Wed 31st May, 2023
The Roaches – Wednesday 31st May 2023
Daniel Arrowsmith, Andy Lewtas, Paul Lonsdale, Rory Marsden, Fergal McCullough, Will Richardson, Dylan Smith, Brian Tarnowski
After failing thoroughly to arrange the appropriate weather for the meets at Troy Quarry earlier in the year this was a definite success. Glorious sunshine bathed the upper tier of the Roaches and while the Northerly breeze was a little chilly on the top it was keeping the midgies down wonderfully. Out of the wind at the base of the crag it was almost (almost) too warm!
Early arrivals Will and Dylan paired up and with Will employing the tactic of “point Dylan at the hard stuff” headed off to warm up on Jeffcoats Buttress, HS 5a. They followed this up with ascents of Humdinger, E1 5b and The Sloth, HVS 5a. According to Will the reachy crux of Humdinger is definitely a stiff test as is the fist jam to overcome the lip of the overhang on The Sloth. Having smoothly led all three routes Dylan declared that he had arrived a bit tired from work but intends to go back full of energy to try some hard stuff another day!
Paul arrived in time to assist a party who had become stuck on the pedestal of Pedestal Route, HVD 4a. After the leader had lowered off his original second Paul tied in and duly followed up to finish the route.
Meantime, Brian started out with me belaying him on an excellent lead of Right Route, VD. Fergal arrived and so I suggested he second Brian, thinking I would then follow up. As Fergal set off Andy arrived so we split and I led Central Route, VS 4a with Andy while Fergal completed Right Route with Brian.
Brian and Fergal moved on to their own ascent of Pedestal Route which turned out to be another adventure, particularly as neither had realised that it was one of the Roaches multi-pitch routes. Having found the initial climbing more strenuous than expected Brian, on lead, was faced with the tricky mantle to mount the pedestal. Fortunately, Brian found a good gear placement to protect the move. Unfortunately, a slight underestimate on the amount of extension required led to an impromptu investigation of the effect of rope drag and an almighty struggle to make it onto the ledge. Having battled magnificently to get established on the pedestal it was now apparent that two pitches was the only possible approach and so Brian brought Fergal up to join him. After a consultation with the passing Dylan (heading up The Sloth) on the arrangement of the belay for pitch two, Brian led on. Dismounting the pedestal turned out to be just as tricky as mounting it and after a slip on attempt number one Brian recomposed himself and headed across the slab and into the corner crack from where the climbing eases. Having topped out cold and tired from the exertions on the route this was the last of the night for Brian and Fergal.
Later than planned, Daniel arrived in time to pair up with Paul (after Pedestal Route round 1) and together they got on a couple of Hard Severes and then finished with Saul’s Crack, HVS 5a, which Daniel reported as “really cruisy” though there might be one or two in the club who disagree!
After Central Route, Andy and I took a walk along to Maud’s Garden, HVD 3c, which was led by Andy and turned out to be an excellent route. Maud’s Garden has a bit of everything, starting with a slab, leading into an easy upper crack which ends on a large ledge. From the ledge a squirm up a short chimney takes you to a finish up an airy but juggy arete, fantastic! By now the sun was setting but I still thought we had time for one more climb so we jumped on the classic Black and Tans, S 4a. It turns out we did have time, but only just with Andy struggling to see what gear he was taking out of the gloomy corner belay at the top of pitch one.
Having seen everyone else depart Andy and I packed up in the dark and made the walk back to the cars by torchlight. Another evening of KMC making the most of every minute of daylight!
See you next time,
The Roaches really needs no promo being one of the UK’s outstanding Gritstone climbing venues. There are lots of routes to get stuck into across the grades including some notable classics such as Pedestal Route (HVD), Black and Tans (S), Valkyrie (VS), and The Sloth (HVS).
As a hugely popular venue parking can be limited so car sharing is recommended where possible. The closest parking to the crag is in laybys on the Roach Road out of the hamlet of Upper Hulme. Do not park outside the marked bays as traffic wardens patrol the area seven days a week. Grid reference SK002630.
We will meet at the Black and Tans area of the Upper Tier. Hope to see you all there.