Wednesday, 31 December 2008

New Year's Eve in Lancashire

Mark has been putting on weight over Christmas, so with his usual keenness he dragged an injured AndyG(before you ask, I fell off my longboard) out in the freezing fog in search of some end of year climbing. As soon as we left Warrington along the M62 the fog thickened and the frost got heavier. After leaving the M61 at Horwich things started to look brighter but it didn't last. Heading out of Rivington towards Anglezarke the fog came down again and the recently gritted roads still held a lot of ice.

Turning back towards Horwich, we decided to try Brownstones Quarry in the hope that it's position higher up Winter Hill might keep it clear of the fog. This proved to be the case and we were soon driving past Bob's Smithy in bright sunshine.

We headed off to the Ash Pit Slab which caught the winter sunshine very nicely and was mostly dry except for some minor seepage out of a few of the cracks. After warming up on the slab, Mark spent a little while trying to remember how he made the Ash Pit Traverse go so easily last time. He followed up with an ascent of Digitation after some hard work with his towel.

Mark finished by climbing Parr's Crack before we went for a stroll around the rest of the quarry to see what we should be aspiring to climb next time. The pool was full and had come much closer up to the rock than is illustrated in the current Rockfax guide. It was also frozen solid and had encroached on the usual approach path rendering it impassable without winter gear.

The day summed up how our climbing has been for much of the year, a good day's climbing snatched in improbable conditions by an appropriate choice of venue.

Happy New Year to everyone, and let's see what 2009 brings.