It's that time of year again!
Members: Gary Thornhill, Dave Wylie, James Meakin, Ben Slater, Gareth Williams, Dan O’Brien
Guests: Gowry Sisupalan, George Williams, James Hall
Fantastic turnout for the first outdoor Wednesday of summer 2016 – even the Sun put in an appearance!
Gary and Ben arrived early and set about working the Back-Wall Traverse (V4) finding most of the crux sections still dripping from rain the day before. The rest of the crag was in pretty good nick however so the team set about ticking some of the local classics. Gareth led Foghorn Groove and James H led The Harp (VS) followed by Ben. The route is still on Dave Wylie’s banned list until the loose block at the top finally falls off! Dave, belayed by Ben and followed by Gowry, climbed Epitaph Corner (VS) which he claimed would be the high point of his climbing season (he later proved this wrong by ably following Gareth up the HVS finger crack of Parker’s Eliminate). James H Led Gideon (VS – though HVS in the old Kinder Guide and it hasn’t got easier!) followed by George and Ben. Dan, James M and Gary teamed up for Parker’s Eliminate, Crew’s Route (VS) and Gideon. A more detailed description of this portion of the evening can’t be printed due to it’s X-Rated content (courtesy of James!)
As the sun set, the temperature plummeted and the team retreated to the Wagon & Horses. James and George both collected signatures for Associate Membership so hopefully they will be joining soon! After Anglezarke was eliminated in round one with only a single vote, a run off between Windgather and Wilton was won by the bolton Quarry after a tactical switch from James M so it’s quarried gritstone again next week.
Excellent Quarried Gritstone on Winter Hill
Members – Andy Stratford, Dan O’Brien
Guests – Oscar Pope, Louis Raettig
There was more quarried gritstone on the menu for this week’s Wednesday night antics. Even a gloomy forecast from yr.no didn’t reduce our optimism. Even sporadic showers throughout the afternoon could not dampen our enthusiasm. Even biting winds on the walk from the office to the car-park could not put us off. Even the driving rain on the motorway around Worsley could not… Ok... we probably should have got the message by this point but undeterred we arrived at Wilton One car-park with a dry road and cloudy but dry weather. The sodden path revealed that the rain had got there before us but with a brisk wind and a sunny aspect the inside face of The Prow had already dried out and we set about the evenings adventures.
Louis and Oscar left the sanctuary of the Prow to go in search of 999 (HS) but found it dripping wet. They returned to attempt Dawn (HVS), a steep little number that has spurned many suitors over the years (including your correspondent!) Andy opened his account by leading Eliminate (VS) with its steep starting corner and bold traverse. Oscar found the initial section of Dawn to be a tough proposition without jamming, which he shunned as a matter of principle. After a few attempts and with frozen fingers he decided to retreat. Andy successfully navigated the crux of Eliminate despite kicking out the better of the two marginal micro-cam placements he used as protection. As Dan tied on to follow the weather took a turn for the worse and by the time he was climbing the initial corner the temperature had dropped and the hail was pounding down. Within seconds the rock was completely soaked and only some knee assisted grovelling allowed access to the rest ledge. The hail, unrelenting, had now covered every flat surface and the crux traverse was dripping wet. After a brief discussion and the removal of the last of the gear it was agreed that the best approach was to pendulum across thew face rather than attempt the moves. The successful swing allowed access to the easy ground at the end of the traverse and quickly the top. Unfortunately, the thick coating of hailstones had made the walk along the narrow top of the prow more worrying than usual so, frozen and drenched, Dan and Andy elected to abseil.
Back in the pub, after a Clark Kent style outfit change in the gents, the team warmed up over a drink and attempted to dry out soggy kit. The vote for next week was biased mainly by a desire to save some of the better crags for later in the season. Windgather was rejected due to Castle Naze being the crag for Sunday’s Hot-Pot climb and Alderman was rejected because Andy wanted to save it for the summer. Anglezarke was rejected based on how cold and wet the voters still were. The winner was Bridestones (near Todmorden). The walk in is short, the aspect sunny and the pub nearby – what’s not to like? Oh, by the way, it’s a bouldering venue.
See you all next week.
Excellent bouldering venue above Todmorden
Members: Dan O’Brien, Dave Wylie, Ding, Mark Ashley,
Guests: Alex Greeney, Hannah Godden, Faye (sorry, didn’t get a last name...)
Traffic was a nightmare and only really cleared after Littleborough. The cap it off, the usual road to the crag was closed forcing a number of innovative approaches after resorting to Sat-Nav. And then we discovered that the pub near the car park had closed down!
Luckily, the weather was fine and the climbing, as always at Bridestones, was superb. Alex had arrived early and we found him perched atop the Fish & Chips boulder. The problem it is named after is a slab which can be climbed with or without the chips… Ding found even with the chips that the top was out of reach. She was unimpressed with Dave deploying his additional reach on this move! Alex climbed a V1 in a corner which he described as “horrible”… We moved on to The Villain, a tricky little V2 which Alex and Dan sent after a few goes with additional moral support from William Shakespeare (“Thou art a Villain!”) Faye, Hannah, Dave and Mark climbed Left Side Arete (V0) and Hannah and Dave managed Perfection (V1) with some deft footwork.
Dan and Alex moved on to Smart Wall (V4) whose rough slopey holds claimed most of the skin on the fingers of their left hands. Dan touched the last hold three times but couldn’t hang it. Charlotte Rampling (V5) was a similar result with little skin left and sweaty slopers spurning all our attempts. We beat a hasty retreat to join the others on a small outcrop above Jerry’s Arete to enjoy the last of the light.
The soft nature of the gritstone at Bridestones makes the grades very condition dependent and even straightforward moves can quickly feel impossible if the friction is not with you. It is also vulnerable to erosion with some of the more popular problems (including Charlotte Rampling) having been recently “repaired” using some sort of filler to protect the fast wearing foot-holds. Bridestones is a place where bouldering needs to be conducted responsibly. Avoid brushing if you can and make sure your shoes are clean. If the conditions aren’t good (wet holds etc) then leave it until next time. If we look after the rock as much as we can then there will more likely be a next time and you never know… with some cold weather, a bright winter sun and little extra friction that final hold on Smart Wall might not seem so far away.
The pub (the Staff of Life) was warm but due to some attrition we ended up with an even number which could have made voting tricky. Luckily, a first round unanimous victory for the only nominee (Troy Quarry) put these fears to rest. Back in the quarries next week.
Helen Boothman gets an honourable mention after going to Brownstones instead – she claims due to time constraints but part of me suspects a mis-reading of the location… we’ll never know…
Sheltered Gritstone Quarry near Rawtenstall
Members: Dave Wylie, Dan O'Brien, Duncan Lee, Vicky Alderton, Jim Symon, Andy Stratford, Gareth Williams, Stuart Hurworth, Steve Graham, Mark Ashley, Ding, Colin Maddison, Clay Conlon.
Guests: Jo Cowley, George Williams, Oscar Pope, Hannah Godden + 2, Isabel Prause, John and Fiona, Steve Hill, Kieran Lee, Nikki Hamerton
It was definitely BBQ weather! This week saw an almost record turn-out for a Wednesday night meet. A total of 13 members and 12 guests took full advantage of the great weather and accessible climbing at Troy Quarry. Even the midges had the common decency to stay away…
Dave and Steve H climbed the excellent Severe Left Siamese Twin (the crux being avoiding the Right Twin), Stacked Deck (HS) and One Way Street (S); the latter being led on Steve’s shiny new gear and all routes followed by Jo. Oscar led Sounder (HVS) and Dovetail (his first E1 though strangely coming after his first E2 over the weekend…) both followed by Dan. Dan led Jussy (HVS) and Grane Wall (E1), the latter having been heavily chalked by a top-roping team earlier in the evening to dry out the early season seepage – it didn’t really work…
Mark led Right Siamese Twin (the crux being avoiding the Left Twin), Open Sesame (VD) which was very dirty and Stacked Deck, followed by Ding, Isabel and George. Fiona and Jon also climbed Left Siamese and Open Sesame. Gareth climbed Jussy and Mucky Pups (HVS) followed by Vicky while Duncan sprinted around the Quarry after Kieran who devoted most of his substantial energy to manufacturing stone tools and collecting mummified frogs… After leaving his mobile office in the car park, Colin climbed Sounder and the tricky Curlew (E1) which had some pretty bold climbing; followed by Stevie and Duncan. Jim and Andy climbed Rapunzel (VS), Stacked Deck, Left Siamese Twin, Troy Groove (VS) and Little Sneak (VS) - unfortunately the volume of routes resulted in them arriving late to the pub and almost missing the vote! Stuart and Clay climbed Overlooked Crack (HS) and Updraught Corner (S) and Troy Groove before also nearly missing the vote!
It was genuinely fantastic to see so many members and guests out enjoying the rock so early in the season! Please accept my apologies if I missed your ascent off this report – with nearly forty people at the crag it was pretty tough to keep track!
Luckily (certainly for the unsuspecting locals in the Holden Arms) there was some attrition between the crag and the pub. This did, leave us with an even number which led to some discussions on various methods for breaking a deadlock. Surprisingly, Windgather fell in the first round of voting leaving a straight run-off between Cadshaw Rocks and Alderman which Cadshaw won by a significant margin (indeed even some Chew Valley locals voted for it!)
So Cadshaw next week. Bring head torch and midge repellent and if someone can order the same weather we had yesterday that would be grand. Thanks!
Gritstone cragging off the Devil's Road...
Members: Dan O'Brien, Gareth Williams, Stevie Graham, Andy Stratford, James Meakin, Clay Conlon
Guests: John Evans, Fiona Dixon, Isabel Prause, Jo Cowley, Duncan Zerafa.
The last time your correspondent visited Cadshaw Rocks was literally half-a-lifetime ago. My 16-year-old self (without a car obviously) was forced to get the train and hike from Entwistle and my only real memories of the day were getting an ass-kicking trying to stand on a sloping ledge and then getting rained off and heading to the pub. Despite a flurry of snow in the afternoon the KMC arrived at the crag in clear cool conditions.
Which lasted about five-minutes.
Before we could even get our harnesses on, a wall of hail and snow swept in from the west and settled on us. Even Andy’s prediction that “hailstones won’t wet the rock as they just roll-off” was proved false. He later clarified that only “dry hailstones” roll off the rock. Frozen Carbon-Dioxide I assume… rare in Lancashire…
As the hail and snow eased the team split up in search of dry rock. In the early stages there was not much of this about but that did not stop Steve, dogged in his enthusiasm climbed Crack and Wall (S) followed by Andy and Duncan (on his first outdoor climb since the Ben in January!). He also climbed Column Climb (D) and Central Crack (VD) again followed by Duncan. Andy climbed Column Climb followed by Clay and Jo. He and Jo then followed Clay up a hybrid of Pagan Wall (S) and Corner Chimney (D). John led Overhang Crack (VD) followed by Fiona, who then led a mixture of East Face Climb and Column Climb.
Gareth led a very we Central Climb (HS) fwhich despite not really having anything to recommend it somehow gets 2-stars in Rockfax… As the rock dried out Dan attempted Druids Face (E2). After struggling on the first half, necessarily eliminating most of the good holds to avoid the extreme polish, Dan reached the half-height gear but was unable to muster the moral fibre to go more than one move higher. One for another day perhaps. James, climbing with two colleagues whose names your correspondent failed to record, “made a hash of Overhanging Crack and Split Block Crack”. I suppose one is often ones own harshest critic! As the light faded the snow returned (seriously, it’s late April! I got snowed on three times today?!) and the team departed for The Chetham Arms in Chapeltown.
In the pub, armed with some gourmet pork scratchings, the nominations were Alderman, Deeply Vale, Anglezarke and Windgather. In the first round, Windgather was clearly in front with the remaining crags all tied. So began a series of negative votes which resulted, much to your correspondents confusion, in the elimination of Deeply Vale. In the second round, mercifully, Anglezarke was eliminated without requiring any shenanigans leaving Windgather and Alderman in the run-off. Windgather prevailed so its Whalley Bridge next week for some of the friendliest gritstone in the Peak District. Always a popular choice and one not to miss. Assuming we don’t have to approach on skis…
Roadside gritstone of the highest quality
Members: Dave Wylie, Nils Elgar, Mark Ashley, Gary Thornhill, James Meakin, Ben Slater, Clay Conlon, Dan O’Brien
Guests: Gowry Sisupalan, Anna Morgan, Oscar Pope, Joe Foster, Will Johnson, James Hall, John Evans, Fiona Dixon, Mark Griffiths, Rob Mills and Hanna & Tim Elgar.
In a marked change from last weeks meteorological weirdness the KMC arrived at the crag in the forecast glorious sunshine. Always a popular choice, Windgather, with its short walk-in, sunny aspect and friendly angle did not disappoint. This entire report could probably be summarised as “the KMC climbed pretty much everything at the crag, a number of times…”
James spent the evening working his way down the grades via Wall Climb (VD), High Buttress Arête (VD) and Chockstone Chimney (D), followed by Mark G who also led Mississippi Crack (S), North Buttress Arête Direct (HVD), Cheek (VS) and Aged Crack (S) - between them a very productive evening! Dave took the opposite approach and worked his way up the grades via Toenail (VD), Nose Direct (HVD) and Mississippi Crack, followed by Mark A, Gowry and Anna. Mark A also led Green Crack (S). Ben, Clay and Rob teamed up and climbed Nose Direct, Route 1.5 (HVS) and Struggle (VS) amongst others. On this occasion, Struggle was climbed without getting any ropes stuck by using a tactical wire-placement.
Will managed an impressive solo, on-sight, of the only E1 at the crag South Buttress Arête. Dan wussed out on the crux though not before committing one move too far and ending his attempt with a brief unceremonious dangle. Will also led Portfolio (HVS) followed by Dan. Portfolio also saw ascents from Oscar and Joe who cruised it after beating a tactical retreat from South Buttress Arête and James H followed by Gary who reckoned that the steep and fingery final move felt trickier this time!
"I first did it [Portfolio] early in 1979, see the attached pitch of my dad showing us how to do it. In trainers with rope tied around his waist and waist belaying on a hawser laid rope circa 1959. I soloed the route in September 1980 they day before my brother got married, having cycled there on my own just to solo it and hadn't done it since until this meet. I soloed the cave arête direct route around the same time. I used to solo a lot back then, as the school friends that I started climbing with, had got jobs or gone to college and weren’t around to go climbing. Thankfully the KMC found me and I’m still around, as I do remember taking a couple of large ground falls from routes, and luckily walking away from them..." - Gary Thonrhill
Nils, led Footprint, Nose Direct, Green Crack and Mississippi Crack, ably supported by the young Hanna and Tim. Hanna followed (in big boots) Buttress Two Gully (M), Leg Stump (D), Centre (HVD), Footprint, Nose Direct, Green Crack and Mississippi Crack while Tim contented himself with scrambling up and down the descent routes – both clearly great hopes for the future!
Fiona led Footprint (VD) followed by John who led Nose Direct and Central Route (S). They also have the accolade of being last on the crag, persevering with climbing after the rest of us had called it a day and headed to the pub!
There was some attrition between the crag and the pub however even with 11 of us in the there we still outnumbered the locals 11-1! The nominees were Harpur Hill, Alderman and Pule Hill. Witches Quarry was tactically left off the shortlist for later in the season. Alderman fell at the first hurdle (the absence of the Chew-Valley Caucus this week clearly reflected in the ballots…) and it was left to the Pule and Harpur Hills to battle it out. Harpur Hill was the clear winner so it looks like we are going sport climbing next week. Pack your spare forearms!
As I write this I’m wondering how far Dave Wylie got on his was home after his vehicle’s range-gauge seemed to be going in reverse (10 miles left at the crag and 45 by the time he got to the pub…) Perhaps he has solved the energy crisis…
Other routes climbed include : The Staircase (M), Green Slab (S), North Buttress Arête (HVD), Heather Buttress (D), Taller Overhang (VS), Small Wall (S), The Other Corner (M), Bulging Arête (S), Director (VS), Heather Face (HVD), Squashed Finger (HVD), Corner Crack (VD), Traditional (HS), Broken Groove (D), Editors Note (VS) - again, apologies if I missed your ascent. Everyone is just too quick for me to keep up!
Limestone Sport-Climbing near Buxton - I know... how did that happen?!
Members: Andy Stratford, George Williams, Dan O’Brien
Guests: Rob Mills, Gowry Sisupalan, Will Johnson, Tom Nicholson, Duncan Zefera
Having left the sun behind in Manchester the KMC arrived at Harpur Hill in a thick fog… This definitely lent an air of the post-apocalyptic wasteland to the quarry, which is one of the few sport climbing venues in the Peak District. No wind, misty air, damp underfoot conditions, a fluorescent green pond and numbers trails from the local off-road motorbike scene all served to increase the “Max-Max” feel of the place.
Rob and Andy arrived first and opened their account on the Lower Tier with an ascent of Geisha grooves (6a). Andy followed muttering something about the crumbly nature of the rock (why else does he think that the “Tradderati" would have allowed it to be bolted in the first place) He also grumbled about how he preferred much more solid gritstone and how no-one who proposed or voted for Harpur Hill had shown up and that the only reason he was there was because he quite likes the Kebab Shop next to the pub in Buxton. He was roundly ignored by the rest of us!
Will and Dan led Outside Tokyo (6b) which was then cleaned by Rob following a slight miscalculation on rope length that resulted in Will having to top-out rather than lower off (first true ascent?). Andy teamed up with Gowry, Duncan and George to climb Golden Goose (5a) after which the team migrated over to the Cairn sector. Will managed to link the moves on Cairn (7a) with a couple of rests and then kindly left the rope in place for Dan and newcomer Tom to flounder briefly on the bottom three moves whilst he rested up for his red-point attempt. His second attempt ended with some muddled footwork on the crux with Dan taking the catch. After Dan led Great White (6a), an under-bolted route he described as “rubbish”, Will tried again but the tricky footwork at the crux foiled him again and they decided to call it a night.
Next-door Rob led Senile Delinquents, which gets 5c but by starting up the wrong line of bolts he actually ended up climbing most of Cabin Fever (6b). George, Duncan and Gowry followed. Andy by now had abandoned sport climbing and had sought out one of the few traditional offerings at the crag in Fed Flintstone (VS) seconded by George and Gowry.
As the darkness fell the KMC headed for the Old Sun Inn (Andy and George via the local take-away) and the survivors debated where to go next week. The nominations were Castle Naze, Pule Hill and (again) Alderman. After a tie in the first round, Castle Naze fell during the run-off, mainly due to the recent Hot-Pot climbing meet there. That left Pule Hill and Alderman. Alderman won, mainly due to effective whipping of the Chew Valley Caucus and much to the relief of your correspondent, who had nominated it pretty much every week so far this year. Lets hope it lives up to the hype!
The one you've all been waiting for...
Members: Andy Stratford, Dave Wylie, Geri Mihalkova, James Meakin, George Williams, Clay Conlon
Guests: John Evans, Fiona Dixon, Duncan Zefera, Emily Thompson, Tom Nicholson, Ali.
Pub appearance: Dan O’Brien
Despite a gloomy forecast earlier in the week and a rain shower mid afternoon, the crag was very dry and in excellent condition, then out came the sun and we enjoyed the final warming rays of a fine evening.
Duncan and Dave teamed up with Dave on lead for Great Slab Arete (S 4a) and Duncan leading on Rib and Face (HVD 4a) and the enticing looking HVD of Cleft and Chimney. "I like climbing on a slug" explained Duncan. He finishing with a solo of F Route (VD 3c).
Andy might as well have solo’d Crispy Crack (HVS 5a), a delicate affair with one lonely nut very low on the route. Geri and George both followed commendably. Great Slab Right (HVS 4c) was next then Geri and Andy were joined by Emily for Pigmy Wall (S 3c), P2 of Rib and Face, Great Slab Arete and P1 of Great Slab. Meanwhile Clay was determined on both pitches of the classic Great Slab, making a fine finish up the tough jamming crack of P2 with only minor blood loss. George and James both followed with some amusing variations.
John and Fiona did a combination of Great Slab Arete and P2 of Rib and Face (a much better combination than the original route and more balance across the grade), then top-roped Crispy Crack. Andy lent Fiona the crucial micro cams for Pygmy Wall. George finished off with a lead of Great Slab Chimney, as did Tom Nicholson and Ali.
The whole team made it to The Clarence where we were joined by our esteemed Outdoor Meets Secretary, Dan O’Brien complete in paint splattered work trousers and playing the "look i’ve just been doing DIY card". Who had actually nominated Alderman last week...? Dan...?
Emily Thompson advised that a fell race was being held next week at Dovestones so the consensus was to try elsewhere: Crags on the table for next week Castle Naze. Angleszarke, Pule hill. Cows Mouth.
With the "hole in the ground with a swamp" only getting the one vote, we quickly moved to the three venues with the views, with Cows Mouth eventually winning by a good margin over Pule Hill.
Roll-over from 25th May. Quarried gritstone and chiseled poetry in Lancashire
Members. Dave Wylie, Andy Stratford, Mark Ashley, Oi Ding Koy, Clay Conlon, James Meakin, Nils Elgar
Guests. Duncan Zerafa, Jo Cowley, Ryan Linderman, Gareth, John Evans, Fiona Dixon, Elliot brown, Isabel Prause.
‘’Dry and fine at Cow’s Mouth Quarry at the moment with a nice breeze to keep any little flying critters away’’.
As I pulled into the car park, there was no sign of the local weather oracle’s car. Was this a sign? The wind was a cold north easterly, blowing strong and the cloud was down, with Blackstone edge itself wreathed in mist. James and I walked briskly wearing all available layers along the access track and spotted two figures in the quarry. Duncan had parked in the usual spot but Dave, the aforementioned local weather oracle, had commendably done the 4 mile walk from home carrying his gear.
As Duncan led Cornette (Diff), I decided to try Slab Crossing (VS 4b) which, as a traverse, one can only do when the classic slab is unoccupied. It was a bold start but eased and provided a fine combination of first hand then a foot traverse. James and Clay both followed, with much commentary from James over the general lack of gear and good handholds.
The crack systems on Daytona Wall all had several fine leads:
Elliot and John both led Groovin’ (HS 4b). Seasier (V Diff or Severe depending on which book you believe) had leads from Elliot, Dave, Fiona and Duncan, and the harder Seazy (HS 4c) was led by Elliot, John and Clay.
Meanwhile, back on the slab Route right (HS 4b) was led by Elliot, Dave and Mark. Andy lead Route 2 (HVS 5a), and attempted the eliminate line of deadline (VS 5a) but ended up on the relative safety of the adjacent route, Route 1 (HS 4c) – I say relative as there was still no gear but at least the holds existed! Route 1 was also lead by Mark. Andy finished off with Slabmaster (VS 4c), then a quick top-roping session on the E1 5c – the very bold and unprotectable King B. Top ropes were attempted by Ding, James and Mark but no-one managed a clean go. Tricky number!
Over at the far end Clay was repulsed from the very steep and tricky Z Crack (HVS 5a) and then took a small fall on good gear on Sandy Crack (VS 5a) which gave Duncan a good ten minutes of entertainment extracting the welded nut. Fiona and John completed their evening with Fiona leading Groove (S 4a).
Nine of the thirteen made the Whitehouse pub and Pule Hill swiftly despatched Anglezarke and Castle Naze. It’s off to Yorkshire next week!
Roll-over from 8th June. Great views, sunsets and classic rough moorland gritstone
Just me and Duncan at pule hill last night. Did 2 routes (amen and skull climb) a bit wet, green and slimy but good practice?!
After a bit of debate we settled on Dovestones Edge for next week. Let's hope for better weather!
Rough moorland gritstone - perfect for the longest Wednesday of the year!
Members: Andy Stratford, Jim Symon, Helen Boothman, James Hall, Mark Ashley, Oi Ding Koy, Duncan Zerafa, James Meakin, John Evans, Fiona Dixon,
Guests: Ryan Linderman, Jared Kitchen, Isobel Prause
It was a still, warm and muggy evening down at the reservoir car park. Andy, Helen , Isobel and Jim walked up the easy path towards the Foxes stone in about 30 mildly sweaty minutes to find a dripping Duncan who, having never been up to Dovestones’ before, had opted for a one hour heather approach (HVG*) somewhere near the Quarries. As we rounded the top we saw another similary soggy pair – James and James – cursing their way up the steepest slope immediately below the crag. Just as they reached it, yet another pair (Fiona and John) hove into view to begin their hard labour.
It was only a bit midgy when we arrived as we split into teams: James Hall led the bold arête of Maggie HVS 5a, followed by Helen then Jared. Helen decided on a lead of the varying and misnamed Mammoth Slab (HVS 4c) with steep bouldery start, unprotected slab and precarious and reachy finish up a tower on slopers. James followed in fine style.
Meanwhile Jim had decided on Left Embrasure (VS 4b) which he led easily followed by Andy. It was time for the three star Nasal Buttress (HS 4b) next which Andy led after a ‘short pause’ at the crux! Following this, James Hall decided on Nasal buttress with Ryan. This was followed by an attempt on the steep and poorly protected 8hours (E1 5a) which resulted in a retreat. James switched to The Changeling – a poorly protected off width just right of 8 hours at VS 4b. Ryan discovered he couldn’t fit in the crack (after a lot of grunting).
Over on the far right the Mark Ding team swiftly despatched Question Mark (HVD 4a) and Layback Crack (MVS 4b) before joining the others on the left hand section for Central Tower (V Diff). Fiona and John also started on the right climbing layback crack, another route and then John finishing with a fine (and Camless) lead of Nasal Buttress.
Duncan and Isobel teamed up to climb Central Tower and Wrinkled Buttress (V Diff) and were joined by James Meakin who departed soon after muttering about midges and green rock. Duncan finished with a fine lead of Swan crack (S 4a).
By now the midges were getting really annoying. Andy followed Jim up Noddys’ Wall (VS 4b) then Helen up Tower Arete (VS 4c) without removing his midge net!
As the sun set, we packed up from this glorious spot and headed back for the cars, only making the Clarence at 10.45. Six of us wrestled over Castle Naze, somewhere else and, the Presidents choice, Ramshaw Rocks. Next week? It Staffordshire Grit!
*HVG = Hard Very Grassy
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.
Trad limestone near Pendle Hill
Members: Mark Ashley, Ding, Duncan Zefara, Helen Boothman Guests: Ryan Linderman, Fiona Dixon, John Evans, Matt Hartley, Andy Elliott
It was looking unlikely as John, Fiona and Helen sat in cars at the base of the crag watching the drizzle come down. Suddenly though it brightened up, others arrived and a successful evening's climbing was had by all.
John and Fiona headed to the far side of the crag to tick off Serenity (S 4a). Fiona persevered up First Impressions (HS 4b) - a route which hasn't made it into the new rockfax guide and won't be missed (no stars). They then went to the main wall and added Halloween Outing (S 4a) and Cracklap (HS 4b) to their night's achievements before leading the charge to the local pub.
Duncan and Ryan teamed up, Duncan leading Walpurgis Eve (S 4a) and Nance (VDiff) and Ryan making ascents of both Serenity and Cracklap. Duncan spent much of his time wandering back and forth at the bottom of the crag marvelling at the usefulness of the photos in the rockfax guide when compared to the lancashire rock route finding method which requires intimate knowledge of all the routes to the left of the one you want to climb.
Serenity and Cracklap proved very popular also seeing ascents by Mark and Ding. The infamous pair also successfully tackled Nance and Witches Brew (HS 4b) before hanging around to guide the stragglers to the pub.
Meanwhile Helen had enticed a couple of friends from work along to the meet. Matt started their evening with Cracklap (surprise, surprise) and also made quick work of Peel Off (VS 4c), although for a short time he 'wasn't having that much fun' on the crux. Andy enjoyed Thrutch (VS 4c) although wished he'd taken some larger cams after not realising that the crack at the top would look a lot bigger close up. Helen climbed Witchbane (HVS 5a) and It Started With a Kiss (HVS 5b) although accidentally did the start of Satan's Slave, somehow getting confused even with a colour photograph of the routes available in the guide.
Down at the pub there were only two crags put forward - Troll Wall in Norway (as Duncan is in Norway next week and thought we might like to join him) and Froggatt. To no one's surprise Froggatt won due to its key feature of not being in Norway. Back on the grit next week!
Ultra classic Gritstone in the Peak District
Members: Clay Conlan and Gareth Williams
Thunderstorms threatened to spoil the hot and sunny weather that we've enjoyed for the past couple of days, but the threats came to nothing and it was a beautiful evening, yet strangely few climbers about. There were only a couple of other pairs about, and in fact it took quite a while for Clay and Gareth to find each other!
Arriving early, Gareth soloed Heather Wall (HVD ***) and then enjoyed the sunshine until Clay arrived and the roped action started. Clay made an excellent lead of Chequers Buttress (HVS 5a ***), carefully working out the crux moves before climbing them in solid style, a well protected and clean ascent.
Moving back along the crag, Gareth led Brown's Elliminate (E2 5b ***), finding the crux to be getting onto the ledge from where the route proper starts! A great route, very bold, but the 5b moves aren't too far from the gear. By now it was getting late, but there was time for one more route.
Clay chose Broken Crack (VS 5a **) and after some great efforts laybacking, then jamming the lower part of the route, it was starting to get dark, and the midges were getting hungry. A quick pull on a metallic hold and Clay was at the top, but Gareth decided not to follow in the dark whilst being eaten, so Clay abbed for the gear.
A great evening, and a shame not more members made it. Perhaps we'll see a better turnout at the forthcoming weekend meet at Froggatt.
Wimberry was agreed as the venue for next weeks meet.
A long yomp uphill to some of the best mid-grade gritstone on the planet
Members present: Dave Wylie, Duncan Zerafa, Mark Ashley, Ding, Andy Stratford, Jim Symon, Paul Evans, James Hall, George Williams
Guests: Jack Buczko, Emily Thompson, Isolbel Prause, Elliot Brown, Dan
A fine warm evening in the valley and a steady stream of fourteen KMC’ers making their way up the steep ascent to the unpolished delights of Wimberry.....
‘’What’s conditions like Paul?
Andy asked innocently, on arrival at the distinctly botanical looking crag.
‘’It’s Green. Or its Green and slimy.’’ He sounded distinctly unimpressed.
‘’Paul had a bit of a number on Route 1’’ Jim explained, and I ended up taking over.
Half and hour later there was a call for a top rope from Mark Ashley who had also been thoroughly entertained on Route 1, somehow managing to get himself wedged into an immovable position. Mean while Jim and Paul managed twin cracks as their second route, led after by Duncan and followed by Isobel and George.
The warmth had all disappeared now and the crag was distinctly cooler, especially in the stiff breeze, which kept the midges away nicely.
Slab Climb appears in the guidebook as a severe and on UKC as a HVD. Covered in lichen with no gear for 6 metres, it felt a little stiffer for Andy who eventually led it after a cunningly placed side runner in the adjaceant chimney was effected courtesy of the long reach of the Wylie. Dave and Dan followed Andy up the Slab then it was Emily’s turn. There was a little hesitation here and there...’’but there are no holds.....and it’s all green...’’ but she made a clean climb to the top – a fine effort in the conditions.
James Hall (with Jack) had tackled the polished start of Route 2, managing to kick out his only runner on the steep section as he climbed past it, before moving on to Slab climb. At the other end of the crag Jim made a fine lead of Ornithologists corner VS 5a – one of the cleanest routes on the crag and was followed by Andy with Ding leading blocked Chimney with Mark and Dave on 8m corner with Elliot and Emily. As they all descended Isobel wandered past.
‘’You off then?’’, Dave queried.
‘’Yes, It’s too hard and I’m cold. (Pause) I’m off to Alaska!’’
We all fell about. Turns out she really was off to Alaska!
Most folk packed up and headed down for the Clarence. Andy decided he would see if he could find out why the unattractive, deep, green and lichenous crack up to the overhanging capstone was called Surprise, and if the grade of VS 4c was deserved.
30 minutes later, the investigation was complete. Unsurprisingly, 4c was about right, surprisingly the gear was excellent, the Jams solid and the surprise? Well none really – the overhanging top section was really quite hard!
In the pub, Castle Naze, Denham, somewhere else and Rob’s Rocks are on the voting list, with Rob’s Rocks the clear favourite.
More Chew Valley Gritstone on a friendly east facing outcrop
Members: Jim Symon, Andy Stratford, Mark Ashley, John Evans, Fiona Dixon, Duncan Zerafa. George Williams.
Guests: Elliot Brown. Jack Buczko, Ryan Linderman, Emily Thompson, Rivca Rubin.
It was a windy, unpromising looking evening with rain clouds gathering. Just as we arrived at the crag it rained as we sheltered in the cave. Rivca managed her first outdoor route (Cripples Way, V Diff, led by Jim) and decided just the one was enough in the conditions. Things eased and while it was very windy, it remained dry until we reached the cars at 9.30pm.
Jim went on to lead Zacharias (VDiff) and Nice Edge (HS 4b) with Andy leading Letterbox (Diff) and Juggle Crack (VS 4b) with Emily gently cursing, (mostly in a ladylike fashion) on the end of the rope.
Elliot Brown made very short work of Nameless one VS4b but took a little longer over the very tricky protection on Cascade VS4a. Duncan had the benefit of seeing the sizes of Cams required (which Elliot was missing), borrowed some small cams and was able to protect it really well.
All good gritstone crags have a fun route for troglodytes and Rob's Rocks is no exception with the curiously named Ylnosd Rib (HVD) providing super squeeze action. John Evans made a fine thrash of it followed up by Fiona and Ryan. Then George had his moment followed by Mark & Duncan. Jim had been on the pies so decided it was unwise to allow Andy the chance of a ''Human interest'' photo for next years comp.
Running Hill Pits, Castle Naze, Anglezarke were the crags pitched with the Pits winning.
Quarried grit, spanners and plumb lines amid Sodom and Gomorrah
Rollover to next week due to rain
Quarried grit, spanners and plumb lines amid Sodom and Gomorrah
Members: Dave Wylie, James Meakin, Fiona Dixon, John Evans, Clay Conlon, George Williams, Andy Stratford, Gareth Williams, Dave Shotton, Geri Milhalkova, Emily Pitts, Duncan Zerafa, Dan O’Brien
Guests: Elliot Brown, Beth Thomas, Ryan Lindfield, Katy O’Brien, Patti, Hannah Milton, James Duthie, Guido
The forecast was spot on: it was a fine, still, sunny summer evening up at the Pits with twenty one members and guests attending. However, those familiar with the Pits knew that the stillness meant that the wee beasties would put eventually put in an appearance.
Beth opened her account with Foile Bergeres (HS 4b) followed by Dave Wylie and Elliot. A later attempt by George was foiled by the tricky start but Duncan eventually overcame with the loan of a no. 5 friend from Andy. Ryan, George and Dave S all followed.
A little further right Andy jammed his way up the overhanging start of the delightfully named Dead Dog Crack VS 4c. When Dan O’Brien followed he gave the start 5a. Duncan obligingly confirmed it was stiff for a 4c when he fell off twice, eventually untying muttering about jamming…..Dave S made a fine effort on second followed speedily by an on-form Beth.
Gareth had a direct line on Spanner wall in his sights: The connection gets E3 6a in Over the Moors and E4 6b on UKC – either way, your president can confirm it is rather tricky, having failed to get even a metre off the ground as G-mans’ second. Gareth had made a great effort on it, having a short rest on the three rusty pegs before threading the eponymous spanner and high-tailing to the top. ‘’Pumpy’’ was how he described it. With a bit of rope shuffling, Beth then used the line to make an ascent as a second on Spanner Wall (E2 5b)
Elliot and Dave broke ranks and wandered round to the lesser used no. 5 (Weavers) Quarry making an ascent of the excellent HS 4b called Weavers Crack
Meanwhile, Clay was having a fine time on the immaculate three star VS 4c – Plumb Line – the best line at the Pits – Fiona and Dave followed. Patti, Hannah and James were next, all clearly enjoying the superb climbing. James Meakin set up a belay at the top of Hazy Groove and The Cracks. Lots of folk climbed these including Emily, Geri, Guido and John, who also managed a cheeky solo of Unctuous. Beth finished her busy evening with Midsummer (S) followed by Emily and Geri.
By 8pm the midges were just too much so most folk packed up, about fourteen made it to The Church where we gave thanks for the evening by imbibing golden nectar. Voting included Shining Clough, Millstone Rocks (longdendale) and Helsby but the clear winner was Castle Naze.
Breezy edge 2 minutes walk with great routes for all
Castle Naze meet report 24th August
Members: Nils Elgar, Dave Wylie, Andy Stratford, James Meakin, George Williams, James Hall, Emily Pitts, Duncan Zerafa, Geri Milhalkova, Gary Thornhill, Jared Kitchen
Guests: Jasmine Pitts, Beth Thomas, Jim Smith, James Duthie, Hannah Milton, Nick Peristiansis, Don Brennan, Patti
Nineteen members and guests on a beautiful summers evening at ‘The Naze’, with some impressive ascents tonight: After soloing ten routes as a warm up then around half the girdle traverse, James Hall made a fine clean ascent of Belladonna E1 5c – an under-rated but excellent route. Andy struggled up with a tight rope and a short rest!
First to arrive though was Dave Wylie, leading Don up Central Tower (VDiff) and Keep Corner (HVD). James Meakin put the demons to bed with his lead of Keep Corner in fine style– the route from which he took a ground fall and some serious injuries just 18 months ago when gear ripped through. Nils was holding the ropes then went on to lead up The Crack (VS 4b) the Nithin (S4a) both followed by James.
Nozag (VS 4c) – one of the best (and safest) VS’s in the peak - had leads from Duncan Zerafa who is going great guns in his first season leading trad. Andy also led. Seconds included Dave, Geri, James Hall, and Gary. Duncan also led Little Pillar at HS 4b.
The Crack (VS 4b) was popular tonight with Nils leading up with an impressive second by Jasmine Pitts. James and Emily also followed. James Duthie was followed up later by James Hall.
Geri continued to hone leading skills on sheltered crack (S 4a), also lead by James M. Beth and Jim climbed Atropine (VS 4b) and Ledgeway (HVS 5a), Nick followed Pati up green crack. Don provided great entertainment attempting to follow Jared up Scoop Face and enjoyed himself so much he had no strength left for anything else! Hannah led Keep Corner and Green crack with James Duthie following on. Jared led Icebreaker (E2 5b) which was ‘’rubbish’’ then burnt himself out on the criminally undergraded pod crack E1 5c which stops most E4 leaders in their tracks.
The final entertainment of the night was provided by gear recovery specialist Wylie, attempting to remove an overcammed unit on Studio – unusually the attempt ended in failure – not often that Dave fails to retrieve stuck gear! Looks like it may be the latest bit of decoration on the Naze for some time......
We retied to the Beehive for a dose of honey (well – pork scratchings and bitter shandy, if you must ask) and voted on New Mills Tor, Tintwistle Knarr and the winner – Den Lane, Saddleworth. Bring your tricams.....
Another short walk to an excellent quarry with grades for all
Members: Dan O’Brien, Dave Wylie, James Hall, James Meakin, Clay Conlon, Duncan Zerafa, George Williams
Guests: Amy Spray, Hannah Miltoff, Elliott Brown, Pati Xariklia, James Duthie, Ryan Linerman, Esmira Ropaj, Tom Ferneyhough, Nick Peristianis
Our suspicions were first raised when the until recently rubbish-filled hole-in-the-ground known as Den Lane was nominated last week by El Presidente, only for him to disappear off to the Swiss Alps. Luckily, the local midges turned out in force in his stead, though their names are not recorded. When your corespondent pointed out that some others must have voted for it James M said “Yes, but we didn’t realise what we were voting for…” Now where have I heard that before?
Undeterred, James D climbed Orchestral Crack (HVS), a steep corner with a very tenuous top-out to an old piece of mangled metal and a bolted lower-off. After a couple of rests on the steep final crack James fashioned a belay and lowered off removing the gear. Hannah and Nick followed and then abseiled down. Dave exacted revenge on Ash Tree Direct (S) which delivered all it promised (being a route that climbs direct, to an Ash Tree) which had defeated him on a previous visit. Amy, Esmira and Tom followed him and the route was also led by Elliott, followed by Ryan.
Dan led Three Notch Slab (VS) with a tricky start (try pulling really hard) and a bold finish (unless you have a Tri-Cam). Clay provided the Tri-Cam and Dan was followed by James M and Elliott who all managed to get on the small ledge below the bolted belay. Clay also led the route though with much less faff, followed by Duncan and George, who also teamed up to climb Sunset Crack (VS). James M led Elderberry Slab (VD) followed by James D which he described as “grotty”. Apparently it also lacked Elderberrys… By now the midges were descending…
Over on the taller side of the quarry James H led Noah’s Crack (VS) followed by Pati. Neither of them had anything positive to say about the route and especially the descent which looked almost as hard as the route if you shun a short abseil. Super psyched James also climbed The Wilter (E1) which keeps a small pile of rocks at the bottom as testament to the fragile nature of parts of Den Lane. After figuring out a tricky top section which the guide suggested might be "easier for the short” Pati followed to an ageing stance and they retreated by abseil. Still keen they attempted Popple (HVS) which the guidebook described with a memorial at its base however this was not there thought the remains of a concrete plinth could be seen. Shunning the guidebook description James did battle with the upper crack avoiding some of the more helpful holds out on the right resulting in some airtime and ultimately an irretrievable wire. Pati followed grumbling about jamming.
Dave finished the evening climbing Sunset Crack which had a straightforward start and a hideously tricky (if well protected) finish. After trying left, right and straight up to surmount the final steep section Dave resorted to “French Free”. He eventually gained the belay on the right and was followed by Amy, Esmira and Tom who showed contempt for the rampaging midges which had, by this point, driven the rest of the KMC into the welcome shelter of the Waggon Pub in Uppermill. Unfortunately, the abseil retreat was prolonged until well after dark as Dave and James H dangled on their respective routes; Dave trying to remove a stubborn friend and James still wrestling with his stuck wire. Dave won, James is a nut down…
In the pub the nominations for next week were Horseshoe Quarry, Troy Quarry and Windgather (this late in the season it was agreed that repeat nominations would be allowed…) The voting was simple with Horseshoe eliminated first and Windgather winning the run-off. The promise of a light breeze to blow away the midges seemed to be the biggest selling point. There was a small commotion as some of our number arrived after the voting. Dave complained that the vote was not quorate as there was only one Dave… The appeal to ACAS is ongoing.
A return trip to a popular crag in the hope of light breeze and fewer midges...
Another short walk in to a first class natural edge with grades to suit all…..
Before I proceed with the meet report I will make my apologies in advance for not knowing all the members & guests surnames (and the lack of interest to look them up on the KMC web site) and also apologise for any omissions, and or errors of fact.
So, in the absence of – most- surnames you are described as below……!
Fiona – Nice girl who enjoyed an evening of intense Soloing (definitely not a euphemism!).
John – Fiona’s fella with an impressive beard
Duncan – Who’s surname that begins with a Z that I can’t pronounce - never mind spell or remember
Clay – Actually thought this was his surname... Genuinely thought his first name was Cassius.
Dave Whilie – I know it’s not spelt this way, but I do know it will irritate him!
Nils + children
Gary – recently recovering from surgery on his nether’s – no soloing for a while yet then Gary ;-)
James – not a very good climber, not known for his meet report writing skills either.
John – no redeeming features
Another John…. or was it Jack…. Anyway, he had red jumper on…. I think…
Patrizia – Almost certainly spelt wrong?
Gareth Collom ?
James – unusually well humoured for Scot’s man and a good climber to boot.
The weather was fab and as usual the rock was in fine condition. Fun was had by all. The general mood was somewhat lowered late on, by the arrival of the midges. At which point we beat a hasty retreat a pub in Whalley Bridge – who’s name I can’t recall (no surprises there!) however, I fear the interior décor and choice of music may never fade from my memory.
Peoples favourite routes of the evening were: Portfolio, High Buttress Arete indirect, High Buttress Arete direct, Medicine, Wall climb & Missippi Crack.
In the absence of our OMS & El Pres. does this count as a "meet lead" for me - surely it must?
The destination – decided by the vote - for next Wednesdays meet is Troy Quarry. Hope to see you all there
I'm sure there will be no midges this week...
Members: Clay Conlon, Fiona Dixon, Emily Pitts, Dave Wylie, Andy Stratford, Duncan Zerafa, James Meakin, Mark Ashley,
Guests: Elliot Brown, Emily Thompson, Isobel Prause, Pati Xariklia, James Duthie, John Smallwood, Alaistair Philp, Jack Buzkco
Sixteen members and guests on a very hot, muggy late summers evening – so warm that the midges couldn’t really be bothered. Clay arrived before 3pm with Fiona and climbed a fine series of leads: Stacked Deck, Loose Living and Pillar Cracks with eventual success on the notorious sandbag of Sounder (HVS 5a). The rest of us drifted in after 5pm, anticipating that Dave would show up with the new guide in the hope that we might discover new hidden gems.....but no such luck....still plenty of the classics to go at.
Clay continued his evenings fine haul by following Fiona up Right Siamese twin then Andy up Cracked Wall (VS c) then finishing off with a lead of Mucky Pups (HVS 5a). Also leading Mucky Pups was Duncan – reaching a personal goal of climbing HVS in his first season of trad –well done fella! He was swiftly brought back to earth (not quite literally, fortunately), with an interesting looking (and sounding!) fall from the well travelled VS 5a Rapunzle which involved a painful straddling of the rope in just the wrong part of the anatomy. Jack failed to extract Duncan’s most wedged nut from deep in the crack, resulting in abseil time for the benighted pair – good job there was a full moon.
Pati and James Duthie made a formidable team ticking off several of the harder classics including Questionable Stability, Mucky Pups and Grane Wall. James Meakin led One way Street, Left siamese twin and followed Elliot up Stacked Deck
Right Siamese twin was also led by Andy, Emily and Elliot with Isobel, John, Emily Tink, Mark and Alaistair all following plus various other seconds on the other routes.
About twelve of us made the pub where there was much scepticism and mistrust of motive about the Presidents proposal of New Mills Torrs after the midge fest at Den Lane which he proposed and then failed to attend. An excellent sales pitch by the ever hungry (for food, not climbing) Emily Pitts led to Hobsons choice.
It's getting late in the season - super short walk-ins are the order of the day!
Members - Cathy Gordon, Jim Symon, Andy Stratford, James Meakin, Duncan Zerafa, Nils Elgar, Fiona Dixon, John Evans, Clay Conlon, Dan O’Brien
Guests – Elliot Brown, James Duthie, Hanna and Tim
It’s that time of year again…
Limited by the fading light the KMC returned to Hobson Moor Quarry with ire’s short (and recently broadened) walk-in. There was a solid turn-out for a late season Wednesday as the KMC set about ticking some of the oft-travelled local classics. Nils led Epitaph Corner (VS) followed by Fiona and Hanna who had to employ some creative footwork to make up for lack of reach on the tricky section. Epitaph was also climbed by Elliott, followed by Dave and Andy, followed by James M.
Dan book-ended the midweek season by leading Parker’s Eliminate (HVS) which he also climbed as his first route on the first Wednesday back in April. Andy followed using a very different sequence. Clay also led Parker’s having employed the power of pasta1 to ensure success, followed by Dan in the drizzle. Jim had a productive evening leading Crew’s Route (VS), The Harp (HS) and Foghorn Groove (VS) all followed by Cathy (on her first and last midweek of the year) and the latter also followed by James M who also led Pocket Wall (VD). Elliott moved onto The Harp with Dave and James D led Crew’s Route and the Harp followed by Duncan.
Last and by no-means least came Fiona and John on Midnight Variation (S). It starts up Evening Ridge (VD) which is described on UKC as “not to be recommended” and then finishes up a wall or groove on the right. As the drizzle descended the dirty and steep corner and wall became almost impassable and a rope was requested (and subsequently provided by Dan). After John topped out fiona followed in full drizzle mode and the rest of us decamped to the Pub.
If there is something to be said about the shorter evenings it is the increased opportunities for sitting in the pub. Alas Duncan didn’t get the memo and left his nomination (for Wilton 1) and vote via proxy. The other nominations were Dovedale (optimistic at the best of times and positively foolhardy at this time of year) and New Mills Tor. New Mills was victorious in a run off against Wilton (which mounted a surprisingly strong challenge given its absence of floodlights!) So its perma-dry quarried grit next week for what is likely the last outdoor Wednesday of the year (unless your correspondent finally wins a vote for an evening of aid climbing in Dovedale).
Until next week…
 Apparently couscous had previously been shown not to provide a sufficient boost. We expect him to release the full dataset shortly and look forward to his work with potatoes.
Back to Current Midweek
Perma-dry quarried grit with traditional and sport options
Members: Clay Conlon, Duncan Zerafa, Cathy Gordon, Andy Stratford
Guests: Elliot Brown, Isobel Prause, James Duthie, Pati Xariklia, Alastair Philp, Jack Jarvis, John Smallwood.
The equinox has passed and with it the final advertised Wednesday outdoor meet for a while. There’s always the options of night ascents of Thors Cave and The Bat, and hopefully we’ll get out for a night ascent of some ice in Wildboarclough, Wilderness Gully or maybe even the legendary Downfall... but for now here are the antics of the final eleven (not some football reference for those following the England manager debacle).
Clay managed an early arrival before 3pm and after some bouldering led the pumpy Alcove Crack (HVS 5a) with James Duthie. Later on Pati made a fine lead utilising the kneebar rest for two hands off, Duncan followed. Elliot was up next and made another fine job of it again with the kneebar, Alastair struggled to follow but did manage to second Elliot up Piggy Crack (VS 4c) as did Cathy.
Over on the bolted grit bridge pillar, James Duthie led The Thin End of The Hedge (F6a) with Isobel providing support. Jack Jarvis and John Smallwood arrived very late and tried another bolted route but backed off after 2 clips – both finished the evening bouldering until the holds faded!
On the trad wall nearest the bridge James Duthie led Deception HVS 5a, Andy The Foundling VS 4c and Duncan Cracked corner S 4a. Various members of the team seconded. The Rock Tavern seemed a suitably monikered establishment, and the democratic and unanimous vote was to head to Awesome Walls at Stockport next wednesday – The indoors is back on!