Archive for October, 2011

Wet Widdop Weservoir and a Froggie day

Sunday, October 30th, 2011

widdop in the autumn sun

Here is the short version of our Sunday bouldering:
Me, Graham and Angela went to Widdop, it were gopping wet, we stayed a while then went home.

The longer version – well, it was gopping wet. We stayed till 3.30, but in the end only found a few problems dry enough to get up, everything was horribly slithery. But its a lovely place, overlooking the reservoir with the colours all gold tinted in the low autumn sun, and frustratingly we could see there would be lots of really good stuff with good landings (just as well coz theres a few you have to jump down from) that will be well worth returning for on a crisp dry day.






On Saturday me and Rachel went to Froggatt. Once again everything was on the soggy side and we suspected nothing much would be climbable, but in the end we did four very enjoyable routes before the weather clagged in again. I did Diamond Crack, a lovely little HS that I am amazed I have always walked past before, and Sickle Buttress Direct, slightly thin pro at the top but lovely moves. Rachel did Green Gut and Tody's Wall, which she managed very slickly.  So a nice day against the odds, but very chilly – it had the feel of one of the last trad days of the year. We were saved the decision between shivering up another route or heading for tea and cakes by the approach of a wall of grey wetness and gratefully abandoned crag for the Outside Cafe in Culver with honour intact – I recommend the St Clements cake.

bridestones flight time!

Monday, October 24th, 2011

Me, rachel and graham went off to bridestones for sunday afternoon (the upstart west yorkshire version, not the Dalby version). For those of you who havnt been there before, its a really lovely bouldering venue, a collection of oddly shaped gritstone boulders and low buttresses scattered over the edge of a high moor overlooking a valley. There are problems of all grades from ungraded introductory and warm up routes, to V silly, and even some micro routes (but thats not what anyone really goes there for). The landings could not be better, mostly flat ground with soft springy turf, its a lovely place to spend those autumn and winter days when its getting a bit brisk for routes.

We started off on a few very easy warm ups then gradually moved the gear up a little – only a little, as neither rachel or me are exactly hard core boulderers. We put the mats to the test when I popped off a problem at the very top, clocking up about 8-10 feet of air time – I'm please to report that the mats were every bit as soft and bouncy as you could wish. Somehow it became 4 o clock and we had only visited three buttresses, and only done a sample of the low grade problems (vb to v2) on those. The grades certainly felt stiffer than their equivalents at the indoor wall – no jug ladders here , just lots of undercuts, slopers , laybacks and mantels. It was like being a kid at the sweetshop, although a lot more tiring. After a couple of hours my forearms felt like wet spaghetti and both rachel and graham were complaining of sore fingertips. Next week we hope to follow up with a bloddering session to Widdop, a nearby crag which makes a useful alternative if bridestones is too windy. And I'm told that the grading is a bit softer – I'll believe it when I see it ;-D

Bang goes the neighbourhood

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

Last weekend, two dozen members and ex members met up at Coniston Copper mines to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of York Alpine Club.

The unexpectedly blue sky on Saturday tempted most of us to get out (fairly) early. Margaret headed off to meet Jonathan Moffett for a walk to the west of Coniston. Simon, Carmen, Rob and Pete B opted for the short walk to the esoteric Little How Crag. This gave them plenty of time for climbing and they notched up ten routes between them, including the atmospherically named Thunderclap, Thunder Slab, Greased Lightning and Sunshine Arete.

Peri, Dave, Jamie and Paul all headed up to Dow. Peri and Dave got a Classic Rock tick with C Ordinary Route, whilst Jamie and Paul did the equally good Giant’s Crawl.

Donal, Simeon, Silvia, Alan, Peter, Simon F, Debra and Annie chose a lovely but short lived scramble as a means of approach to Wetherlam. We then continued on to take in Swirl How, Coniston Old Man and Dow before the long plod down Walna Scar road back to the hut.

Andrew and Karen made a later start up the Coniston fells, but Andrew put his foot down a rabbit hole and twisted his ankle. Back at the hut, he swapped his boot for a mop bucket of cold water, which provided lots of entertainment for everyone else.

In the evening, Phil, Tom and Fliss joined us for the party. The weather gods defied Simon’s doom-laden prediction for the planned fireworks and instead provided a mainly clear moon-lit evening.

Thanks to Andrew’s bargain hunting, we managed to acquire a rather large quantity of munitions fireworks, hand assemble by children in Far Eastern sweat factories. Despite fears of a pyrotechnic disaster, these provided an excellent display, with only one of the rockets suddenly changing direction mid-flight!

Celebrations continued indoors with large quantities of food and alcohol (including fizzy stuff) whilst we all watched the increasingly blurry slide show. We mainly managed to identify lots of different YAC members in unusual situations (both physical and geographical). If in doubt, we guessed Simon in Scotland and were usually right! Like all the best parties, we were too stuffed to eat the birthday cake and rolled off to bed vowing never to eat or drink again.











The next day, the weather was not so good, but most people made half hearted attempts at outdoor activities and those that did, at least had the birthday cake to sustain them!


Hot Grit

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

Lakes or Peak, Lakes or Peak, our plans fluctuated with the weather forecast. As Graham put it, there was probably less organisation involved for the Normandy landings. Courtnay had to be back on sunday morning (work), Graham CourtnAy and me had also booked into a bouldering class and talk with Johnny Dawes on the friday night, so the logistics were all getting a bit involved, and the forecast kept changing. Finally we settled on the Peak.

Friday night and heeers Johnny! I had heard he was likely to be a bit off the wall, and I wasnt disappointed. The bouldering class was totally excellent, he had us jumping on to footholds, trying to switch holds single handed, and finally we all went outside and tried balancing on bits of rockery. He was totally enthusiastic, and seemed to be enjoying himself as much as we were, I came away with lots of new ideas on how to train. I still havnt figured out how every move can have its own noise though…

Saturday was spent at Stanage High Neb with a team of six – Rachel, Graham, CourtnAy, Astell, Dave Shield and me. Graham tried to convince me to try Kelly's Overhang, but after watching a team of lads have an absolute epic on it I decided to decline. It was way too hot for anything too strenuous anyway, and we had to keep reminding ourselves it was the first of October. Courtnay led not one but two Hard Severes, and Rachel led her first HVS since breaking a leg two years ago, so maybe its just me who felt lazy. Courtnay left with a final challenge: a list of random words to insert into the York guided tour she was due to lead on sunday.

Every Girl's Fun! aka Every Man's Misery

Sunday was all change for the teams. Only me and Rachel had camped, so we headed for Burbage South where we were joined later on by Ali and Richard. Rachel and me had a tick list which included Bynes Crack, Fox House Flake and Every Man's Misery. Which was Every Girl's Fun! No need for the CamaHuge on this one, the main difficulty was not falling out but acheiving any motion at all. Finally Ali and Richard joined us having spent the morning at Burbage North, having ticked Knights Move, Amazon Crack and Rose Flake.


And if anyone is curious, CourtnAy managed to get all her allocated words into her tour guiding, cant remember them all, but in case anyone ever mentions it, the name Bootham is definately NOT derived from an indigenous species of Brocolli growing in the area 🙂

Sunny Limestone

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

With the bout of good weather about to come to an end, teams seem to be heading in all directions this w/e. Initial plans of high Lakeland crags were changed in light of the less than favourable forecast esp for Sunday so the Peak it was.

Peri, CourtnAy and a big team headed off for Stanage High Neb area on Sat and Burbage South on Sunday (more details on Peris Hot Grit blog). Simon, Carmen and I headed further south into limestone country and camped at Alstonfield (a place YAC has used in the distant past) to be joined by Pete B after some bodging to get his car through its MOT.

Beeston Tor is a great venue but with most routes multi-pitch and VS-plus not a great introductory crag. It faces south and catches all the sun, making it ideal for winter days, so of course we rock up on a hot sunny day and get completely fried while doing West Wall Route (VS 4c) – some excellent climbing a bit marred by early vegetation and dust/dirt evereywhere. We decided to run away and get an ice cream just as Pete B arrived! Brassington wasn't where we were headed but it's where found ourselves, some lovely little routes to solo and a few VSs to lead, but all really short, meant we got lots of routes in as the sun set (mind the nettles though). S&C cooked, Pete and I headed for one of the two local pubs and ate posh nosh.

Dovedale was the target for Sunday, Snakes Alive (VS 4c ***) more specifically for S&C. Pete and I headed up to Tisssington Spires and enjoyed Ten Craters of Wisdom (VS) and Simeon Direct (HVS) but not so much Rose Bowl as I lost the route towards the top – oops.

Rain Stopped play about 4.30ish (so S&C carried in till 5.30).

My camera has barfed so no idea if there are any pix to follow!
UPDATE: managed to get it to work by bashing it on floor !