Stanage, the gritstone crag that is the jewel in the Peak's crown, is 5 kilometeres long and bursting with fantastic climbs. The whole crag, from one end to the other, was once traversed by Ron Fawcett. It has never been repeated - until now! 16 year old Pete Whittaker describes the second ascent of Ron's legendary traverse of Stanage.
I was waiting in ‘Outside’ a few weeks ago for some friends to turn up so we could go out climbing, I got chatting to Ben (Cossey) and gradually we got talking about Ron’s traverse of Stanage. A few minutes later we decided that it had to be done before Ben went back to Australia. Ben had wanted to do it for a while but I don’t think he was too keen on doing the climb on his own, so I think he was quite excited when I told him I wanted to give it a go to.
It says in the guide book that it is most likely unrepeated and I thought that it would be cool to make the second ascent of the longest route in Britain on one of the best crags ever.
We decided that we weren’t going to be able to beat Ron’s time (6 hours 10 minutes) because he ran in-between buttresses and also we wanted to take it steady, so we came up with something different and decided that we would extend his traverse onto Apparent North and The Cowper Stone.
On the 27th of July the forecast was good and we planned the night before that we could get to End Slab by 8:20. Although everything seemed organised Ben forgot about food and ended up surviving on some of my mars bar and half a packet of jaffa cakes. When we got there the weather was clear but very windy, and I had lost most of my supply of chalk by time I made it to the top of End Slab.
We made it across to High Neb where Sherpa Paul from ‘Outside’ met us, he was kind and took our bags on some of the harder more exposed pitches of the climb. We passed High Neb and made our way along to the Plantation pretty quickly and eventually reached The Popular End and by this time I wasn’t really concentrating on which buttress we were on, I didn’t even recognise Inverted V when we got to it. I asked a guy where we were and he said ‘Congo Corner,’ I was so happy that we were there already, and a lot of the tiredness seemed to go away.
Eventually we made it past The Tippler Buttress and onto Flying Buttress, and by this time my Mum and sister had come to see us make it through the finish. We passed Grotto wall and Mantelpiece Buttress then ended the crag together (after starting back at End Slab nine and a half-hours earlier!) making a joint second ascent to the ‘summit’!
We walked onto Apparent North but we were so tired we only managed to attempt it.
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