Archive for October, 2012

Lovely Langdale

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

We had a very good turnout for the Langdale meet, managing to get 15 people into 13 bed spaces. (Not by being overly friendly, but because conveniently, we had two people staying just the Friday night and two staying just Saturday#). It was a good mix of old stalwarts and newer members, participating in the usual variety of outdoor (and indoor) activities.

Saturday dawned with unpromising damp weather, so there were no Alpine starts. Rob, with assistance from Dave, kindly offered to take the less experienced climbers to Scout crag to practise multi-pitch for Rob’s MIA logbook. The crag was seeping and soaking, so they spent a while looking at gear placements and setting up belays in various ways until eventually the cloud lifted and the sun came out. Splitting into two groups, Dave took Justine and Mike up Route 1(VD) and Rob lead Dee and Catherine up Route 2(S). This was their first experience of multi-pitch so it was as much about the process as about the climbing, though both routes had their merit. The sun then came out to play properly and they swapped routes. Some great climbing in a very convenient location made this a good little crag but there wasn’t much else to do (plans to go to White Ghyll were scuppered by the weather).

Justine on Route 1, Scout Crag

Given the damp start, Ann, Peter, Tom and Donal chose to go biking, with a long and hilly ride between Ambleside and Kentmere (and back again). Some lengthy climbs were rewarded by several loose and rocky descents, which they all got down one way or another without incident. However, Tom came off his bike on a highly technical section of tarmac and skinned his thigh. On returning to the hut after exploring the ridges north of Grasmere with Karen, Andrew was keen to put his newly acquired first aid skills into practice on Tom’s leg – despite Tom’s concern over his ‘hands on’ approach. The final climbing party, Paul and Jamie, returned just in time for the usual epic dining experience, having abandoned their jammed ropes after abseiling from Gimmer in the dark.##

Sunday dawned brilliantly, with most people choosing activities to fit in with their car teams. Dave, Rob and Justine headed up to Gimmer, after a false start! Spotting Jamie and Paul in their t-shirts retrieving their ropes, they scampered under the main buttress and into the dark side. Rob had a hankering for The Crack (VS 4b,4c,4c ***) which although it was the only route on the crag in the shade, he thought might be dry and warm enough. It turned out to be warm enough with a few layers on, but a few bits of the route proved to be very wet and slimey. A wild traverse on wet holds ended the first damp pitch, the second had a tough move in the sun and the third followed the obvious crack past a small overhang and into the sun again. Real variety and great gear make this a safe route but Rob recommends a late start in summer to get some sun and dryness.

Dave D on last pitch of The Crack, Gimmer

Meanwhile, Ann, Peter, Alan, Catherine and Dee set off for a fairly random walk and scramble.  After a contrived start in the lower sections of Dungeon Gyll, they soon escaped to the path on the east side, to find better scrambling on Thorn Crag (grade 1/2*). This was a short but very good little scramble, finishing above the upper section of the gyll.  They then headed over to Harrison Stickle for the excellent South West Face (grade 2**).  After a short but steep start, the route heads up a lovely clean slab with good holds, before a series of rock steps deposit you on the very summit.

Harrison Stickle

In all, an excellent, enjoyable weekend and hopefully a good and memorable introduction to YAC for the new members.


# Rob has termed this ‘hot-bedding’, but probably best not to list this on our website as a club activity.

## Simon and Carmen beware – They will soon knock you off your perch as YAC’s nocturnal climbing gurus.


Brimham VSs

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

Paul D and I headed to Brimham for a few routes on Sunday not really knowing what the weather would do, it was forecast to be a tad better in the afternoon but started lovely and got worse !
Paul had a hit list but my wishlist at Brimham are all a bit harder and I was up for an easy day (and being a wimp).

We started with the crowds at Cannon Rock where Paul did a route on his tick list Maloja (VS), quite soft for VS with good gear (Paul doesn't usually bother with much!) and only one awkward move. Done in good style and with ease. I then did Frensis (VS) just to the right, steep but all the gear you can carry – with no Peri the swearing was kept to a minimum – but Paul struggled a tad and I had to ab for a stuck nut.

Cubic block was empty save a bunch of kids on a course and Paul did the HS/VS, just to left of the corner, which is bold but easy climbing again without a hitch, even in the rain! We next took a look at Rough Wall (another on his tick list) but the start was greasy so we moved on to Cracked buttress where I did Parallel Cracks (VS) (the left hand side of buttress) failing to find the secret hold (it's miles back!).

We wandered back and onto The Belfry (S) as our last route but the heavens opened whilst Paul was squirming so after sheltering under the overhang and packing up we left- last car in the car park – result 🙂

Good day out and no midges !

Midweek escape to Curbar

Monday, October 8th, 2012

To make the most of the midweek sun before the uni term began, Rob, Pete, Tony and I met at Stanage last Thurs for a day's climbing in the peak. Following some sophisticated weather forecasting (i.e looking where the clouds were then heading in the other direction) we headed off to Curbar.

Apart from a pair of boulderers and a paraglider that scared the hell out of me by appearing suddenly over Rob's head whilst I was belaying (and to which he was oblivious) we had the place to ourselves.

An empty Curbar in the October sun

Pete and Tony set off to attack Pete's ticklist, whilst Rob kindly continued my education in trad gritstone by sending me up the easiest(!) chimneys, offwidths, slabs and cracks he could find. I can now recognise the verb “to udge” and have the bruises to prove it. Every climb I seconded was enjoyable in different ways – I hadn't realised before the variety in styles you could have within a grade range along a short stretch of crag, and learnt a lot along the way.

I may be sticking my tongue out in concentration, but look, I'm using my feet!

I learnt the perils of relying on guidebooks after failing to trust (and falling off) the large and loose-feeling flake at the top of 'Slab route' an S route in the rockfax guide, that Black Rock to Froggatt grades harder and recommends be avoided as a finish as its decidedly dodgy. I agree!

Pete started his way carefully up the classic Elder Crack, until placing a massive Cam of Doom ™ allowed him to retreat. Deep in the crack, this then evaded retrieval via abseil, a tense scenario, finally resolved to the relief of all (but particularly Pete's wallet).

We ended the day on a pair of Severes, one of which I seconded then led on preplaced gear. I really struggled with the top section the first time up, and nearly wussed out of leading it at all, but glad I did as was so much easier once I knew where the holds are. Sounds obvious but I hadn't twigged this before. Rob's last suggestion was that I lead the adjoining route. I was nervous because I've only led a handful of routes on my own gear, (M-VD) but sodded it and had a go.

It went fine until I got to the top section (which I had already climbed as it was shared with the previous route) and got a bit stuck. Knowing that I had placed the gear I was above freaked me out. (It was a bomber nut, but I didn't know that :p ) I was too scared even to swear (my usual coping strategy) but with the sun setting and everyone else getting chilly I talked and tiptoed myself up it cleanly and was proper chuffed in the end.

We then packed up and descended down the wrong path in the twilight, but found the car park eventually and headed for home. An excellent quick trip, definitely beats a day in the office.

and so it begins…..

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

Most people have now decided it's too dark at night and the indoor climbing walls beckon. Last night there were loads of YACers at Harrogate which was surprisingly not too busy.

Will, Justine and I met up with Karl and Leni to be joined by Carmen, Gordon and Dave D, with Angela and Catherine already in residence.

Look out for the emails (and the bombardment when Peri returns from sunning herself:) discussing options for the weekly session.