Monday, 20 December 2010

Snow 2

Whilst it goes without saying most places are badly affected by the recent snowy conditions, that usual oasis of good weather, St. Bees Head, has also (unlike last year) been hit by the snow. Most specifically the Northern Head, which yesterday had around 5cm of snow on most boulders, not to mention the central descent, which has been turned into a winter Grade II gully - not for the faint of heart! On the up side, the Southern Head (thanks to its more south facing aspect) was in excellent condition from a climbing point of view, although both (on foot) approaches are a little sketchy in places.

As it has remained cold and dry Thorn Crag was also in good nick on Saturday, although a big brush may be required to remove powder snow on some blocks. The main problem (as with many rural venues) is the state of the final cul-de-sac approach road, which remains untreated and is quite icy.

Friday, 3 December 2010


A quick conditions update for the current snowy period.

Trowbarrow is in OK nick actually. The Shelterstone has a white hat but after a bit of brushing the problems finishing onto the slab are fine. Vitruvian may be more difficult to top out on though!

Woodwell is also in quite nice fettle, minimal seepage and not a lot of snow on the rock for Tom's across to Not Bad Dave.

Obviously if the temperatures rise a bit, there will be a lot of meltwater and everything will be soaked. Get to it whilst it's good!!

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Mosedale Boulders Guide

I have added a basic photo-topo for the Mosedale Boulders, Carrock Fell to the database. This is directly available here...

For more info on these boulders and recent additions to the circuit see this new report...

Friday, 15 October 2010

Iphone & Android 'Stone' Guide

Iphone & Android Bowderstone guide 'Smart Phone Aps' now fully functioning and available for free here....

21st Century Guiding!

Sunday, 19 September 2010

New Langdale Boulders Guide

I've knocked up a new topo/guide for the Langdale Boulders. I toyed with the idea of doing a photo-topo guide for the blocks but in the end, having used the Rockfax (photo-topo) and FRCC (overview) topos I figured that the overview method was more than adequate to purvey the information for the pure lines and worthwhile traverses at the area.

I find it a little bizarre that the Rockfax guide actually has such a level detail and inclusion of eliminates for this crag, when 90% of the other crags featured are fairly selectively/vaguely described? The contrast in accuracy and inclusion between this crag and the Bowderstone, for example, is staggering.

Any who, here is my simple new Langdale topo...

Friday, 13 August 2010

Bowderstone Guide Updated

In line with the numerous recent guide updates, I have given the Bowderstone guide a bit of a makeover. As with all the modern LB guides it now has the split Font/V grading system, as well as a few grade tweaks and a new cover....

Bowderstone Aug-2010 Update (PDF 4.81mb)

Friday, 6 August 2010

Monday, 2 August 2010

Most Popular Crags List

Ok so we all love a good list; so here is a list of the most popular crags (in terms of number of guides downloaded) in the LakesBloc region so far this year...
  1. Woodell
  2. Kentmere
  3. Limestone Link (Farleton, Hutton Roof, Dalton)
  4. Carrock Fell
  5. St. Bees South
  6. Bowderstone
  7. St Bees North
  8. Windy Clough
  9. Trowbarrow Quarry
  10. Thorn Crag
  11. Langdale Boulders
  12. Fairy Steps
  13. Old Buoys Circuit (St. Bees)
  14. Warton Crag
  15. Rakerigg
  16. Gillercombe
  17. Thirlmere
  18. Armathwaite
  19. Sampson's Stones
  20. Fleswick Boulders (St. Bees)
  21. Shucks Lair (Fairy Steps)
  22. Cringlebarrow
  23. Settle Earth Boulders (Longsleddale)
  24. Blake Rigg Boulders
  25. Red Wall Eliminates (Trowbarrow)
  26. Lad Stones
  27. Langstrath
  28. Honister Pass
  29. Heysham Head
  30. Duddon Valley Boulders
  31. Eskdale Granite
  32. Cam Crag
  33. Hyning Wood
  34. High Rock (Honister Pass)
  35. Black Crag
  36. Gouther Crag
  37. Long Crag
  38. Rolling Rock (Patterdale)
  39. Virtual Crag
  40. Stirrup Stones
  41. Clough Pike
  42. Heron Stones
Not sure if there's much, if anything, to learn from that, but one thing I do know: with Sampson's Stones ranking in the top 5 LakesBloc venues, in terms of quality, more people should be making the effort to get up there!

Friday, 30 July 2010

Dry Tooling at Farleton!

With reference to GCW's post a month or two back, I yesterday got the chance to see, first hand, the damage at Farleton.

This is has blatantly been caused by someone - a complete novice judging by the damage - dry tooling on the crag, which is just plain out of order. To add insult to injury, presumably the same person or persons has inscribed 'FPC' at the base of the Family Planning Centre sector, which is as perplexing as it is outrageous. I am reliably informed that something similar has occurred on the 'Nicks Traverse' sector at Hutton Roof, which is an equally idyllic unspoilt (not to mention SSSI) crag where this should not be happening.

I hope this is just some misguided individual/s getting it all wrong, and not a malicious act. In either case, if you are the individuals involved please stop.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Woodwell Wet

Looked in at Woodwell- Tom's and Not Bad Dave areas- and it was pretty wet. Also a fair bit of seepage from the usual places. All in all I suspect it will need quite a few dry days to dry things up again. Is this the end of Summer?

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Woodwell Guide Updated

I have added a few additions to the Woodwell guide, as well as adjusted a few grades.

Most notably is The Crushinator, which, since the release of the guide, has been made much easier by the use of the beta whereby you slap to a decent side pull hold (rather than the slopey blob originally used). This now makes the stand up around the 7a mark. That said, a proper sitter starting at the back of the roof, has now been done - start between Lily Pond Walk and Superstar DJ Low - which keeps the sitter grade at around the 7b+ mark.

I have forgotten to add Paroxysm Low to the guide, I'll remedy this ASAP.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Fleswick Topo Updated

A few more climbs have been done at the Fleswick Bay Boulders (I'll write a news report soon), these have been added to the basic topo, making for an increasingly worthwhile circuit...

Friday, 11 June 2010

Woodwell Still Dry

Checked out Woodwell last night, and despite the indifferent/damp weather of late the crag is bearing up well, with almost everything being dry enough to climb.

Also, I did a new problem at the crag that shall not be named, see here for further details.

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Graded Lists Updated

Let me know if you notice any cock ups...

By Crag

By Grade

Site & Guide Update Plus New Problems

I have added a fairly simplistic yet useful addition to the site, which offers related information on relevant "Crag" and "News" pages. Basically, if you are on a specific crag page the site will show the 5 latest news stories relating to that crag, in the menu column to the right. Likewise, if on any given news story, all related crags page links will appear in the same place to the right.

On the new problems front there are a couple of additions to the Brant Fell circuit, and a notable hard(ish) send up at Sampson's Stones...

I have added the new Sampson's Stone line to the guide (for those who don't know where it is) and also amended a couple of errors...

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Farleton Abuse

Farleton was in good nick today, despite the intermittent drizzle.

On the down side I was disappointed to see scratch marks on the Family Planning area, as well as bucket loads of chalk on New Rose and the problems around The Coil.

Whilst it's great that people are visiting these areas, I would hope that people climbing in the 7s would know not to leave so much chalk, so many tick marks and so much rubbish (I've taken the finger tape and bottles away).

C'mon people, let's try to have some respect for our crags.

Ennerdale Bouldering Circuit

Yesterday I thought it was about time I got around to checking out a small, far flung bouldering circuit I was told about a number of years ago, by an intrepid explorer known only (to me at least) as “Pil”.

The circuit in question is a few miles down the valley of Ennerdale, in western Lakeland. For those unfamiliar with the valley it is extremely isolated, by UK standards at least, and takes a fair while to reach even from the nearest sizable town of Whitehaven. On top of this, the valley road terminates at the head of the lake, from which the valley derives its name. As such the only way to reach the end of the coulee is on foot or by mountain bike. Personally I think this is great, as the valley gives you a real sense of what the Lakes was like before the onslaught of tourism and all the cheese ball trimmings and litter loutish behavior that brings. Anyway I digress…

Tom Newberry on Visual Impact 7a+/V7

Let’s make one thing clear from the outset: this place is not a major destination; it’s not even a minor destination. However, from time to time we do get the odd request for bouldering information relating to Ennerdale, so in the interest of definitivism [sic] I thought we should recce the area and report the findings.

Pil, the aforementioned spiller of the beans, documented his information in way of a photographic journal of what he had sent and descriptions for the lines in question. Unfortunately though we didn’t have any real idea of where the blocks were, so we just had to head down the valley in exploratory mode hoping for the best. After a couple of miles of fruitless searching we had a piece of good fortune; two gents – obviously climbers – came pounding down the valley track on mountain bikes, after the obligatory “aye up” I realized I had met one of the gents before. It turned out to be a guy I had last met in Switzerland two years previously (Neil I believe is his name), who was out with his mate to do some routes on Pillar Rock. Fortuitously, Neil’s mate was a local who recognised, from my description, the trackside block, and kindly filled us in with location details. The game was afoot.

Tom Newberry on The Grinding Mind 7b+/V8

Once we had located the boulder by the track we pieced together the locations of the other boulders (all in the near vicinity) and in turn had a great day working our way through Pil’s circuit – I had printed off all his images, and as such identifying the blocks was easy enough once we were on the right track. Despite the isolation of the area, if you are a keen boulderer operating in the mid to higher grades (the best problems are 7a/+ and above) and are ever in the area for some reason, Pil’s lines are well worth seeking out. In particular, Visual Impact (7a+/V7) and The Grinding Mind (7b+/V8) are absoutly superb, and would be classics at any crag.

Due to the esoteric nature of the area I haven’t put together an actual topo as such. However, the following *Google map contains parking, approach, boulder locations, and problem descriptions, which should suffice if used in combination with a few printed off action shots.

View Ennerdale Boulders in a larger map

*Note: The forests on the Google map do not accurately represent those actually in place, as the area is deforested and replanted regularly - i.e. the tree cover changes depending on logging activities.

To check out Pil's original info/images click here.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Dry Crags

Conditions seem good across the Lakes and in light of the fact there is little rain on the horizon get out while you can.

Of the limestone crags, Woodwell is still the dampest venue. However that said, climbing is still easily possible on most buttresses.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Rakerigg Crag Finally Added

This is a crag Dave Birkett showed me a long time ago, and after a few visits (over a number of years) I thought it time I finally got around to sticking up a page and topo for the crag.

This venue has a somewhat unique past, full details of which can be found on the "Crag's Page"...

There are also a few action images on our Facebook page here...

Friday, 9 April 2010

Woodwell & Trowbarrow Conditions

Current south lakes conditions, according to various local activists, are mixed to say the least. By all accounts Trowbarrow is, as you would expect, pretty much completely dry, bar the odd hold. Whereas Woodwell is pretty much a wash out, with seepage lines on most climbs.

As an aside, the 'new' circuit at Windy Clough (recently reported) dries almost instantly the rain stops...

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

'New' Grit Crag & Guide

It’s not very often we get to add an entirely new area and guide to the ranks of the LakesBloc crag database, however thanks to Will Williamson and friends we have such an occurrence.

Find out more here.

Monday, 29 March 2010

South Lakes Conditions

Despite the wet weather, early last week, the last few dry days have meant that many of the South Lakes limestone crags are in reasonable nick.

Fairy Steps - pretty dry with odd seepage line.

Trowbarrow - mostly fine, with the odd seepage line but nothing to affect any climbs majorly.

Warton - almost entirely dry, with the exception of some crack lines.

Woodwell - the worst crag in terms of seepage, some of the Central Sector is ok.

The weather for this week looks poor so get out while you can...

Monday, 22 March 2010

New Woodwell Guide

As promised I have completed the first of this years planned new guides - Woodwell. I'm pretty pleased with how it has turned out, and I hope you find it useful. There are plenty of 'new' additions when compared with the old guide, and there should be enough to keep all but mutants and hardcore regulars going for a few years.

If you notice any glaring cock ups or suspected accidental omissions then let me know here, or via the email address on the home page of the site.

It's quite a large file (13.92mb), but I decided I'd put too much effort in to it, to then offer a poorer print quality, lower resolution version. So here is the undiluted original in all its glory...
(via the 'PDF Guide' link at the base of this page)

Monday, 15 March 2010

Prime Lime

Had a nice walk round a few South Lakes limestone crags over the weekend, and pretty much everything is now in prime conditions, especially thanks to the still very fresh air temps - out of the sun at least.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Kentmere in good nick 8/3/10

Kentmere was pretty much completely dry. Other than being a little hot, conditions were great.
There were a couple of points of seepage on the Garburn pass bounder from the cracks, but generally pretty good.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Newbiggin Crag Dry

I was up at Newbiggin yesterday. There is very little seepage at present, and most things are pretty dry- including The Fridge and Ingleborough Wall. There's still some snow on the ground and it's cold with any wind, so pack a jumper and a flask of coffee.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

New Bowderstone Video

Just found a neat video on Vimeo, from 'Half Arsed Productions'. This features many of the classic mid-grade lines on the Bowderstone. I have embeded it onto the LakesBloc Bowderstone Video's page...

Warton - also getting better

Plumb Buttress report.
The slot on E-Fix is still wet, as is the streak left of the Hoodoo traverse. The first footholds on Plumbline Traverse were also wet. Poison was dry, if a little glassy. Incidentally, Nik Jennings didn't feel the hold alteration makes a huge difference to grade.

If it stays dry (which it is supposed to) Warton will be in good nick in the next few days.

Woodwell: Wet, but getting there

Just popped into Woodwell (all sectors), to check on conditions and to take a few crag shots. Most lines are currently effected by some level of seepage, however if this dry weather holds until the weekend a good percentage (maybe 40%) of lines should be climbable. For anyone seeking some climbing before the weekend, the central sector (Not Bad Dave SDS etc.) is, at present, the driest section of rock.

Our man on the ground (AJ Hebson) also informs me that most of Warton Pinnacle Crag was "ok" at the weekend, and as such the various Warton crags should also be in reasonable nick by the weekend, barring a break in the weather.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Warton Conditions

Warton wasn't too bad today, the starting slot of E-Fix was wet as was Sugarfix. If only the rain would stop for a few days and it would be in good nick.

As an aside I found that the finger jug on Poison had lost its wobbly bit. It's now better at the left end and the move to it on Poison is a tad easier, as is the match for the next move. I suspect it's still 7c but certainly a little easier than before.

A picture of the hold that will make no sense unless you know it well!!

Monday, 22 February 2010

Warton and Trowbarrow

Most of Warton Plumb Buttress was dry, although the melting snow dripping from the trees proved annoying. The left hand starting slot on E-Fix was wet, and there were some streaks on Hoodoo People but conditions should be OK if it doesn't rain.

The Pit face of the Shelterstone is in pretty good nick. There's some dampness on the rest of the boulder, but generally not too bad.

Monday, 8 February 2010

New Guides 2010

Seen as the new site is now up and running, I thought I'd give you a bit of an update of what the plans are for new/updated guides for 2010.

First job is to get around to doing a new guide for St. Bees Head - North, which has been in the offing for a while, however the complex topography of the layout has had me scratching my head as to how to display sector/boulder locations, in the most time-efficient manner. I finally came up with the idea of using shots of the crag taken from the sea, however as I have neither a boat nor the disposable funds to hire one, I opted to ask the FRCC if I could use the images they (Paul Jennings) took for their recent Buttermere & St. Bees guide. They (Stephen Reid) kindly gave me the permission to use the images, and they've already sent me the blank originals. So once I get back from a forthcoming trip, I shall crack on with putting something together. I will be ably assisted by local sandstone devotee Dan Varian, so between us we shouldn't miss out anything too glaring.

The second port of call, in terms of places needing a well deserved guide overhaul is Woodwell. Hopefully this will also get done sometime later in the year - by mid summer hopefully.

Finally, as you may have noticed we are looking for a site sponsor/advertising partner. If you are in a position where this may be of interest, don't hesitate to get in touch, as this will help massively in terms of how much the site/guides get updated and improved over the coming months and years.

More details -

Monday, 1 February 2010

More Site Updates

I have added some much more inspirational (well I hope you think so) images to the Sampson's Stones gallery, updated the Graded Lists and also made a few tweaks, additions and amendments to both the St. Bees Head - South and Sampson's Stones guides.

The most notable grade tweaks are to Supposition Test, which has been dropped from 7c to 7b - the difference between holding the blunt arete in winter compared to summer is so substantial that the crux went from being a low percentage throw to a high percentage static lock - and Doctor Manhattan, which goes from 7c to 7b+, thanks to some more efficient toe/heel beta.

Finally, I have also added St Bees Head North and South video page's.

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Shelter Stone Dry At Trowbarrow

Most problems on the shelter stone were dry today. Parts of red wall were climbable but some streaks of seepage between american express and ying yang.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Farleton Dry

The main areas at Farleton were bone dry this morning, viz New Rose, The Coil area, Pandemonium.
Lots of big tick marks on the latter two sectors unfortunately, I've brushed most of them off though.

St. Bees South Article

There is a new article centering on St. Bees Head, and more specifically the recently documented and in vogue southern head, on Rock + Run's media website. Coastal devotees may find it of some interest.

St. Bees Head - South Article

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

User Comments Function

I have installed a comments facility to the all the 'News' and 'Crags' pages of the site. This will hopefully help the site to be more user driven and interactive. As we don't require users to register to use the site, the system requires (as an anti-spam mechanism) you to enter your email address when you make a comment. Rest assured that this will not be either displayed on the site or used/stored/passed on by LakesBloc.

Hopefully this helps further enhance the site and is not misused. If the facility becomes hard work to maintain and unhelpful/spam-like posts are left I will remove the function from the site.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Site Updates

Just a few site updates to report.

First up I have added a gallery for the Kentmere boulders, which can be found here. Gallery creation is an ongoing process, and partially related to how many images I have access to for all the areas on site, please feel free to donate any relevant images:

The second update relates to the St. Bees Head - South guide; which since its release a while back has been outdated, thanks to the numerous new problems put up across the inclusive areas. I have added as many of the new lines as possible to the guide which is now live for download, via the St. Bees Head - South page.

Friday, 22 January 2010

Trowbarrow Soaking

Due partly to today's drizzle and partly the cloying fog, both the Shelterstone and Red Wall are wet and dripping. There wasn't a single dry hold anywhere this morning, plus the usual seepage was present.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

South Lakes Weather

It has been dry for the last 3 days, here in the South Lakes. As such I would expect all of the more ventilated areas to be drying out quite nicely.

Whitbarrow, as seen from the other side of the estuary...

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Farleton Area Wet

Today, pretty much everything at Farleton and Newbiggin was soaked. Surfer Rosa could be dried and Slap Arete saw an ascent, but other than that things were dire. The Fridge was dripping. Hopefully a few dry days will sort it out though.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Heysham Head and Woodwell Wet

Pretty much everything at Heysham wet, except (surprisingly) Spider-man's Toxic Sunday. Be a while before it's worth a visit, not a surprise considering recent weather though.

Tom's Roof is now taking a fair bit of melt water with most problems affected today. More water was coming down from above so I'd expect it to get worse before it gets better. I'm also told most things at WoR are wet too.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Trowbarrow and Warton Conditions

The 'big thaw' hit warton today and the snow on the top of plum buttress and in the tree is melting . This has resulted in streaks of water down the butress and onto some of the key holds. I managed to dry the holds on and climb on posion but the jug on voodoo people was wet.

Over at trowbarrow the vitruvian man face of the giant shelter stone was climable and in top nick. The other faces had melting snow on top and if the thaw continues will be wet. The red wall area was ok. Seepage on ying yang, the start of shallow grave and the diagonal break at the foot of nicks problem.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Warton Conditions

Parts of plumb buttress were climbable. Problems from voodoo magic to debaser were in mint conditions. The easier problems to the left and right had snow on the big ledges and in the jugs.

The yew tree growing out of the crag above voodoo people was laiden with snow so if the temperatures warm up i'd imagine it would all melt and drip down the buttress. At the moment you can get a good few hours bouldering done at this area.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

General Weather Overview

As you can see by checking any of the Lakes webcams, the area, like much of the country, is coated in a decent layer of the white stuff. Having said that it's still pretty cold and the snow is not melting too much, so you may be able to clear some dry rock with a fine bristled sweeping brush at the likes of Trowbarrow Quarry, Carrock Fell and the Bowderstone, or any venues that don't get masses of sunshine...

Monday, 4 January 2010

Warton and Woodwell Conditions

Warton Plumb area is pretty much all dry, although it was so cold everything felt a bit glassy.

Tom's roof wasn't bad, the usual seepage on the low break of BOBN, Closer, right undercut of AOSD etc. Anesthesia dry, but again felt slippery.

St. Bees Dry

Had an awesome day at St. Bees Head yesterday, no snow and everything is bone dry. Bit slippy underfoot in some places, but other that it was almost too warm! All the 'new' lines seem to be receiving plenty of attention, and there were loads of topo clutching folk getting stuck in to sends - great to see.

Friday, 1 January 2010

Trowbarrow Conditions

Pretty good today considering recent weather.

The Shelterstone
is pretty much all dry, if a little glassy.

Red Wall has the usual streaks (Yin Yang, left of Grimlock's, right of 6 Foot Sicks etc) but was otherwise OK- certianly plenty to go at.

Having said that, it has started snowing again this afternoon so things may change.