Trad Climbing: Eskdale

Finally, a break in the cloud and drizzle, and it was back to Hare Crag for some more leads to put towards my SPA logbook.

I cannot convey how glorious the weather and situation were, and the contrast of how depressing West Cumbria can be in the clag. In any case, I got down to business on The Upper wall with Labyrinth Route, MS to warm up (but again rather disconcerting because of the lack of gear). Then, to cut to the chase, I decided that VS and above is the standard I should be climbing at, so ticked Right-Hand Route, VS 4c and Upper Slab Route 1, VS 4b. Right-Hand Route was particularly good with a thoughtful crux move and then beautiful steep upper wall with excellent cracks and crimps – lots to keep the climber thinking and moving.

Crux moves on Right-Hand Route, VS 4c

To finish on a high, we headed down to The Lower Buttress and I lead Fireball XL5, MVS 4b. The name of the route had intrigued me ever since I came across it, and apparently had some significance. However, it was only till I spoke to John and Bridget that it became clear – the rocket from a ’60s television programme!

More crux moves on Fireball XL5, VS 4b

As for the route, the ‘gasp!’ comment in the guidebook route description made me a little apprehensive, but once I had stepped off the flake and onto the crux moves, it was great fun. The warm granite was simply superb, and I felt confident with the moves, so it was indeed a good way to end the day.

Slightly odd comment to finish the description…

Let’s hope there will be at least one more break in the weather this week…

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