A Close Call on Gillercombe Buttress

At this time of year, Terry likes to climb Gillercombe Buttress as a warm up from the winter season.

So Terry and John Hollands set off from the Grange Hut for the easy approach from Honister slate quarry. The promised glorious day did not happen, however, and John set off with threatening rain.

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Others clearly had similar ideas and we were told by the threesome in front that there were two in front of them and six more higher still.

However, it was all very jolly and we passed without hindrance and soon reached the little crux bit.

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I belayed, with five more besides me on the ledge, as John led the little crux…. then carried on up the run-out scrambley slabs following.

There was a distant shout… I looked up and saw something big and white falling… straight towards John (like that sack on Zero, Pete). It missed him but was heading straight to we six on the ledge. It was a massive rock, the size of a TV set. Well, it missed us but not by far, and smashed into pieces below us. You could smell the ozone.

We never found the cause or culprit(s) – just as well!!!

Easter in Langdale

I wouldn’t normally have considered rock climbing if it hadn’t been for the experiences of a week or so before in Canada (see blog to follow). As it was, the rock on Raven Crag Walthwaite was bone dry, though numbingly cold. So we spent a pleasant afternoon here, well wrapped up and gloved between pitches.

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Traverse pitch on Route 2 Raven Crag Walthwaite

Sunday morning and we woke up to three inches (or was it six?)of fresh snow!

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The fells looked picturesque…

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View from Chapel Stile

My intuition was that Shepherd’s would be ok (the judgement influenced by knowledge that the caf opens at Easter). Even colder today than Saturday and touch of cold breeze too. Definitely needed something with large hand holds. Well, if Ray could do it in boxing gloves, we could do it in normal gloves – you’ve guesed, Little Chamonix.

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By the way, top of Derision Groove seems to have been further cleaned since the rockfall of last year.

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Even so, I feel there is potential for further fall, so maybe I’ll leave it a couple of years before I go back there?

WARNING!!! Big Stone Fall Shepherd’s Crag

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A massive rock fall has occurred on shepherd’s crag in the vicinity of ‘Shepherd’s Gully’ and ‘Derision Groove’. My guess is that it has occurred in the last week. It certainly hadn’t occurred 2 weeks ago.

The fall is from the previously overhanging, loose section immediately above the top little traverse on ‘Derision Grove’. This is just left of ‘Thin Air’. See photos.

The fall was big enough to ‘take out’ the massive tree half way up ‘Shepherd’s Gully’ and the whole area is littered with rock and tree debris. Both ‘Derision Groove’ and ‘Shepherd’s Chimney’ remain unsafe, since loose rocks remain above, entangled in tree roots.

From what I could make out, ‘Derision Groove’ itself remains intact. In particular, the loose flakes half way up appear in situ still. Likewise, ‘Shepherd’s Gully’ is intact.

But someone really needs to clear the hanging debris above!!!!