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Members: Andy Stratford, Jared Kitchen, Emily Thompson, Mark Ashley,
Guests: Matt Mitchell, John Smallwood, Luke
Oldham had a torrential downpour around 3.30pm but in sunny Mossley and the cheerful Chew there was no sign of precipitation. We really have got spoilt by the warm temperatures in the evenings so tonight felt like it was a little back to reality with chill breeze – but at least there wasn’t a midge in sight.
This was Jared’s first visit to Rob’s – this was evident as he was considering his normal grade (E2) as a starter. I persuaded him to try Nameless One – a mere VS 4b.....but of course this is the Chew. I wonder if it was named the Chew as many climbers seem to get themselves chewed up on it’s many incredible routes! Anyway, back to Jared.....seven bits of gear later Jared made it up the steep wall, espousing a new found respect for the Chew grit and for the obviously esoteric grading used in these parts. Andy jammed his way up and Emily decided half the route was plenty. (Chew 1, Emily 0).
Mark (and John) followed Matt up Letterbox (VD) then got busy enticing almost the whole team to follow him up the crags classic troglodyte route Ylnosd Rib (VD). Helmet on, swearing, helmet off, swearing, gear on bandolier, swearing, right facing, swearing, left facing, swearing, udging, more swearing, hand traversing – it was all going on. Then Luke solo’d it and somehow popped out of another completely unfeasibly small hole in the side of the hill behind Mark’s belay. EPIC!
Andy led the delicate Cascade (HS 4a) followed by Emily (Chew 1, Emily 1) and Matt followed – it was time for Emily’s lead of Letterbox (Chew 2, Emily 1). Sometime later, following the use of a judiciously lowered rope from the top Emily reflected on the letterbox experience.
‘’My leg was having a disco all of its own’’
‘’But you can climb steep Ice really well’’ said Andy
‘’Yes, but I kick really hard and can bury my axes. And it’s not so easy to do that on rock!’’
Matt took John and Mark for a final jaunt up Niche Wall (S) meanwhile Andy and Emily finished on Cripples way (VD) meaning Emily’s final scoreline was a respectable score draw of Chew 2, Emily 2.
Over on the first walls Jared had led Juggle Crack (VS 4b) ‘’much easier than nameless one’’ and finally Nice Edge – another VS 4b. Luke climbed the wildly overhanging prow of fantastic edge at a grade of, you guessed it!! Yes, that Robs Rocks catch all Grade...VS 4b
I have a theory that the pioneers on this crag forgot there was an H in the Alphabet.
The sunset was, as ever from this spot, totally stunning. It had been a beautiful, bright, dry evening at a lovely clean crag. The newly refurbished Clarence hosted the voting and majestic Wilton 1 was duly voted in. See you all next week at one of Lancashire’s best loved quarries.
Andy Vine, Gowry Sisupalan, Andy Pierce, Rodger Dyke with a hand injury so acting as chief photographer, story teller and offering moral support.
So I arrived at what I thought was a deserted Hen Cloud wondering who on earth had voted for this place of nightmares. I visit every 5 years or so and get bitten chewed and spat out of its cracks being set home with my tail well and truly between my legs vowing never to return. However I always do eventually as the place is apparently riddled with classic routes!!! If only I could learn to enjoy jamming and offwidths. Sat contemplating my stupidity I noticed a route that mentioned the word delicate and wandered over to take a look to find Adam, Andy, JP, An other completing Little Pinnacle climb with mutterings and advice to avoid at all costs which I duly did. I convinced Andy that the delicate Bulwark was a good idea. The only problem being that in my excitement of seeing the word delicate I didn’t take heed of the quote ‘’often dirty’’. This led to an exciting ascent on scritty sloppers until at ¾ height a good cam placement meant the airy top could be enjoyed with a little less trepidation. Andy followed with comments like where is the crack (we really are polar opposites in our choice of route). Gowry then followed cheered on by Rodger. In the meantime the other three were tackling a rare thing for the Peak (well Staffordshire) that is a multi-pitch route namely K2. Adam took a slight detour on the second pitch and top roped the second pitch of Encouragement, a burly crack that makes a good contrast with its first pitch. Having had enough of delicate aretes Andy chose to lead the 28m Bachelor's Climb. Good value for its grade with a tricky exit right at the top after a good work out lower down. He was followed by Gowry and myself with just enough time to descend before dark. I couldn’t decide whether this pleased Gowry or not as it was her lead next and Rodger had convinced her the Great Chimney was the route to do which sent shudders down my spine by its very name. Ah well Gowrys first lead next time and incase I’m not at Froggatt on Sunday we penciled in Sunset crack.
Not too many climbs done but a successful night as Hen cloud was kind to us all and no one got battered or bruised, perhaps I will go back before 2023.
Roches upper tier until abandoned to lower tier, maybe too much sunshine for some?
Tim Howarth member lead inverted staircase and Heather slab with altered ending
Matt Jones guest prow Corner lead(first ever lead)
Chris Clark guest prow Corner lead (first ever lead)
John-Paul tyrrell guest
Adam Mccudden guest (but only one signature from being a member) lead inverted staircase, Heather slab and did chalkstone on top rope,
James meakin member lead prow Corner twin crack
James Hall member
Duncan (sorry didn't get surname)
Ali (sorry didn't get surname)
Isabel Praues associate member with cakes, will be missed as heading back to Germany.
A bit of lower tier bouldering was done there was more climbing done and maybe a few more people there but I didn't get names due to poor turn out at the pub, Rock Inn. In fact out of the six of us I was the only full member hence my first meet report. (a bit overdue maybe).
We enjoyed ourselves so much we decided let's go again (almost) hence the vote below.
Unanimously voted for hen cloud.
Absolute classic, you lucky people...
It's coming home...
Mark Ashley (M), Paul Evans (M), Cathy Gordon (M), Isobel Prause (M), Tim Howarth (M) , JP (G), Erfan (G), Andy Vine (G), Adam Mccudden (G).
Weather was cloudy but dry, which meant that the uphill slog to the crag was not too uncomfortable. Dovestones was rather lichen covered - I guess Moorland Grit isn’t fashionable these days - but unlike Pule Hill earlier in the year, at least it wasn’t damp!
Adam set up a top rope which was used to good effect by Andy, JP and Isobel (and Adam himself) on both Friction Addiction and Slip Off Slab. Both routes are now considerably cleaner than when we arrived.
I led Layback Crack, Cathy followed. Cathy then did Traditional, the variation start to June Climb, and Cathy also led Answer Crack, seconded by me and JP.
Andy led Layback Crack, with Isobel seconding - they then joined Adams top roping exploits.
Mark led First Triplet, seconded by Tim, and Question Mark, seconded by Tim and Erfan. Tim led the top half of Tower Ridge (somewhat shorter than its Scottish namesake) and Mark and Erfan seconded.
So a well attended and pleasant evening, we even had a breeze to keep the midges down. Nice pint in the Clarence afterwards.
Other nominees were Alderman Rocks and Helsby (binned again - sorry…I quite like it!)
Editors Note - It did not, in the end, come home...
Amazing views and far away from current moorland fires
Lee Bower (G), Adam (G), Jed Farmer (G), Matt (G), JP Tyrrell (G), Emily Pitts (M), Alex Black (G), Jack Buczko (M), Andy Pierce (M)
Jack and Jed both led Gargoyle Flake. Emily and Alex followed Jack. JP and Adam followed Jed.
Terrace Trog led first by Adam followed up by Jed and JP. Then led by Emily followed up by Alex.
Photographic evidence shows the outcome of Adam's argument with the large bear with sharp claws squeezed into the corner of Bilberry Crack (VS 5a) producing some interesting injuries on Adam's legs. Jed, Matt JP all followed up. Adam must have scared the bear away with all the gear he placed.
Matt led Recess Crack and Recess Groove, followed by Lee, Adam, Jed and JP.
Andy Pierce soloed a whole load of routes including Gargoyle Flake!
Dove stone Edge
Castle Naze as backup
Sport climbing, for some reason...
Members: Nils Elgar, Gowry Sisupalan, Gergana Mihalkova (Geri), Tony Major, Mark Ashley, Paul Evans
Guests: Adam McCudden, Ged Farmer
Well, what a change from last week’s midweek meet! Last week, attendees ran a significant risk of hypothermia. This week, the worry was heat exhaustion.
Gowry and I got the “early bird” award by turning up at 2PM, promptly decided it was far too hot to climb in the sun, and headed up to the Star Trek area on the upper tier left, which was one of the rare bits in the shade, and where an F3, 2 F4s, an F5 and an F6a (Uranus, Luke Skywalker, Klingon, Saturns Rings and Vogon) were done. By 4PM we decided to have a look downstairs to see if anyone else had turned up.
Here we met Adam and Ged, who immediately got stuck in to School’s Out (F6a+). Meanwhile Gowry decided that she fancied Sag Ponir, which was F4 in our official BMC definitive guide. Adam helpfully informed us that Rockfax has it at F5+, and after we’d both done it, we did conclude that the Rockfax grade was probably the more accurate.
By this time Nils and Geri had appeared, shortly followed by Tony Major. I decided that I wanted to lead Bandolier, F6a, which I got up with 1 rest. Gowry had decided that she just wanted a top rope on this, which plan was slightly spoiled when I absentmindedly pulled the rope down. Gowry then led it in fine style. Meanwhile Nils and Geri were on Sag Ponir, and they too decided that the Rockfax grade was the more accurate.
Gowry then decided to top rope Schools Out with Adam and Ged. Tony and I headed up to Upper Tier right, in a fruitless search for a cooling breeze. Here Tony smoothly led Slabby But Nice (F6a), which Gowry and I then top roped. Meanwhile Nils and Gowry were on Sam and Mary F5a, and finally Tony and I did Supplementary Question F4.
Classic venue with an abundance of lower grade routes, ideal for a summer evening...
Members: Emily Pitts, Gowry Sisupalan, Jack Buzcko, Mark Ashley
Guests: Adam McCudden (Prefers to be known as Andy) John Smallwood, Ged Farmer
Wow, it was windy. Unbelievable that it will shortly be midsummer - down jackets and windproofs at the ready while we all froze on the belay. The upside – no midge attack!
Adam (aka Andy) and Ged, prospectives, threw down the gauntlet with their pronouncement:
“The most routes we’ve done here in a night is 22”.
Right….. that’s quite a target Karabiners!
This time it was not exceeded (apparently thanks to Ged’s faffing and nothing to do with Adam AKA Andy). They did get into double figures, which is still good going; not listing them all, but they were all Vdiff to VS. Much fun.
Gowry led High Buttress Arete, boldly taking the direct top-out over the overhang.
She also led the Medicine and one other, being photographed by our photographer in residence for the evening, Paul Evans.
With Gowry as belayer, I led a couple of Diffs/Vdiffs (Middle and Leg), followed by Green Crack (S 4a), which although polished for feet, was a fantastic outing – felt nice and airy. After a series of nasty post-climbing migraines in recent months, I was ecstatic to get away safely this evening.
John got to put his gear to use and led a good number of diffs and Vdiffs.
Mark seconded quite a number of funtime routes on the end of different people’s rope: North Buttress Arete, The struggle amongst others and led High Buttress Arete.
Jack led the Struggle, Green Crack and tested out North Buttress Arete Direct, but decided today wasn’t the day for this particular lead.
Paul, Gowry and I finished off with some lovely, friendly, grippy soloing of Mods along the crag.
The wind finally beat us and we retreated to the Swan. Chilly, but rewarding evening of climbing.
Next week: imagine the worst sports crag possible and then take it down a notch. Luckily, Harper Hill was voted out before it even got into the offing. Next up, Horseshoe Quarry, next up Bamford, Rob’s Rocks. With Rob’s being eliminated first and Bamford next, Horseshoe won out for next week.
**There may have been a couple of other attendees who I missed, so if that is so, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will add on your Windgather adventures.**
Magical limestone in a spellbinding setting...
Natural Lancashire gritstone with plenty of well protected routes
Members: Elliott Brown, Clay Conlon, Isabel Prause, Dave Wylie, Ben Slater, Mark Ashley,
Guests: Matt Mitchell, Adam McCudden, Jed Farmer, John Smallwoood, Erfan Khatibi and a lovely full set of tricams.
Adam, Jed and Isabel were top roping Druid's Direct (E3 6a) as I arrived at the crag, seemed to have a very slippery start. Clay and myself went off to explore the quarry just before the crag and found a nice long route, Green Slab (VS 4c**) to be had. Ben and Dave teamed up, with Matt joining up for a climb or two, which inclded Pagan Wall (S 4a) and Split Block Crack (HS 4b*). John and Isabel teamed up on various routes to top rope, Pagan's Direct (HVS 5b**) being one of them I believe. Adam and Jed, Mark and Erfan looked to have climbed routes between The Staircase and West Slab Direct.
Towards the end of the evening we were viciously attacked by midges (M7), which caused a hurried retreat back to the cars. All the while, trying to take name and work out what climbs were being gestured at for the report. The next meet was hurriely suggested as Witches Quarry, which seemed to please those retreating from the crag (M10 at this point).
Routes that were defninitly (maybe) climbed by names above:
Central Chimney (VD), The Staircase (M), Split Block Crack (HS 4b*), Central Crack (VD*), Overhand Crack (VD*), Pagan Wall (S 4a), Pagan's Direct (HVS 5b**), Central Wall (HS 4b**)
Hillside gritstone and excellent sunset potential...
Members: Dave Wylie, Elliot Brown, Isobel Prause, Jim Symon, Paul Evans, Andy Stratford, Jared Kitchen, Emily Thompson
Guest: Andy Vine
After last weeks sunshine spectacular at Denham and the promise of a #goodforecastforweeks (Dan O’Brien) it was more or less guaranteed to go pear shaped tonight...
Pule Hill has the most brilliant views and is a real favourite KMC evening crag... Clinks and clanks of gear issued out of the thick fog...’’is that you Dave’’, Andy shouted from just a few feet away. Dave found Blind Buttress HS 4b (green greasy slopers in these conditions) particulary entertaining
(as did Isobel following). Elliot and Andy Vine used combined leading tactics on the normally mild Kletterschue Capers (S 4a). Jared and Emily arrived and Jared led up Flying Buttress (HS 4b) which had just been led by Paul with Jim following. Andy S joined and it was Jim’s turn on Amen corner as the drizzle started.
But then, miraculously, it stopped and another few routes were completed – still in the thick fog though... Paul was persuaded to have a go at the HVD 4a of Dusky Doddle but decided the greasy slopers weren’t to his liking so switched to Atlas (VD) leaving Jim to make a Doddle of it. Andy led Wrinkled Wall (HS 4c) with much relief that he possessed the right size Alien (Totem) Cams... Finally Andy Vine managed Bed End (HVD) with Dave.
Down in the carriage house Paul proposed Alderman but failed to vote for it. Jim was keen on Running Hill Pitts and got Andy Vine onside. Andy Stratford made a tactical suggestion of Cadshaw Castle Rocks which won out. So it’s off to Bilbao, sorry – got mixed up I meant Bolton, next week for the KMC.
Form an orderly queue at the bottom of the longest route name on grit!
Members: Clay Conlon, Andy Stratford, Emily Pitts, Isabel Prause, Cathy Gordon, Dave Wylie, Dan O’Brien, Tim Howarth, John Cox, Steve Graham, Elliott Brown
Guests: George Babington, John Smallwood, Andy Vine, Chris Kastavunis
It was roasting, there was no breeze and the crag is a sun-trap. Your correspondent’s opinion of Denham, based on a single previous visit, was that is was a damp, midge infested, hole-in-the-ground. Well at least today wasn’t damp.
Andy S opened the club account with an ascent of Mohammed the Morbid Morgul (S) which traverses a long way across the crag, followed by Dave. Dan went for the classic VS of Mohammed the Mad Monk of Moorside Home for Mental Misfits* (MMMMHMM) which felt high in the grade, especially if you miss out on helpful gear placements and consistently place the wrong sized cam. Isabel and Tim followed, smoothly and stressfully respectfully.
Andy V led The Layback (VS) which is given HVS in the new guide followed by Clay. Clay then led The Funny Farm (HS) before Andy showed everyone how to lead MMMMHMM properly. Meanwhile Dave led the long (and bold in places) Concave Wall (S) followed by Cathy and Andy S. Andy and Cathy then went over to team up with George and Emily for a Funny Farm/Step in the Clouds hybrid. John S led The Edge (VD) followed by Jon C and then led Main Break before dropping a top-rope down Lintel (S).
Steve and Elliott had a productive evening climbing Main Break (HS), Layback, Funny Farm and Step In the Clouds (HS) (also followed by Chris). Elliott then went for the classic E1 of Time up the main wall. A very direct line up some improbable looking rock and spaced gear yielded to a positive approach. The holds were there but Elliott’s reach certainly came in useful. Steve followed easily. After the excitement of MMMMHMM Dan decided to climb the heavily starred VD of Splash Arete. This route had a surprisingly bold start before good gear near the top. A high step near the finish alas proved too much for Dan to accomplish gracefully and after much faffing he found himself sitting au cheval on the arete with no footholds to assist with upwards progression. The comradely and support the KMC is so famous for was on full display and people gathered to take photos of the hapless, stranded leader. After a few minutes, a mantle and a “knee-swap” gained the finishing hold and Dan politely questioned the grade. Steve said he’d done it a few weeks previously and it has been “alright”.
As the sun started to set and the midges started to descend the team decamped to the Top Lock pub. The nominations for next week were Pule Hill, Castle Naze, Alderman and Bamford. Three rounds of voting were required for Pule Hill to prevail in a narrow victory. The people have spoken!
* I hate whoever named the routes at this crag.
Third time lucky...
Members: Dan O’Brien, Dave Wylie, Clay Conlon, Isabel Prause, Mark Ashley, Elliot Brown
Guests: John Smallwood, Andy Vine
Our journey did not take quite as long as the original Odyssey but after two roll-overs the KMC finally succumbed to the Siren call of Troy quarry. The weather was warm with a light breeze, perfect conditions for climbing and, more importantly, keeping the midges away.
Dave and Isabel were first to arrive, climbing Left Siamese Twin (s) and Stacked Deck (HS) before Mark joined them for Right Siamese Twin (S) and Cracked Wall (VS). Dan and Clay led Right Siamese Twin and Stacked Deck respectively and were then joined by Andy who followed Stacked Deck then led Troy Groove (VS) followed by Dan and Clay.
Elliot and John teamed up and proceeded to rocket round the crag, quickly ticking off Rapunzle (VS), Troy Groove and Jussy (HVS) before an abortive attempt on the steep pump-fest of Grans Wall (E1). Meanwhile Clay battled with Rapunzle with Dan struggling to second with a sore hand. Andy made it look easy then led Mucky Pups (VS or HVS depending on who you ask) to finish off the evening. John and Elliot continues their tour of the quarry with an ascent of Kieranless Corner (VS) which is now a few kilos of rock lighter after a large chunk fell off the top section as John seconded. They finished with a quick ascent of Siam Groove (VS).
In the pub the KMC were joined by a local Moped/Scooter enthusiasts group (very Quadrophenia) and amongst the smell of petrol and burning rubber managed a semi coherent vote for next weeks crag. Windgather and Cow’s Mouth Quarry were quickly eliminated in favour of Denham and the longest route name on grit.
Rollover for our annual odyssey to a classic grit quarry...
Rollover! Hoping for better weather next week...