Archive for the ‘Climbing’ Category

The Heat is on in Wales

Thursday, July 5th, 2018

Rob under tension

The June weekend meet saw nine of the club members heading to North Wales to stay in the really nice, if a little quirky Chester Mountaineering Club hut located part way up the main tourist path from Llanberis to the Snowdon summit.

With the recent dry weather all the mountain routes and generally damp north-facing mountains and crags were in fine condition.

Saturday Peri and Dave W took on the ambitious link up of Main Wall on Cyrn Las (HS) and Gambit Climb (S) on Clogwyn y Ddysgl. A big day out and two top 50 routes, sounded excellent and one that's definitely going on my list to do one day. Dave headed home quite late but satiated.

choo choo

A handful of us took the opportunity to join the crowds on the Snowden track and head up to cloggy, a place I have heard a lot about but never climbed. Jamie, Rob and I headed for Llithrig HVS 5a a three-star historical classic according to the
guide, some exciting climbing and fun to be had on the tension traverse.

Carmen and Simon also headed to cloggy tackling the three-star VS Great Slab, another one for the list. We all met at the top and descended together and with queues on nearly all the easier routes (VS/HVS) on the eastern buttress and time running out we all headed to far west buttress and made a mass ascent of Slab Climb Right-hand a starred HS. Nice climbing in the evening sun proves there is the odd easier route at cloggy, but don't expect much if any gear.

Pete W and Pete B headed to the pass to climb on Carreg Wastad, clocking up a bunch of stars with the excellent Crackstone Rib (S), Skylon (HS) and The Wrinkle (VD). This would have been a decent day for most but not Pete W who decided a short jog halfway up Snowdon and back would be a nice way to round of the day.

On Sunday we somehow all managed to survive my cooking with no lasting effects and awoke to another gloriously warm and sunny day.

Pete W’s mate Rhys joined us for Saturday night and they planned a nice gentle ride by the coast for the Sunday, only a 100k I think in the end!

Pete B, Rob and I made the most of the dry conditions and headed up to Gambit Climb (VD in our guide!). Finding the start was a little tricky but once on the route, all was clear, lots of short awkward corners broken up by ledges. A tough short and well protected final pitch (4b ish) brought us to the ridge and a gentle stroll back to the Pass.

This time Peri and Jamie climbed in the pass on Dinas Mot and tackled The Cracks (HS) yet another top 50. Carmen and Simon were first on Main Wall in Cryn Las, confirming its quality when we met up in the pass with Simon declaring it possibly the best route he’s ever done.

Suitable Knackered we all jumped in our various modes of transport for the journey back to York. A great weekend in Wales with even better weather, unfortunately, the tick list isn't getting any smaller, at least I managed to climb on Cloggy.

Beating the heat at Raven's Scar

Wednesday, July 4th, 2018

Given the forecast was for more hot weather and it had been dry for weeks we decided to hit Raven’s Scar for a bit of north facing action. There were four of us: Simon, Paul G, Paul D and Adam, a new member. The weather was perfect, hot but enough breeze to keep the midges at bay, even when they came out at sunset. The evening was a round of the classics, Airlift, Forest Fact, Harlots Grove, Waterslide (not as bad as it looks apparently), Ahab and Grooves-ology. The rock was in good nick, dry and the dirty bits brushed away easily. There was talk of the pub but it being 10:40 when we got back to the car put a stop to that suggestion. Never mind we managed a last route instead.

Sun Baked Cats

Wednesday, June 27th, 2018

Herding cats must be easier than sorting out a venue sometimes. Eventually, on the hottest day of the year (31 C in places) we headed for a south facing full in the sun crag with black rocks!

Wharncliffe is a long but easy drive and one we usually visit around this time to get the most of the daylight. No change there, arriving at about 6.30 we climbed until nearly 10.

I climbed with Jamie, Mike with Peri and Dave D and Tall Paul, all getting a few routes in when not being roasted by the radiation.

I did a new to me Putrell route Imaginary Boulder give HS 4c – which i fell off twice with hands sliming off really good holds! Started from the ground and did it but felt so hard. In contrast, Jamie and I did Railway Wall which we both felt to be great fun and soft with loads of cams, forget wires, probably just VS 4b. Jamie then led Great buttress in golden light and slightly cooler condition adding as many traverses as he could manage.

It was popular with Leeds MC there and a few other. Great fun but jeeeze it was hot.

Cooked-Rise

Saturday, June 9th, 2018

Mike and I headed to Crookrise (via the A59 diversion) on what turned out to be a glorious day, Jamie joined us after a leisurely breakfast or two. Free parking, easy approach and a huge collection of quality routes on a new crag for Mike had made the decision.

We played on the initial slab before meandering along, alternates leads and a few solos and admiring the views. By about 4 or 5 it felt like a solar oven and was quite draining. We left about 6 after a marked slow down.

Mike and I headed back via the northern route (past Brimham) which may be a tad longer but was pretty and we kept moving.

Whitestone sans guide

Tuesday, June 5th, 2018

Mike met Jamie and I at Whitestone Cliff after work -and he picked up a speeding ticket 🙁

As usual, we were alone and the nettles had not started in anger nor the midges. The sun was warm but the trees kept it cool at the base.

Mike smashed out Countdown Direct (HVS 5a) a couple of tricky moves with good gear (threads) but steep and pumpy on good rock. That wall does have the best rock at the crag and the routes are all good.

We then had a look at a couple of cracks, not having a guidebook we sent Jamie up the first just to the right of the descent gully (looking at the crag). Turned out to be another good route on good rock (once past the first 6ft) with excellent gear. No sun though and wouldn't want to get midged here. The route was Domino VS 4c, no stars, but I'd suggest * at least.

We sensibly called it a day after that, we could maybe have squeezed another in but the sun was falling and we'd had a great time.

Eagle Front ( you wouldn’t want to climb this one if it was wet )

Saturday, June 2nd, 2018

After a quick email exchange with Dave W a plan was hatched to have a look at Eagle Front in the Lakes, a three star VS on Eagle Crag.

After some last minute shenanigans five of us headed of early for the lakes, myself, Dave W, Russ, Danny and Jamie, blue skies and sunshine awaited.

The crag faces North but with the recent good weather we were hoping the route would be dry, it was. Good climbing quite delicate with not to many good hand holds and a few mossy ramps and corners means you wouldn’t want to be on this one if it was wet.
Russ and Danny headed off first as a pair, while myself, Jamie and Dave climbed as a three and tried to keep up.

Jamie led a good second pitch which felt balancy and insecure to me, I did the middle pitches and Dave the final two including the classic corner pitch which looked impressive not much gear, unless you’ve packed a number six cam! Most of the climbing was in the shade unfortunately but we emerged back out into the sunshine as we topped out to amazing views.

We strolled back to the car in the evening sun and enjoyed ice cream by the beck before the drive back to York.

Great day and a good route might try a south facing climb next time though!

Summer's arrived? Lower Falcon Crag

Friday, May 18th, 2018

Rob and I headed across to the Lakes to stay at grange, the weather forecast was good (for Saturday at least). The plan was to try some of the other crags in Borrowdale (i.e. not Shepards) and tick off some routes on the 25 best VS/HVS in Borrowdale list. We opted for some stared routes on Lower Falcon Crag. The crag is a short walk from the parking (10 minutes to the base of the routes, maximum) but there is a lot of brambles to be aware. The weather was great, it could have been (and probably was) the summer. We started on Spinup (VS 4c) and Jamie joined us as we finished the first pitch. The whole route is excellent but pitch two has a particularly nice traverse with some interesting down climbing to access it. Due to a bird restriction the descent is by abseil form the centre of the crag, its free hanging in places so don’t forget the prussic and passes Illusion and Usurper, so plenty of opportunity to inspect the harder routes.

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_e29-2018-05-18-11-27.jpg

Is that a new tick? No, I think you have to finish the route first Rob.

Next was Hedera Grooves (VS 4b, although I’m not sure it was easier than Spinup), well worth the two stars with nice two dimensional climbing before the traverse on pitch one and challenging start of pitch two through a holly bush. Last route of the day was Illusion (HVS 5a), the crux of which is accessing the 15(ish)m traverse using a large hanging flake, which some of us foot traversed and others hand traversed (interesting choice when trying to get the gear back). The gear is good but spaced, and the climbing technical in a few places. The guidebook mentions this being a loose crag, there were a few loose holds but given this was early in the year after a cold winter its to be expected. Be aware there were quite a few ticks found after we returned home.

Next day was a bit pish so we headed home via Bramcrag Quarry to check out future options. The place is heaving with bolted routes at all grades. It will be well worth a visit on a nicer day.

There's no way this is 4c …. Crookrise

Friday, May 18th, 2018

Having given it s sufficiently long time for the memories of previous visits to Crookrise to fade a few of us headed there (Russ, Carmen, Simon, Peri, Jamie and Paul) to try out luck with an average weather forecast. As it turned out the weather was glorious, warm with lovely blue skies. The routes turned out to be tougher and bolder than remembered, with plenty of them offering little gear until half-height.

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There's no f@£$ing way this is 4c

 

But undeterred we had a go on end slab. the sole, walkers wall, slab and nose, arsenic slab (most of the routes including some top roping on a blank HVS Old Lace) and cats whiskers (to name a few). A great mix of routes from steep lay backing to easy angled slabs punctuated by cries of “there’s no way this is 4c”, which to be fair was probably true. Another great day out on grit. Simon has posted some pictures on facebook.

 

Inspired by Rob and Will ….

Monday, March 12th, 2018

Inspired by the conditions reported by Rob and Will we set off to try and get a last lakeland winter route in at Great End. As it turned out Jamie and I weren’t the only ones inspired, the place was heaving and Window Gully had a cue of at least 3 people, after gearing up this had increased to 6 and counting. As an alternative we headed up South East Gully, neither of us had done this previously and it had the advantage of only one other team in the gully (after some faffing by us at the first belay they were well gone leaving the place pretty much to just the two of us).The snow was ok but a soft top layer made it quite hard going. The first little step in the gully had just enough ice and hooks to go, the ice pitch was excellent, it was a bit undercut at the top made it quite a challenge to exit, definitely grade III conditions. After a chat at the top with some of the other climbers we abbed into window gully and had just enough time to do the upper ice fall. The ice was fat and made for an excellent last pitch. Time the walk back to he car, in the dark, and head into Keswick for fish and chips. IMG_1305-2018-03-12-11-43.jpg

Mad Dogs and Englishwomen go climbing on Red Tarn Face …

Monday, February 5th, 2018

… but we didn't, we went to Brown Cove Crags.
On a stunning day Mike (being only slightly ill) & I (Rob being only slightly stupid and being awoken at 6.30 in PJs) responded to Dave W's call to hills and headed over to the Lakes. Parking in the layby we walked through Swirls car park – which is now free (well the machine has been busted for months apparently) and upto the cove in improving weather.

We were not sure what we'd find given the preceding week's weather, the crag certainly looked wintery. In reality, there was a smattering of new soft snow lying on top of waterlogged old snow that in places was great but mostly was only just ok. Some turf was hard but most was rubbish so we kept off the turfy buttresses.

We headed up a lean Central Gully mostly on our feet with an occasional gymnastic move off a hook. Towards the top we headed left across the buttresses which was fun. Nearly all done with 1 axe, Mike didn't bother with cramps. On top the weather was stunning and the views of the rising snowline on Skiddaw group picturesque. Dave and I descended Left Parallel Gully and came back up Right, both easy grade 1 plods with no real interest, but good to get the feel for the snow.

Back on top Mike had built a bollard and we did some skills revision (stompers, NZ stompers, bucket seats, buried axe and boot-axe belays and body belaying – as well as rope coiling to make Mike look like a professional alpinist. I then suggested to Mike we test his bollard by abbing down the gully, I was very suspicious of the size. As Mike weighs next to nought the abbing went ok but when I asked him to jump and pull on the rope it got a little more exciting. It was quite interesting watching the rope cutting through 3/4 of the bollard. Luckily I had him on a separate belay. Enlightening.

After some lunch, we strolled up to Helvellyn summit, observing the faces, lack of cornices etc, to see how the busy Red Tarn face was. We toyed with the idea of descending and doing a route but in the end, just watched the teams coming up and left in a bit of mist.

As we headed back along the ridge, we watched a young woman and mad dog (Duke I think) bounding up the face from the snow bowl. We were amazed at the Duke's performance and the woman looked clearly competent making short work of the snow slope which steepened a bit, no more than Grade 1 territory. We spoke briefly at the top as Duke ran around enthusiastically and we wandered off just as she called down to her male partner to check on him.

A nice stroll back down, observing a helicopter, and we were on the road fairly early and back in York for 7. Only then did we find out about the epic that unfurled behind us.

Apparently, the woman's husband got into difficulties with bendy boots on the headwall and requested help from nearby climbers (Wes). One of them grabbed a couple of axes and in his haste to reach the climber, tripped over his crampons and went head first down the snow bowl for 150m. He was rescued by his mates (while Alan Hinkes sorted the stranded climber out) and walked off the hill for while until feeling bad and calling MR out. A few busted ribs is all the long-term damage.

Quite a day for learning opportunities!

pix from Mike, Daves camera broke, I forgot mine in rush !