For our first trip climbing outdoors on our own we decided to go back to Brown Slabs at Shepherds Crag in the Lake District. We also decided to go back on August bank holiday weekend! Would this turn out to be a huge mistake, or would we survive!
We got to the Lakes by about 7.30pm, thinking we had made good time. First we tried the two Castlerigg campsites but they both reported full (although last time we were there one was saying it was full but wasn’t really – just not taking any more people because the ground was getting too chewed up). Then we headed a bit further down Derwentwater and tried to find the Ashness farm campsite – and then we found it – closed for the 2004 season! Onwards and upwards we went…
So finally, our fourth campsite of the evening was Rosthwaite campsite. We fully expected this to be packed as well but it turned out to be virtually empty. Strange! (but it didn’t last, by Saturday night it was packed). So we settled down for the night, hoping for nice weather for the saturday.
Saturday came and the weather looked ok so off we set bright and early. And yet again we managed to beat the rush. First to the car park and first to the crag by 9.30am.
9.31am and it started to rain…
Typical. Luckily we stuck it out, sat around under the trees and discussed belay stances and anchor technics for nearly an hour as the rain came and went. Then finally about 10:30 it finally cleared up and we decided to just go for it! And glad we did, because aside from a bit of wind and a few more spots of rain in the afternoon we had a lovely day. As for what routes we did I have no idea. We started in the middle and tried to do Brown Slabs Arete but chickened out and went right instead of left, ending up doing something more like Brown Slabs Face. Then we tried to do the normal Brown Slabs route as a single pitch, but ended up under the fissure, rather than on it (or the alternative out to the left) which made it a lot harder. Then finally we tried something up the left (Brown Slabs Direct I believe) which was brilliant although my stance was a little high and didn’t leave Caroline far to lead on the second pitch.
So our first day out on our own and we remembered everything – this climbing outdoors stuff really is fun!
The following day it rained – lots – so we came home.