Archive for the ‘Weekend Meets’ Category

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.

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

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.

January Wales Meet

Saturday, February 4th, 2017

For the January meet we decided to try a different hut: Tal-Y-Braich, situated between Llanberis and Bethesda. Meet got off to an interesting start as we managed to lock ourselves out within 10 mins of arriving – doh. Just as well it was a dry, clear evening.

Nice little hut with a large wood burning stove. Living/dining area would be rather cramped if full – but good beds and view. Saturday was amazingly clear and sunny for the majority of the day. It was rather chilly for rock climbing & no winter climbing options – so Richard P, Liz and Mike headed off to do the classic Snowdon horseshoe.

Meanwhile Simon and myself walked from the hut to Carnedd Y Filiast to do The Ridge a Mod/3S scramble and finished by walking over Foel Goch to Y Garn and back again over Elidir Fawr, down to the hut. I carried a rope and slings etc just in case – which needless to say remained in the sack all day. Annie, Pete and Donal also walked from the hut taking a similar route without the scramble diversion, and heading on to the start of the Glyders.

Being the weekend before Burns night – we thought we would celebrate with a ton of haggis and mash. Simon lit a fair amount of whisky – which kept burning for sometime afterwards!

Sunday morning the weather was not so great – low cloud and damp. Hardly bad – but nothing like the previous day. Donal needed to head to Manchester airport so made a plan for a walk around Conway mountain. Most others decided to join in – not entirely sure if everyone went. Simon & I set off from the hut a bit later and also headed to Conway mountain – taking in most of the summits and stopping to watch the foals.

 

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.

Wet Grange

Thursday, December 1st, 2016

img_20161112_124514171A last minute cancellation of the hut in Newlands left us scrabbling around for a place to stay for novembers meet. Luckily the CC hut in Borrowdale was available and Rob made a quick booking to secure it. The hut is the Old School House and fantastically situated, and we managed to fill it in time.

img_20161112_123030802_hdrSat was pish weather so Karl, Russ, Paul, Dave D and Rob walked the 1/2 mile along the road to the campsite and over to Gate Gill and spent the next few hours getting a right soaking and having a laugh whilst not actually going very far. The mountain bikers (Jamie, Donal, Annie, Peter?) pushed their bikes somewhere around Borrowdale/Newlands and the walkers headed for opposite sides of the valley. Simon and Debra walked the ridge behind the hut from Catbells and Simon and Carmen went on a bog trotting expedition above Watendlath. Grahame ran half away across Cumbira alone on a mission. Peri went ice climbing and cake eating at Keswick wall/cafes.

Sat evening's feast was started in style by Paul with home made pate, followed by a Foxy Chili and the Inaugural Triffle-Off featuring three contrasting dishes. True to form Karl presented an adolescent dream of a trifle , with multiple layers and beverages, almost an engineering feat getting so much into a dish. Rob went all poncy with individual fruit laden pots but had a technical failure with the jelly, and Carmen cheated by actually making a proper nice trifle.

Sunday we tried to walk off the calories, Russ Karl and Rob went for a wee wander near Watendlath (a beautiful place), Paul & Jamie did the scramble behind the hut. A big team (Simon, C, Donal, Dave D, Annie) went to Seathwaite for some scrambling fun but greasy wet rock ut pay to that and a stroll around the Gillercombe area of Grey Knotts, Brandreth, Green Gable, Base Brown made for an acceptable day.

Quality meet, despite the weather and a good craic. Greta hut for a summer meet with all the climbing walkable and even some biking for those so afflicted.

Clapham – Yorkshire Dales Meet

Sunday, November 6th, 2016

The October meet had us returning to the hut in Clapham. There was an interesting start to the meet when we couldn't get into the hut!  A few phone calls later (and the correct code) we were in p1040296

Forecast was good for Saturday with mild and quite sunny conditions on the card.  So the climbers after a relaxed start (myself, Dave W, Rob, Justine, Gav and Karl) headed off to Twistleton which proved to be warm in the sun but a bit chillier when in the wind.   A good days climbing was had – ranging from quality more frequented routes, to some more obsure, somewhat vegetated climbs.  Rob managed to climb despite suffering with a dizzy head.  Meanwhile, Simon C nursing a dodgy knee took himself off for a 16 mile walk around the Forest of Bowland – which he rather enjoyed (made a change from the usual Dales hills).  The bikers (Annie, Pete E and Donal) went mountain biking in the Dales – which left Annie (recovering from a cold) totally exhausted.  As customary, we ate tons of food Saturday night – thanks to Annie's vast quantities of sausages, Yorkshire puddings and roasted vegetables (and Justine's gravy).  Of course that was after soup and followed by plenty of apple crumble and custard (thanks to Pete E and Donal).p1040287p1040315p1040294

Sunday was somewhat colder and declared too cold for climbing.  Gav and Justine headed back home.  The bikers – well they went out biking again – on a shorter possibly more enjoyable route this time.  Simon and I set off on a walk up Inglebrough on a circuitous route from the hut (passing Robin Proctor's Scar and Crummackdale en route).  Before we got to the summit ridge we bumped into Karl, Rob and Dave W so joined them in taking in an extra lump before the summit itself.  It felt absolutely freezing on the summit ridge in the Northerly wind – was a relief to drop down, walking  back via Gaping gill, Trow Gill and the waterfalls.  We also did our bit tidying up markers after an event held earlier that month.

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A good weekend.

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.

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