the journal

LITTLE CHAMONIX (words, video + pics)

Jorg Verhoeven & Katha Saurwein visited Kendal last weekend for Kendal Mountain Festival. After the festival was over they stayed with us for a couple of days with the intention of climbing some Lakeland Classics.

As it happened, anything over 200m a.s.l. was completely covered in slushy snow and conditions at altitudes below that were less predicted to be less than ideal too ... [think blustery autumnal winds and sleet]. Lovely. That said, this is Jorg & Katha we are talking about. Two absolute bad-ass climbers, just back from crushing hard big walls in Yosemite. 

We packed up the car for a "just in case" type mission and drove to Borrowdale. As we approached the valley the clouds thickened and the windscreen wipers were switched on. It was definitely raining. 

We arrived at the crag ... Katha actually burst out laughing, "this is the shittiest crag I have ever seen". Oh man, I was actually a tad gutted. That's not what I wanted to hear. Especially when you consider that Shepherds Crag is regarded as the quintessential Lakeland single-pitch venue.

The crag was wet but the guys were still keen to do something. I was hoping that standing under a route like Little Chamonix might provide a little but more inspiration ... sadly, the first pitch resembled a small waterfall. 

I'll let the video tell the rest of the story ...

Honestly, it was a little bit sketchy in parts. If you're familiar with the rock at Shepherds Crag and familiar with the route, it isn't great when it's wet. That said we are all very comfortable in terrain much harder than the climbing on Little Chamonix and decided that as the majority of the 'harder' climbing would be dry ... we would head up there anyway. As we topped out, the heavens fully opened ... so we timed it right, just about. 

All the photos and video from the day included in this article were shot on my iPhone 6S (apart from a couple of clips in the film that Jorg shot on his GoPro). Here is a selection (click for captions).

I can't wait to get these two back in the UK for some proper English climbing in better conditions. Bring on 2017. LL