Wed 12th Jul, 2017

Standing Stones - Chew Valley

Members: Dan O’Brien, Jared Kitchen, Emily Thompson, Duncan Zerafa, Clay Conlon, Merion Tanner

Guests: Pati Xariklia, Isabel Prause, John (sorry, didn’t get a surname), Bernard.

So it’s probably fair to say, on the long, hot walk up the hill from Binn Green to Standing Stones, the still weather a harbinger of midges, your corespondent was cursing Jim Symon for proposing this isolated moorland crag.  Even worse was meeting two members of the Rucksack Club who after less than 20 minutes had decided the midges were so bad they had no choice but to retreat to the beer garden in The Clarence.  The KMC, however, are made of sterner stuff (as, in fairness are most of the other Rucksack members who stuck it out!)

Dan opened his account with Womanless Wall (VS) followed by Isabel.  The climbing was excellent, the friction good and it seemed to some extent that the midges were easing off.  Duncan led Twin Crack Corner (a top-50 VS) followed by Pati.  It was also led by Merion followed by Bernard.  Merion and Bernard climbed a long, wide, green corner crack called Smilers Corner (HS) which despite all the evidence to the contrary they described as a “nice route”.

Whist descending from the top of the crag, your corespondent heard a familiar hum and assumed the evening would be ending shortly due to the re-emergence of the midges.  The breeze was still brisk however and the noise was actually coming from the flying Drone brought along by one of the Rucksack Club to film the evenings action.  One enterprising KMC-er suggested a potential business opportunity where one could fly a drone around the head of a climber on midgey days to blow them away.

Jared led Vivien (S) followed by Emily.  Duncan told of an ascent of the route he and George Williams made previously which resulted in a “wheelbarrow-sized” mound of earth sliding off as they topped out! The route was also climbed by Dan and Isabel.  Clay Led Guillotine and Touch of Spring; Both Severe and both followed by John.

As the evening wore on and our ranks thinned Pati and Duncan made an ascent of Pocked Wall (VS), also climbed by Merion and Bernard. John led Echantillion (HVD), a tricky looking meandering number with a chimney finish.  As your correspondent was leaving, Pati and Duncan were debating whether there was time for one more route – clearly still burned from their late finish last week at Running Hill Pits!

With the long walk-out guaranteeing the group would miss last orders at The Clarence the discussion on next week’s location was conducted at the crag.  Dan had already whipped some votes before consulting Clay and John (halfway up a route and in no condition to complain) so with only the thinnest veneer of democracy, the KMC will be off to Helsby for some classic Sandstone.  So there!

Daniel O'Brien

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Karabiner Mountaineering Club