Warton Upper Crag

Our local area is littered with scores of crags, both little and large, and mainly present because of bygone limestone mines. One of the largest and arguably the most famous in the region just north and west of Lancaster – the Silverdale and Arnside area – is Trowbarrow, and it is this quarry that I took my first tentative steps of my first rock climb (The Original Route, for those interested). There are a group of us that quite often frequent the crag in the evenings during the summer months, and it makes for a great social outings, even if not much climbing is done!

Alex leading the quarry classic, Coral Sea (VS 4c ***)

Finger of Fun, supposedly a VD. Photo stollen from UKC (© Stu Tyrrell, Jun 2009)

As of recent, and in an attempt to widen our horizons a little, a few of us have been making the most of another fantastic little crag in the area – Warton Upper Crag. It lies just off the summit of Warton Hill, and commands a precarious position with fantastic views of the local area.  The routes are all short, 8m at most, meaning their adjective grade is somewhat lower than the technicalities that the routes pose. A fine example of this is the route Finger of Fun, a strenuous flake system that gets the grade of VD (Very Difficult, ironically one of the easiest grade climbs you can get) but, to me at least, feels at least two grades harder. Myself and Lorna top-roped it last weekend, and it was a real struggle! I’m glad I didn’t trust the grade and attempt to lead it.

One of the classics of the crag is Twin Cracks (VS 4c *). Alex lead this climb back in October, and I failed to second it, a failure I’d like to blame on wasting my energy trying to get Alex’s gear out. Lorna and me top-roped it last weekend and both found it a good deal easier (Lorna completed the route first time around in October), and to further prove the grading system at the crag is a little obscure, we both found it easier than Finger of Fun, despite being four grades harder!

There are a good number of fantastic little climbs and it is a great choice of crag to keep away from the crowds and get an awesome view in the process. Just down the path is Warton Pinnacle Crag, which I have on good authority is equally as fun, and so we shall be paying it a visit in the near future!

Alex leading Twin Peaks (VS 4c ***).

Alex leading Twin Cracks (VS 4c *).