Climbing a Wet Badger

Me climbing Badger Rock in Kentmere in the Lake District.
Me climbing Badger Rock in Kentmere in the Lake District.

Badger Rock is a famous boulder that I’d been eager to climb for years. Its reputation is built on providing great climbing, across a range of grades, in a picturesque, quiet Lake District valley. If that wasn’t enough to make it popular, Badger Rock is also only about ten minutes walk from a car park. I’ve been waiting for a chance to climbing on Badger Rock since I first saw it three years ago when walking the classic Kentmere Horseshoe. Last weekend looked like it might finally be my chance to climb on the Badger, but all of my hopes of climbing rested on it staying dry.

It rained. It felt a little predictable.   You need a lot of luck to get the right conditions to boulder in the Lake District in October, particularly if you are a London-based climber and have to tie yourself down to a visit over one, fixed weekend.   My luck with the weather has also not been great this year. I was disappointed, but did what I often do when I want to go rock climbing – I went for a walk instead.

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My walk took me from Green Quarter in Kentmere, up the hill by Nunnery Beck and over into Longsleddale. I then followed Longsleddale up to Brownhowe Bottom. From there, I climbed Adam Seat and Harter Fell before descending the ridge over Kentmere Pike, Goat Scar and Shipmann Knotts. This is one of the quieter parts of the Lake District and I’d never been into the beautiful, quiet Longsleddale before. It was a great walk, made even better by the stunning Autumnal reds and oranges on the fells. Yet during the walk I continued to hope that tomorrow would be dry enough to enable me to boulder.

It rained. It rained that night and the next morning. I kept on hoping that bouldering would be possible if I just waited for the conditions to improve. I got ready at a leisurely pace and periodically glanced at dry stonewalls for a clue as to whether the rock was drying out. In the end, hope and my desire to climb got the better of me and I headed out for Badger Rock.

I was really happy when I found that enough of Badger Rock was dry. I also found that Badger Rock lived up to its reputation. The problems were varied, fun and on good quality rock. The most nerve racking climbing was descending from the top of Badger Rock the first time. The most obvious way down was soaked and slippy and I had to find a slightly different route back to the ground. The location in a field overlooking Kentmere was also lovely, although the damp grass made for wet and very cold toes (as well as very clean rock shoes).

I finished my climbing feeling tired, content and with a desire to come back on a dry summer evening when I could finish climbing on Badger Rock.

More information

Bouldering on Badger Rock, and elsewhere in Kentmere, is described in Boulder Britain by Niall Grimes as well as a guide on the LakesBloc website.

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