Newsletter entries for 2016

December

Brecon Beacons

02/12/2016 – 04/12/2016

Written by: Ruth

Attendees: Martin, Wayne, Steve, Ruth

A bit of a Squeeze — 02/12/2016

We all arrived at our cottage on Friday evening. Having squeezed in between the 8 jukeboxes, gravy boats, plates, piles of books, glass bottles and more stuff than you thought would physically fit in the place, we made a bee line to the pub across the road for a warm up and a beer before bed.

Mountain Ash Quarry — 03/12/2016

On Saturday armed with many layers, hand warmers, and flasks of hot drinks we set of early for Mountain Ash Quarry. This area was hard sandstone with a variety of grades and heights of routes. We all enjoyed Weeping Stump (5b) but only Steve and Martin were willing to try Rising South (6a), and that involved one large slide (see picture). The spot was well chosen, sheltered from any wind, it wasn’t as cold as we thought it might be, and everyone had a full and fun day.

That evening, after another refreshment trip to the pub, Martin proceeded to do his best to burn the cottages winter’s log supply in one night. We had a very toasty evening!

Taffs Well — 04/12/2016

On Sunday we decided to head for a crag in the direction of home. We packed up, and headed back towards Cardiff to Taffs Well, Castle Coch to climb on the other rock type in the area, calcite limestone.

It was a lovely spot in a beech woodland, but proved to be quite challenging in unexpected ways. The starts of most of the routes were all on a very steep, muddy and leafy slope, which we seemed to spend as much time slipping down as climbing up. Despite this, and several sore heads from the night before, we climbed a variety of routes including Warmth of a Man which everyone, apart from Ruth really enjoyed.

After lunch we decided to move to another nearby crag, and made the mistake of trusting Steve to choose the route. After a slog up another muddy leafy and huge hill, a long walk down a concrete path into a housing estate, through the estate attracting some odd looks (we were all still harnessed up, and Ruth still had her helmet on), and finally along a slip road we reached The Pinnacle.

Here we tackled routes that included Sharkotoptus vs Megapotamus and Popping in the Poop Deck and decided that by far the hardest start of the day was the lowest graded!

Steve was determined to climb just one more route, but with rapidly falling temperatures and dwindling light we called it a day and headed back to the car for the drive home.

November

Spain

12/11/2016 – 19/11/2016

Written by: Steve

Attendees: Adam, Barry, Lea, Martin, Steve, Ruth, Tony

Day 1 - Serra de Toix — 12/11/2016

A windy start to the week meant that only a few routes were climbed on the first day before rain stopped play. A couple of multi-pitch routes allowed some members to brush up on belay stations and abseil technique. Whilst others enjoyed some single pitches mostly out of the wind. The onset of heavy rain dictated it was time to stock up on food and drink, safe in the knowledge that the crag was nearby with great potential for later in the week.

Day 2 - Gandia — 13/11/2016

Having stocked up on the essentials we were free to eat, sleep, climb - and Gandia provided plenty of the latter in great variety. The group enjoyed caves, slabs, cracks and wall climbing, with only the extreme overhangs left untouched. One unique route involved climbing up through a hole in the roof before traversing to the lower off, great fun. Caves and holes were to be a bit of Costa Blanca speciality. Another memorable route demonstrated the value of experience on rock versus time on the indoor wall. A supposedly straight forward long groove proved one layback too many for some!

Day 3 - Font d’Axia — 14/11/2016

This area was selected for its sheltered properties.The walk in would have been nice and short if we’d not headed off in the wrong direction to start with, but we soon sorted ourselves out, and we did manage to keep out of the wind for most of the day.

It was another fun and full day as we worked through the variety of routes on the compact crag. As well as enjoying the climbing we fitted in a belay station building lesson in readiness for the next day.

Lea and Ruth were thwarted out of their planned last climb of the day, as Adam decided it was going to get dark soon and pulled the top rope down (not that they’re bitter or anything!).

Day 4 - Morro Falqui — 15/11/2016

A hot sunny day provided an unmissable opportunity for Adam, Martin and Steve to head to the Morro Falqui headland for a sport multi pitch. The route was relatively new and provided a couple of great pitches each. Starting at sea level and finishing 180m above on the cliff top, it really was climbing at its best. A unique cave belay provided welcome relief from the sun, followed by an airy exit with stunning views. We finished the day by checking out a nearby area for 1 last route, squeezing through the top of a cave to pop out meerkat like onto the grass above.

Serra de Toix

Barry and Tony led the way to the multi-pitch climbs that they knew, but we overshot by quite some distance! Deciding to make the most of where we were Lea and Ruth started off on a gentle single pitch whilst Barry and Tony tackled a more challenging multi-pitch.After swapping Ruth got to put into practice her new found belay station building skills, but decided that one belay station was enough excitement for one holiday!  

With soaring temperatures we decided to head back down to the single pitch area in the afternoon, and enjoyed a variety of shorter routes. Barry and Tony even managed to tick off some new routes despite having visited many times in the past.

Day 5 - Olta — 16/11/2016

After a longer walk in with a steep final scramble, on the hottest day of the holiday so far, we were all quite tired before we had got our kit on!

Barry and Tony headed off for the lower slopes in search of shade, and Lea and Ruth who had had enough of the walk decided to climb the first thing they came to, without checking the guidebook first. It was lucky Lea came prepared, as it became a multipitch climb, needing a bit of trad gear, and an ab off the top.

Deciding that consulting a guidebook would be wise they soon joined the others, where the clip stick finally proved its worth, as it was used to rig up a rope mat as a welcome sun shade.

In the afternoon, Steve, Adam and Martin joined forces for a combined attack on Tai Chi (6b+), with Martin being captured in the perfect reconstruction of the pose from the front of the Rockfax book!

Day 6 - Guadalest — 17/11/2016

For those who had visited before, Gaudalest proved too much of a temptation, and plans for rest days were abandoned. It was another lovely day, and thankfully a bit cooler than the day before.

We split into two groups, heading off to two different areas. After a full morning we met back up, allowing some to take advantage of top roping opportunities on harder routes.

One route required quite a large section of bridging, which after much laughter, left the shorter members of the group wishing for longer limbs as they worked their way up to a small cave. The cave proofed a false refuge as the hardest part of the climb was trying to get out of it!

That evening we headed into the local village to enjoy a meal and few drinks to toast our fantastic week away.

Home! — 18/11/2016

Day 7 was time to travell home.

September

Peak District

02/09/2016 – 04/09/2016

Written by: Steve

Attendees: Ruth, Martin, Andrew, Stu and Steve

Overview

Southern Sandstone instead of the Peaks due to the weather.

Harrison's Rocks — 02/09/2016

Having abandoned the Peak District meet, we looked for somewhere dry closer to home.

5 of us headed off to Harrison’s Rocks where we rolled out a small square of red carpet, cleaned our shoes, and got climbing.

A gloriously sunny morning saw around 10 routes accomplished in the Hell Wall/Elementary area. Though our esteemed president seemed to struggle with the 1a Isometric Chimney, the flip flops were presumably to blame.

Moving on to Niblick, Andrew unlocked the complex Sossblitz and then kindly hauled Steve up it. Meanwhile Ruth and Stu made a challenging variation bridging across to Wellington’s Chimney.

We finished the day around the Lager Lout Hangover area, where a couple of the harder routes proved too much for tired arms. However a great ascent of Hangover III was made, with an impressive beached whale moment on the shelf.

The tranquil woodland was the perfect setting to test our mettle on this magnificent sandstone outcrop. Close to 20 routes were attempted by the time rain finally ended the day at 6pm.

North Wales

30/09/2016 – 02/10/2016

Written by: Martin

Attendees: Russell, Ruth, Martin, Neil, Steve and Wayne

Overview

A weekend of mixed weather and activities in North Wales.

Rain — 30/09/2016

The majority of us arrived in Llanberis on a rainy Friday evening and we were all thankful for the warm and dry cottage.

More Rain — 01/10/2016

Saturday morning after consulting a few different weather forecasts the general feeling was that it was going to rain for most of the day. So Ruth and Russell walked from the cottage in the direction of Snowdon whilst the remaining 4 jumped in a car to go for a 4 hour circular walk above Marchlyn Mawr Reservoir, which included Mynydd Perfedd, Bwich Y Brecan, Elidir Fawr and Elidir Fach.

Both groups of walkers arrived back at the accommodation at the same time for a hot drink and something to eat.

As it was still raining the 5 gents went for some retail therapy leaving Ruth at home alone. An hour was spent in V12 spending money on various bits of kit and Martin adding to his ever growing climbing shoe collection.

As it had now stopped raining a group went off to the Slate Museum to recki possible sport routes for the future.

When we arrived back at the cottage Ruth thought that we had spent the whole 3 hours shopping!!

The evening was spent eating a 3 course meal cooked by various members and chatting around the wood stove.

Sun! — 02/10/2016

The forecast for Sunday was good so everyone was up and out of the cottage by 8am. Ruth and Russell jumped on the Sherpa bus to the top of the pass for a walk along Gribb Goch and back to the cottage. The rest of us went to climb in the pass at Carreg Wastad for some multi pitch climbing. Routes climbed were Winkle VD a polished classic, Crackstone Rib S a much photographed classic and Skylon HS a delightful route with interesting climbing. Everyone doing 2 routes. We all wanted to do a third route but with the thought of a 5-6 hour journey home we called it a day and returned to the cottage. A great days climbing with great views and weather.

We packed the car and left Ruth and Russell sitting in the garden soaking up the sun.

August

Lancashire

05/08/2016 – 07/08/2016

Written by: Markus and Ruth

Attendees: Martin, Russel, Hannes, Ruth, Steve, Adam, Markus

Overview

Swanage Day Meet (replacement for the Lancashire weekend): The meet of two halves.

The Group — 05/08/2016

The forecast was for a bright and sunny day, and we headed off with high hopes, the nearer we got to Swanage though, the more misty and blowy it got. Confident that it would soon blow over, we headed off to Subliminal, set up the abseil rope, sorted out all the nice new shiny club trad gear and all got ourselves to the bottom of the crag ready to climb.

When we got there we wished we hadn’t. The wind was worse, it was cold, the rock was wet, super slippery and it was all a bit grim. Martin was attacked from above by another group’s rope, so we found the easiest climb, and set off trying to set a record time to get 5 people back to the top. Steve and Ruth did their best to lose the nice new gear on the way, and Martin’s head was once again a target for a falling nut.

Once we, and amazingly all the gear, made it to the top we called it quits and decided to head to Windspit where we hoped it would be more sheltered.

After a short drive, and walk in our hopes were rewarded. The sun came out, the temperature rose, and we tucked into the well sheltered quarry and spent the rest of the day sport climbing on dry rock, conquering routes from a 4 to a 6a+.

Adam and Markus — 06/08/2016

We walked with the others to subluminal to check out the conditions. It was quite blustery and the sea was rough. However, Martin assured us he’d been down the ruckle in much worse conditions, and thus emboldened we headed over to the Marmolata Buttress for the abseil. We opted for the easier route Lightning Wall instead of our original goal The Buccaneer, just to check things out. After the nice abseil Markus showed Adam how to ascend the rope with
 
prusiks, and it was practised. And a good thing we did! We started on our route, and the lower part including the crux turned out to be wet! It’s funny how hard every move becomes then, and Markus took a fall on what has now become a fixed nut, as Adam was unable to remove it. We got to the top all right and headed over to the others for lunch and a chat, only to find no one there. Adam walked up the hill to receive an SMS, and we had to decide to join the others, or try our luck again as the sun had come out to dry the routes. After Markus had Adam carry the abseil rope along the entire ruckle, we decided to abseil again from Marmolata and do Mickey Mouse, a quite steep and intimidating two pitch route. The first pitch was a steep body wide crack but with good holds. Although Adam is considerably lighter than Markus, he managed to pull off a big block, hurting his arm slightly and resorting to his newly acquired skill of prusikking to gain the belay. The second pitch contained the roof crux with some hidden holds and Markus botched the onsight. We reached the belay and could look back at a day of wet rock, sandbag advice, sweat, blood and loose blocks, but most of all climbing in great surroundings. All in all a perfect introduction to the Ruckle for Adam.

Routes climbed:

Lightning Wall (HVS 5a)

Mickey Mouse (E3 6a)

July

Cornwall

01/07/2016 – 03/07/2016

Written by: Martin

Attendees: Martin, Adam, Steve

Overview

Impromptu Dorset day meet.
As the weather was not good for Cornwall 3 members had a day on Portland in the Lost Valley.

Relocation To Portland — 01/07/2016

Looked from the forecast that we might get away with a dry day and we did.About a dozen routes were climbed during the day ranging from 4 to 6b+.We arrived at 9:30 am and departed at 6:00 pm only saw 4 other climbers all day,A giant rat and a orange tractor.
This was the first time the club had visited the Lost Valley and was well sheltered from the strong wind the only down point was the lack of views that is normally associated with climbing on Portland.
On the drive home we had a very heavy shower and had been told that there had been some very short heavy showers during the day.

June

Swanage

18/06/2016 – 18/06/2016

Written by: Adam, Ruth, Steve, Sarah

Attendees: Adam, Ruth, Steve, Sarah, Neil

Overview

The day began warm and very sunny with trouble free drive down to Durlston Country Park. We grabbed our bags and headed along the coastle path to the Cattle Troughs for some climbing. 

Everyone got rather warm on the walk in and so Sarah decided to put on her shorts, sunglasses and suntan lotion, at which point the clouds came over! And that was how it decided to stay for the rest of the day. With each climb more layers of clothing went on.

Once everyone had kitted up (and had a snack) we started the more serious business of climbing. The first challenge to be solved was how to get down to the climbs. The answer was backwards. Steve and Adam lead the way and we all safely navigated the scramble, becoming pros by the end of the day after having scrambled multiple times.

At the bottom was a ledge of varying wdiths from which we could climb. We then climbed a range of climbs from VD to HS. Everyone agreed it was a good introduction to trad for the trad newbies who had recently been on the trad training day.

The award for best gear placement was a close contest between Sarah and Steve who both got gear stuck in the rock. Steve's eventually came out after a couple of attempts but Sarah's was being a little more problematic. 10 attempts later and no-one (including other climbers not with the club) could release it. It was doomed to stay there forever.

Later in the day the new abseil rope was put to good use by Steve and Adam who had moved further East along the cliff to try some different climbs.

 Climb number 7 was the final climb of the day but Steve and Adam just didn't want to leave. They tried a couple of routes but Adam just wasn't fancying them (supposidly) so third time lucky they found a route that suited them, with a bit of traversing to find a suitable course. What they didn't realise was that by this point they had an audience as the rest of the group had finished climbing by then.

Steve and Adam successfully completed their final climb and everybody packed up their kit. Thankfully the on off drizzle had stopped by then too. Everyone had their bags on and were ready to leave when another climber appeared over the horizon asking who was it who had some gear stuck in the rock. Amazingly attempt no 11 had resulted in the nut being successfully retrieved, how remains a mystery; the secret was not revealed. The number 3 nut was reunited with his friends an Sarah was very greatful to the climber.

There was one more excitment to be had on the walk back. Whilst most of the group were huffing and puffing back up the hill, Steve managed to spot a Bee orchid in and amoungst the flora. We stopped to take some photos (and get our breath back) before continuing back to the cars.

We all left quite tired after a sucessful days climbing and headed for home.

May

Wye Valley

07/05/2016 – 08/05/2016

Written by: Sarah

Attendees: Martin, Sharon, Caroline, Nick and Sarah

Overview

The meet was moved to a day meet in Swanage due to a forecast of thunderstorms in the Wye Valley.

Subluminal — 07/05/2016

So the meet got moved from the Wye to Swanage. Probably just as well as Sharon and I managed to get lost driving there. It all looked very familiar - if you're driving to Portland. So we eventually realised we were a bit off course just before Weymouth and headed back to Swanage where we eventually found the others about to abseil down for their first climb. We got our gear on and then remembered how to abseil (it had been a while) and found ourselves on a ledge above the sea. Caroline and Nick went to the right to start an asscent of High Street and Sharon and myself followed Martin to the left to start our first climb.

Martin and I managed 8 climbs that day and Sharon enjoyed some time in the sun with her deck chair and book.

The weather was sunny and dry all day and lovely and warm if you could get out of the wind.

Everyone enjoyed the day and we all left for home, worn out around 6pm.

April

Peak District - The Roaches

08/04/2016 – 10/04/2016

Written by: Ruth

Attendees: Ruth, Steve, Martin, Caroline

Overview

We spent the weekend in the fantastic Don Whillans hut, set into the rock, the outside resembled a hobbit hole. It wasn’t quite as cosy inside, but it certainly had everything we needed for the weekend, and being just a 30 seconds walk from the climbing was a definite luxury.

09/04/2016

It was a foggy start, and an uninspiring weather forecast, but despite this and one dodgy leg, most opted to climb.

Martin took one trad novice, and one trad beginner through gear placement, and left them practicing at ground level – he then spent the next hour searching for his gear scattered across the rocks!

A few people opted for walking and headed up and over the rocks for a 12 mile walk along the ridge line, and back along the valley. The paths were super muddy, but the spectacular views, varied landscape, signs of spring from lambs to flowers, and the joy of stumbling across a small local craft brewery with tables in the sun, all made for a great walk.

It was just as well we’d all had a full day as dinner turned into a five course feast, including the king of pavlovas, cheese and birthday cake!

10/04/2016

Tantalised by the sunny day everyone headed out to climb, making a beeline for the high faces already in the sun. Martin took another two Trad newbies through the basics, whilst others got on with tackling new routes.

We failed to account for the wind blowing straight from the arctic, and after a few hours beat a hasty retreat. Staying so close really came into its own, and a quick pitstop with hot snacks and tea back in the hut soon restored feeling to the coldest of hands.

We spent the afternoon on more sunny but sheltered lower areas, taking in fabulous views, listening to Adam’s views on trad grading being completely wrong and how they should ditch it in favour of sports grades, and enjoying the very different rock from home.

We headed back to the hut at 3pm to pack up and clean. A massive scrub down followed – leaving the hut far cleaner than when we arrived.

March

Portland

19/03/2016 – 19/03/2016

Written by: Steve

Attendees: Steve, Ruth, Martin, Marcus, Simon

Overview

Cuttings Meet Report - The first sunny and warm meet of the year!

We all enjoyed the gorgeous weather and views at the Cuttings, on the east coast of Portland.

The group had a variety of abilities and experience, but the beauty of the Cuttings is that there are plenty of routes in a small area, so it was easy for everyone to find routes they found a challenge, but still enjoyed.

While Marcus and Simon tackled the harder 7+ routes (although Martin claims they fell off every time he looked at them),  the rest of us opted for more sedate routes around the 4 / 5 / 6 mark. Some lead, some just top roped, but everyone had fun, caught the sun and enjoyed being outside.

One new member was caught out by the length of the day meet. Most people got there about 10am and left at 6pm, but the super keen were there for 9am and left at gone 7pm. It was nothing an emergency coffee stop couldn’t fix, but do come prepared to be there for the whole day.

February

Winter Meet - Lake District

05/02/2016 – 07/02/2016

Written by: Adam, Martin and Russel

Attendees: Hannes - el poncho, Adam - Mr moaning, Russell - scout, Steve - navman, Ruth - cookie, Brendan - jetboil, Lucy - recuperating, Martin - el presidente, Barry - tapestry, Ian - chili

Overview

Winter Walking meet in the Lake District.

Friday Night — 05/02/2016

All drove across England to the lakes, to the eskdale, George the IV Inn. All ten arrived safely!

Saturday — 06/02/2016

9:30 departure from the inn after a hasty breakfast and greeting of friends.

Persistent drizzle awaited our winter walkers who were wearing clothing ranging from paramo to ponchos!

Lucy was resting by the log fire.

She did threaten to come out with pyjamas and crampons!

Some members were unaware of how remote the meet was with lack of shops and mobile phone signals, even the wifi was slow!


After a refreshing pint mid way round we took a detour to ghyll waterfall, which was majestic. The treacherous scramble and ravine setting made us feel like we were in the Amazon, except for the temperature!


We watched England win the rugby, before setting up the evening meal.

A giant wheel of brie was baked by Brendan and Lucy for starter. Spag-bol or Thai coconut curry followed! All polished off with dave's spotted dick.

The evening ended with card games, log fire, Everest the movie and a magnum of prosecco.

Sunday — 07/02/2016

Another walk from the Inn.  More of a mountainous adventure,  gaining more height than Saturday. El poncho wandered off alone, leaving the 6 other walkers to enjoy the mountainous views.  Strong winds reduced us to a crawl at times but the views of snow caps and sea were worth it.  After the descent the group were anticipating a gentle stroll along the east side of Wast water.  Instead,  the group discovered a boulder field which stretched for miles and made for difficult progress along technical terrain. The unstable path and weary walkers made the walk today far longer than yesterday's. The group safely made it across whilst looking up at 300metres of scree above them with some trepidation. We returned wet and tired but with spirits high.  A quick turn around at the inn for 6 of the members who soon departed,  whilst the 4 that remained took advantage of the pub and accommodation for one further night.