Wed 5th Sep, 2018
Alderman Rocks, Chew Valley
Members: Andy Stratford, Jim Symon, Dave Wylie, Mark Ashley, Emily Thompson, Jared Kitchen
Guests: John Smallwood, Erfan Khatibi
A lovely late summer evening at Alderman with just enough wind to keep the beasties away, and clear skies for a stunning Chew Valley sunset.
Arriving at the crag, unusually we were not alone. Six Rucsac club members were also there – very unusual for Alderman – we nearly always have it to ourselves.
John started off with a lead of the first pitch of Cleft and Chimney, but backed off the second pitch and instead did the top (face) pitch of Rib and Face. Both routes are listed as HVD. Jared, on his first visit to Alderman was tempted by the delights of Great Slab (VS 4c) with the ‘proper’ second pitch consisting of the skin shredding overhanging jamming crack. Surely this has to be one of the most oddly named routes in the Chew? Jared was ‘’impressed’’ with the grade of the second pitch "I’ve done much easier E1’s", and once again Chew valley grit left its mark... this time on Jim who seconded. Andy just got away without the crack drawing blood.
Other routes led by Andy included Crispy Crack (HVS 5a), Pygmy Wall (S 3c) and Great Slab Right (HVS 5a). Jim sauntered up Great Slab Arete (S 4a) and the second pitch of Rib and Face (4a).
Meanwhile, over on the little visited south peak Dave Wylie led Overhanging Buttress (HVD, 4a) and Blunt Arête (VD) with John. Dave commented "These routes clearly don't get as much traffic as the main section of the crag, so there were a few tufts of grass in some of the cracks and one or two loose chunks of rock. It was worth the visit, though.’’
We walked down in the gloaming back to the cars and visited the refurbished Clarence for voting. There was much debate and Running Hill Pitts narrowly won over the artificial boulder in Shaw! Phew!