Kipling Groove, HVS, Gimmer Crag
“When approached to write a piece for the Lakeland Revival blog my primary concern was one of imagery, as I don’t have have any pictures of the route in question. What I do have though is the memories, and I guess that’s the key to any good, or maybe more accurately any great route – they’re unforgettable. Pictures act as a useful reminder, but in the case of Kipling Groove I need no reminding.
Gimmer itself features a rich blend of quality and contrast. Perched high up on the side of Mickleden, its grandeur is felt as soon as you enter Langdale, and the intrigue is only heightened by its aspect, which faces just to the side, out of view as if looking away from you, shielding its finer side until you’re right beneath it. Whilst one could never argue that Gimmer is worthy of ‘mountain crag’ status, many of the routes are actually of a relatively short, single pitch nature; as such, Gimmer could be considered something of a gentle giant, were it not for it’s mind boggling exposure – something that is immediately apparent on Kipling Groove.
From the stance (and security) of Ash Tree Ledge, a bold line is taken out underneath the overhangs rightwards. The steepness is intimidating, as is the void beneath you – something that you are reminded of constantly because of the need to keep looking down (down, down…) to ensure your feet are well positioned. From the end of the traverse comes a fantastically steep crack, which bulges alarmingly outwards, further tipping you back into the abyss. There is no denying that the ambience surrounding the route is made by this exposure, as were it to be located further down the valley – say on Raven Crag – it wouldn’t feel quite so wild. There’s no excuses though, at least not by the time you’re here, as with perfect protection and perfect holds it is a safe – if somewhat alarming – proposition. The final traverse out right provides a suitable and fitting finale too. Whilst I’m sure that Arthur Dolphin, the route’s first ascentionist, would never have used the phrase ‘out there’ I am pretty sure he would have agreed with its sentiments. It really is OUT THERE!!!
Going back to the day in question, I remember sitting at the top for a long while – the route had really made an impact and I needed time for it to settle in. The weather was perfect, the sky blue, and the air clear; I sat back in the grass and looked out across the Langdale Pikes and over towards Consiton. What a landscape. Having spent much of my life living in Snowdonia and, more recently, the Peak District, the Lake District has always been something of a treat, and this view – this route – were something of a gift. Two gifts I felt very rich for receiving.”