Wed 29th Mar, 2017
An oldie, but a goodie for the first outdoor Wednesday of the year!
All welcome. Evening meets start around 6pm. Please bring a head torch and thermals. Manchester sunset is approximately 19:39, twilight to around 20:14. Please keep an eye on Scribble
for wet weather options.
Perma-dry quarried grit with traditional and sport options
Members: Clay Conlon, Duncan Zerafa, Cathy Gordon, Andy Stratford
Guests: Elliot Brown, Isobel Prause, James Duthie, Pati Xariklia, Alastair Philp, Jack Jarvis, John Smallwood.
The equinox has passed and with it the final advertised Wednesday outdoor meet for a while. There’s always the options of night ascents of Thors Cave and The Bat, and hopefully we’ll get out for a night ascent of some ice in Wildboarclough, Wilderness Gully or maybe even the legendary Downfall... but for now here are the antics of the final eleven (not some football reference for those following the England manager debacle).
Clay managed an early arrival before 3pm and after some bouldering led the pumpy Alcove Crack (HVS 5a) with James Duthie. Later on Pati made a fine lead utilising the kneebar rest for two hands off, Duncan followed. Elliot was up next and made another fine job of it again with the kneebar, Alastair struggled to follow but did manage to second Elliot up Piggy Crack (VS 4c) as did Cathy.
Over on the bolted grit bridge pillar, James Duthie led The Thin End of The Hedge (F6a) with Isobel providing support. Jack Jarvis and John Smallwood arrived very late and tried another bolted route but backed off after 2 clips – both finished the evening bouldering until the holds faded!
On the trad wall nearest the bridge James Duthie led Deception HVS 5a, Andy The Foundling VS 4c and Duncan Cracked corner S 4a. Various members of the team seconded. The Rock Tavern seemed a suitably monikered establishment, and the democratic and unanimous vote was to head to Awesome Walls at Stockport next wednesday – The indoors is back on!
It's getting late in the season - super short walk-ins are the order of the day!
Members - Cathy Gordon, Jim Symon, Andy Stratford, James Meakin, Duncan Zerafa, Nils Elgar, Fiona Dixon, John Evans, Clay Conlon, Dan O’Brien
Guests – Elliot Brown, James Duthie, Hanna and Tim
It’s that time of year again…
Limited by the fading light the KMC returned to Hobson Moor Quarry with ire’s short (and recently broadened) walk-in. There was a solid turn-out for a late season Wednesday as the KMC set about ticking some of the oft-travelled local classics. Nils led Epitaph Corner (VS) followed by Fiona and Hanna who had to employ some creative footwork to make up for lack of reach on the tricky section. Epitaph was also climbed by Elliott, followed by Dave and Andy, followed by James M.
Dan book-ended the midweek season by leading Parker’s Eliminate (HVS) which he also climbed as his first route on the first Wednesday back in April. Andy followed using a very different sequence. Clay also led Parker’s having employed the power of pasta1 to ensure success, followed by Dan in the drizzle. Jim had a productive evening leading Crew’s Route (VS), The Harp (HS) and Foghorn Groove (VS) all followed by Cathy (on her first and last midweek of the year) and the latter also followed by James M who also led Pocket Wall (VD). Elliott moved onto The Harp with Dave and James D led Crew’s Route and the Harp followed by Duncan.
Last and by no-means least came Fiona and John on Midnight Variation (S). It starts up Evening Ridge (VD) which is described on UKC as “not to be recommended” and then finishes up a wall or groove on the right. As the drizzle descended the dirty and steep corner and wall became almost impassable and a rope was requested (and subsequently provided by Dan). After John topped out fiona followed in full drizzle mode and the rest of us decamped to the Pub.
If there is something to be said about the shorter evenings it is the increased opportunities for sitting in the pub. Alas Duncan didn’t get the memo and left his nomination (for Wilton 1) and vote via proxy. The other nominations were Dovedale (optimistic at the best of times and positively foolhardy at this time of year) and New Mills Tor. New Mills was victorious in a run off against Wilton (which mounted a surprisingly strong challenge given its absence of floodlights!) So its perma-dry quarried grit next week for what is likely the last outdoor Wednesday of the year (unless your correspondent finally wins a vote for an evening of aid climbing in Dovedale).
Until next week…
 Apparently couscous had previously been shown not to provide a sufficient boost. We expect him to release the full dataset shortly and look forward to his work with potatoes.
I'm sure there will be no midges this week...
Members: Clay Conlon, Fiona Dixon, Emily Pitts, Dave Wylie, Andy Stratford, Duncan Zerafa, James Meakin, Mark Ashley,
Guests: Elliot Brown, Emily Thompson, Isobel Prause, Pati Xariklia, James Duthie, John Smallwood, Alaistair Philp, Jack Buzkco
Sixteen members and guests on a very hot, muggy late summers evening – so warm that the midges couldn’t really be bothered. Clay arrived before 3pm with Fiona and climbed a fine series of leads: Stacked Deck, Loose Living and Pillar Cracks with eventual success on the notorious sandbag of Sounder (HVS 5a). The rest of us drifted in after 5pm, anticipating that Dave would show up with the new guide in the hope that we might discover new hidden gems.....but no such luck....still plenty of the classics to go at.
Clay continued his evenings fine haul by following Fiona up Right Siamese twin then Andy up Cracked Wall (VS c) then finishing off with a lead of Mucky Pups (HVS 5a). Also leading Mucky Pups was Duncan – reaching a personal goal of climbing HVS in his first season of trad –well done fella! He was swiftly brought back to earth (not quite literally, fortunately), with an interesting looking (and sounding!) fall from the well travelled VS 5a Rapunzle which involved a painful straddling of the rope in just the wrong part of the anatomy. Jack failed to extract Duncan’s most wedged nut from deep in the crack, resulting in abseil time for the benighted pair – good job there was a full moon.
Pati and James Duthie made a formidable team ticking off several of the harder classics including Questionable Stability, Mucky Pups and Grane Wall. James Meakin led One way Street, Left siamese twin and followed Elliot up Stacked Deck
Right Siamese twin was also led by Andy, Emily and Elliot with Isobel, John, Emily Tink, Mark and Alaistair all following plus various other seconds on the other routes.
About twelve of us made the pub where there was much scepticism and mistrust of motive about the Presidents proposal of New Mills Torrs after the midge fest at Den Lane which he proposed and then failed to attend. An excellent sales pitch by the ever hungry (for food, not climbing) Emily Pitts led to Hobsons choice.
A return trip to a popular crag in the hope of light breeze and fewer midges...
Another short walk in to a first class natural edge with grades to suit all…..
Before I proceed with the meet report I will make my apologies in advance for not knowing all the members & guests surnames (and the lack of interest to look them up on the KMC web site) and also apologise for any omissions, and or errors of fact.
So, in the absence of – most- surnames you are described as below……!
Fiona – Nice girl who enjoyed an evening of intense Soloing (definitely not a euphemism!).
John – Fiona’s fella with an impressive beard
Duncan – Who’s surname that begins with a Z that I can’t pronounce - never mind spell or remember
Clay – Actually thought this was his surname... Genuinely thought his first name was Cassius.
Dave Whilie – I know it’s not spelt this way, but I do know it will irritate him!
Nils + children
Gary – recently recovering from surgery on his nether’s – no soloing for a while yet then Gary ;-)
James – not a very good climber, not known for his meet report writing skills either.
John – no redeeming features
Another John…. or was it Jack…. Anyway, he had red jumper on…. I think…
Patrizia – Almost certainly spelt wrong?
Gareth Collom ?
James – unusually well humoured for Scot’s man and a good climber to boot.
The weather was fab and as usual the rock was in fine condition. Fun was had by all. The general mood was somewhat lowered late on, by the arrival of the midges. At which point we beat a hasty retreat a pub in Whalley Bridge – who’s name I can’t recall (no surprises there!) however, I fear the interior décor and choice of music may never fade from my memory.
Peoples favourite routes of the evening were: Portfolio, High Buttress Arete indirect, High Buttress Arete direct, Medicine, Wall climb & Missippi Crack.
In the absence of our OMS & El Pres. does this count as a "meet lead" for me - surely it must?
The destination – decided by the vote - for next Wednesdays meet is Troy Quarry. Hope to see you all there
Another short walk to an excellent quarry with grades for all
Members: Dan O’Brien, Dave Wylie, James Hall, James Meakin, Clay Conlon, Duncan Zerafa, George Williams
Guests: Amy Spray, Hannah Miltoff, Elliott Brown, Pati Xariklia, James Duthie, Ryan Linerman, Esmira Ropaj, Tom Ferneyhough, Nick Peristianis
Our suspicions were first raised when the until recently rubbish-filled hole-in-the-ground known as Den Lane was nominated last week by El Presidente, only for him to disappear off to the Swiss Alps. Luckily, the local midges turned out in force in his stead, though their names are not recorded. When your corespondent pointed out that some others must have voted for it James M said “Yes, but we didn’t realise what we were voting for…” Now where have I heard that before?
Undeterred, James D climbed Orchestral Crack (HVS), a steep corner with a very tenuous top-out to an old piece of mangled metal and a bolted lower-off. After a couple of rests on the steep final crack James fashioned a belay and lowered off removing the gear. Hannah and Nick followed and then abseiled down. Dave exacted revenge on Ash Tree Direct (S) which delivered all it promised (being a route that climbs direct, to an Ash Tree) which had defeated him on a previous visit. Amy, Esmira and Tom followed him and the route was also led by Elliott, followed by Ryan.
Dan led Three Notch Slab (VS) with a tricky start (try pulling really hard) and a bold finish (unless you have a Tri-Cam). Clay provided the Tri-Cam and Dan was followed by James M and Elliott who all managed to get on the small ledge below the bolted belay. Clay also led the route though with much less faff, followed by Duncan and George, who also teamed up to climb Sunset Crack (VS). James M led Elderberry Slab (VD) followed by James D which he described as “grotty”. Apparently it also lacked Elderberrys… By now the midges were descending…
Over on the taller side of the quarry James H led Noah’s Crack (VS) followed by Pati. Neither of them had anything positive to say about the route and especially the descent which looked almost as hard as the route if you shun a short abseil. Super psyched James also climbed The Wilter (E1) which keeps a small pile of rocks at the bottom as testament to the fragile nature of parts of Den Lane. After figuring out a tricky top section which the guide suggested might be "easier for the short” Pati followed to an ageing stance and they retreated by abseil. Still keen they attempted Popple (HVS) which the guidebook described with a memorial at its base however this was not there thought the remains of a concrete plinth could be seen. Shunning the guidebook description James did battle with the upper crack avoiding some of the more helpful holds out on the right resulting in some airtime and ultimately an irretrievable wire. Pati followed grumbling about jamming.
Dave finished the evening climbing Sunset Crack which had a straightforward start and a hideously tricky (if well protected) finish. After trying left, right and straight up to surmount the final steep section Dave resorted to “French Free”. He eventually gained the belay on the right and was followed by Amy, Esmira and Tom who showed contempt for the rampaging midges which had, by this point, driven the rest of the KMC into the welcome shelter of the Waggon Pub in Uppermill. Unfortunately, the abseil retreat was prolonged until well after dark as Dave and James H dangled on their respective routes; Dave trying to remove a stubborn friend and James still wrestling with his stuck wire. Dave won, James is a nut down…
In the pub the nominations for next week were Horseshoe Quarry, Troy Quarry and Windgather (this late in the season it was agreed that repeat nominations would be allowed…) The voting was simple with Horseshoe eliminated first and Windgather winning the run-off. The promise of a light breeze to blow away the midges seemed to be the biggest selling point. There was a small commotion as some of our number arrived after the voting. Dave complained that the vote was not quorate as there was only one Dave… The appeal to ACAS is ongoing.
Breezy edge 2 minutes walk with great routes for all
Castle Naze meet report 24th August
Members: Nils Elgar, Dave Wylie, Andy Stratford, James Meakin, George Williams, James Hall, Emily Pitts, Duncan Zerafa, Geri Milhalkova, Gary Thornhill, Jared Kitchen
Guests: Jasmine Pitts, Beth Thomas, Jim Smith, James Duthie, Hannah Milton, Nick Peristiansis, Don Brennan, Patti
Nineteen members and guests on a beautiful summers evening at ‘The Naze’, with some impressive ascents tonight: After soloing ten routes as a warm up then around half the girdle traverse, James Hall made a fine clean ascent of Belladonna E1 5c – an under-rated but excellent route. Andy struggled up with a tight rope and a short rest!
First to arrive though was Dave Wylie, leading Don up Central Tower (VDiff) and Keep Corner (HVD). James Meakin put the demons to bed with his lead of Keep Corner in fine style– the route from which he took a ground fall and some serious injuries just 18 months ago when gear ripped through. Nils was holding the ropes then went on to lead up The Crack (VS 4b) the Nithin (S4a) both followed by James.
Nozag (VS 4c) – one of the best (and safest) VS’s in the peak - had leads from Duncan Zerafa who is going great guns in his first season leading trad. Andy also led. Seconds included Dave, Geri, James Hall, and Gary. Duncan also led Little Pillar at HS 4b.
The Crack (VS 4b) was popular tonight with Nils leading up with an impressive second by Jasmine Pitts. James and Emily also followed. James Duthie was followed up later by James Hall.
Geri continued to hone leading skills on sheltered crack (S 4a), also lead by James M. Beth and Jim climbed Atropine (VS 4b) and Ledgeway (HVS 5a), Nick followed Pati up green crack. Don provided great entertainment attempting to follow Jared up Scoop Face and enjoyed himself so much he had no strength left for anything else! Hannah led Keep Corner and Green crack with James Duthie following on. Jared led Icebreaker (E2 5b) which was ‘’rubbish’’ then burnt himself out on the criminally undergraded pod crack E1 5c which stops most E4 leaders in their tracks.
The final entertainment of the night was provided by gear recovery specialist Wylie, attempting to remove an overcammed unit on Studio – unusually the attempt ended in failure – not often that Dave fails to retrieve stuck gear! Looks like it may be the latest bit of decoration on the Naze for some time......
We retied to the Beehive for a dose of honey (well – pork scratchings and bitter shandy, if you must ask) and voted on New Mills Tor, Tintwistle Knarr and the winner – Den Lane, Saddleworth. Bring your tricams.....
Quarried grit, spanners and plumb lines amid Sodom and Gomorrah
Members: Dave Wylie, James Meakin, Fiona Dixon, John Evans, Clay Conlon, George Williams, Andy Stratford, Gareth Williams, Dave Shotton, Geri Milhalkova, Emily Pitts, Duncan Zerafa, Dan O’Brien
Guests: Elliot Brown, Beth Thomas, Ryan Lindfield, Katy O’Brien, Patti, Hannah Milton, James Duthie, Guido
The forecast was spot on: it was a fine, still, sunny summer evening up at the Pits with twenty one members and guests attending. However, those familiar with the Pits knew that the stillness meant that the wee beasties would put eventually put in an appearance.
Beth opened her account with Foile Bergeres (HS 4b) followed by Dave Wylie and Elliot. A later attempt by George was foiled by the tricky start but Duncan eventually overcame with the loan of a no. 5 friend from Andy. Ryan, George and Dave S all followed.
A little further right Andy jammed his way up the overhanging start of the delightfully named Dead Dog Crack VS 4c. When Dan O’Brien followed he gave the start 5a. Duncan obligingly confirmed it was stiff for a 4c when he fell off twice, eventually untying muttering about jamming…..Dave S made a fine effort on second followed speedily by an on-form Beth.
Gareth had a direct line on Spanner wall in his sights: The connection gets E3 6a in Over the Moors and E4 6b on UKC – either way, your president can confirm it is rather tricky, having failed to get even a metre off the ground as G-mans’ second. Gareth had made a great effort on it, having a short rest on the three rusty pegs before threading the eponymous spanner and high-tailing to the top. ‘’Pumpy’’ was how he described it. With a bit of rope shuffling, Beth then used the line to make an ascent as a second on Spanner Wall (E2 5b)
Elliot and Dave broke ranks and wandered round to the lesser used no. 5 (Weavers) Quarry making an ascent of the excellent HS 4b called Weavers Crack
Meanwhile, Clay was having a fine time on the immaculate three star VS 4c – Plumb Line – the best line at the Pits – Fiona and Dave followed. Patti, Hannah and James were next, all clearly enjoying the superb climbing. James Meakin set up a belay at the top of Hazy Groove and The Cracks. Lots of folk climbed these including Emily, Geri, Guido and John, who also managed a cheeky solo of Unctuous. Beth finished her busy evening with Midsummer (S) followed by Emily and Geri.
By 8pm the midges were just too much so most folk packed up, about fourteen made it to The Church where we gave thanks for the evening by imbibing golden nectar. Voting included Shining Clough, Millstone Rocks (longdendale) and Helsby but the clear winner was Castle Naze.
Quarried grit, spanners and plumb lines amid Sodom and Gomorrah
Rollover to next week due to rain
More Chew Valley Gritstone on a friendly east facing outcrop
Members: Jim Symon, Andy Stratford, Mark Ashley, John Evans, Fiona Dixon, Duncan Zerafa. George Williams.
Guests: Elliot Brown. Jack Buczko, Ryan Linderman, Emily Thompson, Rivca Rubin.
It was a windy, unpromising looking evening with rain clouds gathering. Just as we arrived at the crag it rained as we sheltered in the cave. Rivca managed her first outdoor route (Cripples Way, V Diff, led by Jim) and decided just the one was enough in the conditions. Things eased and while it was very windy, it remained dry until we reached the cars at 9.30pm.
Jim went on to lead Zacharias (VDiff) and Nice Edge (HS 4b) with Andy leading Letterbox (Diff) and Juggle Crack (VS 4b) with Emily gently cursing, (mostly in a ladylike fashion) on the end of the rope.
Elliot Brown made very short work of Nameless one VS4b but took a little longer over the very tricky protection on Cascade VS4a. Duncan had the benefit of seeing the sizes of Cams required (which Elliot was missing), borrowed some small cams and was able to protect it really well.
All good gritstone crags have a fun route for troglodytes and Rob's Rocks is no exception with the curiously named Ylnosd Rib (HVD) providing super squeeze action. John Evans made a fine thrash of it followed up by Fiona and Ryan. Then George had his moment followed by Mark & Duncan. Jim had been on the pies so decided it was unwise to allow Andy the chance of a ''Human interest'' photo for next years comp.
Running Hill Pits, Castle Naze, Anglezarke were the crags pitched with the Pits winning.
A long yomp uphill to some of the best mid-grade gritstone on the planet
Members present: Dave Wylie, Duncan Zerafa, Mark Ashley, Ding, Andy Stratford, Jim Symon, Paul Evans, James Hall, George Williams
Guests: Jack Buczko, Emily Thompson, Isolbel Prause, Elliot Brown, Dan
A fine warm evening in the valley and a steady stream of fourteen KMC’ers making their way up the steep ascent to the unpolished delights of Wimberry.....
‘’What’s conditions like Paul?
Andy asked innocently, on arrival at the distinctly botanical looking crag.
‘’It’s Green. Or its Green and slimy.’’ He sounded distinctly unimpressed.
‘’Paul had a bit of a number on Route 1’’ Jim explained, and I ended up taking over.
Half and hour later there was a call for a top rope from Mark Ashley who had also been thoroughly entertained on Route 1, somehow managing to get himself wedged into an immovable position. Mean while Jim and Paul managed twin cracks as their second route, led after by Duncan and followed by Isobel and George.
The warmth had all disappeared now and the crag was distinctly cooler, especially in the stiff breeze, which kept the midges away nicely.
Slab Climb appears in the guidebook as a severe and on UKC as a HVD. Covered in lichen with no gear for 6 metres, it felt a little stiffer for Andy who eventually led it after a cunningly placed side runner in the adjaceant chimney was effected courtesy of the long reach of the Wylie. Dave and Dan followed Andy up the Slab then it was Emily’s turn. There was a little hesitation here and there...’’but there are no holds.....and it’s all green...’’ but she made a clean climb to the top – a fine effort in the conditions.
James Hall (with Jack) had tackled the polished start of Route 2, managing to kick out his only runner on the steep section as he climbed past it, before moving on to Slab climb. At the other end of the crag Jim made a fine lead of Ornithologists corner VS 5a – one of the cleanest routes on the crag and was followed by Andy with Ding leading blocked Chimney with Mark and Dave on 8m corner with Elliot and Emily. As they all descended Isobel wandered past.
‘’You off then?’’, Dave queried.
‘’Yes, It’s too hard and I’m cold. (Pause) I’m off to Alaska!’’
We all fell about. Turns out she really was off to Alaska!
Most folk packed up and headed down for the Clarence. Andy decided he would see if he could find out why the unattractive, deep, green and lichenous crack up to the overhanging capstone was called Surprise, and if the grade of VS 4c was deserved.
30 minutes later, the investigation was complete. Unsurprisingly, 4c was about right, surprisingly the gear was excellent, the Jams solid and the surprise? Well none really – the overhanging top section was really quite hard!
In the pub, Castle Naze, Denham, somewhere else and Rob’s Rocks are on the voting list, with Rob’s Rocks the clear favourite.
Ultra classic Gritstone in the Peak District
Members: Clay Conlan and Gareth Williams
Thunderstorms threatened to spoil the hot and sunny weather that we've enjoyed for the past couple of days, but the threats came to nothing and it was a beautiful evening, yet strangely few climbers about. There were only a couple of other pairs about, and in fact it took quite a while for Clay and Gareth to find each other!
Arriving early, Gareth soloed Heather Wall (HVD ***) and then enjoyed the sunshine until Clay arrived and the roped action started. Clay made an excellent lead of Chequers Buttress (HVS 5a ***), carefully working out the crux moves before climbing them in solid style, a well protected and clean ascent.
Moving back along the crag, Gareth led Brown's Elliminate (E2 5b ***), finding the crux to be getting onto the ledge from where the route proper starts! A great route, very bold, but the 5b moves aren't too far from the gear. By now it was getting late, but there was time for one more route.
Clay chose Broken Crack (VS 5a **) and after some great efforts laybacking, then jamming the lower part of the route, it was starting to get dark, and the midges were getting hungry. A quick pull on a metallic hold and Clay was at the top, but Gareth decided not to follow in the dark whilst being eaten, so Clay abbed for the gear.
A great evening, and a shame not more members made it. Perhaps we'll see a better turnout at the forthcoming weekend meet at Froggatt.
Wimberry was agreed as the venue for next weeks meet.
Trad limestone near Pendle Hill
Members: Mark Ashley, Ding, Duncan Zefara, Helen Boothman Guests: Ryan Linderman, Fiona Dixon, John Evans, Matt Hartley, Andy Elliott
It was looking unlikely as John, Fiona and Helen sat in cars at the base of the crag watching the drizzle come down. Suddenly though it brightened up, others arrived and a successful evening's climbing was had by all.
John and Fiona headed to the far side of the crag to tick off Serenity (S 4a). Fiona persevered up First Impressions (HS 4b) - a route which hasn't made it into the new rockfax guide and won't be missed (no stars). They then went to the main wall and added Halloween Outing (S 4a) and Cracklap (HS 4b) to their night's achievements before leading the charge to the local pub.
Duncan and Ryan teamed up, Duncan leading Walpurgis Eve (S 4a) and Nance (VDiff) and Ryan making ascents of both Serenity and Cracklap. Duncan spent much of his time wandering back and forth at the bottom of the crag marvelling at the usefulness of the photos in the rockfax guide when compared to the lancashire rock route finding method which requires intimate knowledge of all the routes to the left of the one you want to climb.
Serenity and Cracklap proved very popular also seeing ascents by Mark and Ding. The infamous pair also successfully tackled Nance and Witches Brew (HS 4b) before hanging around to guide the stragglers to the pub.
Meanwhile Helen had enticed a couple of friends from work along to the meet. Matt started their evening with Cracklap (surprise, surprise) and also made quick work of Peel Off (VS 4c), although for a short time he 'wasn't having that much fun' on the crux. Andy enjoyed Thrutch (VS 4c) although wished he'd taken some larger cams after not realising that the crack at the top would look a lot bigger close up. Helen climbed Witchbane (HVS 5a) and It Started With a Kiss (HVS 5b) although accidentally did the start of Satan's Slave, somehow getting confused even with a colour photograph of the routes available in the guide.
Down at the pub there were only two crags put forward - Troll Wall in Norway (as Duncan is in Norway next week and thought we might like to join him) and Froggatt. To no one's surprise Froggatt won due to its key feature of not being in Norway. Back on the grit next week!
Roll-over from the 29th - Rough Staffordshire gritstone - "We hope you like jammin' too..."
Members – Clay Conlon, Duncan Zerafa, Helen Boothman, Mark Ashley, Ding, Dan O’Brien, James Meakin, James Hall.
Guests – Jared Kitchen, Ryan Linderman
This week saw the KMC dragged out to deepest darkest Staffordshire for their midweek adventure fix. Unfortunately, El Presidente and ringleader of the Pro-Staffs camp last week was nowhere to be seen. Did he know something we didn’t about the fate that waited the unsuspecting at Ramshaw Rocks?
It was a good turnout despite looming cloud, the ever-present threat of midges and the twin draws of Andy Murray in the Tennis and Wales in the Euros – but that’s the level of commitment your corespondent has come to expect from the KMC!
Jared and Helen teamed up for Sneeze (E1) which, though short, packs quite a punch due to the fiddly nature of the gear. Next up for them was Trivial Traverse (HVS) which proved to be not as trivial as the name suggests… A pattern started to emerge, wherein everything at Ramshaw felt just a little bit harder than you’d expect, specially given the diminutive stature of some of the routes.
James Hall climbed the delicate Louis Groove (E1) in fine style followed by Dan, Duncan and Clay amongst others. Ding led Honest Johnny (D) followed by Mark who also led Louis Groove with a loop of encouragement from Dan on the reach top move. James M led Leeds Crack (D) and Honest Johnny, both followed by Dan.
Moving further down the crag, Duncan led the colourfully name Phallic Crack (S) followed by Dan and James M. Helen defied the odds and engaged with Battle of the Bulge (VS) with it’s steep jamming crack still managing to graze despite the protection of a home-made pair of tape “jammies”. James attempted Gumshoe (E2) belayed by Clay. A heavily worn cam placement at about half-height protects a very tricky crux section that repelled both James and Jared on lead and finally succumbed to a tenuous finger-lock/heel-hook/mantle combination on top-rope.
Ryan opened his UK trad leading account with the classic antipodean themed Boomerang (VD) which he dispatched with ease, followed by Dan. Duncan and Ryan then climbed Corner Crack (S) the Clay and James also climbed Battle of the Bulge, followed by Duncan.
James H and Clay finished by battling with Great Zawn (HVS) which although described as “great practice for Massochism” seemed to have a sadistic streak of its own as it extracted its pound of flesh - “bloody gritstone” grumbled James. As the light faded and the midges descended the KMC retreated to the Winking Man.
In the pub, a model of electoral efficiency to rival the current farce in Westminster ensued. There we initially 9 or 10 crags on the table which were whittled down to five after your correspondent decided to only allow “serious nominations”. Laddow was out first closely followed by Shining Clough. When Stoney Middleton was eliminated we were left with a choice between Witches Quarry and Burbage North. Despite the beasting the KMC had experienced on the grit that night Burbage North won out. Classic grit again next week!
As we are heading to Burbage North on Saturday for a planned meet I have decided to over-rule democracy and reinstate Witches Quarry for this Wednesday.
Rough moorland gritstone - perfect for the longest Wednesday of the year!
Members: Andy Stratford, Jim Symon, Helen Boothman, James Hall, Mark Ashley, Oi Ding Koy, Duncan Zerafa, James Meakin, John Evans, Fiona Dixon,
Guests: Ryan Linderman, Jared Kitchen, Isobel Prause
It was a still, warm and muggy evening down at the reservoir car park. Andy, Helen , Isobel and Jim walked up the easy path towards the Foxes stone in about 30 mildly sweaty minutes to find a dripping Duncan who, having never been up to Dovestones’ before, had opted for a one hour heather approach (HVG*) somewhere near the Quarries. As we rounded the top we saw another similary soggy pair – James and James – cursing their way up the steepest slope immediately below the crag. Just as they reached it, yet another pair (Fiona and John) hove into view to begin their hard labour.
It was only a bit midgy when we arrived as we split into teams: James Hall led the bold arête of Maggie HVS 5a, followed by Helen then Jared. Helen decided on a lead of the varying and misnamed Mammoth Slab (HVS 4c) with steep bouldery start, unprotected slab and precarious and reachy finish up a tower on slopers. James followed in fine style.
Meanwhile Jim had decided on Left Embrasure (VS 4b) which he led easily followed by Andy. It was time for the three star Nasal Buttress (HS 4b) next which Andy led after a ‘short pause’ at the crux! Following this, James Hall decided on Nasal buttress with Ryan. This was followed by an attempt on the steep and poorly protected 8hours (E1 5a) which resulted in a retreat. James switched to The Changeling – a poorly protected off width just right of 8 hours at VS 4b. Ryan discovered he couldn’t fit in the crack (after a lot of grunting).
Over on the far right the Mark Ding team swiftly despatched Question Mark (HVD 4a) and Layback Crack (MVS 4b) before joining the others on the left hand section for Central Tower (V Diff). Fiona and John also started on the right climbing layback crack, another route and then John finishing with a fine (and Camless) lead of Nasal Buttress.
Duncan and Isobel teamed up to climb Central Tower and Wrinkled Buttress (V Diff) and were joined by James Meakin who departed soon after muttering about midges and green rock. Duncan finished with a fine lead of Swan crack (S 4a).
By now the midges were getting really annoying. Andy followed Jim up Noddys’ Wall (VS 4b) then Helen up Tower Arete (VS 4c) without removing his midge net!
As the sun set, we packed up from this glorious spot and headed back for the cars, only making the Clarence at 10.45. Six of us wrestled over Castle Naze, somewhere else and, the Presidents choice, Ramshaw Rocks. Next week? It Staffordshire Grit!
*HVG = Hard Very Grassy
Roll-over from 8th June. Great views, sunsets and classic rough moorland gritstone
Just me and Duncan at pule hill last night. Did 2 routes (amen and skull climb) a bit wet, green and slimy but good practice?!
After a bit of debate we settled on Dovestones Edge for next week. Let's hope for better weather!