Wed 13th Apr, 2016
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…