Stretford. 5:30pm onwards
A dry bright evening, good training. Another park boulder on Thursday.
Longer evenings - meet up around 6pm
Present: Wavey, Trish and Al.
The day started with snow which turned into a sunny windy evening, pleasant company, we decided to continue bouldering for the following Wednesday.
Roll over from 1st April. Alternative venue is Hobson Moor Quarry for those wishing to place nuts.
Hobson Moor Meet Report
Members: Dave Wylie, Emily Pitts, Gareth Williams, Andy Stratford
Guests: Mike Whitehurst (aka Mike the Bike), Beth Thomas, Alexandra Pawlik
Mike and Emily had an early start - with Mike opting to warm up on Drought E4 6a - those of you who followed KMC member Emma Timmis on her epic 4000km run across Africa will know MIke as ''the Bike'' - ie the greater part of Emma's support team. Emily chose not to follow an E4 as her warm up so Mike abbed for the gear. Given the weather it obviously had to be Bring me Sunshine at E1 5b for Mike, this time seconded by both Gareth and Emily.
Dave and Alex teamed up - with Dave making a confident start to the outdoor season leading Epitaph Corner VS 4b and Foghorn Groove VS 4c and Alex led Pocket Wall at VDiff.
Meanwhile, inspired by Mike's reports, Beth led Bring me Sunshine followed for a second time by Gareth. Its that good!
Meanwhile Andy enjoyed Crews Route at VS 4c, then attempted Gideon at VS 5a which he dogged in two places.
The Waggon and Horses saw all the members visit: Slawstone bridge in Leicestershire proposed by Gareth and Troy Quarrey proposed by Dave. Unsurprisingly Troy won!
One of the best and most well used Lancs Quarry venues with good views and a sunset.
Members: Dave Wylie, Andy Stratford, Colin Maddison, Phil Hartwell, Stevie Graham, Helen Boothman, Duncan Lee, Dan O'Brien, Paul Evans (on photography duty), Al Metelko (twilight appearance).
Guests: Matt Harrigan, Beth 'filth' Thomas, Aleksandra Pawlik, Jo Perry
Despite the earlier drizzle ii was a fine, if cold, evening at Troy with an excellent early showing of fourteen keen members and guests.
Dave and Aleks teamed up; Dave leading Aleks up a One Way Street (S 4a) and Stacked Deck (HS 4b); Aleks led Right Siamese Twin. Meanwhile Beth led Helen up Stacked Deck then surprised Bob the Gob (alledgely VS 4c but a notorious sandbag) with her filth, eventually giving up and switching to Mucky Pups (HVS 5a); Helen made short work of Rapunzle (VS 5a) then led one of the best routes in the quarrey - Grane Wall (E1 5b)
After a session of soloing, Duncan was persuaded to tie on with Colin an the pair completed Sounder (HVS 5a), Dovetail (E1 5b) and a variation on Jussy ((HVS 5b). Phil, Andy and Matt made another team - Phil leading Stacked Deck, Matt Mucky Pups and Right Siamese - Andy Cracked Wall (VS 4c), The final team of Dan, Stevie and Jo also climbed Right Siamese and Jussy (Dan) and Stacked Deck and Rapunzle (Steve).
Paul was on photography duty for the new Lancs Guidebook. There is a rumour going round that it might be published sometime before the end of the decade after next.......
Voting was held in the fine hostelry of the Holden Arms with Alderman. Blackstone edge, Wilton 1. Ouzels nest on the table. Voting was close but Blackstone Edge won out - back to natural grit!
20 minute walk in, Superb sunset, great pub nearby, all grades and bouldering
Members: Stevie Graham, Helen Boothman, Dan O'Brien, Paul Evans, Mark Garrod, Mark Ashley.
Guests: Matt Harrigan.
Fine weather and the prospect of getting to walk on an ancient Roman road were sufficient enticement for a small band of intrepid adventurers to make the short hike up from the Whitehouse pub to Blackstone Edge. Unfortunately, we were rather oversold on the provenance of the roads and it turns out that rather than being Roman, it is actually an 18th century turnpike.
What have these Romans ever done for us anyway?
Pendulum Swing (VS) saw ascents from Helen and Matt, ably followed by Mark G and Stevie respectively. Paul might even have snapped some suitable shots for the new Lancashire guidebook, assuming there is a market for pictures of people grinding their faces along some of the roughest gritstone in the peak on the traverse section... After some half-hearted bouldering around on the bottom of Little Miss Id and deciding that discretion was the better part of valour Dan tied on for a go on the attractively named Mangler (VS) which extracted its pound of flesh from the back of his hands before forcing a retreat.
On the boulders, Dan and Helen climbed Trig Slab (F6a) and Trig Arête (F6b+) and something else up and right (about F6b) that I couldn’t find on the net while Mark and Mark got stuck into Central Crack (VD) and Matt and Stevie climbed Outside Edge (VS).
As the sun set, the pub beckoned. Dan, enthusiastic for more bouldering nominated Bridestones, Helen put forward Woodhouse Scar and Matt suggested Frodsham. Even Matt’s description of Frodsham as green, highball and terrifying was not enough to garner any support and Woodhouse won in a unanimous second round vote. A short walk-in, compact gritstone and the furthest North Matt has ever been – look out Halifax, we’ll see you next week.
Look out Halifax!
Members – Dan O’Brien, Emily Pitts, Gareth Wiliams, Helen Boothman, Dave Wylie, Laura Collier
Guests – Aleksandra Pawlik
Absent Wanderer – Andy Stratford…
With the M62 (and thus Yorkshire) closed, the straightforward jaunt to Woodhouse Scar in Halifax became a 3hr nightmare for some of the KMC Wednesday night regulars. However, once the team arrived at the crag, they were greeted by warm sunshine and clean, roadside gritstone.
Helen led the delicate and bold arete of Spigilo (HVS) ably followed by Dave. Helen then kindly provided a toprope for Alex, Laura and Emily to have a go at the technical and reachy Parete (HVS). Much cursing ensued after Dan used all 6ft of natural advantage to reach past the crux. Laura led a HVD with a bold start - typical Yorkshire!
Gareth attempted Clingen (E2), a seriously bold (E3 in any other ‘shire…) roof climb with a shocking landing. The guidebook suggested that placing gear behind the flakes was pointless as it would fail in the event of a fall and just ruin the route by removing a crucial hold. Pads definitely required! Alas, the route resisted his efforts and eventually Gareth came to his senses and joined the rest of us bouldering.
Woodhouse is a fantastic local bouldering venue with some excellent problems in the mid grades (4, 5, 6ish) and a number were ascended by the KMC including Radium Arete.
Night fell and the team decamped to the pub. In the spirit of the general election there were five nominations, none of which particularly appealed. After the loss of Crowden Quarry and some crumbly horror-show in Leicestershire suggested by Gareth we were left with Brimham Rocks and Dovestones. Four rounds of voting later, the meet was on the verge of a constitutional crisis as no stable coalition could be found. Luckily, the day was saved when some Brimham turncoats joined the Dovestones camp. Chew valley sunsets and classic moorland grit is on the menu for next week.
P.S. Upon arriving home I noticed a scribble post from Andy saying that he'd given up and gone home after two hours stuck in traffic. He gets an honourable mention though not as honourable as the one he would've got if he'd turned up!
Sunset venue on the moors. Lovely
Members: Dave Wylie , Gareth Williams, Andy Stratford. Al Metelko. Stevie Graham. Dan O'Brien
Guests: Matt Harrigan, Chris Egan, Angela Gallagher,
Dave arrived early for a spot of sunbathing. Gareth arrived next and psyched himself for The Hanging Crack - one of the toughest roof climbs in the Chew - it alledgedly goes at E2 5b - but only if you are an orangutan that can jam proficiently.
We worked out that Gareths ape genes were seriously deficient, along with his jamming skills
''Ooh. I'm going to give up now. I can see bits of my skin in the crack''.
Meanwhile, back on planet earth Stevie had led Answer Crack, then Layback Crack. After Andy had completed belay duties for Gareth he led the same. Matt led Tower Ridge and Question Mark. Talking of question marks, there were some used about Dan's claims to voting rights in the pub - after he claimed bouldering on The Sugar Loaf, Sloping Top and The Tank entitled him to raise hands. Al checked rule 237b section 4 part 6 and concluded that as long as Dan voted for Shelf Benches (which, surprise, he had suggested) then his vote would count. Despite this blatant attempt at vote fixing, the superb Glossop crag went out first round after 2 complex re-votes.
Wilton, Pule Hill and Cows Mouth vied for the top spot with Cows Mouth easily taking the honours once the shy KMC members present were told Paul Evans would be in attendance photographing for the new Lancashire Guidebook.
Wear bright clothes. Modelling this week for Paul!
Members - Dan O'Brien, Andy Stratford, Duncan Lee, Gareth Williams, Lucie Crouch, Helen Boothman, Dave Wylie, Christine Beeston, Jim Symon, Bron Edwards, Al Metelko, Paul Evans.
Guests - Steven Boxwell
Note: Best read whilst listening to Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain”…
With the week-long sport-climbing road trip meet entering its third rainy day Gareth and Lucie decided that joining the mid-weekers at Cow's Mouth Quarry was a good option, especially after he was assured that he would not be required to write it up a part of his meet. Joined by other early starters, Dave and Bron, they made the most of the warm, if windy conditions.
There were numerous ascents of the various lines on the easy-anled yet polished and bold “Slabmaster” area ranging from bold solos (Duncan et al), calm leads (Andy) and gibbering top-ropes (Jim…) Christine led Cornette (D), a much more sensible offering with adequate protection. Dan shunned a top-rope for the E1 King Bee as Andy assured him that the crux had gear. Upon reaching the shallow pocket in question we quickly realised that Andy had misremembered, or perhaps it was another route, maybe on another crag… I forget. Anyway, with no gear forthcoming Dan wussed out and even the bouldering mat couldn’t tempt him to commit.
Gareth and Helen climbed Lapper (E1) allowing Paul to snap some shots for the upcoming Lancashire guidebook. Helen then led Z Crack (VS), an ideal candidate for a climber who hates jamming, either hands or feet, as it requires both in equal measure. A steep initial section, led to a tricky intermediate section followed by a baffling layback/dyno to finish. Dan demonstrated a easier approach by being taller with bigger hands. Duncan, fresh from running into the crag, soloed a number of lines including Space Invader (VS).
As shadows lengthened Andy led the mouthful that is Sard with the Seazy start (~VS) and Gareth readied himself for the main course – Daytona Wall E5 6a. After linking the moves cleanly on a shunt and engaging a superior spotting team of Duncan, Dan and Helen (who also doubled as a belayer), with pads in place and a focussed attitude he made swift work of the first crux and found his way to a small ledge where the remains of a small bolt serves to focus the mind on the lack of options for gear. A heart-stopping moment followed with a tenuous looking foot adjustment whilst pulling through the second hard move and reaching a “thank-god” pocket on the upper slab. One final pull brought the first runner (at about 8m) brought audible relief for the spotting team. A stunning ascent. Dan and Helen attempted to follow on a top-rope with varying degrees of success.
In the pub, fed and watered, the nominees were Wilton 1 (though Jim couldn’t think of a good reason why we should actually go there), Shipley Glen (a bouldering venue in Yorkshire that was dismissed for being bouldering), Tremadog (which was dismissed for being flipping’ miles away), Bamford which was dismissed due to tactical moves to the Wilton camp which left Witches Quarry, a limestone outcrop with innovative belay stakes and the ability to drive into and park directly beneath the crag. Another bonus is that Paul also requires photos of Witches for the new Lancs guidebook – it appears the camera loves the KMC!
So next week, ten cars maximum please (BMC guidelines so co–ordination on Scribble required…). Something wicked this way comes.
Please car share as parking is limited. Roll-over.
Members - Dan O'Brien, Andy Stratford, Helen Boothman, Dave Wylie, Mark Ashley, Koy Oi Ding, Paul Evans.
Guests – John, Steve Hill and Freddie Waters, Joe Foster, Ellie Jones, Jacob King and James Cleves from the SUMC.
Sceptical would be a mild way to describe my feelings towards Witches quarry…. My only memories of the place were a humid, damp, midge infested rat-hole from a rainy mid-week Wednesday in 2004. My last encounter put me off for over a decade. Sceptical, yes, that’s the nicest way to put it.
Witches' Quarry, on the slopes of Pendle Hill, is a limestone outcrop with an improbable number of quality lines for a minor crag. The local folklore surrounding witches and witchcraft lends itself to some of the colourfully named routes. Even though the KMC did not have Witches’ to themselves as the sunny weather and non-existent walk-in (you park at the foot of the crag) had attracted members of Salford University, Lancashire and Clitheroe Mountaineering Clubs, you still got the sense that there was something magical about the place.
The Salford University contingent, taking full advantage of not having full-time jobs or exams, arrived early to take full advantage of the sunny settled weather. They motored through Cracklap (Joe’s first HS), Spellbound and Brimstone (Freddie’s first HVS which he claimed felt harder than Ann at Wilton – his first E1 from the week before…) Paul steeled himself against the patchwork technicolour of Freddie’s trousers to take some photos for the upcoming Lancashire guidebook – sunglasses advised!
Helen climbed the unfortunately named Familiar’s Fall (HVS) followed Andy. Stevie and Helen also climbed Hell Hounds on My Tail (VS) and Tarot Wall (HVS) to comfortably secure the "Most Colourfully Named Routes” prize for the evening.
I climbed Witch Bane (HVS) ably followed by John and Andy and closely photographed by Paul. A special mention also goes out to Dave who helpfully ensured that the correct line was followed on the fingery top section by reading from the guidebook. Paul, it turns out, had little idea where the route he had just pointed me at actually went, what it was called, or what the grade was… Andy led Cracklap and I climbed Peel Off (VS), both followed by an increasingly pumped John on only his second outdoor climbing trip.
Dave approached the crag riding a Llama/Alpaca over the top of Pendle Hill, upon his arrival Steve and his spare rope did Cracklap and as far as he knows the rope also did one other route without him – I smell witchcraft! Dave, in person, seconded Stevie on Thrutch (VS), led Haloween Outing (S) with Steve and followed Steve up Serenity (S). Mark and Ding also climbed Serenity then proceeded to “fall off every VDiff on the cliff”. They also climbed Broomstick (VS).
As night fell, the sensible decamped to the pub though the students (mysteriously) did not make it - again, I’m calling witchcraft!
Through post climb attrition, only seven made it to the pub where Andy’s off-hand prediction of calm settled weather for next week was quickly set in stone. As such, in true midge-avoiding style, the nominations were Pule Hill, Helsby and The Roaches. The Roaches fell in a first round run-off with Helsby. The second round saw a narrow victory for Pule Hull even though Ding was told by Mark that she would now have to walk home as she turned her cloak for the Pule Hill camp.
As for me, it seems I was a little hasty in my judgement of Witches’ Quarry. In the right conditions it is a great place to spend the evening and I will certainly be returning. Granny Weatherwax, I doff my cap.
Members - Dan O'Brien, Andy Stratford, Jim Symon, Dave Wylie, Mark Ashley, Ian Crook, Al Metelko, Stevie Graham.
Guests – Steve Hill, Emily Hulley, Fabian Hulley, Gemma Sutherington, Bennett Leather.
Summer is officially here. Now just hope that the midges don’t notice. Based on the ASWLRF* from last week that said it would be sunny and still, the usually breezy hilltop venue of Pule Hill near Marsden in West Yorkshire was the venue of choice for this weeks KMC Wednesday adventures. It is a combination of crumbly quarried gritstone and natural moorland outcrops a short blast up an incline from the cars. With blue skies, warm temperatures and a pleasant light breeze, some KMC-ers wondered aloud if the best course of action would be to head straight to the pub to take advantage of the beer garden. Good sense won out however so, as usual, climbing came first.
Dan climbed Flying Buttress (HS) with Steve and Dave (who arrived early for a 7-mile hike before climbing). Jim and Stevie also led Flying Buttress followed by Andy and Gemma respectively. Guest Bennett followed Jim and Andy up Amen (VDiff), a very steep corner that would probably get Severe at Stanage. Stevie and Gemma enjoyed Amen, Route 2 (VS) and Wrinkled Wall (HS) - another bold little number, also climbed by Andy and Jim. Al bouldered and solo’d around the crag while Dan and Mark climbed Amen.
Jim, Andy and Bennett had an extremely productive evening, also ticking off Overhanging Arête (HVD), Coffin Corner (VDiff) Whale Meet Again at an improbable grade of VDiff 4c. Steve also led Coffin Corner and Crude Crack (VDiff) and followed Dave on Whackers Wall (Diff) and Blind Buttress (HS).
Ian and Fabian (who at 35 and 4-months respectively are at the younger end of the KMC age spectrum) arrived and proceeded to offer helpful advice to Dan and Mark from the ground as they climbed Coffin Corner and Kletterschuhe Capers (S). Ian claimed to be able to recognise Dan’s climbing style from the roadside – though apparently this shouldn’t be taken as a compliment… Dan also backed off The Great Scoop (VS) which with crumbly holds and gathering midges was a less than enticing prospect – the pub was calling…
Emily joined us at the crag following a bike ride and as she approached, found a car-key lying on a tuft of grass on the hillside. No-one recognised them and they were left on a rock at the bottom of the crag. As the the dusk drew in and the midges started to descend, the team decamped to the pub for voting. Dave and Steve, last to leave the crag, met Bennett wandering back up the hill to find his lost car keys – a very lucky escape there!
In the pub, the nominations were Millstone Buttress (not to be confused with Millstone Edge), Ramshaw Rocks, Shipley Glen and Standing Stones. The inevitable electoral complexities ensued with a 3-way tie in the second round resulting in a confusing round of secondary negative voting which confused your correspondent to such an extent that he accidentally voted out the crag he wanted to go to – I blame exhaustion. The end result was a narrow victory for Standing Stones.
A very productive evening – looking forwards to next week!
*Andy Stratford Weather Long Range Forecast
One of the chew's finest crags
Rollover from last week
Are You Lonesome Tonight (Elvis Presley)
Lonesome member: Andy Stratford
After a warm day I didn't bother checking the forecast. A scribble appeared which I replied to saying ''I'm on my way''. I cycled up the track from Binn Green into the wind with clouds blowing in....just as I locked my bike up at the top under Ravenstones the rain came in. I walked up to the crag, arriving at 6pm with the rain quickly easing. I let the wind blow for half an hour then solo'd up a wet Weeping Wall (Diff). No-one had appeared by 7pm so I walked back down to the bike just as another quick shower passed through. And so goes standing stones for another year.....
Voting tonight is oh so tricky.
...but I want to head south - mostly the crags this wednesday season have been on the north and east side so...lets try Ramshaw Rocks.
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......
2 minute walk in, often windy to keep the beasties away
Maybe just a quiet evening? I was at castle naze from about 5:30 until about 7:45, but no one else turned up.
It was quite pleasant weather, only a bit breezy at the top of the crag. I soloed 6 or 7 of the easier routes and then as no one else was there I decided to head home.
May try again next Wednesday.
I'm taking the may try again next wednesday as the cue for a Castle Naze rollover!
Rollover from last week
Members: Clay Conlon, James Williams, Robert Clark, Andy Stratford, Stevie Graham, Oi Ding Koy, Kathy Gordon
Guests: Nick Simpson, Elliya, Steve Hill, Rob Mills
Another bright sunny evening at Castle Naze with a great turnout. The Flywalk, The Niche, Studio, Pilgrims Progress, Keep Buttress, Keep Corner, Nozag, Zig Zag Crack and Long Climb were all ascended some several times amd others I've undoubtedly missed. Rob Mills was back leading after a seven year kiddie break.....Ellie learnt how to Jam. A bit. There was pain.....
Only five of us made to the Beehive which, for those of a gourmet disposition, sell a particular brand of Pork scratchings flavoured with Black Pudding. Ellie was persuaded to try them and declared them much nicer than Spanish ones!
Several crags were discussed including Staden Quarry, Horsesh......oe and Harper Hill. Eventually Roaches Skyline, Roaches Upper and Helsby made the list with Roaches Upper hitting the spot. Meet under the sloth............ROGER!
The best grit anywhere (JW)
Despite a showery day the Roaches soon dried out for a golden evening, unfortunately the weather dissuaded many folk so the KMC was represented by myself and Evan. Three pitches of trad and a fair few boulder problems were ticked. Pex Hill was chosen for next week's venue.
Disappointing turn out - no members and 2 guests (Evan and Rob) attended pex hill. Conditions were good with only a few of the pockets being slightly damp.
Climbed in the Pisa Wall and Memorial Corner areas. All climbs were approached as boulder problems with mats for protection. Some of the problems were unnervingly high but “stacking the mats” and having a spotter made them more bearable. Most holds were very rounded meaning half the battle was figuring out the best way to use them.
Roll-over unless we receive reports of daring-do last Wednesday.
Members: Dan O’Brien, Andy Stratford, James Williams, Mark Ashley
Summer has returned and although attendance has thinned out a little due to various Alpine-type commitments, the sunny weather and the lure of pristine sandstone was enough to entice four intrepid KMC-ers to Helsby.
It was damn hot!
Climbing as a three, Dan, Andy and James, determined not to let rustiness due to lack of climbing over the past few weeks get in the way, climbed Oyster Slab (VS) with the finish up The Notch (which is apparently a Diff but felt much steeper...) Andy and James climber the direct finish at tougher VS in varying degrees of style (Andy in his Audrey Hepburn sunglasses and James actually succeeding on the moves...)
Did I mention it was hot?
James climbed Flake Crack, a tough VS (which is graded HVS in the new guidebook) which requires bold laybacking or awkward jamming. James' first attempt using a hybrid jamming/layback combination (Jam-Back™) was unsuccessful and led to much harrumphing but a more conventional approach yielded results second time around. Dan followed feeling more out-of-shape with every foot of height gained...
Andy and Mark, having decided that leading on Sandstone was an acquired taste, top-roped Grooved Slab (which would otherwise have been a largely gearless VS) and then Twin Scoops (an otherwise completely gearless E1) as the sun set. James and Dan also top-roped Twin Scoops, one using skill, the other using reach...
As the sun set, the Railway Pub beckoned and over cool beers and soft drinks the voting, after one round saw Staden Quarry defeated by Alderman Rocks - the electorate being completely biased by two Chew Valley dwellers...
On the drive home, Dan absent-mindedly turned left onto the M56 rather than right - who doesn't enjoy a lap of Queensferry on the way back to Manchester?
Windy spot to keep the beasties away
Wetter than a KMC member after the wild swim meet......rollover
Sunny, windy and often very dry crag!
Members. Nils Elgar, Ding oi Koy Dave Wylie, Andy Stratford,.
Guests. Paul McCormack. Ryan Linfield, Paula Radtke, Emma Bird, Duncan Zerafa.
Pub only!!!: Dan O'Brien.
Great turnout tonight at a crag with one of the best outlooks in these parts. Windy enough to blow all the midges in the world away. Nils and Ding arrived early doors and made ascents of Pygmy wall and P1 of The Great Slab, in fact pretty much everyone ended up seconding P1 of Great Slab (4b) but no-one fancied the vicious upper crack - all tending instead to the excellent and pleasant P2 of Rib and face (4a). The Great Gatsby at VS 4c also proved popular. Andy led up Great Slab Right HVS 5a with a succession of seconds including Emma Bird on her first ever day outdoor climbing. Type 2 fun. Paul Mc was back on the rock after a nine year break, and Duncan appeared to run up every route he was pointed at. The entire team made it to the Clarence for the voting, joined by shirker Dan, claiming his foot was too poorly to handle a rock shoe. Ever heard of Elbsandstein Gebirge? No, I expect not. Neither had anyone except Paula as it is in her native Germany. It still got 3 votes and survived into round 2 as we lost Stanage on the first vote! (proposed by Aussie Ryan!) Eventually Wilton 1 won out over Heptonstall with the other contender, Crowden in 3rd. After voting we discovered that actually Elbsandstein Gebirge is not a crag but a National Park....lost in translation again......
So, with the nights drawing in, and the final month of the wednesday outdoor season approaching, get yourself down to Wilton next week for some steep, well protected quarried grit action.
Top Lancs Quarry venue
Members: Jim Symon, Andy Stratford. Guests: Duncan Zerafa, Paul McCormack.
I'm not known for my wild optimism, and I even doubted my own scribble ''looks like a bright sunny evening'' - that was just to encourage Jim. Dark clouds threatened all the way and we passed through a couple of showers....but weirdly north Bolton was dry. The crag was very dry, in fact it's entirely possible that it escaped the bucketloads of rain in Manchester and Liverpool entirely! Due to the distinct lack of summer the outside face of the prow was pretty green and uninviting, however the inside face was in excellent nick. I led up Flywalk VS 4c with Jim following, just as Paul and Duncan arrived. Jim waltzed up Rambling Route (VDiff) with the 3 of us following.
Threatening clouds had blown over leaving clear skies and a sudden drop in temperature - far too cold for the midges - I don't think we saw a single one! I decided to try the delights of Eliminate - a VS 4c with an excellent 5m exposed traverse. Paul led his first route in nearly a decade - Scimitar (Diff). Jim then led up Bird Chimney S4a as the final route, again with all three of us following. The light faded very quickly and we were in the Wilton Arms (now a full on pub-restaurant) for 8.45pm. Crags on the table were Windgather, Den Lane and the winner: Running Hill Pits - more high quality quarried grit with a few fierce cracks. Meet in The Church after.
Great selection of routes across the grades, 10 minute easy walk
Running Hill Pits
Members – Dan O’Brien and Andy Stratford
Guests – Rob Mills and Paul McCormack
The nights have started to draw in but there is still a couple of opportunities for midweek adventures. This week saw the KMC at Running Hill Pits, a Quarry above Uppermill in the Chew Valley. The quarry boasts one of the strangest pieces of in-situ gear on grit. A foot-long spanner wedged dubiously on the aptly names “Spanner Wall”. Over the years the bent spanner eroded at its base until, in 2010, it broke off. After a brief spell hanging on the wall of the Cross Keys Inn nearby, the spanner is now back though its new method of attachment casts further doubt on its load bearing ability…
Andy opened his account with a solid ascent of Plumb Line (VS 4C) bravely overcoming a “cam crisis” on a particularly slippery section. Dan, Paul And Rob followed before splitting into pairs for the remained of the evening. Dan mis-read the guidebook and attempted to start an E1 up an E6. After being put right, belayed by Paul, he led the colourfully named Gomorrah (E1 5C) a slippery thin-hands jamming crack that would have been more at home in the USA. Andy followed grumbling about Dan’s height advantage and the wilting nature of his forearms…
Rob led Ucontus (S 4C) followed by Paul and then headed over to the sunny side of the quarry for attempts on Dead Dog Crack and Cave Crack, both VS and both with very slippery jamming starts. This and increasing midge activity forced a retreat tot he shady side and an ascent of Dusty Arete (D) as the light faded.
Andy closed off proceedings with an ascent of the (non-identical) twin cracks of Pantagruel (HVS 5A). Though green (particularly the left hand crack), Andy jammed his way to 2/3 height where the crack narrowed and the foot-holds ran out. After a couple of aborted attempts (again the wilting forearms…) Andy changed his approach and simply sprinted for the top using his adrenaline fuelled ability to do one-arm lock-offs, leaving his feet and his distant last runner trailing behind him.
As it grew dark, the team decamped to the Church Inn and debated the options for next week. With limited light, and a whole summer behind us the options were limited. A straight up-or-down vote between Den Lane and Windgather brought Windgather out on top. Whalley Bridge next week!
Dries quickly. Have faith!
Members – Dan O’Brien, Mark Pilling,
Guests – George Williams, Ine Van Caekenberbhe, Paul McCormack and Rob Mills
There was a great turnout this Wednesday, possibly related to the improving forecast, but I’m sure mostly related to the excellent, accessible climbing on offer on a mid-September evening. Dan arrived early and set about ticking the right-hand side of the crag
George, Paul, Ine and Mark arrived in quick succession and we split into groups. Ine and Mark tackled The Corner (D) which was Ine’s first excursion onto gritstone and first experience of trad climbing – a different prospect to Belgian bolted climbs! Dan and George climbed Mississippi Crack (S) followed by Paul. George also had his first experience belaying on double ropes with Dan helpfully explaining how he intended to differentiate between the two identical ropes and then mixing them up almost straight away. Paul Dan and Rob then teamed up for High Buttress Arete (VD) a route with serious objective dangers especially if the leader insists on throwing screw-gate karabiners off the top of the crag! Mark, Ine and George then moved onto North Buttress Arete Direct (VS 5A) which they mistook for North Buttress Arete (HVD) much to the dismay of Ine’s forearms. They also climbed Chimney and Crack (VD).
Dan, Rob and Paul climbed Portfolio (HVS 5B) which is a bit like a VS with a 5B boulder problem for the top move. The move relented at the third time of asking once Dan had removed the fleece that was weighing him down. Rob seconded with no trouble. Paul seconded using the alternative finish after the crux dispatched him with fingertips literally inches from the finishing jug. As darkness fell various combinations of KMC-ers made ascents of Central Route (S) and Chockstone Chimney (D) before heading to the pub in the darkness. Other routes climbed included Broken Groove (D), Aged Crack (S), Corner Crack (VD), Squashed Finger (VD), Centre (HVD), Middle and Leg (D), Leg Stump (D), Nose Direct (HVD) and Footprint (VD).
Once in the (very posh and spruced up) Swan Inn the nominees of Den Lane, New Mills Torr and Hobson Moor were quickly whittled down to one by an all but unanimous vote for Hobson Moor – your correspondent voted for Den Lane but was too tired to think of any obscure electoral get-out-of-jail-free card to swing thing. Maybe next time. Or next year…
Nights are drawing in - potentially the last outdoor Wednesday of the year
Members: Dan O’Brien, Andy Stratford, Mark Pilling, James Williams, Jim Symon (rumoured)
Guests: Rob Mills
A promising forecast quickly deteriorated in the afternoon. Andy arrived early at a dry Hobson Moor, phoning Jim to tell him that the weather was good. In the short time it took Jim to arrive the weather had turned and made climbing an uninviting prospect. Jim headed for home and Andy to Stockport Wall. Mark and James arrived in the quarry shortly after. Being made of sturdier stuff they opted for traversing along the back wall (a long pumpy V4). As Rob and Dan arrived the rain had thoroughly soaked the main crag and a decision was made to join Andy for an impromptu wall session.
Andy had already climbed 12 routes on the auto-belays so was keen to hold Dan’s ropes when he arrived. Rob, Mark and James teamed up and after a few laps of the top-roping walls for a warm-up headed off for stepper ground on the leading walls. Dan was humbled by a red 6a+ whilst Andy (that Cat) danced up the central pumpy section. James, Rob and Mark cranked the grades up with a reachy 6c. James reckoned that it seemed like a successful session as he was "falling off hard stuff”. Dan and Andy moved onto slab by territory where an increasingly shirtless Andy made an ascent of a 6b+ which “eased off a bit too much towards the top”. The next route (a 6a+) more than made up for it with a tricky reach section at the last overlap.
Over tea and fizzy pop on the mezzanine, the venue for next week was discussed with New Mills Torrs being a clear favourite as it will be possible to climb there even if it is wet and dark.
Andy and Dan gave up shortly afterwards leaving Rob, Mark and James wondering if we were only part timers as they roped up for another route…
Back to Current Midweek
Perma-dry sport, trad and bouldering under a floodlit viaduct...
Due to various transport issues NMT was abandoned by both Dan and Andy. However Sean Kelly did turn up and found himself at the crag with 60 MMU geology students!
Andy headed for Hobson Moor to meet Emily and managed to lead Crews route (VS 4c), whilst it was light then Epitaph Corner (HS 4b) by headtorch. We we joined by Gowry Sisuplan who followed Andy up both routes - the second of which was her first route climbed in the dark! Gowry's friend Rachel and ten week old Bella decided to give the climbing a miss this week.
Stockport Wall is still the venue for next week.