In the heat of the Friday afternoon sunshine the team rendezvoused at Jordon HQ, aka, his mum and dad's house. Mark Russell kindly relieved me from my house-husbandly duties on route, and there we met Will, Tony, and a rather 'loose-bowelled' and ever so eager Jordon.
The plan was simple. Make our way to Troy and climb until sunset, fill our boots at the local carvery for £3.65, and then make our way to Borrowdale for the night with the prospect of climbing at Shepherds Crag in perfect weather on the Saturday.
At Troy, I and Mark paired up and Will, Tony and Jordon had a three-some... I mean, climbed as a trio! 7 routes later and we were eating what looked to be a pile of roast potatoes and gravy, whilst laughing at the shambles the locals called 'the pub quiz'.
... "Name a female pop singer with a single name?" asked the quiz master. "Madonna, Adele, it could loads of different names!" we exclaimed.
... "Name a common brand of shampoo?" the quiz master followed. We sighed, “These are all open ended questions, there could be loads of options!”.
Then he asked, "Name something associated with India?"…
… Now, it would be unfair for me to reveal, in the text of this blog, the answer that Tony decided to share with the room but let’s just say the answer was an abbreviation, and an abbreviation associated with a completely different country!
After a minor ribbing session at Tony's expense, we made our way to the luxury of Mark's vehicle and coasted our way to Borrowdale.
The campsite was easy pickings (by the darkness of midnight anyway). It went along the lines of... Lay-by; wall; park car; jump wall; hope its flat / dry / cattle free; pitch tent; drink beer; sleep; wake; sleep; wake; sleep; wake, with Jordan sharing my therm-a-rest; sleep; wake; sleep; wake, with Will and Mark having a lovers tiff next-door (something about Mark encroaching onto Will's side of his sleeping bag. Or was it tent? I forget); and finally, sleep.
The next morning began at 6.30. It was a beautiful morning. It was quiet, calm, and peaceful alongside the public footpath encircling Derwent Water.
Before, during and after breakfast, Jordon was itching to get on 'Little Chamonix' (VD***) before any other party, so eager in fact that he started dismantling the tent with mine and Tony's gear still inside. He even kindly carried half of the gear to the car, trying to rush us, and continued rushing until we was at the foot of the crag.
The teams were the same. Me and Mark. Will, Tony and Jordon. I and Mark moved quickly up Little Chamonix, followed team trio. Donkeys Ears (S) was next for us, renamed Donkey Dick for reasons unknown, but aptly so in hindsight following an encounter with a rather d**k of a guide! Team trio went and done 'Brown Slabs Direct (VD) whilst we 'stole' Will's guide book and heckled from below. We were gunning for a nice HS to end the day on.
I've only lead at HS so far and Mark wasn't feeling fit. No HS in sight. We opted for 'Brown Crag Wall' (VS) and i was having first lead!
As i geared up, team trio appeared from their decent and made it quite clear that "they were also going to do that one!” We were ready, so with an audience, up i went.
The climb follows a groove for 5 metres and then traverses out onto and arête and up to a small ledge. 'This is bold' was a phrase that spun around my head after around 5 metres. Gear placements became very sparse or vary marginal at the arête; lacking a rack of appropriately sized cams. I could see a perfect cam placement, but no cam to sit in it! B*****d! I resolved that there was no way i could retreat (not in front of true p**s taking friends) and there was no way i could fall (well not without hurting myself) so i took a deep breath, manned-up and climbed on! And what a brilliant decision!
The fear was a drug. God knows how i managed to set the belay up on that small ledge without falling because i was on a high and shaking in my boots! VS. What a grade. Not technically difficult, but scary enough to make you feel ALIVE! The second pitch was no push over either. 25 metres and one piece of gear! Well done to Mark for a very bold lead and not ripping me, and the belay off the wall! The final pitch however was a welcome walk in the park and a top out to die for followed (not literally); overlooking Derwent Water in the glorious afternoon sunshine. Team trio didn’t disappoint and followed up.
The end of a truly amazing weekend finished with a cup of tea in the cafe at the foot of shepherds crag (now open for the season) and a chippy tea in Keswick.
Young MOB did the seniors proud.
Little Chamonix (VD***) 1st Pitch (Me & Tony) 2nd Pitch (Mark & Jordan) 3rd Pitch (Me & Will)
Donkey Dick (S) 1st Pitch (Mark) 2nd Pitch (Me) 3rd Pitch (Mark)
Brown Slabs Direct (VD) 1st Pitch (Tony) 2nd Pitch (Jordan)
Brown Crag Wall (VS) 1st Pitch (Me & Will) 2nd Pitch (Mark & Jordon) 3rd Pitch (Me & Tony)
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