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The Langdale challenge

Written by George Fisher

Image for article The Langdale challenge

The Arc’teryx Big Mountain Weekend - The Langdale challenge.

May last year was the start to one of the best summers for climbing in the Lake District for a long time. What better way to kick off that summer than with the Arc’teryx Big Mountain Weekend. George Fisher has supported the revival and the big mountain weekend for the past 2 years now, and each year it gets bigger and better.

This time around we headed to sunny Langdale to take part in the Langdale climbing challenge. A selection of routes, hand picked to showcase the best of the local crags surrounding Stickle Barn. I headed to Langdale with friends and staff members over the two days and with our bags packed, we collected our route card from Sticklebarn and headed out to climb on Gimmer. Having never climbed on Gimmer before I was excited to see if it would live up to its reputation. As we approached the crag in the early morning sun, it towered above us in all its glory. Seemingly endless clean rock as far as the eye could see, why had I waited this long to climb here!

We started off on Ash Tree Slabs (Very Difficult) a perfect introduction to the crag. Huge holds and some exciting exposure as you head up the edge of the slab, trying not to look down into the gully below. After that, we continued on and headed up to the ledge leading to the main chunk of the routes. We sat and had lunch as more teams turned up and started to make their way up various routes on the rock face, the sun getting hotter and hotter! Next, we headed up D route (Severe) a fantastic route finding its way up the vast wall above. Topping out we opted for the abseil back down, great fun in itself.

Testing out great kit over the weekend, we tried out the Arc'teryx AR harness.

Rested up we headed back the next day and couldn't resist the call of Gimmer once again. This time we started on Herdwick Buttress (Very Difficult) to make our way onto the main ledge. After that, we headed onto Oliverson's Variation and Lyon's Crawl (Very Difficult) this has to be one of the best mountain crag V Diffs in the lakes. The line takes in parts of A and B routes and finds itself on some spectacular parts of rock that feel reserved for much harder climbs. After getting to the top we continued onto the summit of Loft crag for an incredible sunset out over Langdale. From there we made our way back down to Sticklebarn for a well-deserved pint and some food.

Amber King heads up the second pitch of Oliverson's Variation and Lyon's Crawl.

One of the best things about the weekend was seeing the crags busy with people excited to climb, passionate about trad and getting outside exploring what the lakes have to offer. There was a real buzz surrounding the festival all weekend, trad climbing certainly felt 'revived'! The weekend offers so many great clinics and is the perfect setting to learn or build on your skills. As well as climbing, the next big weekend will feature clinics on fell running, wild swimming and yoga. Plus there's beer and pizza...


Rich abseiling back down at the end of a great day climbing.

The Big Mountain Weekend launches the Arc’teryx Lakeland Revival in the picturesque Langdale valley. This year it will be taking place at the Sticklebarn Tavern from the 3rd-5th May.

The event aims to educate, share and improve skills necessary for enjoying the mountains and crags safely. The weekend will be based around a series of clinics headed up by the International School of Mountaineering. There will also be a number of free activities, challenges (with prizes), BBQ, live music, BMC Adventure film night and the Langdale Climbing Challenge running alongside these clinics all weekend.

To find out more and book your tickets for clinics head HERE

For those new to climbing and wanting to know more about grades i.e. Very Difficult and Severe, the BMC have a great blog all about it, HERE.