With the forecast amended to sunshine, but with a cool air temp ruling out the high crags, to escape the crowds in Borrowdale Ben and I chose Gouther Crag in Swindale for a bit of trad mileage.
We’d both got routes in mind to try if things were going well, but a fairly relaxed approach saw us at Truss Buttress for an HVS and VS warm-up while we waited for the sun to come ’round.
After a bit of “should I/shouldn’t I”, Ben then decided to have a go at the E2, Scabby Horse direct. After a difficult unprotected start above a poor landing, it looked like gear might be available behind a good hold in a niche – it wasn’t. 😮 Downclimbing wasn’t an option so Ben carried on to join the VS above and finish the route. 30 feet of 5b,5c climbing with no gear? Easily E3 in my book…
With the precedent for putting some effort in set, I moved ’round the corner to some unfinished business. I’d been on Castration Crack a couple of years ago, failing at the last move due to a combination of dampness and a bit of wobbling. This time the crack was dry, I felt stronger and I knew there was a big jug to go for!
Having got in some decent gear, I got the two finger jams, moved my feet up and slapped for the jug. Some concentration on the bold but easy top slab saw me to the belay and my second E3 of the year – so far so good! 🙂