Wed 12th Aug, 2015


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?

Daniel O'Brien

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Karabiner Mountaineering Club