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The impressive Ash Pit Slabs - Brownstones Quarry, Bolton, Lancashire

 

Well, were to start? I can pretty much happily start off by saying that Brownstones is the place to be! It's been and will most definitely continue to be, one of the most popular Lancashire bouldering venues for good reason.

Way back in 1947 was when Brownstones started gaining life with the Lancashire Caving and Climbing Club recording around 50 problems via their climbing journals. Taking a step forward to the present day and there's around 170+ boulder problems to go at, so that'll fill your boots for a little while don't you think? Better yet, people are still actively filling in the gaps with new problems - check out the wonderful Lancashire Bouldering website (www.lancashirebouldering.com) for the latest info.

 

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Welcome to outdoor bouldering were sometimes you'll climb with your bum on a mat, just like Niomi here :D

 

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Other times you mighty see people sneaking up the rock to look for handholds on blank looking projects  (Boopers 6a)

 

It's all very different bouldering outdoors (obviously). I say this because I've spent way too many years pulling on plastic indoors and still laugh to myself at the fact that climbing outdoors is so very different. There's no more wonderfully coloured handholds leading you from the bottom to the top. Don't get me wrong, this is not to say that I no longer like climbing indoors, it's just that I love the feeling of creating my own journey up the rock and being outdoors :)

 

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The recently chalked Blurt (5a) caught the attention of my eye. This is boulder problem tests your sloper skills and is a fun little problem.

 

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Obscenity (5b)

 

I surprised myself by sneaking up this one! The slightly highball Obscenity. It's probably around 6 metres in height and certainly tests your crimping skills. I thought it was going to take me a while to figure out the beta on this problem. However, on my second attempt, I swiftly realised that I was at half height! When I realised this, I then had to keep my mind cool and attempt to steadily creep up a little further into the unknown. Before I knew it, I was topping out and it was a bush-free!

It's certainly well worth the 2 stars that it gets in the guidebook and is definitely worth your attention. I think it's worth noting that it could be a 3 star climb with my beta...

On my first attempt, I found it to be quite a tight squeeze getting to that good crimp with the right hand and I somehow ended up with my bum sat on the rock next to the problem. I don't think that would as an ascent or would it? ;)

 

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Niomi getting her slab face on Slab Direct (4a)

 

This was my second visit this Brownstones now since coming back to the UK and I already can't wait for my next visit! This really is a special little crag that has numerous little gems waiting to be climbed. For some strange reason, i'm still attracted to Digitation (5c). It just looks hard, balancy and kinda blank - everything a climber truly wants or maybe just me? :) 

 

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A snapshot from my first visit to Brownstones with Dave in the Pond Area

 

In this post I mostly talked about climbing in the Top End and Obscenity Area, but the other main areas are Ash Pit Slabs and the Pool Area. There's plenty of problems to get stuck into and you'd ideally need a few sessions to appreciate each area. 

In conclusion, if your boulderer looking for a new crag or someone who's looking to try outdoor bouldering for the the first time, then you should definitely check out Brownstones! It's got a great range of grades that will be accommodate any climbers needs and covers a good variety of styles from slabs to cracks and everything in-between.

 

One final note:

Brownstones Fist Jam

Make sure you don't wear your watch when crack climbing, it'll most likely get stuck! 

Thanks for your time ;)

Here's to many more adventures!

Naf

Published by Naf Climbing