Corvus … in the rain

John Armitage

Crag Rats

As we sit basking in the sunshine, during the covid-19 semi lockdown period, we decide it is a grand idea, to start climbing again, with a trip to Italy looming if Boris lets us go!!

Sunshine Hetchel – A Lovely Evening re-introduction.

Sunshine Almscliff – forever to be Known as the crag we cannot talk about (Rob had a shocker). We spot a hawk hovering, I very quick wittily say “look at the drone Lukasz”, to which he replies “OMG that’s so realistic” – myself and Rob were rolling about laughing.

Rob leads VS

Sunshine Lindley Moor Edge – Rob Lead’s VS as a comeback from our previous outing.

Sunshine Baildon Bank – Avoiding Crows, Routes are plenty for all, Lukasz leads “Epitaph” and we all abseil off in glorious sunshine, 9pm finish.

Epitaph Lead

Somewhere during this lot we decided on June 27th as a possible day trip to the lakes, with a view of Gillercomb buttress, as the eventual day drew closer it was so sunny and warm with the UK basking in yet a another summer heatwave. Was decided we will have beers, the night before and Lukasz will stay at john’s House, with a 6am Start.

The weather has changed, to a deluge of rain across the UK the only day we want to go out, we were going anyway, we had been locked up for three months with very little adventure. During the evening we discussed various option’s, even to the point of not going, whilst discussing we decided to check the weather in various place’s lake’s, Peak, Northumberland and East coast.

I requested Lukasz “what about the windspeed” to which he replied “Where is windspeed ?” alcohol was in hand and this point myself and Rob reverted to rolling about laughing. We discussed further,  deciding, we were going for it to the lakes,  worst case we will walk onto great gable, whisky spirits are high, Rob leave’s agreeing we will collect him at 6am.  Lukasz and I continue to discuss, just one more whiskey…

5:30am the Alarm goes off, coffee, shower and pack the car were off, collecting Rob around 6:20am. Myself and Rob chat all the way up, excited about the day’s events, Lukasz looks somewhat pale, has a small nap in the back, stopping for large coffee at penrith, we are all very alert. Driving down the tranquil, yet deserted Borrowdale valley, its not raining however very grey skys.

We drive past shepherds’ crag and the bowderstone, to Stonethwaite village, the heavens open as we park the car at 9:10, parking in front of an old red phone box waiting for a break in the rain we quickly jump out of the car, getting the gear on its still raining, just not heavy. We have decided to go look at raven crag and CORVUS “its only a diff” Rob quotes, walking up we stop under some trees to shelter from the rain, its warm but wet.

Crossing a stream, this is more like gill scrambling, were all soaked and hide under some tree’s until the rain subsides a little, climbing over a fence to the eventual path, I notice an ideal crossing point we maybe could have used, no bother we can cross there on the way back ! As we walk up to the base of the crag were discussing option’s, it is raining again with very wet boots and our feet are soaked now.

Rob and myself laugh “it’s only a diff”

Not much confusion as the route is obvious, we have come all this way we were going for it!

John lead’s the first pitch, this is very interesting, slippy, so need to be precise with moves, all on hands very little for feet as its drenched and raining, to the base of a water fall, stepping right the route clearly goes up there, he sets up the belay and gets the rest of the team up, Lukasz your turn up the waterfall pitch, “oh thanks,  very kind” he comments.

Slippery Lead
Scooby Doo Moments

Lukasz gets straight into the pitch with water covering him everywhere, being careful not to slip down the waterfall, it’s very apparent you need to be in the waterfall to complete the route to a sharp exit left. John goes second, you need to just get in the water, it is raining again as I lift my arm to grab a hold the torrent of water runs straight down my arm inside my jacket, Lukasz was laughing “oh yeah that happened to me too.”

Rob has the same enjoyable experience, however, its now his turn to lead, swapping all the gear he sets off, around a ledge into a vertical section, that proves let us say interesting in the rain and big boots. I followed into the vertical section, which was not so easy, “Great lead Rob”, then Lukasz. Pitch 3, Back to me on a few crazy waterfalls and interesting moves, I arrive at a wall surely thinking that’s not diff, ah the penny drops this is the traverse route on pitch 4.

I later read that Cath S, did this route before and someone took an dump in that section, need less to say was no evidence of foul play.

I scramble up the corner in the wet and yet more waterfalls, to the start of the pitch, Lukasz follows. As he arrives, I point out the traverse to his amazement OMG! Rob quickly follows, with the same reaction. Lukasz is straight on the pitch, placing 6/7 pieces of gear there is water running all down the wall, all hand holds no feet, the concentration on his face is epic as I belay him across, he has a scooby doo moment nothing for feet, at the last section and manages to pull over the last hold.

I lead the same re-clipping the gear, again having a moment on the last section, opting for the crimp holds a little higher, Rob follows and we both belay him across the ledge again the difficult section on the end, with nothing for the feet, but a wet wall in big wet boots.

We quickly gather somewhat elated after completing the pitch, forgetting we still have another two, deciding Lukasz and Rob will lead the last two pitches. John will carry the additional now soaked 70m rope. Lukasz ascends over the steep waterfall section, with some strange sexual move over the top. Did I mention it is still raining ? It has been on and off all day especially when Rob climbs its heavier.

John follows Lukasz making the waterfall section look harder than it was, Rob follows as we decide to spilt the route into two so we could communicate better, Rob takes the last pitch up a steep scramble section, then a wall section, a short nearly off route section and he’s back on his way to the top, I can hardly hear as Lukasz shouts something non-essential below, who knows what ?. 

I shouted back “windspeed?” he laughed and replied “yes windspeed”, I can hear Rob laughing just above.

All safely at the summit, Rob commented “it’s only as diff” as we return down the valley Rob requires an emergency comfort break, myself and Lukasz carried on swiftly ahead, the original crossing point down the valley was now a full torrent of water no way we were crossing there, we followed the path to the valley, on the road where John nearly gets run over by a cyclist.

Rob After Comfort Break

We are all thoroughly soaked to the skin so have to strip off next to the car, rob remembers the phone box so gets changed in there like Clark Kent, the long drive home we drop rob off around 9pm.  He later texts to say “I have got pants and trousers”; I have got his coat and climbing gear. 

We all thoroughly enjoyed the character-building experience, all valuable training for the upcoming Italy trip. If Boris and his team let us go………

…wait update…………we can go……. ITALY 2020 Boom….