Dry-tooling at The Works

Given the alternative option was a fell run, it was a no brainer to head to The Works to give dry tooling a shot last week. Ian had some time off, a pass out and had been on a recce to check out the premier venue in the North West for this activity, which happens to be very close to our homes. Amazing we’d never thought of going there before!

It was a logical choice for a winter’s day without winter conditions and we were up for a very mellow day out. We took Ian’s van up to Hodge and he busied himself cooking lunch whilst I switched my G14s to monos for the first time (again, why did I never try this before…because I’m a traditionalist I guess), and put an older pair of picks on my Nomics.

Eventually though we just had to leave the comfort of the van and get on with it, and found a gentle but sportingly bolted introduction with a couple of M4s on the People’s Slab. Bitten by the bug we checked out the steeper and popular Industrial Sector and made plans to return in the not too distant future.

Great work and thanks to the guys with the motivation to create this awesome facility.

Here’s the guidebook:

The Works dry tooling venue guide sheet

And the Facebook Group

The Works Drytooling Group

Off to Skye

Over the May Bank Holiday Weekend I was on Dow with Karl on Saturday and in Sandbed Ghyll with Kevin on Sunday. The ghyll was an “interesting” trip that I haven’t done in a long while. Very slippery in places! Tomorrow it’s off to Skye for a week with John and Nick. Let’s hope the weather picks up a bit!

A cold day on Dow Crag

Kevin and I had a rather cold and windy but mainly dry day on C Ordinary Route today. Last time we were on Dow Crag was in March this year when we climbed the scrambling route up B Buttress via Easy Terrace and it’s continuation to the summit. Since then Kevin has really been bitten by the climbing bug, is progressing through the grades and most importantly is enjoying being out on the crags each weekend! Hopefully some alpine summits will follow soon!

Lorton Gully, Grassmoor

Today John, Nick and I found ourselves in Lorton Gully, Grassmoor, which is a superb Grade 3, three star gully scramble with a real mountain ambiance despite only being minutes above the road at Lanthwaite Green. We had really dry conditions but still managed to find a few extremely slippery holds. It would certainly be entertaining in spate! In the amphitheatre directly above the tricky section Nick proudly produced his brand new Jetboil stove and brewed us all a cuppa. Top man! We continued up the regular scramble following the left hand branch, which conveniently ends on the North West Ridge path to Grassmoor. We resisted the temptation to continue to the summit and opted for the direct descent of the NW Ridge (itself a decent scrambly path to round off the day) to the car, and the fastest route to the Royal Oak in Braithwaite. A very wise decision as it turned out because we just beat the rain and enjoyed some much deserved liquid refreshment thanks to Messrs Jennings!

Spring Update

The highlight of my spring was certainly the few weeks I took out from our biomass boiler project to ski and climb in the Alps! Kevin and Billy came to Chamonix for a week in late March to check out the Alps for the first time and did some introductory snowshoeing and mountaineering. The excellent spring conditions suited them well, and with low avalanche risk and fantastic spring snow conditions being the rule (with powder as well at times) we had a great time skiing too. Rebekah and I did a couple of good day tours and also several days around the lift system. Then Louise came out for a weeks intro ski touring and enjoyed fantastic conditions and weather. I was fortunate to team up with Charlie Boscoe, Matt Livingstone, Phil and Nora for a couple of fun days skiing before heading back to the UK.

Kevin and I had a full day out scrambling around Langdale the day after I arrived home, and then we headed up to Scotland for the Easter Weekend.

I’m out again tomorrow in the Lakes with John and Nick. We have a trip to Skye planned for May ahead of the summer alpine season, where my bookings start in early June.

I still have dates available during the spring and summer, but my diary is filling up and the framework is now in place. Please contact me if you are hoping to head for the hills this year!


Peter climbing between Low  Man and High Man, Pillar Rock

The weather has been mixed here in the Lakes, and we’ve had some suitably varied outings to the hills and crags.

Yesterday I had a very full day on Pillar Rock with Chris and Peter, alpine training for a trip to the Stubai together in August. The itinerary was Wasdale – Black Sail Pass – Climber’s Traverse – Green Ledge – Cross the Waterfall – Old West – Low Man – High Man (photo left) – Slab and Notch – Shamrock Descent – Climber’s Traverse – Wasdale Head – Beers! We had quite a wild day with plenty of  hail, bright intervals and thankfully no lightning. Photos here.

A week ago Charley came up for the Bank Holiday weekend and we had 4 days of cragging, website updates and Lakeland  Ale sampling. Photos of the climbing are here.

At the end of this week it’s back to the Alps for me, to start the summer season.

Lakes Winter Climbing

We’ve had some great climbing in the Lakes this winter, and I’ve been out taking advantage of the “alpine conditions” here each week since returning from Scotland in early February. As you can see from the photos it has been truly alpine at times, with bullet hard neve in the gullies and shady coves and clear blue skies above. Approaches were easy in the spring like conditions, but there’s been some good ice and well frozen turf on the crags. As well as all the climbing I had a day skiing in Ruthwaite Cove recently too, and if you take a look at you’ll see the winter’s not quite over yet!

I’m heading out to the Alps for some ski touring at the weekend,  I hope to see you in the fells late April when I’m back!