Team: K Brook, and K Brook
It was leg day. It’s always leg day.
Weather was shite but I’d set my objective. I will touch Gimmer.
The original idea was to climb Gimmer Chimney if weather was permitting, but weather was not permitting, and I could not find a partner, so a run was in order instead.
Drive up was wet and miserable and as I pulled up into the lakes the rain stopped, and the clouds had parted just in time for me to get a nice view of the Langdale Pikes. That would be the only time that day you could see them it turns out.
Got the free parking space by Rosset Bridge so I felt winning on that point but as I pulled up the cloud came down and the rain restarted, and it was to be an on and off affair all day. Undeterred I set off with my minimum objective was to touch Gimmer and to do as many peaks as I can in Langdale afterward before the sun sets. So, with hopes high I changed into my reliable 3 inch running shorts and set off.
Gimmers fecking high up. I went up and up and up and the up did not stop. There’ll be Alpinist telling me to grow a pair at this point but I have chicken legs and have eaten too many pies, so it was high for me, and my heart was beating too hard for my liking. Not far above the valley I entered the cloud and vis went down to 10 meters. I would not leave it for the next 5 hours.
Conditions were slick. It had been raining for the past week and I’ve only climbed in the lakes while it has been dry, so I only know Lakeland rock as some of the grippiest stuff I’ve even put rubber on. Not the case this day. Everything rock was slick and only the widest flattest surfaces would do. Combined with the incline this meant my run was mostly a walk with vigour in order to avoid slipping and doing myself a nasty. Whilst running up I saw some people actually racked up and climbing the classic V Diffs on raven crag, so I turns out I’m not the only legendary fool out there with great ideas.
Gimmer appeared as an apparition in the mist. First of all, appearing as a black mass in the mist that gained feature with each step. Slowly the route formed as I approached, and I saw the glory that is Gimmer Chimney. But it was not the day for that glory, as the rock would not allow it, it was a slick load of wank. Chimney abandoned I attempted the gully route which is a grade 2 scramble. I had done this route before but under much dryer conditions. The route did go for the most part following the right-hand grove where a small waterfall had formed then crossing the central rib using whatever jugs were available to get myself up each shelf. With most of the route done I reached the crux which involved the left-hand gully. I remember this being a bold step but this day there was not enough friction to do it safely I decided to try the right-hand side again up another overgrown groove to a dodgy ledge which from the bottom looked as if it would give an easy exit. This exit did not materialise, and I was 10 meters above the deck bricking myself thinking that I had to retreat before blind panic took a hold of me. One very nervous retreat later I’m back at the base of Gimmer sodden but still intact my first retreat from a route and for sure not the last.
I’ve touched Gimmer. I’ve done what I’ve come to do, but there’s still more. I’ve got hours still and there are pikes to bag. I set off to run as far round Langdale as I can be arsked. Loft crag and Pike of Stickle fall in quick succession but the ground is hard and rocky terrain uneven and very slippy. One wrong move could mean a serious injury and a bad time for me. So I run where I can, but I’m forced to a walk most of the time. I’m encountering a lot of orienteers heading in the opposite direction and later I find there is an OMM race occurring that day I only saw a few of them running so the conditions were not ideal for a fast pace, but still, I forge on.
Got a bit of a jog on over the moors before Esk Pike and managed to take the wrong turn before Esk Pike and end up halfway to Gable End before I realise. With a quick correction I head up to Esk and tick off another summit whilst assisting some orienteers identify the correct summit (without my phone GPS). Continuing on I bag Bow fell as well. Heading down from the summit of Bow I just take a straight line down the hillside to make my way to Crinkle Crags. The orienteers shout me warning I’ve taken the wrong direction, but I ignore them as the path is not the objective, just the gradient.
Got to the dip between Crinkle and Bow but here I make a grave error and don’t check my map. I get disoriented at last and end up taking the path back into Langdale. I exit the cloud and get excited as I can finally see a view. I take some time to appreciate it but the realize where I am, which is not where I should be to get up Crinkle. I check the time and the amount of elevation I’ll have to regain and decide it’s not worth bagging to Pike of Blisco today as it would risk getting caught in the dark and returning to the cloud. Staying in the cloud is one thing but retuning to it is another. I’ve done more than I’ve ever done before and it time to smell the air and appreciate some views.
I take out the pack of root vegetable crisp I have and stroll downhill. Taking in the moment and feeling all my senses fill me up. Its a nice feeling. Uneventful jog back to the car and I stop by Windermere on the way back for a quick cold swim and a stretch followed by a pizza and a pint with some old pals in Kendal. Good day out.