Archive for the ‘Scrambling’ Category

January Blues (skies)

Sunday, March 1st, 2020

Our last post Brexit meet was to the Climbers Club hut Grange, Borrowdale in North Lakes. A fine hut we have stayed at before and a good turn out for a walking weekend with haggis supper. We were joined by a couple of CC members which made for a feast of fun on Sat night.

Sat was clear and dry but very cold with a chilly wind, climbing would technically have been possible but freezing cold belays would not have been fun. There was practically no snow anywhere so winter climbing was out, so most people opted for some walking.

Dave W had a day pass for Sat and joined Mike and I and went scrambling and for a wander around Combe Ghyll looking at maps and bumps. We started up Intake Ridge a broken and occasionally serious route before heading to Glamamara. On return, we dropped down the climbers' descent past Raven Crag and across to Doves Nest crag where we messed in caves about for a while before heading home.

Simon, Carmen, Liz and Dave D headed out on a long walk via Castle Crag and Dale head around Newlands valley and Ard Crags – Wainwright ticking at its finest. Peri was on her own walking and naving on the Maiden Moor ridge to Dale Head. Joe went for a run somewhere and Charles wandered around somewhere!

Sunday was a glorious day and everyone did some part or variant on the Coldedale Horseshoe apart from Charles who went to Glaramara. We went in at least 3 teams, with Simon, Carmen and Joe doing the largest. Rob and Mike explored the mines but we all had great weather apart from the very tops which were in clag, and required a bit of compass work.

AS it was dark we mostly got away early after some cleaning, except for the straggler returning.

Simons Pictures: https://www.facebook.com/simon.caldwell.5/media_set?set=a.2980255068664928&type=3

Every season except winter

Saturday, January 11th, 2020

This year we had the biggest New Year meet turn out for years, filling Blackrock Cottage and with people camping in vans and even staying at the ski centre up the road. So it shouldn't have been surprising that we also had some of the worst weather, with a massive thaw stripping pretty much all the remaining snow, and heavy rain and strong winds putting the high summits out of bounds.

Of course we didn't let this stop us getting out! Corbetts were climbed near Glen Orchy (Beinn Udlaidh was not in, unless you're into climbing unfrozen waterfalls in spate). Others did the Corbett above the Kings House before retiring to the bar. Trade at the newly rebuilt hotel certainly benefited from the bad weather, though private functions made it residents-only for the last few days. I don't think most of us will hurry back, it's lost all its old character and now feels (and looks) more like a motorway service station.

On the worst weather day an intrepid few of us did a walk over a couple of small hills on Rannoch Moor (hard to stand up in the wind even at under 500m) and back along the West Highland Way to the hut. Others went to Fort William for the local Park Run, followed by woodland walks and mountain bike trails.

Jayne led a big group in a circuit of Buachaille Etive Beag, staying low to avoid summit storms. Some fun and games were had trying and mostly failing to cross the normally narrow stream – the exception being Pete and Aiofe, who were rewarded by having to cross back again a mile or so upstream. We almost managed to stay dry until the last stretch back to the Kings House. Meanwhile others cycled down the road to Kinlochleven and back over the Devil's Staircase to the hotel.

More rain on the Monday morning led most people to the Ice Factor climbing wall, Warwick taking the opportunity for a run over the Devils Staircase. Carmen and I risked the forecast of an afternoon improvement and were rewarded by sunshine and views in the last hour before sunset.

Finally, on New Years Eve, those of us who remained were granted an exceptional day's weather – cool and clear with blue skies and light winds, fantastic conditions despite the near complete absence of snow. Peter and Ann took the train from the coast to Bridge of Orchy and cycled back through down the glen.

Carmen and I did a long walk from Ballachulish up the remote Corbett of Fraodhaidh. Pete led the others up Creise and Meall a' Bhuiridh, the two Munros behind the hut, taking in a fine scramble on the way.

The usual New Year's eve festivities followed, combined with a birthday cake for Noemi, and with far too much food courtesy of Karl who we unwisely left to do the shopping! We even all managed to stay up beyond midnight, partly because the forecast was back to wet and windy so there was no incentive for an early start. In the event it wasn't too bad, but the previous day could hardly have been bettered, and we all headed home.

A load more photos here

Coniston Coppermines

Wednesday, December 18th, 2019
The hut from over the valley

This Autumn has been exceptionally wet and there was no let up all weekend for the December Coniston Coppermines meet. It was fully booked with 16 sleeping in the hut and Peri in her van.

Wet walkers

There was poor visibility, very wet underfoot, strong winds and clothing was tested to its limits with constant driving rain. But it didn’t stop a large group walking up Coniston Old Man then onto Wetherlam.

Raven Crag scramble

Simon and Carmen squeezed in a scramble on Goat Crag before heading onto Coniston Old Man too and managed to get a quick picture before the clouds immersed them again.

Caption competition

Russ, Pete B and Donal went off mountain biking and Mike and Louise went road biking up Wrynose Pass. With such a wet weekend every possible hook, door, nail, and rack was used to hang wet gear as the drying room was minuscule but thankfully we had 2 log stoves for drying gear and keeping us all cosy.

As usual there was plenty of food with 4 courses and extra delicious cakes made by Alan. Jayne’s fancy swirls on the casserole ended up as rocks but plates were soon emptied and everyone make space for Peri’s mince pies giving us a festive theme for the last weekend meet of 2019.

North Wales Nav weekend

Wednesday, May 1st, 2019

On the weekend of the 6th of April six YAC members headed to North Wales to attend a Navigation course at Plas y Brenin. We based ourselves at the Dolgam campsite near Capel which I would highly recommend, really nice clean site with great facilities.

Saturday dawned and for a change we were hoping for low cloud and poor visibility to make the most of the Nav course, the sky couldn't have been clearer. The sun was out and the temperature high, think we all regret the winter trousers and warm base layers, so much for the poor weather nav.
After Jane had put her Shepherd's skills to test rounding up an escaped lamb at the campsite we headed to the centre for the course.

Despite the clear conditions the course went well and I think we all got something from it and at least the nice weather made for a more pleasant relaxed day. It was the first time for most of us in the Plas y Brenin centre and we were all impressed, so much so we headed back there for an evening talk involving polar bears and canoes rounded off by dinner (that's two mains and two puds for Karl) and a few drinks in the bar.

Sunday morning was cloudy and cool so plans to climb were put on the back burner and we headed for a group ascent of Tryfan. After a minor incident where Karl narrowly escaped serious injury or death (Simon to the rescue) we arrived at the summit and the crowds.


The skies had cleared, the sun was up and it seemed even warmer than the Saturday.

From the summit we continued up Bristly ridge, the group showed great support and Jane was especially pleased to complete this classic scramble. We returned to the cars via the Y Gribin ridge with perfect clear conditions and some great views.

Great  weekend with crazy weather for that time of year.


Ogwen Valley – March 2019

Saturday, March 30th, 2019
MCNW Hut

Last weekend we had a trip to the MCNW hut in North Wales. Always keen to try a hut we haven't stayed in previously. It proved a bit of a squeeze but we all fitted in. We were rather lucky with a Spring like Saturday and a more wintry feeling air on Sunday – but dry both days.

On Saturday Dave W, Karl and Russ went for a link-up of classic scrambles – Idwal Staircase / Cneiffon Arete and Dolmen Ridge. "Great and popular (well one other person doing the same) link up. About 700m of quality grade 2/3 scrambling. Karl practised the black arts of moving together on Cneiffon arete which was good. Clearly time spent rigging masts has not been wasted".  Simon & I walked from the hut to the East face of Tryfan. The planned climb (Grooved arete) was already busy, as was the first pinnacle ridge – so revised plan saw us climbing the second (first) pinnacle ridge. Simon led the highly polished yellow slab pitch which is somewhat out of keeping with the rest of the route. We finished off by climbing The Wall and then descended to Little Tryfan to do a couple of long easy pitches before trudging back to the hut. Jayne, Donal, Noemi, Ana and Emily went for a walk and scramble on Tryfan, over the Glyders and down via the Devils kitchen.  Justine and Gav (Ordinary route) and Pete B and Adam (Hope and Lazarus) did a variety of routes on a not too busy Idwal slabs.  Peter E met up with his brother and son and walked in to climb Amphitheatre Buttress.  Unfortunately Peter's knee popped on the route and so he had a slow hobble back to the hut having been abandoned by his brother!  Sat night saw us eating far too much food for a change – all very tasty. 

Given the cooler conditions on Sunday only Gav, Adam and Pete B braved climbing on Carreg Mianog doing a couple of VS's and a new route courtesy of Gav.

Donal was heading off to do the Crib Lem spur scramble but low cloud and cold wind deterred him, but he still enjoyed the walk in.

The majority of the rest of us went for a walk from the hut, taking in Pen yr Helgi Du and Carnedd Llwelyn before descending to get out the bitter wind. Simon & I detoured on the way back to look for Simon's microspikes he lost in February. Needless to say we didn't find them! Meanwhile Justine stayed behind to nurse her cold and Pete his knee. We were all back in plenty of time to finish off the leftovers, before completing the clean up & departing. Another good weekend.

Snowless in Elphin

Thursday, January 3rd, 2019
Arkle
Arkle

For the 2018/9 New Year meet we returned to the excellent little hut in Elphin, up in the far northwest of Scotland. One of these days we'll get there to coincide with some good winter's weather, but not this time, mild weather through December led to largely snow-free conditions.

Of course, that didn't stop us 9 of us making the long journey north, and it's a fantastic place to be in (almost) any conditions.

Ben Hope

We arrived on Boxing Day, and the following day the best conditions were due to be further east, so Carmen and I headed north and east for an ascent of Meall Horn, a Corbett near Arkle. An overcast day nevertheless stayed dry and the cloud mostly above the summits, with some great views to the sunny peaks around Ben Hope. Meanwhile, Annie and Peter diced with death on Cul Beag but lived to tell the tale.

Meall Doire Faid

The next day we headed south, again chasing the weather, and again got lucky with a sunny ascent of Beinn Enaiglair, another Corbett near Braemore Junction. A long approach spiralled round to the far side of the hill before climbing old stalkers' paths to the top, descending the other side and back up from the col to bag a Graham summit, Meall Doire Faid.

Annie and Peter set off to walk up Quinag, but after half an hour sat in the car park watching the rain, they settled for a walk to Eas a Chual Aluinn, the highest waterfall in the country.

On 29th the rest of the group arrived, so of course the weather took a turn for the worse.

Mike, Pete W and Rob repeated their now traditional late start on a long walk near shortest day with an ascent of the Assynt Munros, including some consternation about the descent from the ridge (minor epic narrowly averted) getting back just a tad after dark.

Carmen and I headed south again, to pick up an insignificant Munro Top near Meall nan Ceapraichean – the only Munro summit in the Beinn Dearg group that we didn't go up on the 2011 LAMM – we'd traversed 20m below the summit! Today we weren't so lucky with the weather, which stayed resolutely damp and dismal with low cloud, so having ticked the summit we headed back, detouring slightly to visit one of the impressive waterfalls in the glen (an advantage of the poor weather!).

Peri and Karl found the best weather on Ben More Coigach, a fine mountain overlooking the sea north of Ullapool.

Falls of Kirkaig

The next day was once again damp and windy, with cloud levels even lower, so we had a team walk to the Falls of Kirkaig, impressively full of water after all the rain.

New Year's Eve was a repeat, only windier, so various groups did various low level bimbles – some to the Clachtoll Broch, others to the crags at Reiff, others to the coast near Lochinver.

Then it was the traditional NYE haggis over-eating, over-drinking, and struggling to stay awake until midnight, followed the next day by fine weather, snow on the hills, and a long drive home.

Some more photos here

Costa de Langdale

Friday, November 30th, 2018

Langdale in November, pack your waterproofs and hope for the best. Except we should have packed our shorts and vests as this was incredible weather.

Staying at the Wayfarers excellent Hut (for the last time before they became a mixed club) we were 20 odd people over the weekend. The oddness level varied as people came and went at different times

On Sat 4 teams headed for the ever reliable Raven Crag, south facing low lying and crammed with good routes (and other people) Rob and Pete B did a bunch of routes that Rob thought he hadn't done before (he had!) Peri, Adam and Andrew ticked some classics (Revelation HS & Bilberry Buttress VS) and Mike and Paul were encouraged to tackle Pluto (an excellent HVS 5a traverse) amongst others. Dave W climbed with a new recruit Daniel and Simon and Carmen were hoovering up routes at minor crags and most of us met up at the Far East single pitch venue as the sun was going down.

Retreating to the ODG for a beer we met up with the walking team ( Jayne, Karl, Donal, Toasty, Richards H &P, Ann … ) who'd been up to Jack's Rake and beyond, and Pete W who'd tagged a run on the end of the valley.

Abandoning the drinkers a few of us headed back and commenced a Roast Ham and ten veg for 20 people, which was a tad late but worth the wait. Suitably stuffed we retired for the evening of gentle banter then not so gentle snoring.

Next day 3 teams headed for Pavey Ark, Pete B and Rob did Coati (VS) followed by Crescent Slabs while Mike S and Andrew did the slabs then got on Golden Slipper (HVS *** with a queue to match and still on my list to lead). Peri and Adam also tackled Coati, starting a little later and finishing well late (after we had all gone back to York!)

Simon & Carmen went climbing easy stuff on Harrison Stickle in the chilly wind and managed three fairly long routes. Richards P&H headed for the very local Scout crag and had a successful day bagging quality easier routes.

Another large walking team headed out to the end of the valley to the Crinkle Crag, Bowfell area in stunning weather. A scramble was tackled and great fun had, sorry no pix as yet…

We all (bar Peri and Adam) made it back before dark and headed home – quality weekend in a great place

More Photos: so many great ones …..

Newlands Valley August Bank Holiday

Sunday, September 2nd, 2018

For the August bank holiday we headed to the Newlands valley (Stair) to avoid the crowds in the Lakes.  Good turnout for the trip – 15 of us present at some point over the weekend.

Saturday – Simon & myself walked from the hut up towards the head of Newlands Valley to climb Direct route with bolt finish (allegedly S **)  on waterfall buttress and then grey slab (VS 4b **) on grey buttress.  The first route wasn't worth any stars (damp/wet, mossy & vegetated) second one was though (clean, solid rock, variety of moves).
Mike & Rob  set off just before us and were a little further up the valley on Miners crag – words from Rob.  "Miners Grooves, horrible approach pitch, pretty good P2 & P3,  Jezebel , terrible P1 and start or P2, with 10m of good climbing  and Tahulah – great clean climb on good rock !  I actually quite liked the crag (remote, quiet, easy to get to, sunny after 11)  but the starts of these ** routes are wet, mossy, sh!te.  I will certainly be more circumspect about belaying well out of fall line with this sort of route.. obvious in retrospect but maybe a reminder for others".  I hope Rob's foot improves soon!
Meanwhile Natalie and Russ went for the classis of Troutdale pinnacle on black crag followed by Little Chamonix at Shepherds- somehow managing to time things right and avoid queuing.   Peri, Adam and Andrew also went to black crag in the hope it would be dry enough to do The Shroud and The Mortician. Arriving there they found The Shroud was absolutely soaking. The Mortician looked as if it might be dry after the first pitch so we started up that, but bailed when they found the second pitch was a river. So like everyone else on the crag they defaulted to Troutdale Pinnacle which was lovely.  "A really enjoyable day out even if we had to change our plans".  Annie and Donal went for a mountain bike ride  around Blencathra and Skiddaw – which they seemed to enjoy a lot.  Dave D having reclaimed his car keys from M&S (don't ask!) arrived at the hut after a walk up Helvellyn (apparently that's where the crowds were).  Unfortunately Saturday turned out to be by far the best day.  Sunday and Mon am were wet.  There were 2 walking groups up Newlands valley on Sunday – taking in Cat bells and the ridge along Newland valley.  Natalie extended the walk somewhat by running back to Keswick and meeting Emma for a session at the wall.  Meanwhile Simon, myself and Alan took part in the 3rd race of the Kong mini-mountain marathon series, which started off from the outskirts of Ambleside – cloud was down in places, windy in places and rather wet, especially when wading through bracken – all good fun. Monday am most people left decided to leave the Lakes as it was still wet.  But some stopped somewhere en route for a bit of exercise – Annie did a walk from Arnside, Donal cycled round Dalby forest, Natalie, Russ and Mike went bouldering sans mat at Roundhill, Simon & I stayed in the Lakes for a trip to Leighton Moss.  C3 and Karl were heading to the Keswick show – but opted for Netflix instead.
Good weekend – despite the weather, good curries and cake.

 

Patterdale Pogg-out

Thursday, November 23rd, 2017

This weekend we were at patterdale in the Cleveland clubs hut, but without the drunken offensive violent member in tow. Friday night's entertainment was Richard H's Pizza Carbonella.

Sat dawned dry but not too clear and teams headed out in all directions. Simon and Carmen running south over the Dodds collecting Wainwrights in quite an impressive haul starting at Sheffield Pike area and ending on Arnitson Crag (despite some impressive nav errors). Donal pushed a lump of iron up a hill to access the High Street plateau and long ride, bringing quite a lot of the hill back with him on his bike.


Karl tackled the classic round of Striding and Swirrel Edges and pub. Dave Wiffen made the day trip and teamed up with Mike Shaw on Pinnacle Ridge before heading over to Helvellyn. Mike W clocked up a 60 mile road ride to approach is annual 5000 mile target, but did have to visit Shap for his sins. He was rewarded with a huge Staveley breakfast before an up'n'over Kirkstone pass and coast to the hut with mud to rival Donal.

Richard, Richard (that's two people) and Annie went Wainwright bagging close to Brothers Water – taking in Hart and Dove Crag and Red Screes and Middle Dodd. Paul ran a slightly brownian route to the Helvellyn ridge before traversing all the way to Red Screes and back to the hut. En-route he met Karl, Dave + Mike, RR+A and Rob. Rob was on a bit of a mission (see other blog soon) to finish the Wainwrights, which he did at 1.30 on High Hartsop Dodd (a pimple!) shortly after meeting RR+A. Paul caught him up with 100m to spare for the top out then headed off to catch the others whilst Rob started the long walk back to Grassmere to collect his car and arrive last back to the hut at 4.30

Karl was back first and set about raising the temperature of the whole valley using just the coal stove as his weapon. A standard YAC feast ensured lots of bodies stuffed with excess garlic bread lying around moaning before we even got to sample Carmen's Rice Pud with chicken bones lemongrass. Of course, we managed that and quite a deal of wine & beer to boot. Karl rounded off his day with a snore fest comatose on the sofa.

After a warm night with some Everett-esq snoring from Richard H we were greeted by a spectacular day- there seem to have been a frost everywhere except in a 10m radius of the hut! Richard P headed off to bag a few Dodds on his way home, Mike broke the journey home with a bike ride but on icy roads was a little spicier and harder than expected. Annie and Richard H headed east from the hut around Angle Tarn and Place Fell.

The rest of the team went to Pinnacle ridge which was in spectacular condition, dry and empty. Karl came with us for a bit but walked directly up St Sunday so he could get home early in prep for a mammoth week of traveling and teaching. The slog up to the start is a bit tough but short and we all arrived after 1.15 hours or so (despite two separate routes). Paul and Simon raced off, followed by Carmen and Donal. Rob and Mike got waylaid sodding about on all the variants they could find, descending as fast as ascending. This soon turned into a team sport and culminated in 3 variations of the crux pitch and 3 of the chimney/rib a little further up by 3 or 4 people.

Eventually we had to finish and head to the summit of St Sunday before a leisurely stroll to Grisedale Tarn and back along the valley. What a cracking short day – 5 hours hut to hut.


The hut was duly cleaned, tea and cake consumed and most people were way before dark.



Simons Pix on FB:

Scottish Islands Part 1 – Arran Easter

Sunday, May 21st, 2017

14 of us headed to Arran for Easter – camping at Lochranza.  The ferries from Ardrossan were all booked up well in advance so whilst some of us went over that way – others headed in from the North from Kintyre.

The campsite grew rather wet and squelchy over the course of the weekend – with a few tents requiring shifting to higher ground.  However, Sunday was the only wash out day (with various low level walks undertaken).  The other days were fine for trips into the mountains and ridges.  Due to the reversal to more wintry conditions it turned into more of a walking and cycling rather than climbing trip (so much for third time lucky!).

Annie and Pete E cycled around the island over 2 outings on road bikes.  Jamie and Esther also cycled on one of the days.  Most of us went up Goatfell at some point.  Karl went on a backpacking adventure testing out his new kit.  Paul and Jamie were the only ones to get some rock-climbing inclimbing at the crag above the campsite on Monday.

Great trip despite the lack of climbing – plenty of good walking/scrambling instead.