Archive for August, 2012

Caption Competition

Monday, August 13th, 2012

A newbie's introduction to midges, the weather gods and gritstone.

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

Hi I'm Justine, I started climbing indoors in Feb and have been wanting to get outside ever since. Relocating back up north from London last month gave me the perfect chance, so I went along to the pub to meet the lovely York Alpine Club a couple of weeks ago and have been pottering about a few times since.

Last Wednesday, Peri and Rob S kindly offered to get me onto some friendly rock for the first time, so we left York on a nice dry evening, and headed off to Scugdale to meet Dave S.
It was overcast , but the weather had been so nice the past few days we assumed we'd be fine. We were wrong.
Heading up to Scugdale, the moors on the horizon seemed to be getting less, rather than more visible. It started spitting. No worries, we thought, we'll pass through. The road was dry. Ten minutes later the road was certainly not dry, in fact it was decidedly puddly. By the time we got to Scugdale it was most definitely wet.

A quick check of the rain radar on Peri's phone told the story, we had spent a good hour driving directly to the ONLY patch of rain in the whole of the North of England. No, seriously. We met a soggy Dave and his dog, and everyone kindly pointed out the crag, poking just through the mist, and said how great it was. Perhaps this was a local rite of passage: maybe I wouldn't actually be allowed onto anything until I had had a full guided tour of the region from the road but no, Rob was determined to get me onto some rock, so off to Brimham we went.

Arriving at Brimham, it was also a bit soggy, but nevertheless we got to the Cubic Block and Rob climbed easily up and set up a belay at the top. Meanwhile, Dave sensibly decided to seek shelter in a cave on said block.

What then followed was a classic demonstration of how to make a climb look hard. With the vents on my shiny new helmet closed against the rain, I struggled my way up on second. Having not climbed outdoors before, I had no idea how to use my feet, and fell off. Repeatedly. With Peri’s helpful advice on where to put myself (despite my complaints that that surely wasn’t possible) and Rob’s catching skills, I finally got to the top, and was rewarded by a lovely view. I then did it again, making far less of a pig’s ear out of it.

After an abortive effort on the next route along (starting with me falling backwards off the mat whilst sitting, to be saved by Peri’s spotting instincts) I top-roped the arête, Cubic Corner (4b**) This was great fun, though I alternated my time between falling off and getting stuck in the middle. After realising that yes, I could actually stand on that pebble the size of a smartie, I got up with a big satisfied grin.

Dave and Peri had gone off for a boulder in the dry, but the rain stopped and the midges came out in force, and a controlled evacuation was in order. This turned into a rout, with everyone legging it back to the cars, under sustained attack. Then it was time for the pub, and much welcomed it was too. No mention will be made of Peri’s return visit to the crag at 1am, avec head torch, to search for her phone, as happily it turned up the next day at the pub, and I got another a trip to Brimham and excellent crash course in hand jamming and bouldering after going to collect it.

A massive thanks to the guys for taking me out, despite the accidental 200 mile round trip. The weather gods and midges may have won, but at least I got an appropriate intro to the joys of Yorkshire gritstone climbing, and as my grazes, scrapes and bruises are healing, hopefully I’ll be out again soon.