Dow Crag is one of the great mountain crags of The Lakes, and benefits from fairly easy access from Langdale (20mins drive) so is a great spot to avoid the worst of the August Bank Holiday crowds. Andy was persuaded to make a day-trip from the Peak to supplement the weekend crew (Jim, Tony, Zoe and Tom) so we probably represented around half the climbers at the crag.
Nimrod was our first objective – an entry in the Hard Rock 2.0 update, to replace Deer Bield Buttress which has fallen down. It certainly lives up to the promotion – three fabulous, contrasting pitches on clean rock, with nicely escalating difficulty.
I had a major faff leading the crux 5c pitch, confused by the line of chalk heading ever upwards (beta spoiler alert – you follow the obvious line of footholds traversing at a lower level) I managed to fill every handhold with gear, and then enhanced the clusterf@c# by stripping off my thermal and helmet mid-crux. It went fine when I finally resorted to climbing the obvious line! and was rewarded by an airy perch on the exposed arete.
Here’s Jim just completing the same move, with less faff!
Meanwhile, Zoe and Tom were sampling the uber classic Eliminate A which finds a fairly amenable way up unlikely-looking territory!
Andy turned his attention to Tumble, E4 6a, which makes the Top 50 list. Very thin, technical climbing up a slender groove – great lead!
With the afternoon still young, I was talked into Catacomb, a VERY TRADITIONAL E1. To make it a full journey up the crag we started up Pink Panther, E2 5c, which runs parallel to Zoe and Tom climbing Leopard’s Crawl.
P1 of Catacomb is a hideous offwidth, followed by a stiff pull into an overhanging diagonal break – character forming but great fun! Here’s Andy following the traverse once the angle has eased…
P2 seems to be rarely climbed and is very good value for E1!
Not a bad day!