23 December 2009
What Roxcool get up to on their holidays - PART 1
Craig preparing for battle...plenty of ice in the background.
Craig half way up the only route to be led...around grade III/IV
The rope hanging down one of the routes we tope roped...steep!
Craig doing a Winter Roxcool pose
Ice climbing in Co. Durham is probably not the first place that comes to mind when the weather turns cold, but thats where Craig and myself ended up after meeting early this morning...We first planned to travel over to the Lake District but due to a road accident on the A66 and the road closed over Hartside due to the snow we found ourselves driving over the moors to Weardale and our venue near Stanhope. We were pleased to see on our arrival that the ice was hanging in copious amounts and a little sport was going to be had. I led a route first and interesting little route which ascends a natural water course at a grade of III/IV...even managed to get two screws and two rock anchors for protection. There are a couple of scaffolding poles hammered into the ground which I knew about from a previous trip. These are good for a main belay anchor but are not really reassuring. Following this lead we top roped a route to the left of this using the same anchors. This ascends a corner on both ice and rock and is fairly steep with a small overhang at the top (grade around VI). Following lunch, Craig led the same route I had earlier in great style. However, by this time the temperatures had gone up and water was starting to run a little. However this didn't stop us top roping another route around grade VI. Excellent fun !!!!