Archive for the ‘Climbing’ Category

A quiet August Bank Holiday

Tuesday, September 5th, 2017

A combination of family commitments, double bookings, iffy weather forecast, and 6 hour drive, meant that there ended up being just the two of us on this year's August camping meet to Pembroke. And we'd thought about cancelling as well! But were very glad we stuck with it as we had a cracking time, extending the weekend by a couple of days to make the drive worthwhile.

The campsite at Bosherston was heaving when we arrived, but the crags mostly varied between quiet and deserted despite what turned out to be 5 days of good weather.

On the first day we had the crag entirely to ourselves. After a few  routes at Fisherman's Point waiting for the tide to drop (over graded, over starred, but pleasant enough), we then switched to Rusty Point for some top quality slab and corner climbing at HS/VS. An attempt at following the old guidebook description for Sea Tube led to Carmen leading a new route (of the must-have-been-climbed-before variety), before we abbed back down and led the proper route (wriggling up a smooth blowhole, looked outrageous at VDiff but turned out to be soft for the grade). We finished the day with South West Ridge (Severe).

On Sunday we headed for Stennis Head where we expected to meet the crowds. But although we saw a few other climbers, we were mostly on our own again. I led the first pitch of Maelstrom Chimney as an approach pitch to Stennis Arete (HS), which means missing out the lower part of the arete proper, but gives two 3-star pitches – highly recommended! This was followed by Stennis Chimney (S), which isn't really a chimney but is another 3 star pitch.

We then moved to Huntsman's Leap, where we found all the crowds! But they were mostly climbing harder stuff, so we abbed in to Myola (HS), where we had to wait for a while for another pair to climb out – the only queuing of the trip! The initial section to reach the cave is very traditional and quite bold, but the rest is well protected – just as well as it's tough for the grade.

On Monday we headed for Mother Carey's Kitchen, where again we expected crowds, but again found none, just a handful of teams early on. Our first route was approached by abbing down the wrong line after a miscommunication with some guys at the top, followed by an "interesting" (and rapid) boulder hop in between waves. The Cracks was given Severe in our guide, after Carmen had a minor epic leading it we discovered that it's since been upgraded to VS!

Failing to learn from this we abbed back down for Threadneedle Stret, another "Severe" that's now VS. A giggle of a route, up a slightly overhanging wet chimney at the back of the cave (finishing with some don't-think-about-it bridging up mud conglomerate). Pitch two then takes an outrageously exposed traverse, thankfully on massive flake holds. The final pitch is supposed to climb a crack further right of The Cracks, but after finding 4c moves to reach the bottom of it and seeing no gear for the next offwidth, I traversed back to finish up The Cracks. Still get the tick though as that's the line described by Rockfax 🙂

The next day started with light drizzle, so we opted for a non-climbing day, with a nice walk round the local lily ponds and were rewarded with not one but two sightings of a kingfisher. After lunch it cleared up, so we headed for Mowing Word and the classic Diedre Sud, which had been on my to-do list since our only previous visit to Pembroke some 16 years earlier. Well worth the wait, even if it was overgraded at HS. We briefly considered another route as there was time, but opted for the pub instead.

The sunshine returned for our final day, so we headed for Giltar Slabs as it was on our way home. And again, we found it deserted. Some lovely slab climbing, mostly of the relaxing type, but with one VDiff turning out to be VS 4c (has since been upgraded)!

We enjoyed ourselves so much that when we got back we invested in a new set of guidebooks – so we're not waiting another 16 years before our next visit 🙂

A load more photos here


Thursday, August 17th, 2017


In case you missed it YAC lived up to its name this year with a trip to the Alps. Big mountains, long days, the lot. For just over a week 9 of us based ourselves in La Berarde, recommended by Dave W (1st out of the 9) as a quiet(ish) location in the Ecrins Massif. La Berarde is a small village at the head of the Venon Valley, as far as you can go on the road basically. It’s roughly 2 hours from Grenoble and sits next to a lovely glacial run off river. There is easy (ish) access to a number of huts with more mountain routes than you can shake a stick at, for the rest days the valley has a number of sports routes from single pitch within spitting distance of the campsite to all day 15 pitch beasts.


The first day got off to an exciting start, Mike and Russ had a pop at Pain Grillé (V+) on Tete de la Maye, but finished the day coming to the aid of two climbers who’d been involved in an accident. The injured climbers were safely delivered to the ground thanks to the help of Mike and Russ, not daunted by this turn of events they returned later in the week to complete the climb. Rob and I also did this climb later in the week and I can say it is an excellent 15 pitch route, the grading is quite homogenous, the bolts good and the start within a short walk from the campsite. Tete de la Maye has may multi pitch routes and is within walking distance of the village which makes is a great option for a late stare


After a couple of days acclimatising the whole team set off for an assent of Pic Geny arete est. Perhaps this is considered a minor peak in Alpine settings but it provides an excellent 1000+m of climbing (PD+, according to camptocamp, in UK money I say most was close to a grade III scramble with a couple of slightly harder climbing pitches (Diff/VDiff), culminating with a superb pointy summit. The decent, by a number of crumbling gullies and abseils, takes you back to the Venon valley by way of the Sellier hut. Our route description was in french which made this quite exciting — certainly motivation to recall to distant high school classes. The whole route took around 15 hours door to door but could include a bivy close to the start of the route if you didn’t fancy such an early start. I’ll leave the final word to DW who said this was a contender for his finest mountain day.


The following day saw us retreating to our tents as a monster storm dropped so much rain on us Rob had to dig storm drains around his tent with an ice axe. I the meantime Carmen and Karl had retired to the local climbing shop/ cafe/ bar for a session on the aperitifs. We joined them later for a meal in one of the local restaurants, when you’re sick of cooking on the camp stove there are a few places to eat in La Berarde, not overly expensive either. The next morning we found a landslide had covered the read and a walk up the valley showed quite a lot of the paths had been washed away, along with bridges.

The other big tick for the week was the magnificent pinnacle of La Dibona that soars above the Sellier hut. Despite the freezing start there were reportedly crowds on the popular lines. Three three teams did different routes including the Madier Route (TD).

Teams also visited l’Encoula Barfly are, where the route that follows the right side of the waterfall provides a very nice day out.

Roaches – wet and dry

Saturday, July 29th, 2017

For the July meet YAC returned to the Don Whillans Memorial Hut located at the foot of the Roaches. I was pretty keen to go and experience staying in this historic hut which is partly built into to the rock…..

The forecast for the weekend didn't look great and it rained heavily Friday night, even with the improves to the hut we had water running from the ceiling and had to deploy a few pots and pans.
We awoke Saturday morning to find the rain had stopped and the sun was out.

Carmen and Simon were out first as usual and head for the upper tier along with Annie who headed of for a walk followed by myself Russ and Danny. Many of the routes were still damp from the nights rain so we chose a route that looked dryish, Crack and Corner a 3 star HS. This turned out to be a really nice route and a popular one, after doing a few routes on the lower tier Jamie, Pete B, Peri and Dave D headed up have a go at the same route and show us where we should have gone on the second pitch – whoops.

Next up, Black and Tans, a top 50 severe then Saul’s Crack a Joe Brown route and another great climb. Jamie and Pete tackled Rotunda Buttress VS followed by Damascus Crack a route I would recommend, while Russ made an accent of Bachelors Buttress witch has a fairly bold start.
We finished off with an accent of The Sloth, a route first ascended by Willans himself, and one I’d heard lots about. Seen as the rock had dried throughout the day I had no excuses a fitting end to a great first day.

Surprisingly after Jamiie got a bit carried away with the chillies in the evening meal there seemed to be no lasting affects and Sunday was much the same rain during the night meant a damp start but the sun came out and dried things out.

Simon Carmen and Annie headed for Roaches Skyline followed by Jamie Dave and Pete while after a bit of wandering myself Peri Danny and Russ stayed on Upper Tier, this time climbing on the Simpkins Overhang and Wombat areas. Routes ticked on the Sunday included Wallaby Direct, Inverted Staircase, Contrary Mary, Runner Route and Light House.

My first trip to the Roaches and a really good weekend with some classics climbed and some to go back for ie Valkyrie.

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


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.