Sun 12th Apr, 2015

Roaches Climbing

Roger Dyke

Members:  Sue Marsden, Craig Marsden, Roisin Maddison, Colin Maddison, Mary Stuart, Dave Wylie, Andy Stratford, Phillip Hartwell, James Williams, Emily Pitts, Midge Castick.

Guests:  Pete Wilson (Teggs), Mike Whitehurst, Aleks Pawlik, Matt Harrigan .


Despite mixed weather reports and winds reaching epic proportions the turnout and stayout at the meet was very good indeed.  

Roger Dyke, due to lead the meet, wasn't feeling up to scratch, so I took over meet leader responsibilities for the day.  I won't describe the disappointment when, one by one, the attendees were told that I was Roger's replacement.  Roger's knowledge of the roaches is legendary and I'm afraid I even forgot my guidebook, so it wasn't quite the same without him to impart useful tips, tricks and insider knowledge.  However, we did all dust ourselves off and get in some super climbing. 

Highlights included an off-route Eliminate descent by Mary, a cameo appearance from Midge Castick and Colin hoovering up the remains of everyone's food in the Roaches Tearoom afterwards. 

Phil, absent from recent meets due to work, was welcomed to the meet and climbed with Andy, who did a runner after 2.5hrs but still managed 4 routes: 

Heather Slab (Severe 3c) - Andy Led pretty much a solo - poor gear, Inverted Staircase (Diff) - Phil led P1  the staircase - Andy got the second pitch -thrutchy chimney, Maud's Garden - Severe 4a - Phil, Runner Route HS 4b 

Aleks led Damascus crack and Maud's garden, seconded by Dave Wylie.  Her first lead at HS, topping out in almost gale force winds.  A good effort indeed and some great pics of the outing. 

Mike led Walleroo at E2 5c. Matt attempted a second, but the overhang proved too much this early in the season, so Mike retrieved the gear via abseil.  Another good photo selection thanks to Dave Wylie's photography skills. 

Damascus crack saw three leads on it from the KMC crew - Aleks, Craig and I all ascended.

Colin led broken slab HS 4b seconded by Craig.  Finally the pair launched themselves up Aqua VS 4b - Colin leading.  

James and Teggs did their own thing away from the rest of us, with James soloing the Eiger and Teggs 'doing mean ol bastard for about the hundredth time' according to James.  

The weather held off until everyone had finished climbing.  Everyone except me, flopping over the top of corner cracks, second lead of the season, just as the heavens opened at 2.30 - predicted by  I nearly had to call for Noah.  Matt Harrigan nobly seconded up in big boots.  This provided a stark reminder to follow ones instinct and not be cajoled into 'just one more route'.  We beat a retreat to the cafe with haste. 

A really enjoyable meet.  Thanks everyone.

Emily Pitts

Meet Promo:

Climbing, walking, running, bouldering, caving, sheltering from the rain, eating, sleeping, getting fried by the sun… it’s all here. 

Bouldering from V0 4a (even I can do that) to V10 (bring Ben Moon with you).
Climbing Diff to E8 6c – with lots of really good VD, S and VS’s.  Some needing 2 pitches, and even 3 for “Via Dolorosa” and “Crack & Corner”.
This collection of crags just drips with 3-star routes, including some of the longest on grit.

Bowden Black and other KMC members are responsible for several of the routes, including the superb classic “Valkyrie”. 

One of the best Diff’s here is the meandering one and a half pitch “Inverted Staircase”.   
My happiest memory of this route is following Bowden up it one wet November day long ago.    He was belayed on the big ledge, and as I came up I felt along the edge of this ledge for something positive.  I put my fingers in a big patch of sticky bird poo, right in front of his feet.
 “You could have told me about that Bowden”
“Didn’t need to Roger – you found it for yourself”.

For something more direct, to give the kids a top-rope on, “Breakfast Problem” VD and its neighbour “Days Gone By”  share a stonking belay on top of Alpha Buttress. 
Or there are the nicely-sheltered cracks at the RH end of the Lower Tier around “Commander Energy”, if they haven’t been bagged by a Group.  

More adventurous routes include (in order of increasing difficulty to me)
“Right Route” just VD – don’t miss the 2nd pitch.
“Pedestal Route” HVD
“Jeffcoat’s Chimney”  VD
“Tealeaf Crack” S 4a – easier than it looks, but I have fallen off it even so.
“Black Velvet”  HVD 4a – 24m in one pitch.
“Black & Tans” S 4a. 4a – same start, bold top pitch.
“Right Hand Route” S 4a – ask me how to avoid the 5a start.
“Damascus Crack” HS 4b - superbly protected (but only if you put runners in, as Neville once reminded me).
“Aqua” VS 4b – it’s just a laugh.  Take an ice-axe to clean the crack above the crux.
“Runner Route” HS 4b – nice gear just when you need it, but nothing before that.
“Jelly Roll” VS 4b– fabulous finish, that I only managed with help from James last week… If you can get out of an empty swimming pool onto the end of a diving board, you’ve no problem with this.
“Crack & Corner” S 4c, 4a(?!)  has the same finish and a nicer, harder start.
“Technical Slab” HS 4a needs nerves of steel.  And little else.
“Rotunda Buttress” VS 4c is another of Bowden’s routes, and has a superb finish.     
To the R of Rotunda “Batchelor’s Buttress”  VS 4c taken direct is excellent.
On the lower tier,  “Via Dolorosa” VS 4c,4a,4c is a 3-star route, and it’s neighbour…
”Valkyrie”,VS 4b, 4c is a must, of course.    I’m one of the few people to fall off leading the first pitch of this, but have no problem with the second.
If you’re into HVS and above, you don’t need any guidance from me and you’ll relish   “Saul’s Crack”, “The Sloth”, “Roscoe’s Wall”….

I’ll be there about 10.00, in my usual place below “The Sloth”. 
The sun will be on the main face soon after and we’ll all have a grand day.

Roger Dyke

Aleks leading "Damascus Crack" (HS, 4a) (Dave Wylie)
Aleks leading "Damascus Crack" (HS, 4a) (Dave Wylie)
Mike's hands-free rest on "Walleroo" (E2, 5c) (Dave Wylie)
Mike leading "Walleroo" (E2, 5c) (Dave Wylie)
Mike leading "Walleroo" (E2, 5c) (Dave Wylie)

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Karabiner Mountaineering Club