Members: Dave Wylie, Mark Ashley, Clay Conlon, Nils Elgar, Andy Stratford, Tim Howarth, Duncan Zerafa

There was no sign of the Wylie’s car in the White House lower car park but he was at the damp crag, having walked the few miles from home. The warm sunny evening with a light easterly was promising but the amount of rain had left seepage in the best cracks so Z crack was best left for another day. We congregated around the left hand slab with Dave opening the leading on Cornette (Diff) and Mark on Seasy (HS 4c). Andy had the perfect micro cam for Route 1 and, sat at the top in an M3* then brought up Dave, Clay, Tim and Duncan in quick succession - each of them spending minimal time in the M5 belay position. Meanwhile Nils was getting in on the footwork and cam action with a neat lead of Slabmaster VS 4c. Mark was in the sun so his belay was still M2.

As the M rating rose everywhere team KMC donned a variety of protective headgear. Andy, having forgotten his, decided on Route 2 (HVS 5a), which has two ‘’psychological’’ cams protecting the hard move. This was not helped by the temperature gradient pushing the M grade to M5 on the route itself with Dave on belay duties in a really serious M7 position (even with headgear).  As Dave was seconding the route the wind dropped and the M grade rose forcing Dave into climbing with headgear. At the top of the crag a cloud hovered around the presidential ankles, so much so that socks were demanded in an attempt to lower the clifftop belay from an untenable M8! Tim, thankfully floated up the route (he was chased by a cloud) and Duncan led Slabmaster and Nils Route 1. Down at the base of the crag M10 had stopped play and a retreat to the White House was called, despite Duncans protestations about wanting (as ever) to climb until he needed a torch.

Two crags were suggested with Windgather coming out above Hen Cloud – partly, we think, because it is known for lower M Grades.


For anyone unfamiliar with the KMC M-grade system here it is:

M1. No bother

M2. Slightly bothersome

M3.  A little irritating. May require some DEET

M4. You start to wonder if you packed your head net.

M5. Protective head gear usually donned.

M6. If you’ve a net, life is OK. If not, it’s crap.

M7. Removal of the net for more than 3 seconds is inadvisable

M8. If you have no net, you may look like you’ve had chicken pox tomorrow.

M9. Being Eaten alive.


Andy Stratford

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