Newsletter entries for 2007

November

Spain

08/11/2007 – 12/11/2007

Written by: AT

Attendees: DK, Martin, Barry Hewett and John (Cactus head) Baddeley.

Overview

With Martin and myself having both climbed independently in Spain last year it seemed a good idea to revisit in the guise of an HMA meet. So John, Barry and I met at Martin’s house at 8.00 on Thursday morning ready for a leisurely drive to Gatwick to catch a 12.40 flight to Murcia. A thankfully uneventful flight found us at San Javier airport bathed in warm Mediterranean sunshine. The new penthouse apartment we were using was well furnished with a large balcony overlooking it’s associated pool, the 13th fairway of the El Torro golf complex and not a bad view. Friday’s climbing was at the popular La Panocha, which overlooks the city of Murcia and comprises a number of small crags topped off by the tower of La Panocha. We started on the pleasant sunny and sheltered wall of Paisaje Lunar where there are a number 20 metre routes graded between 4 and 6b. After doing four or five starred routes here, including several 6a’s and even a soft touch 6b we moved round to the tower where all of us climbed the 3* Pili (grade 5). With the old boys ( Barry and me) tiring Martin and John crept ahead on the route count by knocking off another couple of climbs. Saturday was much of the same, with us leaving the apartment by around 10 o’clock although unlike the day before there was a bit of rain around. Our venue was the crags of Serra de Collosa where it was confirmed that the routes of the previous day were a little over-graded as many of the lower grade routes were quite steep and with holds that were either sharp crimps or painful finger pockets. The severity of these climbs required John to don his new, undersized and bright orange Cobra slippers which prompted a lot of banter. On leaving the crag we drove into the nearby village of Redovan for a well earned beer. With the temperature an amenable 18 – 20°C on the previous days and a forecast of fog for Sunday we were surprised to wake up to clear blue skies and rising temperature. After a late breakfast it was a return drive to Redovan. When we arrived it was already getting hot and several Spanish family groups were preparing their BBQs in the shade of the trees. In typical Mad dogs and Englishman style we headed for the sun kissed crags. After two or three routes it became apparent that it was too hot (between 25° and 30°C) for climbing and after a short stop for Martin and I to lay siege to a short overhanging 6b+ route we made the now usual dash to a bar, this time for iced drinks as well as beer. With the home flight on Monday not being until 4.15pm and had the weather been bad during the previous days we would have done half a day on La Panacho, as it was we were happy with a late breakfast, an on route stop at Decathlon where John spent two hours and loads of money. It was then down to the coast where because of JB’s spree we only had just enough time to have lunch al fresco at a beach side restaurant before the flight home to a very cold UK. Meet Costs Flights – £95.00 each Accom – £35.00 each Car Hire including fuel – £35.00 each Parking at Gatwick + petrol each way – £11.00 each Safety Notice Leaving your climbing helmet under a cactus (JB) the wrong way up can result in it becoming a receptacle for very smelly liquid. DK

Unfortunately the predicted rain came in early allowing us the luxury of a visit to the gear shops and cafés before making an early departure home.

July

Lakes

14/07/2007 – 15/07/2007

Written by: AT

Attendees: Barry H, Ian T, Tony, Martin and DK.

Overview

With a bad forecast in the Lakes and all meet subscribers wanting to climb the venue was changed to the Peak District. As seems to be a standard arrangement, three of us met at Martin’s house early on the Saturday morning with a plan to meet Tony and Ian T in the Peaks. In the knowledge that even in Derbyshire the weather may only allow us a day and a half of climbing the usual Hathersage faff ( visit to Outside) was dispensed with and we went directly to a now sunny Froggatt Edge. Splitting into two teams, Ian and Barry and Martin, Tony and myself we climbed a range of routes from Broken Crack and Sunset Slab both HVS to Heather Wall (Severe). The high point being Tony’s impressive lead of the hard severe, Diamond Crack. Knowing that a short day was going to be the best we could hope for on Sunday we climbed through to till gone 7pm and instead of going to the camp site we retired to the Fox Inn for a well earned meal.

Unfortunately the predicted rain came in early allowing us the luxury of a visit to the gear shops and cafés before making an early departure home.

May

Devon

26/05/2007 – 26/05/2007

Written by: AT

Attendees: Barry Voysey, Dave Knight, Tony Ward, Alina Wisnicka, Ian Tingley, Martin Lennon

Overview

It was with a threat of mixed weather for the weekend that five of us met at Martin’s house at 6am on the Saturday. But with a camp site booked and a fine day forecast we set off west. We arrived at the Dewerstone at 11.00 with Tony turning up 5 minutes later. Owing to the personnel it was decided to climb in threes. Martin, Alina and myself did Central Route (HS) followed by Leviathan (VS) unfortunately having to climb as a three meant a fair bit of hanging around and once the sun disappeared it got quite cold. Martin and I did a couple a more easier routes while Alina retired to the car to try and get warm. Barry, Ian and Tony also climbed Central Route along with Colonel’s Arete (VD), Pinnacle Buttress(VD) and Saints Niche (S). With concern about the changing weather it was decided over a meal in the Widecombe pub that we would abort the rest of the weekend and head on home, that is, with the exception of Tony who owing to business,recreational and domestic reasons had to stay on. He did text me the following day to let me know that it had been the right decision, as it was pouring.

Sadly, due to circumstances beyond our control, Sunday proved to be a non-climbing day, however one good day made the long trip definitely worthwhile.

April

Swanage

08/04/2007 – 08/04/2007

Written by: DK

Attendees: Dave Knight, Patrick Manuel, Andrew Turner

Overview

Due to Martin dropping out through illness an awkward rope of three remained. With the regular partnership of Andrew and Patrick and me playing gooseberry we left Portsmouth at 0800 on a sunny Easter Sunday morning. On arrival at the Durlstone Head car park a discussion ensued as to where to climb, the conclusion being Cattle Troughs if Subluminal was crowded. Strangely enough there was only a couple of others there. This peaceful situation continued throughout the day with never more than three other pairs present. Quickly placing an abseil rope we kitted up with me leading First Corner (S). . With this being the first lead of the season it was a slow affair taking several attempts to select and place the right bit of pro. Next up was Curving Crack (Severe in new rockfax guide) which Patrick dispensed with little difficulty and gear. It was then over to Andrew to lead the tricky Suspension (S). With Andrew recovering from his efforts on the last route Patrick and I negotiated the ”Bad Step” before climbing the 2** Second Corner With the idea of beating the holiday traffic we left the crag just before four-o-clock and were back home by 5.30pm. The recent long spell of dry weather meant the rock was in great condition thereby ensuring a very enjoyable days climbing.

North Wales

21/04/2007 – 22/04/2007

Written by: AT

Attendees: Patrick Manuel & Andrew Turner

Overview

Patrick Manuel and I had an excellent “alpine” day on Saturday 21st in sunshine (but not quite in shorts due to a cooling breeze). We started at the bottom of Idwal Slabs on Charity( VD 470ft **), then climbed on up Lazarus (S 4a 140ft *) with yours truly bagging the nicely exposed 2nd pitch. After that Patrick led on up Groove Above (HS 4b 80ft *) with its “truly desperate” start. Finally, due to the lateness of the hour we decided against a finale on Glyder Fawr (Grey Slab VS 4b had been mooted) and instead moved across the hillside to finish up Sub-Cneifion Rib (VD 410ft **). A total of 1100ft of excellent climbing (almost alpine – carrying sacks but wearing rock boots) .

Sadly, due to circumstances beyond our control, Sunday proved to be a non-climbing day, however one good day made the long trip definitely worthwhile.

Peaks

21/04/2007 – 22/04/2007

Written by: DK

Attendees: Barry V, Tingers, Martin and DK

Overview

With a multitude of short routes of varying grades in close proximity this meet would have been the ideal one for new(er) members to gain an introduction to more established club members and the joys of gritstone climbing. As it turned out, it was only the ‘hardcore four’ who made the Friday night journey to Derbyshire. With Saturday dawning sunny but slightly breezy and after the obligatory faff visit to Outside we made our way to Stanage, the popular end. Whilst quite busy it did not take long to establish ourselves onto a couple of multi starred routes. Twelve routes later and with a total of 33 stars between us we called it a day retiring to Outside for a well earned cup of coffee. It was then back to Stalag Laneside ( the camp site is continually lit in order for 24hr CCTV cover) for a shower before heading out for a meal and a beer. Sunday while not sunny was still offering comfortable climbing conditions. So in order to facilitate a quick getaway Birchen Edge was the venue. In order to beat the usual crowds we started on Kismet Buttress which houses the three star VS ‘Nelson’s Nemesis’ and the interesting ‘Horatio’s Horror’. We then moved along to the Trafalgar Wall area with all of us leading a route or two on this pleasant slab. With us all climbing six routes apiece we decided for an early departure although not before Martin led the the classic ‘Powder Monkey Parade’ now graded VS, it was severe when I first led it in 1988. For anyone looking for a good struggle the section of this route in Hollybush Gully will not leave you disappointed. I have the scars to prove it. All in all a good weekend

Some of the 3*** routes climbed: Flying Buttress (Vdiff), Black Hawk Hell Crack (S), Hargreaves Original (VS) and Inverted V (VS).

March

Scotland

03/03/2007 – 09/03/2007

Written by: BV

Attendees: Barry H, Martin L and Barry V

Overview

A brief précis of what was achieved.

03/03/2007

Drove to Fort William took about 10 hours.

04/03/2007

Trying somewhere new – from to the top of the Window (900m) on Creag Meagaidh (Meggie) (5½ hours).

05/03/2007

The newest Munro – Roughburn through the Allt a’Chaorainn to Tom Moor to top of Beinn Teallach (915m or 3,003 ft) (5½ hours)

06/03/2007

Rest day – walk through Glen Nevis play on the Steall wire bridge.

07/03/2007

Up in the Mamores – from Kinlochleven to Na Gruagaichean (1,041m/1056m) to unnamed top (1,062m) to Binnein Mor (1,130m) to Sgor Eilde Beag (956m) (8 hours).

08/03/2007

Better weather early – never trust the forecast – Glen Nevis up Allt Coire a’Mhusgain to Stob Ban (999m) (5 hours).

09/03/2007

Drive back to Hampshire.

February

Brecons

10/02/2007 – 11/02/2007

Written by: NT

Attendees: None

Overview

Unfortunate weather meant all the roads around Brecon were closed with snow. The cottage owner phoning us late on Friday to say she was snowed in. Barry and Ian got the furthest and turned round at Sailisbury. The rest of us didn’t even depart. Unfortunate.

January

Annual Dinner

20/01/2007 – 20/01/2007

Written by: NT

Attendees: Lots

Overview

Louise F-S organised a good night out at Rosies Vineyard in Southsea. A good time was had by all.

Bike ride

21/01/2007 – 21/01/2007

Written by: NT

Attendees: Rob, Neil, Rachel, Mel, Jane, Pip

Overview

A good ride from QE forest to burn of the calories from the previous night