Charlie Woodburn has been making the most of his move from Bristol to the Lake District. At the weekend he headpointed Birkett's Impact Day, nowadays considered E8 6c, on Pavey Ark. Here's his account including how he has found the change of scene:
"I first tried the route back in 2012 when I was up at Pavey with some mates. I'd gone to have a day pottering about doing some easy classics, but Hazel Findlay was psyched for Impact Day so Neil Mawson and I thought we'd give her a bit of team support by trying it with her. Neil did the route pretty easily and I fell off the last move. I was surprised at how good the gear was and so was keen to go back to close the account. I had planned to go back with Hazel at some point as she was keen to revisit it too, but over the last 3 years it's not worked out as she's been too busy crushing all over the world and recently had a shoulder operation so is out of the picture for a bit."
"Pavey is one of my local crags now so its much easier to get up there and try it. I had a day onsighting up there recently and saw the line again and how good it is, so popped up there a couple of days later to shunt it and it felt fine. A week later I went up with Liam Lonsdale to do it. Unfortunately, this time it was seeping badly from the break and several of the crucial holds in the middle section were dripping wet. I spent a while attempting to dry off the holds with my hat and t-shirt but the water was running down pretty persistently and I decided to wait a few hours to see if it dried off a bit."
"By about 6 p.m. it was marginally drier. I jugged up one last time to dry the holds again but I was running out of clothes to use and so to spare the other crag users the spectacle of me being semi-naked, I thought I'd better just get on with it. Liam was keen to take photos, so a pal, Pete Graham, who was climbing with his dad very kindly took a quick break to give me a belay. In the end the ascent went really smoothly and as is often the case, it felt easier on the sharp end than on top-rope. It's a bit bold at the bottom although the climbing isn't too hard there, just a bit reachy. This is where pocket sized Hazel previously took a bit of a tumble. The climbing is around 8a, the pegs look in a pretty good state and the gear at the break is totally bomber, so it's a pretty mellow E8."
"I'm not really sure that it's particularly newsworthy headpointing this route, as in this day and age, it has had several ascents, been climbed ground up and was nearly onsighted over a decade ago by Ben Bransby. But it's a very good route and it's great to do it for that reason and also nice to close the account having been on it a while back".
"Since moving to the Lakes I feel like I've been a bit spoilt with options for climbing. It's a real novelty being able to choose between sport climbing in Yorkshire, a bit of bouldering, mountain trad etc. I've been mixing it up a bit, but when the weather is good its best to take the opportunity to get into the hills, although my chicken legs are still adapting to the chunky walk-ins."
"Compared to the Bristol climbing scene, there's way more stuff to climb but less people to go climbing with, so occasionally if I'm stumped for a partner it makes sense to either go bouldering or work a harder line on a shunt. Obviously the majority of hard trad in the Lakes has been put up by Dave Birkett so I often end up working one of his lines. I don't have a particular obsession with Mr Birkett's routes, there's just a lot of them on my doorstep, and I'm sure I'll get around to checking most of them out sooner or later. There's other stuff on the list too, especially for onsighting, but no one wants to write articles about stuff that doesn't have an 8, 9 or 10 in the grade. There's also some new lines I've spotted already so I might put some time into one of them."