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.
Windy spot, good cracks
Members: Emily Pitts, Andy Stratford, Stevie Graham Guest: Evan Holdsworth
I can't remember climbing in heat like this in the UK before - certainly not in the evening. There was a bit of wind so the midges were just about tolerable. Andy led Emily up Phallic Crack HVD 4a, Steve then arrived and led Battle of the Bulge at VS 4b followed by both. Newcomer Evan arrived and we moved to the lower tier where he despatched Prostration at HVS 5b in fine style, followed in descending order of style by Andy and Steve!
Emily had a look at Crab Walk but didn't fancy it and the midges were worst here where there was less wind so we made our way up to the Boomerang sector - Emily led the eponymous route (Vdiff) without difficulty followed by Andy while Steve tackled a lead on nearby Bowrosin VS 4c. As Evan & Steve packed up Andy decided on Watercourse HS 4b ''the long groove is rarely travelled but is just about worthwhile when dry''.
'Esoteric'' was Andy's summary
''Bloody stupid'' according to Emily.
We voted for Castle Naze next week then drove home with a full, orange yellowy moon then into one of the most incredible lightning storms I have ever seen - but not one clap of thunder......
Members: Dan O'Brien, Roger Dyke, Ding, Mark Ashley, Helen Boothman, Mark Pilling, Ian Crook, Stuart Hurworth.
Guests: James Duthie, Anna Fournier, Clare Hodgeson, Andy Pierce, Sebastian Q (sorry forgot the surname...)
It is always a little off-putting to arrive at the bottom of a route to find the remains of a wreath laid at the bottom of it – those of you who have been to Windgather will recognize this sentiment from the seemingly permanent memorial at the bottom of Portfolio. More disturbing, however was the realisation, about halfway up the route, that the strange dusty residue on all the ledges and holds is actually someone’s scattered ashes. Stranger still was Stuart explaining that he had actually encountered this before at Black Rocks.
Anyway… A wonderfully short walk-in and another good turn-out. Mark Ashley opened the proceedings by swimming in a local bog-snorkeling course as a warm-up followed by an ascent of Louis Groove (E1), a feat replicated by Helen, Andy and myself, all braving the additional psychological barrier of having a dead guy smeared on most of the holds. Roger was pleased to have found a quality route of an amenable grade on grit that he had never done before – no mean feat after 40 years on rock!
Guest James enjoyed a gentle introduction to gritstone jamming by leading The Crank and following Assegai and Green Crack. The latter even gave Jam-Master Ian a run for his money and James treated onlookers to an interesting lesson is Scottish slang after I (sensibly) refused to even leave the ground for this renowned horror-show... Other notable ascents included Flaky Wall, Boomerang, Arete and Crack, and The Wriggler (HS 4b) led by Ding in mistake for a V.Diff and ably sand-bagged by Mark.
As the light faded, the team decamped to the Winking Owl for a raucous debate on next week’s crag. Alderly Cliff and New-Mills Tor were first out, the former receiving nil-point as even proposer Mark P couldn’t muster any enthusiasm for it. Witches went next despite Mark Ashley’s detailed descriptions of the unique belay anchors (a key selling point it seems…) Millstone and Wimberry went into the run-off with Wimberry winning out following defections from the Millstone camp in the last round. More jamming for next week so don’t pack away the big cams and tape just yet. A bonus for me being this crag is less than ten minutes from my house so a G&T in the pub is definitely on the cards…
Rough, crystalline grit where overhanging hand-mauling cracks are a speciality, but grooves and slabs provide respite.
Members: James Williams, Mark Pilling, Andy Stratford, Mark Ashley
Guests: Clare Hodgson, Helen Boothman, Michaela Schaller, Helen Maunders
Great evening, not too warm, windy enough for no midges. Helen Boothman had an excellent night leading her first E number - Louie Groove at E1 5b. James had a similary productive evening with success on Louie Groove, Sneeze E1 5b, Battle of the Bulge VS 4b, and a mighty and ultimately successful tussle with Green Crack VS 5a. Andy managed seven routes the best of which was The Crank VS 5a- one of the best jamming cracks on grit.
Everyone else had a good night with ascents of Leeds Slab, The Arete, Wall and Groove among others.
The Winking Man was the voting venue - Alderman Rocks beat the legendary wildcard venue of Teggs Nose by five votes to one!
Attendees:James Williams, Katharine Bagshaw, Nick Adamson and Chris Williams
Fantastic evenings climb by the light of the silvery moon, and where thermal underwear was definitely the attire of choice! A good selection of routes including The Arete and Phallic Crack were ticked, some with more diligence to the line than others.......!
Vigorous discussion followed in the Winking Man for next weeks crag which was finally decided to be New Mills Tor. Top roping will be allowed!
The attendees where Richard, Chris, Nadia, Ian C., Trish, James H. and Al.
Back to Current Midweek
This meet was rained off.
As we are in danger of loosing darkness, the next midweek meet will be at Ramshaw Rocks, to take advantage of the moon rising in the east. Aim to be there for 7:30pm, contact Al Metelko, James Richardson or Dave Dillon if you want a lift.