Wed 13th Aug, 2014

Wharncliffe Crags

Members- Dan O’Brien and Andy Stratford

“Whatever happened the Popular Peoples Front?” “He’s over there… Splitter!” – The Life of Brian

The risk of a soaking from the last hurrah of Hurricane Bertha and a lackluster forecast from the doughty Norwegians at was enough to persuade a significant contingent of the KMC that summer was over and that a session at Awesome Walls was the most sensible plan for Wednesday evening. For the hardier (or foolhardy?) however there was no real choice - the compact gritstone* of Wharncliffe was calling. Our optimism was rewarded with a warm and sunny, if breezy evenings climbing.

Wharncliffe is a crag with such history, with Puttrell first visiting in 1890 and putting up routes that still stand the test of time, it was a shame to arrive to find a significant amount of graffiti spray-painted around swathes of the Great Buttress area (though not on any of the routes as far as I can tell…) If I ever meet GEM we are going to have words – though at least paint will eventually wash off unlike the carvings of the 1950s from an age where youngsters had more respect…

Andy and I climbed Himellswilen, a completely unspellable classic VS which felt high in the grade - especially when I was taking a knee-bar no-hands rest and Andy was stuggling to reach any of the gear I had selfishly placed at the extent of my reach. A classic nonetheless. Next came Andy leading Tower Face, a heavily starred HS with some excellent technical climbing. We finished with a solo and top-rope attempt on Tensile Test (E1), a short but fingery wall climb with no gear to speak of – I was certainly glad of the extra confidence provided by the crash-pad.

Other routes climbed were Forget Me Not (S), Alpha Crack (D), Beta Crack (S), Romulus (VD), Remus (S), Fly Wall (HS), Fly Wall Gully (M) and Black Slab (Left, Centre and Right – VD).

As there were only two of us in the pub and with myself not planning to attend next week you would think it would be easy to settle on a venue… What followed was an in-depth discussion on the merits of Lancashire quarries over natural moorland edges. The moorland edges won out – it seems the potential for midges I the quarries is still a deterrent – Windgather next week!


*Coal Measures Sandstone according to Andy

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