Sat 18th Jun - Sun 19th Jun, 2016

The Ten Edges Challenge

Daniel O'Brien


Members: Dan O’Brien, Ian Crook, Lester Payne, Tim Howarth, Graham Haslehurst

Guests: Laura Bond, Jo Perry, Andy Hext, Will Johnson, Lydia Galloway, Jon Vardy, Faye Lumley, Ben Phillips, Mike Gallimore, Sam Crabb, Gregory Nunn, Izy Somers

The night before, Ian had opted for the tactic of plying the other competitors with drink in hope of gaining an advantage over the hungover.  Dan attempted to save weight by cutting a 60m 9mm rope in half and the using it doubled over on the assumption that no routes would be more than 15m long (more on how that went later)…  Andy, Jon, Will, Faye and Lydia opted to stay in comfortable Sheffield and get a proper night’s sleep.  Mike and Ben spent the night tactically arranging their rack and planning their routes.

I suppose, in hindsight, actually training might have been a better idea…

With no formally agreed start time, it was to great astonishment that all the “competitors”1 assembled on the road beneath Bamford Edge at 9.00am…  However, considering how insufferable the midges had been on the Eric Byrne campsite that morning it’s probably no wonder that we were raring to go.  Lester started off on his walk of the route whilst the climbers embarked on a faff.

The teams were:

  • Curbar Enthusiasm - Dan O'Brien and Tim Howarth
  • Esio Trot - Mike Gallimore and Ben Phillips
  • Hangry and Dehydrated - Will Johnson and Lydia Galloway
  • Faye's Red Letter Day - Jon Vardy and Faye 
  • Your Hext is on Fire - Ian Crook and Andy Hext

After a group photo on the start line Curbar Enthusiasm were quickest off the mark as Dan started running whilst the others were still smiling at the camera.  Their lead lasted all of 30 seconds as the other teams caught them up on the initial uphill section to Bamford.  Curbar Enthusiasm and Your Hext is on Fire opted for routes on the first buttress of Bamford, with the latter climbing Bouson's Slab (M).  Curbar Enthusiasm were delayed slightly at the start of Hypotenuse (M) when they noticed a knot had been tied in the middle of their rope.  This, combined with the rounds of drinks that Ian had bought the night before began to raise suspicions that something fishy was going on…  As Curbar Enthusiasm and Your Hext is on Fire headed off across the moor towards High Neb, Esio Trot headed off in the direction of the classic Neb Buttress (HVS 5a) which Mike led – although much further down the crag it seemed they were keen to hit as many starred routes as possible and hopefully gain some bonus style points.  Faye opened her gritstone account (having never climbed outside before, or put on a harness, or belayed with twin ropes, or taking out gear…) by following Jon up Primitive Chimney (S) which Jon climbed barefoot having forgotten his climbing shoes.  Faye seconded cleanly – an excellent start!  Hangry and Dehydrated got off to the worst possible start with an aborted attempt at Gunpowder Crack (VS 5b) which resulted in an abseil for the gear and Will being banished to the doghouse for the first time that day.  They moved on to Ammo (S) and had much more success.

Meanwhile, Your Hext is on Fire had gained some ground on Curbar Enthusiasm by taking an efficient (and more importantly) dry route across the moor.  They arrived at High Neb where they were met by Sam and his camera and quickly dispatched Tango Buttress (HS 5a).  Curbar Enthusiasm met them at the bottom and climbed Tango Crack (VD) which was also climbed by Hangry and Dehydrated after they also took the boggy route across the moor and Will was banished to the doghouse for the second time that day...  Esio Trot were next to arrive having discovered at the previous crag that one of their bags had an added rock for ballast.  A quick search of their second bag revealed another rock.  Suspicion immediately fell on the fast moving Your Hext is on Fire.  Ben led the classic High Neb Buttress (VS) in “less than perfect style, having to have a long hard think about the rock-over move”.  Lester met the climbers at High Neb briefly before they ran off (he didn’t take it personally!)  Faye’s Red Letter Day climbed Mantleshelf Climb (S) and Jon pondered whether it would’ve been better to return to the car for a pair of climbing shoes…

Moving on to Stanage Popular End the runners started to disperse a little with Esio Trot climbing Mississippi Buttress Direct (VS), led by Mike.  Both were pleased to climb a three-star VS at Stanage that neither of them had done before!  Curbar Enthusiasm climbed Mississippi Chimney (VD) and Your Hext is on Fire climbed Velcro Arête (S).  Hangry and Dehydrated climbed the technical Rugosity Crack (HVS 5b) and Faye’s Red Letter Day continued with an ascent of Hell Crack (VS) employing bare feet for some three-star jamming.  Burbage North was next on the menu with Your Hext is on Fire starting to generate a sizeable lead.  Curbar Enthusiasm met them as they we leaving for Burbage North having made a swift ascent of Overhanging Buttress Arete (M), which was also climbed by Hangry and Dehydrated.  Curbar Enthusiasm climbed Overhang Buttress direct where they met Graham and Jo.  Faye’s Red Letter Day climbed Steptoe (M) and Esio Trot climbed Knights Move (HVS) - moving much better now the rocks had been discarded from their backpacks.

On the run over to Burbage South will was banished to the doghouse for a third time due to an issue with velocity between crags.  Upon arrival Hangry and Dehydrated climbed Rombald’s Staircase (M) and headed off in the direction of the pub.  Rombold’s was also climbed by Faye’s Red Letter Day, with Jon again leading in a Hobbit style...  Your Hext is on Fire climbed The Drainpipe (HS) which though steep is not quite as grim or wet as it sounds (though it still managed to extract some blood from Tim when Curbar Enthusiasm also climbed it).  Esio Trot climbed Byne’s Crack (VS) which had a bit of everything, including some chimney action.

Now… The rules of the Ten Edges Challenge are quite clear.  After Burbage South your next stop is The Grouse Pub.  At this, the half-way stage, the standing were as follows:

  1. Your Hext is on Fire – Who had a soft drink at the pub and ran off – no style points there!
  2. Curbar Enthusiasm – Pint of Guinness and a double Gin & Tonic plus a packet of crisps (no pork scratchings unfortunately…)
  3. Lester – Water and sandwiches
  4. Hangy and Dehydrated – A Coke and pint of ale – I assume between them.
  5. Faye’s Red Letter Day – A pint of strong ale each and an hour and a half chatting to Sam…
  6. Esio Trot – Pint of Beer and a piece of cake…

Suitably refreshed, the “athletes”2 continued in the direction of Froggatt.  Again, using the theme of quality over quantity Esio Trot climbed the two pitch Joe Brown classic Valkyrie (HVS) which pretty much ended their hopes of finishing first but put them well out in front in terms of stars.  Hangry and Dehydrated climbed the bold classic Sunset Slab (HVS) whilst Curbar Enthusiasm climbed the less classic but much easier Gamma (VD) as the midges were starting to descend.  Faye’s Red Letter Day climbed the classic Heather Wall and Jon pondered whether he could save more time by also running barefoot…  

The run over to Curbar was further energised with the knowledge that Graham and Jo had set up a “Cake Station” atop the Eliminates Wall.  The breakaway group of Your Hext is on Fire climbed Pale complexion (VS) and then rocketed off in the direction of Baslow.  Meanwhile, back in the pelaton, Esio Trot climbed Green Crack (HVS) which is no mean feat especially with their limited rack (full details of their rack available on request but not reproduced here as it would be too nerdy…)  Hangry and Dehydrated climbed Alpha (S) which sits amongst some classic thuggy test-pieces and (according to Rockfax) requires “advanced gritstone urging techniques” - sounds delightful…  Curbar Enthusiasm climbed Short Slab but then discovered that although Short by name and nature the only belay is off a boulder a few metres back from the crag and 15m of rope was not quite sufficient.  After a short negotiation Tim agreed to climb the first couple of moves which gave Dan enough rope to clip his clove-hitch.  The rest of the route was uneventful so they headed off in search of the Cake Station where they also met Lester who was clearly making excellent time (even though he had also stopped for cake!)  Alas Curbar and the cake station proved too much for Jon and Faye who decided that six edges and more running than Faye had ever done in one go was enough for one day – they retreated in the direction of the Robin Hood Inn.

With seven crags down Your Hext is on Fire quickly dispatched Chipped Slabs (VD) whilst Curbar Enthusiasm climbed Route 1 (VD).  Esio Trot climbed Gun Chimney (first climbed by Jimmy Puttrell in 1890) and which they believe is worth three more stars than guidebook gives it – perhaps its a typo?  They then set off on an ambitious cross country route to Gardoms.  Hangry and Dehydrated climbed the provocatively named Death to Khomeini (VS).  

The sheltered nature of Gardoms means that much of the crag can get green, especially after poor weather.  Having a plan in mind helps, as would beta as to which routes tend to be clean.  With neither of these, Your Hext is on Fire managed to find themselves on something not clearly marked in any guidebook3 which was green, slimy, bold and “quite emotional” according to Andy4.  They named the route after their team, gave it a grade of HXS 4b and have no idea exactly where it was.  We’d like to wish any would-be second ascensionists the best of luck…  Curbar Enthusiasm climbed the clean and pleasant Apple Crack (VD) spoiled only by the midges that had begun to descend.  Hangry and Dehydrated climbed the bold Apple Arête which was also climbed by Esio Trot – all enjoying the pinnacle finish.

And so onto Birchen Edge.  A veritable dessert after this ten-course feast of climbing… or something like that.  First to arrive was Your Hext is on Fire who climbed Barnacle Bulge (HS) finishing at the Robin Hood in a time of 06:25.  Next up was Curbar Enthusiasm who climbed Trafalgar Crack (VD) and finished the run in a time of 06:49.  Hot on their heels were Hangry and Dehydrated who climbed Topsail (VS) and arrived at the pub with a time of 08:30.  Lester joined us at the pub having walked the route in a respectable 08:25.  Also a special mention goes to Greg for mountain biking a significant chunk of the route... Finally came Esio Trot.  They climbed Telescope Tunnel (M or Speliologically Taxing in the old guide) which Ben led in “spectacular fashion” taking the larger of the two exits having run out of psyche for gritstone squirming.  They finished in a time of 09:35 having climbed 11 pitches and racking up 26 stars.

So who won?  Is there even such a thing as a winner when it comes to a herculean tour de force such as the Ten Edges Challenge?

Well unfortunately Graham’s scoring data seems to have gotten corrupted so the final results are as follows:

  1. Usain Bolt/Mo Farah (2:24)
  2. Sally Gunnel/Jessica Ennis-Hill (3.10)
  3. Leo Holding/Tensing Norgay (3:40)
  4. Papa Lazarou/Mr Tumble (4.05)
  5. Alex Salmond/Sisyphus (DNF)
  6. Lance Armstrong/Hunter S. Thompson (DQ – Doping)

Make of that what you will.

So that’s it for the Ten Edges Challenge 2016.  I’ll probably run it again in 2021 so you have loads of time to get training for next time…

Until then – “It’s all about the Running"5

Dan

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[1] In the loosest sense of the word…

[2] Again… ish…

[3] “We avoided using artificial aids such as guidebooks or route beta, and relied on our climbing instincts to select the purest line at each of the crags… nor did we rely on artificial aids such as compression socks or tight underwear” - Ian Crook, 2016

[4] “I was commando anyway…” - Andy Hext, 2016

[5] Sam “Skittles” Crabb, 2011

Appendix A – Esio Trot’s Rack

  • Wires: 1,2,3,4,5,7,9.
  • Yellow hex.
  • Dragon cams 1,2,3.
  • 4x60cm slings
  • 2x120cm slings
  • 14 snapgates
  • 2x big boa 
  • 1xbelay device with locking crab 
  • 1x 9.8mm 22 metre single rope.
  • 2x rocks, gritstone.


Daniel O'Brien



Meet Promo:

Ten Edge Challenge 2016 - Official Call for Entries
The Ten Edges Challenge (TEC) will take place on Saturday 18th June 2016.  This is the ultimate outdoor challenge involving running, hiking, climbing and sitting in the pub.  First attempted in the early 1900s (https://vimeo.com/59011088) the TEC has a long tradition of separating the capable from the culpable and this year the KMC will be adding to this rich heritage.

The aim is start in the lay-by at Bamford Edge and run to the Robin Hood Inn at Birchen Edge taking in a route on each of the following crags along the way:

Bamford
Stanage High Neb
Stanage Popular*
Burbage North
Burbage South
Froggatt
Curbar
Baslow
Gardoms
Birchen

Ten climbs, on Ten crags… On foot.  As simple as that.  Oh, and you must stop off at The Grouse pub at the half-way point.

That sounds great!  How do I enter?
To enter the Ten Edges Challenge, we need the following information:

  • The two names of the members of your team
  • A team name

If you want to enter a team to undertake the challenge, please let me know via e-mail (meets@karabiner.org) or contact me by phone, in person, popular networking websites, carrier pigeon, message in a bottle or any other means possible (e-mail is best!).

 

Team List

  • Curbar Enthusiasm - Dan O'Brien and Tim Howarth
  • Esio Trot - Mike Gallimore and Ben Phillips
  • Hangry and Dehydrated - Will Johnson and Lydia Galloway
  • Faye's Red Letter Day - Jon Vardy and Faye 
  • TBD - Ian Crook and James Laing

We also have a reserve list for people without partners who want to participate so please get in touch and I'll make sure you get paired off!

Call for support/non-participants

If you don’t fancy running or climbing then why not walk the route?  It will be a brilliant day, you can cheer on the runners and then enjoy an evening in the pub and on the campsite celebrating.

Additionally, we are looking for volunteer for the support team who will help organise the checkpoints and help teams in trouble.

So what are the rules?
The TEC is a race in the very loosest sense of the word.  There is a fixed start point and end point but it is down to participants to choose their route between the edges.  There is no fixed start time however it will take around 6-8hrs for most teams to complete the course.

START POINT:           Lay-by at Bamford Edge (next to the stile)

END POINT:               Robin Hood Inn Car Park (DE45 1PQ)

There are three checkpoints along the route.  You must inform TEC Admin via text (SMS) when you reach them.

Checkpoint 1 – Start Line:    Text ‘GO’

Checkpoint 2 – The Pub:      Text ‘PUB’

Checkpoint 3 – Finish Line:  Text ‘STOP’

Guidelines for Participants

  • Camping at the Eric Byrne campsite on the Friday night beforehand is highly recommended as it saves a very early start and allows car-sharing to the start line.
  • You must be self-sufficient on the day carrying all your gear and provisions. extra food and drink at the pub is allowed
  • You must stop for a drink (alcohol allowed) at ‘The Grouse’ pub at the halfway point between Burbage South and Froggatt. (Take a photo of yourselves in the pub for proof if you beat the Admin team there!!)
  • Avoid soloing!  Please try all routes with rope, placing gear and seconded.
  • Remember which routes you do as there will be a points system** for the routes attempted.
  • You don’t have to pre-pick routes due to unavailability on the day of the challenge.
  • Remember to be mindful of other climbers enjoying a nice day out and unaware of our stupid challenge that gives us NO priority over anyone else climbing at the same crag.
  • There will be a support team in case of an emergency.
  • Failure to attempt a climb at any of the listed edges will result in a suitable penalty.
  • Any disputes should be settled by loud arguments among those involved, with the Ten Edges Admin Team having the last word.

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Campsite:
Eric Byne Campsite
Birchen Edge
Baslow
Derbyshire
DE45 1PQ

* And for those tedious types who say that High Neb and Stanage are the same crag I say you are required to run from Dovestones!

** The points system is esoteric and bonus points are available.  Difficulty and speed are merely two criteria by which the team will be measured.  And no, we aren’t telling you what the rules are!



Daniel O'Brien








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Karabiner Mountaineering Club