Most crags in the Lake District are igneous rock formations that are grouped using the term ‘Borrowdale Volcanics’. Complex volcanic geology has created a variety of rock textures; some crags are very abrasive with large crystals (for example Gimmer, Napes, Black Crag Wrynose), and others have a smoother texture (for example, Black Crag Borrowdale, Shepherds Crag, White Ghyll). The rougher rocks are sometimes quicker to dry and have less vegetation on the crags, whereas the smoother rocks sometimes stay a bit greasy after rain and can feel pretty sketchy if climbing in damp conditions.
Volcanic rocks lend themselves to lots of wire placements, and I’ve found offset wires to be really useful as well as a good range of cams. This rock type has lots of uncut holds, cracks and features, which means that there are often many different ways to climb any one move, and sometimes you might have to look around a little to find the gear placements.
The numerous Borrowdale Volcanic crags offer a variety of textures, crag aspects and locations, so with a little research you can easily choose the best crag for the weather conditions. Crags that have vegetated ledges or lots of vegetation above can take much longer to dry than crags which have more clean and compact rock. For example, crags such as Napes and the East Buttress of Scafell are very high up, but have little vegetation above and on the crag, and the rough texture and exposed position means they dry relatively quickly in the summer despite their high position. In contrast, crags such as Pavey or Sergeant Crag Slabs have vegetated ledges and seepage lines, and therefore take longer to dry despite catching the sun and being much lower down.