Dylan starting up Holme Moss (Photo: Jessica Pealing)  

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Shining Clough

Shining Clough – Sunday 11th June 2023



Mich Harrison, Stuart Hurworth, Rory Marsden, Mimi McNaull, Jess Pealing, Dylan Smith, Lewis Stonehouse


Sack the meet leader. “decent chance of having them all to yourself” he said. So it was somewhat of a surprise arriving to find that both Castle Mountaineering Club (Sheffield) and Leeds Mountaineering Club had scheduled meets at Shining Clough for the same day as us and the car park was already chocked full. Along with non-affiliated climbers and a couple of climbing celebrities there were probably somewhere around 30 to 40 people on the walk in by 10am. Still, the sun was shining and Shining Clough is a great heatwave crag so we headed up to enjoy the novelty of crowds on Bleaklow.


By the time we reached the crag there were queues to get on all of the three-star classic routes so we set about exploring some roads less travelled and a spot of intermittent gardening. Dylan and Jess climbed Original Route, S 4b, followed by West Wall Route 1, S 4b or VS 5a depending on your guidebook, and then Stag Party, VD. Stag Party truly lived up to its name by being wild, dirty and completely unprotected.


Mimi, Lewis and I started with West Wall Route 1, rapidly becoming West Wall Route 2, VD, having decided that the Rockfax guide was taking the p*ss. This party carried on to Ladies Day, S 4a, which would be a great climb with a proper brush and clean but also may have some traditional grading issues.


Stu and Mich began with a trip up Nimrod, S 4a, which required some excavation but Mich still recommended. They followed this with Original Route, S 4b, and West Wall Route 1, VS 5a, with Mich’s own variation.


By now it was definitely lunch-time which gave us all an opportunity to admire Dylan’s cucumber. No really, he brought a whole cucumber for lunch.


After lunch Dylan made an ascent of Holme Moss, E1 5c. Finding that his fingers were too large to fit in the crucial finger jam of the upper crux Dylan applied the tactic of if you don’t like the hold just skip it and made an outrageous blind deadpoint to a really high marginal rail which he stuck with his customary aplomb. Both Mich and I had a good crack at the route on second, good enough to get all the gear out, but ultimately had to be lowered off. Stu took in the entertainment from a perch on the pinnacle, presumably having soloed Ordinary Route, M, and apparently has video evidence of my Superman impression.


With the crowds thinning out I got on Pisa Superdirect, HVS 5a, with Dylan. This is a route I have aspired to since I first saw it two years ago and was basically the whole reason I suggested a meet at Shining Clough. It didn’t disappoint. It is a beautiful climb following a fantastic line on a brilliant piece of rock and having needed a little rest at the crux this time I still have good reason to go back and do it again!


At the same time Mich, Stu and Mimi headed up Stable Cracks, VS 4b, which is “a poorly-protected pitch without some really large gear”. No really big gear? No problem for Mich, just stack your hexes. The combination of improvised gear and the sound of thunder closing in added some extra spice to another excellent route.


The strong smell of petrichor (thanks for the word of the day Jess) signalled that rain was imminent so we decided to call it a day and headed down. Not quite the tranquil and remote meet intended but a great day out none the less and a solid introduction to the crag for some and something to go back for all round.


Until next time,


Rory Marsden
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