Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Coming up: 50 years of Lakeland Climbing

Photo: The barn door traverse;Abraham Brothers:Fell and Rock Club collection

" On our way up Woodhouse's George was hailed from the screes by A. T. Har­greaves and Billy Clegg and we descended Great Gully with them —they had been "looking at" Eliminate A. Clegg was to be the author of the 1938 Langdale guide — Basterfield had writ­ten the earlier edition — and Hargreaves was later to be involved in both the Scafell and Dow Crag guides. Har­greaves, one of the leading climbers of the day, sadly met his death on a skiing holiday at Obergurgl in 1952.
Since that first climbing day in 1928 — I don't remember seeing any other peo­ple on the crag — I must have repeated Woodhouse's more often than any other climb—dozens of times, in all weathers, including snow and a descent in dark­ness. Dear, old familiar Woodhouse's B, with its often tantalising third pitch. I have known far better climbers than myself fail at this in bad weather and be forced to continue, instead, up the much harder final pitch of Abraham's Route. It is a source of some satisfaction to we old-timers that Woodhouse's has been upgraded since we first knew it — hard V. Diff. now compared with merely Dif­ficult in the clinkers and hemp rope days. Other routes now graded as harder than when we did them in the late 1920s and early 1930s include Eagle's Nest Direct, Kern Knotts Crack and Smuggler's Chimney — all translated from severe to very severe. Napes Needle, too, has gone from difficult to hard very difficult'.

This Friday: An article first published 35 years ago by legendary Cumbrian writer and mountain activist, the late Harry Griffin who recalls half a century of Lakeland climbing.