Tactics for a cold day

After the hot dry April, it was a return to business as usual for May and so I found myself at a deserted Stanage on a cold blustery Sunday with woolly hat and gloves on.

Neither of us had been to Stanage this year so we were determined to make it work for us as a venue despite all signs to the contrary. High winds? Check. Freezing cold temperature? Check. Regular squalls of fine rain, the kind that gets you wet without noticing? Check. We told ourselves that at least the friction is better on grit when its cold as we donned our winter climbing gloves.

First up was Bee, a nice V Diff, it had positive holds and plenty of gear and so was quite unlike most V Diffs at Stanage. Next I decided to lead a two star Diff – Left Twin Chimney, I normally hate chimneys but I could see that at least it would give me shelter from the wind once I managed to get inside it. And so it did and it turned into a very enjoyable bridging exercise leaving me reluctant to step out onto the windswept top to set up a belay. I looked down onto my second as she climbed up to join me and noticed that the back of her gillet was getting soaked. Then I noticed it was MY gillet and she was bringing it up for me to wear, what a star!

We had quick scan through the guidebook and there was a request for ‘something shorter’ – not something you normally hear at Stanage but belaying was becoming something of an endurance test. We wandered back down towards the plantation car park until we found Newhaven, a 6m Diff that was quickly dispatched.

The grey sky seemed to be getting lower and the showers more frequent but determined not to give up, we headed off to the shelter of Lawrencefield to continue climbing.  A speedy accent up Snail Crack then we called it a day before hypothermia set in. You’ll notice that there are no photos for today, no one wanted to hang around long enough to get a shot.