Gimmer crag is a Lakeland gem. It is one of our favourite venues and hosts an array of quality rock climbing.
From easy classics to hard test pieces this crag has something to offer everyone. Its accessibility is also a massive plus hence it can get busy. Really busy, as we found out a few weeks ago.
The crag is in Langdale and is a 40-50 minute walk away from either the Old Dungeon Ghyll, or Stickle Barn car park. Generally we like walking in from the Stickle Barn, slightly longer in distance but a much nicer gradient.
The first place we come to when arriving at the crag is what is known as the gearing up boulder. This is where most parties get ready for classics such as Gimmer Chimney and Bracket and Slab Climb. We geared up here, packed one small rucksack with some food, water and first aid kit (essentials) and stashed one bag away under the boulders to the side.
Our plan was to climb some classic rock link ups, starting with Ash Tree Slabs. This required us walking further round and traversing the foot of the crag to reach the far side. We were happy for some shade on the lower tier of the north-west face as we climbed up Ash Tree Slabs.
This route is one of the most popular on the crag so we were there early for it, expect to queue if you're not early on a weekend or holiday. The slab is delightful and masterful, taking the line of least resistance and moving out onto the arete where it looks over the gully for some fierce exposure. A large ledge offers a belay with some good wires.
Moving right and off the belay and up easier grooves meant I was soon standing and belaying on Ash Tree Ledge. This ledge splits the crag at half height and any route up from here is basically a three star classic.
We did not continue, we walked along the ledge rightwards to the far end and found the abseil above the Bilberry Chute (a scramble up to Ash Tree Ledge from the gearing up boulder).
We descended for lunch and then set off for Bracket and Slab Climb. This route gets an MVS 4b grade in the new guidebook and rightly so. Its original grade of Severe means people are a little ill informed in our opinion.
The first pitch is long, about 30m and climbs sometimes awkwardly over bulges and the belay is the abseil station we used for our descent from the ledge. The second pitch is tricky and admittedly a little scary. Climb left and then move rightwards across the big flakes and inch yourself round the corner before an easy grooves takes you onto the next stance. This is the Bracket section of the climb.
I would love to go into detail about the rest of the route and its wonders but we did not complete the route as a whole on this day. There was a couple of parties ahead of us and parties on Gimmer Chimney too. We traversed leftwards and away from the busy stances, across a slab and belayed.
On consultation of the guidebook we realised that the final pitch of B Route would take us to the top at an amenable grade. The climbing on here is absolutely amazing and we didn't feel like we were missing out. Lower down from our position is a 4c pitch on B Route - the Amen corner so do beware. B Route may not get classic rock status but the neighbouring C Route does.
A Route, B Route & C Route are all three star Severe's so if you're wondering where to begin, take a look these routes. Other recommendations include; D Route, Northwest Arete, Asterix, F Route, The Crack and Kipling Groove. There is a whole host of grades across these listed climbs and they are all three star routes.
We love Gimmer, if you would like to check it out, let us know!