Wed 23rd May, 2018

Denham Quarry

Members: Clay Conlon, Andy Stratford, Emily Pitts, Isabel Prause, Cathy Gordon, Dave Wylie, Dan O’Brien, Tim Howarth, John Cox, Steve Graham, Elliott Brown

Guests: George Babington, John Smallwood, Andy Vine, Chris Kastavunis

It was roasting, there was no breeze and the crag is a sun-trap.  Your correspondent’s opinion of Denham, based on a single previous visit, was that is was a damp, midge infested, hole-in-the-ground.  Well at least today wasn’t damp.

Andy S opened the club account with an ascent of Mohammed the Morbid Morgul (S) which traverses a long way across the crag, followed by Dave.  Dan went for the classic VS of Mohammed the Mad Monk of Moorside Home for Mental Misfits* (MMMMHMM) which felt high in the grade, especially if you miss out on helpful gear placements and consistently place the wrong sized cam.  Isabel and Tim followed, smoothly and stressfully respectfully.

Andy V led The Layback (VS) which is given HVS in the new guide followed by Clay. Clay then led The Funny Farm (HS) before Andy showed everyone how to lead MMMMHMM properly.  Meanwhile Dave led the long (and bold in places) Concave Wall (S) followed by Cathy and Andy S.  Andy and Cathy then went over to team up with George and Emily for a Funny Farm/Step in the Clouds hybrid.  John S led The Edge (VD) followed by Jon C and then led Main Break before dropping a top-rope down Lintel (S).

Steve and Elliott had a productive evening climbing Main Break (HS), Layback, Funny Farm and Step In the Clouds (HS) (also followed by Chris).  Elliott then went for the classic E1 of Time up the main wall.  A very direct line up some improbable looking rock and spaced gear yielded to a positive approach.  The holds were there but Elliott’s reach certainly came in useful.  Steve followed easily.  After the excitement of MMMMHMM Dan decided to climb the heavily starred VD of Splash Arete.  This route had a surprisingly bold start before good gear near the top.  A high step near the finish alas proved too much for Dan to accomplish gracefully and after much faffing he found himself sitting au cheval on the arete with no footholds to assist with upwards progression.  The comradely and support the KMC is so famous for was on full display and people gathered to take photos of the hapless, stranded leader.  After a few minutes, a mantle and a “knee-swap” gained the finishing hold and Dan politely questioned the grade.  Steve said he’d done it a few weeks previously and it has been “alright”.

As the sun started to set and the midges started to descend the team decamped to the Top Lock pub. The nominations for next week were Pule Hill, Castle Naze, Alderman and Bamford.  Three rounds of voting were required for Pule Hill to prevail in a narrow victory.  The people have spoken!

* I hate whoever named the routes at this crag.

Daniel O'Brien

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Karabiner Mountaineering Club