As those who follow me on Instagram (or have seen me at the crags) will know, I spent this summer sport climbing on the love-it-or-hate-it limestone we have here in the English Pennines.
It’s not the best rock in the world but it certainly has some great routes and the locations of many of the crags are beautiful- it inspires a certain devotion from many of us, particularly those lucky enough to live or work close enough to the crags to get a weekday evening fix. With the long days in the summer these can be quite lengthy sessions!
The fingery, technical climbing is much more conducive to redpointing than onsighting: first time up many of the routes they feel desperate and you can be hanging from the rope a lot sooner than you expected, but a few goes later that “I can do this” feeling takes over and you’re lured into a project. Some of use find success on these projects sooner than others…
Although battling with the difficulties of the routes and the headgame of redpointing takes most of my attention I try to remember my camera so I can capture the atmosphere at these crags- it’s hard not to be inspired by the grandeur and beauty of places like Malham Cove and Cheedale Cornice or to be encouraged to try hard by the friendly atmosphere and the displays of skill, strength and determination by some of the country’s best climbers.
It’s been a kind autumn and most of the crags are still dry but as I type the rain is falling and with the days quickly shortening the time when only the hardcore are climbing on this fickle rock is upon us. I’m too in love with the variety of British climbing (and too weak!) to be part of that group, but I’ll be back next summer for sure.