Archive for May, 2014

A cracking day out

Monday, May 19th, 2014
Contrasting styles and facial expresion on the crux of Tody's Wall.

Contrasting styles and facial expresion on the crux of Tody's Wall.

The nice weather arrived in force this weekend so Karl, Catherine and myself decided we must take advantage. The location, Froggatt, a lovely gritstone edge set above a woodland hill side in the heart of the Peak District. The first route, Allen’s Slab (S 4a), a classic traverse on what look like chipped holds for your feet. The gear is a little spread out but its there when you need it. I’ve done this route a few times, and for some reason I always end up topping out using Trapeze Direct! Next was one on my tick list, Chequers Buttress (HVS 5a), a three start route and one also has the honour of being on Peri’s Grudgematch Ticklist.

Catherine employing her unusual style on the block below the crux of Tody's Wall

Catherine employing her unusual style on the block below the crux of Tody's Wall

I can see why, the initial traverse went well, but only after a few failed attempts to get off the platform at the top of the ramp. The move up onto the arete required more thought and I had to rest a while while that took place. Thanks to Karl for the very patient belaying. I finally finished the route, Karl and Catherine both completed the route in fine style, the later employing her usual unusual technique. This is a lovely route, with great gear, but quite intimidating in parts. By this time (1:30) Justine and Gav had arrived, which is understandable given they only live five minutes down the road. Onto Karl’s lead, Sickle Buttress (S 4a), again another nice route up a fairly thin crack line, followed by a traverse and a nice arete with a little exposure. In the meantime Gav and Justine went onto the Joe Brown route, Broken Crack (VS/HVS 5a, depending on the guide), what do you expect from Joe Brown, steep hand jamming fun with a committing layback to get you off the ground. Some old school tactics from Gav require to place the first wire (threading two nuts together for a longer reach) protected the layback for his lead. Gave then patiently belayed the rest of the group on this route, it really is a hand jamming brute of a crack. Unless you’re Catherine that is, who lay backed/floated up most of the route. Not being content with just one successful attempt Justine opted for a second round with Brocken Crack whilst the rest of us went looking for the next route.

Going through the moves on Straplombante

Going through the moves on Straplombante

We opted for Heather and Tody’s wall. Catherine had some practice leading on Heather Wall, Gave lead Tody’s Wall. With the rest of us following on second. The variety of climbing on this route is unbelievable, delicate moves onto a block, rock over onto the slab, then a nice slab followed by a superb hand jamming crack. Who could ask for more, check out the pics for alternative methods of attacking this route. Once again, Catherine finds a novel method forgetting through the crux, which doesn’t appear to use either hand or foot holds. I think she may have some gecko DNA. The last route of the day was lead by Gav, the acrobatic Straplombante (E1 5b), this is only short but very very fun, swinging from one hold to the next, and a very committing swing to get the final hold on the route. I don’t think I’ve ever climbed such a fun route before. Then is was time for home, we made it to the Grouse Inn just in time to order food. A cracking day at Froggatt…….. Next time Valkyrie, you’re on my list….. If anyone wants to see the other pictures from the day then have a look here: Froggatt Pictures

Back to Brimham – an evening of VS's

Friday, May 16th, 2014

Jabberwok variationStill trying to take advantage of the nice evening weather we (Carmen and myself) headed to Brimham Rocks, via Harrogate (oops). There we met up with Jamie and Simon and headed off to Canon Rock where, despite being terrified of the route from a previous time seconding it, Carmen was keen to have a go at Maloja (VS 4c). This is a lovely route with fun moves at half(ish) height, easier for the tall! Whilst Carmen got on with that I had a go on Frensis (VS 5a), this is a steep route and I, to keep my second entertained of course, had to rest a couple of times, at the top of the parallel cracks, at the thread (but only to keep Carmen company on the crux move of Maloja), I may even have rested on the rope at the base, who knows! I did, however, complete the climb.

By this time Dave Wiffen had joined us, turning up about 30 minutes later than us despite leaving York at least an hour and a quarter later. Jamie came up on the second then Dave had a go too. After being victorious on Maloja, Carmen, Dave, and Simon headed to Castle Rock for a go at Jabberwok Variation (VS 4c), the eminently more protectable version of Jabberwok. Whist Jamie opted for a lead of Maloja. Lead climbing complete we all played about on boulder problems and the start of Picnic, which is a lovely looking route and I nearly convinced myself the variation would be a good route to try – maybe next time. At sunset we headed back to York. A lovely evening.

Patterdale or bust

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

Hi Folks, the weekend before last the club had a regular weekend meet to Patterdale, just at the end of Ullswater. There where members there, myself, Annie, and three new members, Carlo, Martina, and Luke. As the hut is enormous we could easily have had a room each! Just enough time for a pint in the White Lion.

The first day saw particularly nice weather, as we were in Patterdale it seemed a shame not to introduce our Italian friends Carlo and Martine to the classic Striding Edge – Swirral Edge walk. We set off with beautiful blue skies, and for once the story of a trip to the lake doesn’t end with the skies opened, on the contrary the sun remained out but so did the crowds. Striding edge was at standstill by the time we arrived at the exit onto Helvellyn. Never mind, after getting to the summit we took in a few of the tops along the Northern section of the Helvellyn range, as we had already done the hard work getting up there, then headed back to the hut via Swirral Edge and Catstycam. Then to the pub for a pint (or several).


Day two wasn’t so nice, however, Luke and I were keen for something a little harder than Striding Edge so we headed for the classic grade 3 scramble on St Sunday Crag, Pinnacle Ridge. Given that the clouds were covering the summit we were quite please to find the star of the route with little trouble, although quite a lot of effort getting to this point. The walk up from Patterdale, via Birks, is quite steep. The route had only one other group of two on it, a consequence of the weather I guess. Pinnacle ridge its self is interesting although quite short. None of it proved too demanding and we completed the scramble as a solo route. The rest of the day consisted of walking in the clouds towards Fairfield then down towards Grisedale tarn. Luke decided to head back to the hut from this point and I headed over Dollywagon and Nethermost pike to head back via Striding Edge. This was a complete contrast to the previous day, the crowds were gone, as was the sun, replaced by rolling clouds that provided an atmospheric descent. Meanwhile Annie, Martine and Luke had headed of to Howtown by the lovely path that runs along the south-east shore of Ullswater. The return journey took them over the summit of Place Fell. Both parties found the station markers from the Great Lake 3day MM, which some of the more energetic members of Yac were involved in, Alan, Simon and Carmen, I believe. Well, we found 214 amongst others on Sunday, when did you find it Simon?


Being a bank holiday weekend we had the hut for three nights, on Monday we headed off towards Dovedale. Luke and I went to climb Westmoorlands Route on Dove crag whilst Annie, Martina and Carlo headed up to Fairfield via Hartsop above how ridge and Hart Crag. It wasn’t a fast start to the day, it may have something to do with staying in the local listening to a band, who can say! Westmoorlands route is graded and MS but in my opinion in more like VD as in Very Dirty. The route would have been better climbed with wellingtons and a garden fork. The climbing was easy enough, once the vegetation had been cleared away a little, but the really pleasure of the route were the views down Dove dale from the belay ledges. This combined with the location made the whole day feel quite adventurous and isolated. Definitely one away from the crowds. And thats our weekend in Patterdale,