Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Pinnacle Ridge, Ropes and Meeting new people: A winning combination!

With the autumnal weather moving in, Adam and I headed over to the Lakes on an optimistic forecast, hoping for an overcast day free of rain. Having completed my MIA training a few weeks back, I am more focused than ever to introduce people into climbing and the mountains. We picked Sam, Josh and Rebecca in Ambleside then onwards to Patterdale. Pinnacle Ridge on St. Sunday Crag was our objective. I was the only member of the group to have climbed the ridge before, one of the best scrambles in the Lakes provides great positions on climbing as the ridge narrows and a traverse of the pinnacles leads to the summit slopes. Leading the way on the steep approach, gave enough time to great to know a bit about our new companions before we contoured the hill to the base of the ridge. 
Josh and Rebecca: just chilling!

As we harnessed up Sam jinxed us by putting his waterproof and subsequently the rain came as we geared up. I led up with Rebecca and Josh following on to the base of the ridge, leaving Sam in Adam’s capably hands. After explaining the use of spikes, belays and the ropework, I headed off up the first sections of the ridge. Keeping our ascent fluid we weaved our way up through the blocky ridge, making the climb as direct as possible. Rebecca and Josh climbed really well, following my directions, as we spotted Adam and Sam on the lower sections. The selected belays were really important to keep the scramble flowing, using the appropriate belay for the ground covered as I showed why I had chosen them. 
Adam and Sam on the lower sections
The upper sections of the ridge are guarded by steeper walls and a corner in a bay. We climbed cracks and the corner as a short pitch of roughly 10m to access the pinnacles above. Josh and Rebecca followed with ease, and their previous climbing experience was now transferring into boots and a mountain environment. We traversed across the pinnacles and climbed down the slab leading to the final buttress. The rain had ceased on the lower sections and the lack of breeze meant we were all glad to strip the waterproofs at the top.
Sam descending the slab after the pinnacles
Students: always got their hands in their pockets!
We headed to the summit of St. Sunday Crag and descended down to a breezy Grisedale Tarn. It had been a while since any of us had been on a full mountain day in the Lakes so we climbed the zig zags up the Southern slopes of Dollywagon Pike. We passed a group of mountain bikers and were keen to escape the Helvellyn highway and began our descent of the East Ridge of Nethermost Pike. The initial steep section of the ridge soon eased as we dropped into Nethermost Cove looking up steep slopes towards Striding Edge. A pleasant walk along Grisedale followed, after a quick scout of Eagle Crag, one to head back to in the future. New partnerships formed, the team are really eager to learn and progress their mountain and climbing knowledge, which is perfect for my and their development.
The team heading down into Grisedale; St. Sunday Crag in the background.