Pike o’ Blisco – Three Crag Day

After a bit of a Covid-enforced lull in RockAroundTheWorld activity, Sunday was an opportunity for some gentle trad in the company of Stan (also recovering, though a bit further down the line). Coolish, and with hazy sunshine, the strong breeze was the deciding factor in staying off the big mountain routes, but Pike o’ Blisco offered the prospect of Lakeland rock and scenery without the long walk-in (and a decent chance of finding a parking spot on Easter Bank Holiday weekend!). I’d been enchanted on a first visit to Black Crag last year, but that left Lightning Crag and Long Scar as new territory to explore.

Long Scar is the first crag you spot from the main path…

…but we pressed on a little further until Lightning Crag came into view. As an added bonus, we had the place to ourselves.

Fab outlook over Red Tarn and on to Cold Pike

The main concentration of routes are on the taller, righthand buttress, and the south face was already warming in the sunshine. The Prophet, E1 5b, was a good warm-up and intro to the rock. Great friction and a tricky, crimpy move to top out. Stan followed up with The Fat Spotter, E2 5c, a tough if slightly eliminate ‘one move wonder’ to gain a scoop before a bold finishing arete:

The arete where the south and west walls come together provides the longest and perhaps best route here in Amnia. The boulder problem direct start bumps up the grade to E2, but the continuation wide crack didn’t feel a lot easier and the wild swing leftwards over the void at the top makes for a memorable route on which the amount of climbing belies the stumpy nature of the crag. Excusing ourselves from West Wall (E5), Stan’s lead of Fat Boys Crack, E2 5c (short but ST-EEEE-P!!!) made it a clean sweep of the extremes on the crag, and seven E-points before butties!

It is only a couple of hundred yards over the hillside to Long Scar, which seemed to be the more popular venue, offering about 50 routes mostly in the VDiff to HVS range, and just the solitary extreme. All The Sixes, E3 5c, takes the steep wall right of the obvious corner in the shot below. A tough pull (actually pop) onto the lip and a thankfully good hold leaves some thin, steep moves on poor slopers to gain a slanting crack. Protection is strenuous and fiddly to place before another couple of stiff pulls yields the top. Definitely not my style, being short and powerfully bouldery, so I was very chuffed to hang in there.

With the day still relatively young, we decided to add the third venue with a revisit of Black Crag, easily accessed over the back of Long Scar.

This ended up with a repeat of the outstanding Yellow Fever, E2 5b, which finally exhausted all energies in both sets of arms. A dozen E-points, three crags, and a great start to the Lakes climbing season!

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