Thu 13th Sep - Sun 16th Sep, 2012

Wasdale Weekend - Brackenclose

Andy Stratford

Lakes Long weekend - Wasdale - Brackenclose 13th - 16th Sept 2012

Excellent turnout with 17 members and guests in total.

Members: Gareth Williams, Lucie Crouch, Dave Wylie, Roger Dyke, Dave Dillon, Andy Stratford, Steve Graham, Lorna Marsland, Christine Beeston, Colin Maddison, Phil Jarvis

Dual Nationality: Bob Anderson, Chris Thickett

Guests: Sam Howell, Sarah Stanbridge, Zoe Spriggins, Paul


The forecast for the weekend was about as bad as it could be but not a single one of the hardy 15 who had booked with Andy were deterred.



After driving through as shockingly bad (even for the lakes) rainstorm we arrived at Brackenclose which was welcoming with lights on and smoke rising from the chimney. Inside we found two members of the KMC - Bob & Chris - who hadn't booked with the ML - claiming Dual Nationality!


Friday - Andy, Colin, Gareth, Lucie, Dave & Phil

A very optimistic bunch of six set off for Pillar in heavy rain. With Colin in the lead we crossed the old packhorse bridge beyond Wasdale Head Inn as we headed up to Blacksail pass….15 minutes later there was some finger pointing as it emerged that despite having 3 maps and six compasses between us we were on the wrong side of a swollen river. Various methods of crossing were deployed including a knee deep wade by Andy whose trainer shod feet were already soaked. Once we gained Black Sail the wind strength became more apparent - and it worsened as we approached Robinsons Cairn with various members of the party almost blown over. At Pillar it was a little sheltered. Colin signed wearily and put on his harness followed by Gareth. The rest of us turned tail. Safely back at the hut that evening we enquired as to how the route had gone. ''3 pitches and like climbing a bar of soap - we abbed off before we came round the arete and got blown all the way up Ennerdale''.

Bob & Chris completed a round of Kirk Fell, sensibly staying off the tops.

The rest of the team arrived that evening and we hoped for better weather Saturday - well it couldn't have been any worse!



Very little wind and cloud to 650m or so but no rain.

The party split into climbing teams and a walking party.

The walkers comprised Lorna, Christine, Roger, Dave Wylie, Lucie, Bob & Chris. The party ascended Scafell via Hollow Stones & Lords Rake followed by a descent to Foxes tarn and an ascent of Scafell pike, descending via the Lingmell Coll Motorway.

Zoe and Paul headed off bouldering first to Wasdale, where the boulders were green, then off to the Diamond area of Eskdale green having success on a number of V1 &2's and a V4.

The climbing teams split at Hollowstones with Gareth, Wavey, Phil & Steve heading for Scafell Crag & the delights of Moss Ghyll. For those who havn't yet seen it, Dave Dillon's excellent video on the website gives a pretty accurate reflection of the route - this was also well summed up by Gareth on the teams return to the hut that evening: ''It wasn't so much a climb - more like a botanical expedition to a site of special scientific interest''. For the record Steve led up pitches 1 & 3 (batmans cave pitch) while Gareth led up pitch 2 (rainforest) and pitch 4.

Colin & Andy and Sam & Sarah took on the 7 pitch Wall & Crack (HVD 3c) on Pikes Crag (reduced to 5 pitches by running a couple together) with Andy leading 1&2, 4 and 6&7 and Colin 3 & 5. Sam & Sarah followed with Sam leading all the pitches split the same. This was an excellent route - very highly recommended with interesting climbing on every pitch and no pushover in the damp and greasy conditions.

Saturday evening the entire team shared dinner - a bean & chorizo stew cooked by Andy followed by no less than three homemade offerings by 'Queen of Deserts' Lucie.



The weather was possible even worse than forecast - very heavy rain, very strong winds and cloud down to 300m.

Everyone decided to head off in search of better weather - but the entire North of England was suffering the same so everyone headed home.

Thanks to everyone for coming - look out for the equivalent meet in September on the 2013 list - this time based out of the Yorkshire Mountaineering club Hut in Irish Row. Early interest for the limited places recommended.

Andy Stratford

Meet Promo:

Climbing, Scrambling, Walking meet based out of the superb FRCC hut at Brackenclose, Wasdale Head, Cumbria, CA20 1EX

Grid Ref NY 185073

STOP PRESS: As of 10th September, 13 places out of the 15 are booked and paid for. Two places left on lastminutedotcom basis book with Andy asap.

Some us are taking the day off work friday and travelling thursday after work. Please let me know your travel plans so we can try and car share a bit.

The three crags on the short list are Pillar Rock, the Napes, Scafell Crag.

Pillar: On Low Man - North Climb S, New West Climb VD, on the West Face The Appian Way (HS) and on High Man Gommorrah (VS) or Vandal (HVS)

At the Napes area on Gable there is the mega classic (and polished) Napes Needle and Needle arrete. Tophet Wall at HS looks good and according to the guidebook Tophet Bastion at V Diff is a reliable 'all weather route'.

Scafell Crag has an amazing selection of classics: Moss Ledge direct & Jones Arrete (MVS), Botterills slab (VS 4c)and Saxon E2 are just three of the delights on offer. Slingsbys Chimney route at VD is a slightly milder proposition whilst Moss Ghyll (S) is described as 'a route for all seasons which can be ascended in any conditions in many variations. The interest is most sustained in wet conditions'.

I'm planning Scafell Crag as the Sunday whatever the weather as it's closest to get back to Brackenclose for travelling home.

We'll decide when we get there on thursday evening as to what to do friday.

Saturday evening is a shared meal for those who are interested.

Andy Stratford

Playing 'Where's Wavey' at Hollow Stones (Colin Maddison)
Andy 'Man in Black' Stratford, Wall and Crack Climb, Pike's Crag (Colin Maddison)
Andy - Wall and Crack Climb, Pike's Crag, Scafell Pike (Colin Maddison)
Sarah - Wall and Crack Climb (Colin Maddison)
So what do you do with these again ... (Colin Maddison)
Into the mist - next time wear red! (Colin Maddison)
Sam and Sarah - Wall and Crack Climb (Colin Maddison)
No photographs please (Colin Maddison)
Sarah - descent from Pulpit Rock, Pikes Crag (Colin Maddison)
So if we're here, Brussels must be ... (Colin Maddison)
Dave W in the mist (Lucie Crouch)
Taking the ropes for a walk (Lucie Crouch)
Lord Roger on Lords Rake (Lucie Crouch)
Listening to Uncle Roger (Lucie Crouch)
The Stick Ceremony (Roger Dyke)
Crossing the Styx (Roger Dyke)
The Scafell Pixie (Roger Dyke)
Seeking inspiration from the Lord (Roger Dyke)
The Lords Rake (Roger Dyke)
Down from Scafell (Roger Dyke)
Further down from Scafell (Roger Dyke)
Scafell Pike Summit Team and the Scafell Pixie (Roger Dyke)
After the Stratford Supper (Roger Dyke)

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Karabiner Mountaineering Club