Pub Vs Rock

 

I spent much of January and February snuffling at home while friends contacted me to tell me how good winter climbing conditions were. But over the last week or so I have begun to emerge from illness-induced idleness and re-start after work exercise. After all it’s only a few days over seven months until Paul Ramsden and I head off for the exciting pastures of West Nepal.

 

Chee Tor Girdle seemed to offer a fitting return to evening action. It was already dark by the time Paul and I met at Wormhill with a vague arrangement that Neil McAdie would follow later. A day of heavy rain had transformed the usually pleasant paddle across the river into a dauntingly insecure wade. It was though pleasing to note that we had the route, and indeed the crag, to ourselves.

 

Unethical river crossing

Unethical river crossing

 

We were busy grappling with the dank first pitch when a headtorch appeared on the far side. ‘How did you get across?’ shouted Neil. Unhelpful suggestions poured forth until, to our disappointment, he found a tree that had fallen to form a bridge such that he didn’t even have to get his feet wet.

 

Paul Ramsden on pitch one.

Paul Ramsden on pitch one.

 

Up and damply leftwards we went until, after several pitches, it was getting late and cold and increasingly clear that we were in danger of being late for the pub. With the three of us hanging together from a large sling,  priorities were assessed and a decision made. The pub won on the reasoning that pub talk can be regarded as motivational mountaineering exercise which can be every bit as important as physical climbing exercise.

 

Neil McAdie on Chee Tor Girdle

Neil McAdie on Chee Tor Girdle

 

The landlady wondered why we hadn’t just gone straight to the pub and appeared not to be motivated by the thought of wading rivers and clambering about on wet bits of rock. It is great that us humans don’t all think the same way.  Crowds on the crag would have detracted from the pleasure.