or 40m high but you can tell it packs a punch.
This is ably demonstrated by Redex, the crag “warm up” at E2 5c – one thing’s for sure: you’ll definitely be warm by the time you’ve finished it. E2 is fair, as there’s too much gear to warrant another E-point, but it’s brutally steep from the outset and packs in plenty of climbing, especially if you do it in one pitch. Here’s me on the initial steep crack
… and Paul at a similar spot from a different angle
The top corner / groove is less butch but more technical, making for a nice contrast. There’s even a rap point for perfect convenience climbing! Abbing down, you can’t help but be impressed with the line of chalk marks, finishing up an immaculate corner having sketched through a steep, smooth wall slashed by a couple of quartzy diagonal cracks (it could have been “The Mark of Zoro” but all the names are car-related so it’s actually Boy Racer, E4.) Jim was suitably inspired so off he went… Steep moves through the initial arching overhangs
… are followed by easy but run-out climbing to the aforementioned Zorro wall. This yields to tricky crimpy moves on really positive, but spaced, holds – thankfully the cracks take bomber gear. The finishing groove and glory are in sight, but there’s a stopper move guarding entry, which Jim puzzled out (now minus shirt!) to power to glory. Quite a pitch!
We finished off with GTX E3 6a, and another two-pitcher that’s best savoured in a oner. Off balance moves out of the obvious groove are made less committing by a high runner, which you are especially grateful for as the next protection is quite some distance above. Here’s Paul having committed.
Steady climbing crosses Redex to tackle the obvious overhangs barring access to the top corner, before a wild step rightwards above the abyss gets you to the top of the crag. Well worth its Top 50 status.
Plenty more to come back for!