The Roaches, Lower Tier
Wed 31st May, 2017
Members : Duncan Zerafa, Helen Boothman.
Guests: John Smallwood, Patrizia Patz (Pati), Jim Duthie, Andy.
With the school holidays upon us this week, the late afternoon drive to The Roaches was pretty swift agreed the attendees. Those that had arrived, were greeted by a hot, cloudy evening and an idle breeze. Helen was climbing coincidentally with us tonight, getting back into climbing after a break.
The relative quiet of the crag meant you could pick and choose the finest routes at will. So with this in mind Pati and Jim had to have a crack at the classic of Valkyrie VS 4c. Jim had climbed it before, and so resolved to lead the first part allowing Pati to lead the airy second part. Pati thought the route was brilliant and exciting, even though she'd suffered from shaky legs before committing to the move from the big flake to the crease and onto the face. She later commented, "It's a lesson on rope management, which I don't have...".
Duncan on Jim's recommendation or sandbag depending on point of view, lead the Joe Brown and Don Whillans route, The Bulger VS 4c. Which was a particularly graunchy, awkward struggle. This was seconded by John and new guest Andy. Duncan followed this by a second of the bold Central Route VS 4a, initially leading it but backing off after rain left a serious chance of hitting the deck. John and new guest Andy teamed up to climb Right Hand Route HS 4c, Andy had got to lead his first route of the night.
Meanwhile the chatter below another Roaches classic The Sloth HVS 5a was beginning to come to a conclusion, the rain wouldn't affect the underside of a overhang. Jim had decided he would have a go after backing off in previous attempts. Jim lead the Don Whillans route brilliantly and tenaciously with support from Pati and Duncan beneath. Jim slowly built a web of slings under the roof before committing to a final attempt, which was touch and go for a moment before finally pulling though the overhanging roof to the easier crack above. The sound of applause rose up from beneath. Pati seconded it excellently too, shouting "Amazing!" upon completion. Duncan also seconded but spent airtime back down to the start after struggling to release Jim's cam in the overhanging roof crux section. Pati then climbed up for a second time and retrieved the stuck cam with coolness, before finishing again with loud encouragement from below.
Under the murky, dark skies, at quite a late point in the evening, a quick decision was made for next week. The light and warm June evenings recommended Lawrencefield, near Hathersage.