Georgia (Photo: Andy Stratford)  

The Walk in (Georgia Dowler)
Caroline following Tom on the initial slab of Flying Buttress (Andy Stratford)
Tom belaying Caroline on FB (Andy Stratford)
Andy belaying Cathy on Zig Zag Crack VS 4b (Tom Marsden)
Phoebe on the rockover on Black Slab - airtime followed (Georgia Dowler)
Andy P (Georgia Dowler)
Cathy belaying Andy Pierce on Easter Rib (E1 5b) (Georgia Dowler)
Craig - El President (Andy Stratford)
Caroline (Andy Stratford)
Georgia (Andy Stratford)
Harry (Andy Stratford)
Rory (Andy Stratford)
Tom M (Georgia Dowler)
Daniel at close of play (Andy Stratford)
Phoebe - zen like even after the airtime (Andy Stratford)

The KMC Newcomer Meet Sat 1st May

KMC Newcomers Meet – Stanage Sat May 1st, 2021

Limited number of 12 members/non-members allowed on this meet.

Members (5): Craig Marsden, Andy Stratford (Meet Leaders), Andy Pierce, Jim Symon, Cathy Gordon

Prospective Members (7): Daniel Pitman-Weymouth, Tom Marsden, Georgia Dowler, Harry Potts, Phoebe Marsden, Caroline Gay, Rory Marsden.

Finally, after a 14-month gap, we have enabled prospective members back on KMC meets – it was great to see some new folk at the crag again. Everyone new attending had been in touch at some point over the ‘year of Covid’ – while the rest of us got gradually more out of practice! It would be difficult to list all the ascents on the day, as per usual there was a fair bit of changing between ropes, all with mindfulness of Covid of course and attention to hand sanitiser etc.

We started just left of Flying Buttress with El President leading his first route on grit ‘’for some time’’ – Leaning Buttress Crack (V Diff), followed ably by Rory Marsden (no relation!).

Rory, a longstanding winter mountaineer, trad climber and ex-Lacrosse player decided he would jump straight back into leading again after a few years off, making an excellent job of Hollybush Corner (V Diff) and Garden Wall (Severe). Later on that day Andy S was looking at a last route of the day and Rory stepped up to take on Boot Crack (HVD). At the base of the route, just as he was about to set off, Andy noticed he seemed to have forgotten some of his rack.

‘’Where are the rest of your cams Rory’’?

‘’I only own one!’’

‘’Have you climbed much Gritstone’’?

‘’Err. Not much, I did think earlier when you saying to Daniel that a basic rack of cams was probably 5 or 6 or even 8 these days’’

Rory made a fine job of Boot Crack, using his one cam. I would lay bets though that by the next time we go climbing he may own more… !

Hardest lead of the day was done by Andy Pierce on the classic Easter Rib (E1 5b), followed in good style by Cathy, who led a couple of routes. Newcomer Daniel also made short work of Easter Rib - No-one was surprised by now by Daniel. For someone who had literally no experience of trad – bouldering and sport climbing previously - he had a good day…. He had been paired up initially with Jim so immediately needed to deal with some great routes – Flying Buttress, April Crack to name a couple. He then decided to go for his first ever trad lead – Christmas Crack HS 4b – not a bad start…..

Georgia got the real sharp end in the morning being paired off with Andy Pierce – so she seconded Black Slab (VS 4c), Bishops Route (S 4a) and Inverted V (VS 4c) – an attempt on the jamming crack / wall of Central Trinity (VS 4c) finished off the wilting arms! Harry made a similar number of efforts on lots of tricky routes, plenty of success but also some good quality airtime! Phoebe climbed a good few routes and took a couple of good quality swings from the start of Black Slab and Zig Zag Crack. Caroline had a very full days climbing, following a dizzying number of routes – at least eight or nine…or was it ten…. These included the slightly baffling decision to climb Black Slab twice in a day!!

Talking of Black slab…

Andy: ‘’Did you enjoy leading Black Slab Jim’’?


Andy: ‘’Well, why did you do it then’’?

‘’I’ve got to work on my weaknesses, remind myself to use my feet’’

Andy: ‘’You’ve had forty years of climbing to learn and look where it’s got you!’’.

‘’Fair point!’’

Andy S lead a few routes – Wild West Wind (S 4a), Zig Zag Crack (VS 4b), Black Slab (VS 4c), Oblique Buttress (VS 4c). Andy paired up with Tom Marsden initially who was encouraged to get back on the leading tip - the polished classic of Flying Buttress (HVD 4a) being the first, then Boot Crack (HVD).

Finally, mention must go to Sue Marsden, who, whilst not at the crag in person, did send an enormous box of homemade chocolate Brownies, which did go down rather well. No-one was sure how many Jim had, we think he took advantage of the fact that Brownie custody was shared between Tom, Phoebe and Georgia, so he was able to claim at least three as his ‘’first one of the day’’, by his rather uncanny sense of brownie custody timing.

Thanks everyone for a great day out.

Andy S.

Andy Stratford
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