Archive for the ‘Climbing’ Category

No naked ladies in sight

Tuesday, July 4th, 2017

Rylstone is a wonderful crag, set high above the village famous for its calendar girls, on the edge of Barden moors, the 30+ min walk from the car seem to put off many people, which is fine by me. Although it catches all the afternoon sun, it can be a tad damp in the morning. Mind you, when have we ever got to a crag early in the morning ?

Paul, Mike, Russ, Jamie and I made the trip and despite having the whole crag to ourselves, choose to climb a pair of routes next to each other and only just in the sun ! Of note was Paul's ascent, descent, re-ascent, decent, re-ascent, descent, re-ascent, descent, re-ascent and final ascent (I did lose count, and the will to live, so maybe underplaying it a bit here) of the crux on Sundowner HVS5a.

Throughout the day we did some great routes, repeating the easy classics, soloing some low grade slabs and always admiring the view. What a great place with great routes, especially in the lower grades, well worth a trip out.

Miles from anywhere

Saturday, July 1st, 2017

I've fancied a trip to the Rugby MC hut at Cwm Eigiau ever since walking past it more years ago than I care to mention. And at last I had a chance, as the club had booked what is essentially a locked bothy for the weekend.

For once, the weather gods were on our side, and the recent hot sunny weather lasted through to the weekend. We even had a north-facing crag to climb on and avoid the worst of the heat!

The approach is by a 45 minute walk along a good track (which we still managed to take a wrong turning on). Most of us walked up, but Donal and Mike cycled. And Karl cycled up later on his new bike looking like he'd thoroughly enjoyed it and in no way swearing like a trooper. Luckily he was too tired to throw the bike back down the hill.

On Saturday, while Karl and Charles went walking on the Carneddau, most of us headed for Craig yr Ysfa. Carmen and I toyed briefly with trying Mur y Niwl (VS recently upgraded to HVS) but wimped out using the heat as an excuse. So we did a terrifying scramble/climb up a wet vegetated groove to reach the ledge at the foot of Pinnacle Wall instead – a fine Severe involving a long descending traverse along a quartz pavement followed by a long crack to finish.

Next we turned to the classic VDiff Amphitheatre Buttress. I'd done this many years ago and hadn't been impressed, but Carmen hadn't so we followed Dave and Donal up. Much better than I remembered – I must have been in a bad mood last time! And we bumped into Rich P who though not on the club trip was staying on the opposite side of the hill at Capel Curig.

Jamie Russ and Paul took advantage of the dry weather to make an ascent of Great Gully, a very (very) traditional VDiff. At least they thought they were taking advantage of the weather – instead they found the route wet and dirty, character building stuff.

On Sunday Karl headed home, Donal went biking, and Paul went for a run, while the rest of us returned to Craig yr Ysfa. Jamie and Dave went up Amphitheatre Buttress, Dave must have enjoyed it the day before!

Carmen and I opted for Nether Climb – a 1-star Severe in the old guidebook, but without any logbook ticks on UKC. As this suggests, the route was a bit on the dirty side!

Pitch 1 was broken and vegetated. Pitch 2 was better, though bold and tricky given the lichen, closer to VS 4b. Pitch 3 I've no idea about, as I went entirely the wrong way! The way I went was hard (VS 4b ish) and led nowhere, so I took a rope-drag-tastic line up some broken grooves and back left to regain the arete. As luck would have it, this brought us almost exactly to the top of the correct pitch. So far so bad, but pitch 4 was superb, almost worth the trauma of getting there! And the final pitch was also pretty good.

All that remained now was to get back down, which was a minor epic in its own right, descending a steep and extremely exposed rake, well worth roping up for.

That was quite enough for both of us so we returned to the hut, met the others, and headed off.

A really good weekend, and a good though basic hut in a fantastic location. We'll undoubtedly go back, though it might be a bit grim in bad weather.

More photos here

Dodging the rain in Northumberland

Tuesday, June 6th, 2017

With a mixed forecast and coming so soon after the Skye meet, numbers were predictably down for the late May Bank Holiday, and in the end only four of us made the trip north.

We camped at Greencarts Farm, a nice enough site but they didn't make any attempt to keep the party goers quiet and they continued their merry making late into the night, every night.

On Saturday, Carmen and I made an early start to beat the expected rain and headed for Crag Lough.

We started with a few obscure but good routes around West Corner at the far right of the crag, before heading left for Jezebel Direct, a great VS 4b lead by Carmen – no stars in the guide, whereas the disappointing and vegetated indirect gets 3 – perhaps they got them the wrong way round! It started drizzling so we started to head back, but it dried off so we finished with 3 routes at Peel Crag near the car park. I backed off leading a VDiff, but I'm not going to mentioned that.

10 minutes after we drove off, the heavens opened and we had a cracking thunderstorm for 45 minutes or so.

Meanwhile, Ann and Peter did a circular mountain bike ride starting from the campsite and getting as far north as Bellingham, The route crossed Simonburn Moor, where they had major mechanicals and both Peter's pedals collapsed! After this the track cut into Kielder Forest at Stonehaugh and then headed for Bellingham where they had a tea stop at the Rocky Road Cafe. The way back took them on the Sandstone Way, a marked route. Signposting at Shitlington Hall was hard to follow and they ended up at Esp Mill where the house owner plied themwith elderflower cordial (!) before directing them back on route.

Shortly after they were caught in and drenched by a ferocious thunderstorm at Gofton Burn. At this point they decided to cut the route short and and after a long downhill stopped at Simonburn for (yet more) tea and cake and to dry out. Two miles later they were back at Greencarts.

Sunday started damp and very windy, so we went for a run along Hadrian's Wall for a couple of hours until things improved. Then we headed back to Crag Lough where we repeated a couple of routes we last did a decade or more ago, and I finally got round to leading Hadrian's Chimney – a great route of its type, better and harder than it looks.

Ann & Peter did an 8 mile bumble from Belsay taking in Bolam Country Park, Salters Nick, Shaftoe Crags and Shortflatt Peel Tower, great views from the Devils Punchbowl. Refreshments after at Belsay village shop.

Bank Holiday Monday lived down to the stereotype, and rained. So we all went home.

A few more photos here

Pothole damage

Friday, May 12th, 2017

Carmen, Dave and Donal, proving that some of us managed a whole route.

A sunny Wednesday evening found Dave W, Donal, Rob, Carmen and Me at Almscliff. Whilst Dave, Donal and Carmen went ticked off ZigZag, Crack of Doom and Fluted Columns Rob and I hit Pothole direct. I manage the first move, after several attempts, after several more attempts I had it nailed. Unfortunately by this time I lacked the strength (and skin) to go any further. Rob then lead Zig Zag, manageing to get all the way to the top.

Pothole damage.

Spring had sprung at slipstones

Friday, March 31st, 2017

With a glorious forecast Karl, Mike, Jamie, me, Peri and Crofty went to Slipstones last Saturday.  We were all overdressed (in varying degrees) for the Summer like weather and even complained it was too hot – in March!  We were not alone the red goat had gone on mass as well.

Lots of bouldering, some roped climbing & lots of sleeping by various members of the party.

Mike chose a super pumpy HVS 5b for the first climb of the day – good effort.  I backed off a VS & let Mike and Jamie take over.  Great day to be out.


Sunday it was an early start (groan) and off to the Peak District for the Edale skyline.  Simon & I were running/walking independently.  Having overtaken him on the first hill – he over took  me whilst going along the first edge.  I had almost caught up with him about 1/3 of the way around when I did a superman dive going through the forestry section – doh!  Didn't see him again until the finish.  Thanks to Gav & Justine for the support going up Mam Tor.  Glorious weather for the race. Main mission accomplished – not timed out and not last to finish!  The fall has resulted in a bicep injury which developed on Tuesday – hoping I may have enough movement to test my arm later next week.

Winter adventure talks series 2017

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

In the winter months of 2017, the club ran a monthly ‘adventure talks’ social evening at the Falcon tap pub in Micklegate, York. The idea being that we have a couple of short talks by members or visiting speakers about a trip they’ve been on, and get a chance to have a drink with friends, meet new members and find out more about what people have been up to, hopefully getting inspired for the coming year at the same time!

We’ve had some great talks this year, starting in January when Dave told us about his trekking and mountaineering trip through Peru and Bolivia, and Peter described his adventures horse riding and trekking in Kyrgyzstan.

February took us to New England with Carmen and Simon to see the fall colours and of course do some walking and climbing, and then over to Northern Sweden with Donal for a multi day hut-to-hut walk along the Kungsleden or ‘King’s trail’.

Finally, in March we got on our bikes with Chris who competed in the transcontinental cycle race from Belgium to Istanbul (everyone was exhausted just listening!), and then Rob gave an introduction to lightweight backpacking (with props!) along the Haute Route Pyrenees.

Many thanks to all the speakers for giving their time to put a talk together and present it, and to all those members who came along to support, hopefully have some fun and learn about somewhere new. Looking forward to more adventure talks next year!

Cwm Glas Mor – new meet, new hut

Thursday, January 5th, 2017

15326606_1349349478422170_3886202714005874998_nFor the first time we had a early December meet to compliment the upcoming extended Christmas trip, and held it at the CC hut in the Llanberis Pass.

As it was a first we were worried about attendance, Id been banging on about sucha meet for ages so stepped up to organise it and suggested the compact and bijou CC hut slap bang in the middle of the pass. We needn't have worried as we easily filled the 9 places and then some, relying on Peri and Karl to sleep in vans at the large hut (Ynns). The Hut is not on the road and involves a 400m or so walk from the parking at Ynns, unless you are Paul or Peri in which case add another 400m or so Brownian Motion to that. A cosy hut requires some organisation to not trip over each other but it all worked out ok, even the one shower and separate toilet block,

Despite the late three teams headed for Tremadog and grabbed a bit of sunshine (Pete B, Karl, Jamie, Peri, Mike, Dave W and I)

A smaller team (Paul, Simon, Carmen, Pete W ) walked up behind the hut to the Parson Nose scramble and onto the summit before heading down Y Gribyn ridge.

Given the time of year we were all back quite early and we had Petes Moroccan treat to look forward to but not until we had scoffed some soup (I think !) Peri produced excellent homemade mince pies and tons of cream, so we were as usual, stuffed.

Sunday was cold and windy but bright blue skies. Simon & Carmen headed along to Pen-Y-Pass and up on the glyders with fantastic views.
Paul and Jamie also headed onto the Glyders but from the Nant Peris end enjoying sunshine and views and avoiding the wind

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riverside bimble in beddgelert

The rest of us headed for a bimble around Beddgelert in lovely conditions and a cup of tea post scotch-egg-in-one for the prof.

We all somehow managed to be back at the hut at approximately the right time and after some car shuffling and hut cleaning were away home before 5.

Great little hut in a stonking position and with requests to book it again for a summer climbing trip.

Bryn Hafod Meet 2016

Tuesday, September 27th, 2016

10505245_1724819451076031_5260905827964329654_oSeptember saw YAC heading to a new location, Bryn Hafod near Dinas Mawddwy in mid-Wales on the southern edge of Snowdonia. This place really is a world away from the popular tourist spots of the northern part of the national park. The hills may be less craggy and imposing but the rolling slopes and tranquil green valleys combined with the absence of crowds create a beautiful, peaceful setting. The hut is located at the head of the valley a few hundred meters walk up a track from a small car park and shares the valley with only a couple of farms. Built by members of the Mountain Club (of Stafford), the hut consists of a large kitchen and living room downstairs, and a couple of dorms upstairs (one for members only) providing space for 18. As there were only 7 YACers present, we had bags of space, even with the handful of members who came and went over the course of the weekend.20160917_175502

The local crag (Craig Cywarch) has a reputation for being rather vegetated but the hut owners have recently been fairly active at cleaning things up and provided a handy list of cleaned (or otherwise climbable) routes. The ominously named "Doom" seemed to be top of everyone's ticklist so Simon and Carmen headed off to find this on Saturday morning, Pete B and I following along behind some time later (purely to avoid the queue of course, nothing to do with our inability to get up in the morning). On arrival at the crag (a short walk from the hut) Pete and I spotted S and C warming up on one of the recently cleaned VDiffs so decided to do the same and headed for Will o' the Wisp, a classic rock tick Pete had done before but couldn't remember much about. Apart from an ill advised scramble up a steep vegetated gully, we found the route fairly easily. It proved to be pretty good, with some fantastic positions and views down the valley, only spoiled slightly by me ignoring the guidebook description and traversing past the arete with steep juggy moves up a wall in a fantastic exposed position (apparently the best bit of the route), in favour of a steep vegetated corner, with minimal holds or gear. Oops! Simon and Carmen followed us up (the conventional way) after retreating from a wet slimy slab on the crux of P1 of Doom.20160917_131706

After lunch S and C went back to tick of the rest of the VDiffs where they started while Pete and I went in search of Buzzards Balcony, a 3* Severe at the far end of the crag. However, after 1.5hrs of bashing through bracken and brambles we decided it was a bit late to start another route and headed back to the hut to make a start on dinner (via a less direct/vegetated route!). Rather a shame as the routed looked to be in good nick.

The others (Pete E, Donal and Annie) had a good day out biking, despite the cafe on route being shut so had to survive on Donal and Annie's sandwiches, Pete's pies, cake purchased from a farm on route, and a cream tea at the cafe at the end of the route. Meagre rations indeed!

Sunday we awoke in the clag so settled for a pleasant walk around the Aran's, except S and C who ran a similar route in the opposite direction.

A good trip in a nice location but must get a bit more climbing in next time.

Windy Wharncliffe

Saturday, July 9th, 2016

HimmelswillenHimmelswillenTuesday night saw a good turnout head for Wharncliffe crag (Northern Peak District). It was a lovely sunny evening with no fear of midges given the blustery wind.

Many of the uber classics such as Himmelswillen and Tower Face saw multiple ascents – the total star tally must have been rather high with good routes such as Great Buttress, Beta Crack and Remus also being climbed.

Rob was seeking out routes he had not yet climbed – leading to ascents of leaf buttress (v. little gear) and flake climb (wobbly flake, interesting traverse and thinner but well protected upper section – good climb).Tower Face

Stair

Tuesday, July 5th, 2016

Combe GhyllAfter a long absence, June's hut meet returned to the Fylde MC hut at Stair, in the Newlands Valley.

The forecast was for a mixture of sunshine and showers, but we decided to risk a spot of climbing anyway and headed for Raven Crag. I was tempted by Raven Crag Gully, which has long been on my to-do list as a summer route (we've done it in winter), but it was dry and sunny so we opted for Corax (HS 4a **) instead – basically a harder variation start to Corvus.

The first pitch was excellent, the second pitch good but dirty, with no sign of any recent ascents despite its stars, which made route finding tricky – so it's possible I went off route! Felt more like VS 4b. We then moved left to finish up the last few pitches of Corvus, which was as good as ever.

We followed this with Raven Crag Buttress (VD ***) which I've done before but Carmen hadn't.  A good route but lots of grass, not really a three star classic at the moment.

Crystal SlabMeanwhile Daves W and D had arrived, and after one or two of the short single pitch routes on the left, did Crystal Slab (MVS 4b **) – an excellent bold first pitch followed by some unpleasant jungle bashing. They finished with  Raven Crag Buttress, while C and I moved further down the valley to Glaciated Slab, where we did a couple of poorly protected Severes and soloed a VDiff.

It had stayed dry all day up until that point, but made up for it with a cloudburst as we left the crag, we were all drenched in minutes.

Having left it for almost 3 months before writing this blog, I can't remember exactly what anyone else did, but I know there was climbing done at Black Crag, Shepherds Crag, and Buckstone Howe, and walking and biking in various places!

Sunday's forecast was similarly iffy, with a greater chance of rain, so we went to Shepherds – a crag I tend to avoid due to the crowds. In the event it wasn't too busy, probably many had been put off by the forecast.

ArdusWe started with Ardus (MVS 4b ***), a brilliant 3 pitch route, Carmen took the steep second pitch, I got the bold final one. Next Carmen volunteered me to lead the crux first pitch of  Brown Crag Wall (VS 4b **) – good but a bit traumatic! We finished with Brown Slabs Face (VD **), which despite being really popular somehow managed to be only marginally polished – maybe we were off route? Great little route anyway.

With impeccable timing the heavens opened as we walked out again. Most of the others had also climbed further along Shepherds, but I'm not sure exactly what!

Some more photos here