The Roaches - Climbing
Sat 5th Aug - Sun 6th Aug, 2017
Members: Roger Dyke, Nils Elgar, Yvonnne Holland, Gowry Sisupalan, Andy Stratford, Dave Wylie.
Guests: Brendan Cassida, Jen Lee, Anna Morgan, Annie Nye, Andy Pierce
Walker: Iain McCallum
Well, I was a bit nervous about this weekend after the no show the weekend before at Stanage Far End. On Thursday evening the forecast was for rain on Saturday but a dry Sunday, so Sunday was the confirmed day. Of course Saturday turned out lovely and sunny albeit with some occasional threatening clouds passing over. By contrast, the Sunday forecast had now deteriorated with rain forecast by 4.00pm with the possibility of some earlier showers.
I arrived at 9.30am and joined Andy Stratford on the walk up to the crag. As a warm up, Andy led the first pitch of Black and Tans (S 4a); Before I had a chance to follow, Annie Nye arrived and so joined us on the first route of the day. I led the fine second pitch and fully agreed with Andy’s assessment that this three star climb had a little bit of everything!
Dave Wylie arrived with Yvonne Holland and spent the day on the excellent three star Maud's Garden (VDiff), Heather Slab (HVD, 3c), Tower Chimney (Diff) and Ogden (HD), all led by Dave. He said he had led all before but had no memory of Tower Chimney. (Is that a blessing of age – a new climb every day?)
After Black and Tans, Andy Stratford led Right Route, the excellent three star VDiff with Gowry. He then climbed the following with Andy Pierce: Diamond Wednesday HVS 5a (led by Andy Pierce), Damascus crack HS 4b and finally Bachelors Buttress Direct VS 4c (led by Andy Pierce).
American guests Brendan Cassida and Jen Lee started the day with a quick ascent of the two pitches of Black and Tans. Next up, Brendan tackled the three star jamming test piece Saul's Crack (HVS 5a) and, in his own words, “absolutely dogged this one” taking some long rests on gear whilst working his way up the bulge, but then dispatching the overhang with ease. Jen gave seconding it a try and cleaned up to the bulge before calling it quits: Brendan abseiled to retrieve the remainder of the gear. Looking on the positive side, Brendan said he now had a project for the remainder of the summer! Their day was finished on some of the Upper Tier boulders: The Wing, Don's Boulder and the Long Boulder.
Iain McCallum dropped in for a chat while walking the ridge from above Dane Bridge to the Roaches: Dane Bridge – Back Forest – Roach End – Roaches return (about 8 miles). Iain recalled that in his early days of climbing (a few years ago now) wallabies roamed the hills here; alas none were spotted during our meet!
After Black and Tans, I split off to climb with Annie and was joined by Andy Pierce for Left Hand Route (HS 4b). I then asked Andy if he’d like to lead Technical Slab (HS 4b), only to find out he had already soloed this route as a warm up. I suggested he needed a harder climbing partner! So it was for me to lead… Although the climb was not difficult, I had already used a cam that was needed at about 6-7m so, after faffing about, I sacrificed a poor placement to run things out (risking a ground fall) for better gear higher up. I couldn’t help noting that I was effectively following in Andy’s footsteps through the middle section of this climb.
After this, it was down to the Lower Tier for Annie to lead Prow Cracks (VDiff), which was done easily with just a pause at the horizontal break at mid height. We were joined at the crag by a couple from a local club (to remain anonymous) and were entertained by some of their climbing mates further along the crag who were exceptionally vocal, but not too good at communication: “I CAN’T CLIMB THIS!”, “WHAT WAS THAT?”, “I CAN’T CLIMB THIS!”, “THAT’S NOT MY PROBLEM!”, “WHAT WAS THAT?” Even more entertaining was the fact that this climbing pair were (currently) in a relationship. The final climb of the day was a convenient and quick: Yong (HVD 4a), which was followed by Annie and then Gowry, who was squeezing in one last climbing before departure.
After patrolling the Upper Tier, Roger Dyke went down to the Lower Tier and led Captain Lethargy (HVD), after which Gowry took over and led Prow Cracks (VDiff) followed by Anna Morgan.
There was a general break up at about 3.30pm, with some moisture in the air and the forecast of rain in everyone’s minds. It had stayed dry and ultimately was a very satisfying day…
The Roaches – Superb Western Grit Venue…
UPDATE 04/08/17 - THIS MEET WILL BE ON SUNDAY 6 AUGUST ONLY
There are routes here for all abilities so, regardless of where you are at with your climbing, there will be something here for you! Upper Tier details on the UKC website can be found at: https://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/crag.php?id=797. To steal a few lines from Roger’s meet promo from last year: 400+ routes, endless bouldering, excellent walking. A café just half a mile away, a decent pub one mile.
Although this meet was book-marked for both days (Saturday 5 and Sunday 6 August) it will now take place on Sunday 6 August only. Meet at the Black and Tans area on the Upper Tier, from 9.30am. (To find this, walk up the main path leading to the Don Whillans Memorial Hut, but by-pass this and go up through the pine trees and up 'The Steps' to reach the upper tier. The Black and Tans area is to the left of where you emerge.)
The Roaches can be found near the village of Upper Hulme, off the A53 between Buxton and Leek: OL24 (White Peak Area) SK 006622 to SK 005624. Parking is available below the crag but be warned, this fills up fast on weekends.