Gillercombe Buttress Winter – Not Quite!
Went up to Gillercombe today to have a look at its eponymous buttress. The 3-legged dog boy had given up walking duties for the day to tutor me in the art of scratching about. As we walked up past a barely frozen white bordered Sour Milk Ghyll, Gillercombe looked “bloomin wonderful” but rather bare on the buttresses of “The Buttress”. It was a stunning day but clearly the long eyeballed buttress climb wasn’t going to be on: at least not as a proper winter jaunt.
Though we were somewhat disappointed, it’s always possible to find something to do. Sure enough the chimneys and grooves of Grey Knotts Face; or a version of it, saved the day again.
Avoiding the letterbox section we took a line to the right up wintriest looking dribbles (the letterbox bits being bald as a Borrowdale bandicoot’s backside). It was grand scrabbling till we could cut left above the letterbox and teeter up a rib towards the
chimney crack of the summer pitch 3.
I had a bit of a scratch, but being totally unfit, I went for some scratchy stuff to the left for
a short way and then got into the continuation and found the usual pitch 4 belay.
Auld 3 legs took over and; following the couple of Leeds Youths up, he had an excellent scratch and spark session accompanied by all sorts of canine gruntings and fartings. Eventually legs lurched and disappeared over some kind of top and a few seconds later a sweaty face reappeared over the edge far above me claiming to be safe.
It took a few seconds to discover what all the grunting had been about. I imagine my sound track for the pitch would have been similar to Ian’s. I arrived in a suitably sweaty state at the top of the route feeling quite chuffed at my first decent outing of the winter.
The day was completely breathless and even though the ice hadn’t really kicked in, it’s the sort of day that gives you hope there might be a proper winter this year.