Newsletter entries for 2017

November

Portland

04/11/2017 – 04/11/2017

Written by: Ruth

Attendees: Martin, Steve, Seb, Sam, Hannah, Ruth

Overview

We were rewarded for our optimistic view of the weather forecast, and although we drove through heavy rain, it wasn’t raining when we arrived at The Cuttings.

Admittedly it took as a little while to find some dry rock, but once we’d all slid down the very muddy slope, The Bower proved to be a great location for the day – nicely sheltered, dry rock, and a range of grades that offered something for everyone.

We conquered a variety of routes including the under-graded Voices in the Bower (3), Godbeams (4) Time out of Mind (5), Winter Sun (6a), Up the Junction (6b) and Round the Bend Six Finger Exercise (6b+).

It was a good day for firsts, Hannah and Seb’s first time climbing with the club, and their first time on limestone, Sam’s first lead belaying outside, and my first time on The Bower. We all had a great day out.

September

Southern Sandstone

02/09/2017 – 02/09/2017

Written by: Ruth

Attendees: Martin, Steve, Adam, Nadia, Christine, Lea, Ruth + 1 guest

Overview

With rain forecast for what felt like everywhere else in the country, we were glad we had planned to head east for our days climbing.

We met up at Harrison’s Rocks and headed to the very last area, Unclimbed Wall and got some ropes set up.

Sandstone was a new experience for both Nadia and Christine, and there were soon cries of “but there are no hand holds” ringing out. The rest of us tried to assure them that they would get the hang of it, but they didn’t look convinced.

The rest of started the familiar battles with fiendish starts (whinges were loudest from the shorter attendees, particularly me, although Lea’s lunchbox provided a handy and much needed step!), foot placements that are invisible from above, mantle finishes, and desperately fighting to get the fluffy fat rope through the belay device!

The odd beached whale made an appearance. There was the odd flyer, Dimitris and I in needed capes, but Martin won the prize for most graceful and slow falling off ever. Christine seemed determined to throw down the wrong end of the rope, unthreading the top ropes on every route she did, whilst Lea showed the most determination to not let Baskerville get the better of her, only matched by her rubbish throwing skills!

We conquered a variety of routes, including Zig Zag wall (was 5a now 6a), Philippa (was 6a now 6b+), Baskerville (6a now 6c), Hell Wall (4c now 5a) and Charon’s Chimney (3c).

The routes have recently been regraded on UKC, so the above includes both grades. Obviously we all agreed that the new grades are far more in keeping with the difficulty.

The promised rain started at 4pm, and by 4.30pm we decided it really wasn’t going to stop and that it was time to pack up.

All in all we all enjoyed our day, but Christine and Nadia might need another visit before they are convinced that sandstone can be fun!

Maybe Wilem and Adrianna will be able to get up in time to join us as planned next time? ;)

Cornwall

08/09/2017 – 10/09/2017

Written by: Steve

Attendees: Tingers, Wardy, Adam, Super Steve and Russell

Friday — 08/09/2017

Tingers and Wardy met up a day early and climbed at Roche rocks, tackling an *ahem* 'difficult’ slab, which was good going.

The others drove up through torrential rain.

The forecast looked appalling for the weekend, to the extent that two of the club members brought wetsuits with them. It was unclear whether these would be worn for climbing or surfing.

Saturday — 09/09/2017

Staying in the Count House bunks which offered a superb position 10 minutes walk from the crag.

Tingers and Wardy climbed a variety of VDiff’s with Wardy noting on one route “no way is that a VDiff, that’s not right”.

Steve led three routes, each rated 3 stars, (S, HS and VS). Climbing as a three posed some challenges at the belay stances, particularly when having difficulty route finding.

However, the glorious sunshine all day and ultramarine blue sea meant it became an epic day of climbing. There were sightings of seals, red trousers (Tingers AND Wardy) and a peregrine falcon.

A delightful two star Diff finished the day with a sunset and an empty crag. We then walked 1.5 mile to The Pub for excellent food, Port and Stilton.

Sunday — 10/09/2017

Shipping forecast: visibility good occasionally very poor, wind 4-5, gusting occasionally 7.

(Super) Steve led a Severe, which was certainly harder in the light rain and strong windy conditions. It was decided that with the forecast changeable for the rest of the day to call it quits.

Returning to the Count House hut for lunch with the hut 'regulars’ who had become to warm to our Hampshire contingent, despite frosty welcome to begin with.

August

Portland

05/08/2017 – 05/08/2017

Written by: Ruth

Attendees: Martin, Steve, Ruth, Sam, Markus, Adrianna, Willem

Overview

Not content with the amount of boulders we had scrambled over to get to Godnor Far North, Martin suggested we make the most of the tides, and head onto Godnor North.

It turned out a little more than we bargained on just to get there, with a combination of wet, seaweed covered rocks, and getting over the massive “Tank” boulder. Sam and I had to put our harnesses on just to do that.

When we made it to right section, there seemed to be more rocks with boulders on the floor than on the walls. But Steve and Martin still found 3 starred routes from 4+ to 6a+, whilst Sam and I took advantage of the top ropes they left behind on the lower graded routes. Having climbed all that was doable, and the tide turning we abseiled of the Tank and back to Godnor Far North where we met Markus, Adrianna and Willem who had been unable or unwilling to set off early.

We had a great afternoon.

Markus, Martin and Steve focused on some of the higher grades at that spot including Harpies and Queens (6b+), Resistance is Futile (7a+) and One Day James (6b+).

The rest of us stayed within the 3 - 6a grades, although Willem managed a 6b, when he miscounted bolts and started 2 left of where he thought he was!

It was warm, and the sun shined all day (as Steve’s pink calves were evidence of!) and with some having a later start we climbed later than we would normally, not leaving until 7.30pm.

Swanage

19/08/2017 – 19/08/2017

Written by: Steve

Attendees: Willem, Nadia, Steve, Russell, Martin

Overview

On a beautiful sunny day 5 of us headed to Cheyne Wears cliffs, Portland. We were completely sheltered from the strong Westerly wind and were glad of the change of venue.

Unfortunately the warm up routes are now inaccessible due to a landslip. So we jumped straight in with the excellent Cruise Control 6a+. A steep line, with the sense of adventure being enhanced by the trail of blood left by Willem...

A couple more 6s were enjoyed on delightfully sharp limestone, before returning to the main cliff.

Everyone climbed a few more routes across the grades, heading home weary but satisfied.

Willem had re-established himself after a break from climbing. Nadia had gained valuable experience climbing outside. Steve had lifted his average grade a notch. Russell had enjoyed the sunshine, sea air and climbing. Whilst Martin had the rare delight of climbing in a new area.

Swanage

19/08/2017 – 19/08/2017

Written by: Steve

Attendees: Willem, Nadia, Steve, Russell, Martin

Overview

On a beautiful sunny day 5 of us headed to Cheyne Wears cliffs, Portland. We were completely sheltered from the strong Westerly wind and were glad of the change of venue.

Unfortunately the warm up routes are now inaccessible due to a landslip. So we jumped straight in with the excellent Cruise Control 6a+. A steep line, with the sense of adventure being enhanced by the trail of blood left by Willem...

A couple more 6s were enjoyed on delightfully sharp limestone, before returning to the main cliff.

Everyone climbed a few more routes across the grades, heading home weary but satisfied.

Willem had re-established himself after a break from climbing. Nadia had gained valuable experience climbing outside. Steve had lifted his average grade a notch. Russell had enjoyed the sunshine, sea air and climbing. Whilst Martin had the rare delight of climbing in a new area.

July

Wye Valley

01/07/2017 – 02/07/2017

Written by: Steve

Attendees: Lea, Ruth, Martin and Steve

Overview

Four of us jumped in a car and headed for the Wye valley, a couple of hours later we were engulfed in the leafy woodland surrounding Symonds Yat.

01/07/2017

Martin and Steve started with several climbs near and including “Golden Fleece”, all great fun with the climbing lines following obvious features. There was a cave nearby so that also had to be visited midway up “Hole in the Wall”. The last route was the fantastic “Whitt” leading 37m up the Long Stone Pinnacle. This must do route features plenty of exposure and a bold move to gain the finishing crack. The small summit rewards with fantastic views from a photogenic stance.

Ruth and and Lea opted to start on “Flying Machine”, this was Lea’s first trad lead in a while and Ruth’s first ever. They followed this with the VD classic “Snoozin’ Suzie”, providing plenty of story telling for later.
The team camped nearby and refueled in the Unicorn Inn, recounting the day’s accomplishments...several times.

02/07/2017

An early start and we were climbing at Ban-y-gor, this time a sport venue and new to all. The first routes were a little tough for the grade and lacked aesthetic lines. Fortunately as we moved along the crag the climbing improved considerably.

Lea and Ruth enjoyed “Double the Fun” one of the longest routes there. Whilst Martin and Steve worked through the powerful and blocky “Lotus Wing”.

We regrouped at another highlight - the well bolted crack climb “Darkside” which everyone climbed. The final climb, “Doyouthinkhesawus” resulted in much consideration of what in or off route, with the only conclusion being that it was climbable at different grades…

Fairy Caves

15/07/2017 – 15/07/2017

Written by: Sarah

Attendees: Ian, Sally, John, Steve, Martin and Sarah

Overview

Five of us met in Fareham at an early hour of the morning (although not quite as early as some members wanted to leave!) to make the trip to the Fairy Caves Quarry in Somerset via a pit stop at Waitrose in Salisbury for some much needed coffee.

After the pit stop the rain started and unfortunately came for a day trip too. Not that that deterred us, Climbers are a hardy bunch. What was too wet for tennis or cricket was mearly a need to keep lunch in our bags, safe and dry. Having said that those who are into wet sports (sailors, kite surfers, wind surfers) wouldn't have been happy with the lack of wind. There's no pleasing some.

After some narrow lanes (and strength building sleeping in the back of the car) we parked up on some gravel. We walked back up the lane a little and over some bolders to the gate. Martin had been guessing at the code before we arrived and wasn't far out but thankfully Steve had found out what it was otherwise we might have been there a while.

We walked into the centre of the quarry and came across the sixth member of the party, Ian who had been waiting for us after camping close by the night before.

Steve and Martin headed to the right of the quarry for some harder climbing and to get some new routes ticked off. The rest of us had never been to the quarry before so we headed to the easier climbs and made a start.

We climbed The Socialist, Balch's Slide and Anty Matter. We enjoyed the climbs and a good refresher on trad climbing and abseiling. The drizzle was still falling despite the sun trying it's best to make an appearance and layers were being added. Apparently there was a sighting of Steve and Martin during our first climb but never again. There was no photographic evidence either so the jury is out on how many climbs they completed or whether there was lots of strength building naps going on!

After some lunch the four of us headed around the corner to get some more climbs in. We climbed Little Steve's Mersey Tunnel Affair and Equals Not. There was a handy tree half way up LSMTA which was accompanied by some very suspect rocks! These were a great pair of climbs and we were getting into our stride and building our confidence. So we headed further around the corner to Rob's Slab to get some more climbing in.

However on inspection of the rock hands were coming away black and despite Ians efforts on making the first move, the rock was becoming far too slippy to climb, most certainly a slide. The rain really began to come down at that point so we decided to go and find Steve and Martin who, it turned out, had come to find us.

After much deliberating we all decided that the weather had set in and was definitely against us. There was an inspection of a suspected orchid on the way back to the car which turned out to not be an orchid at all.

We took the scenic route back to Frome and soon after that more strength building napping was taking place in the back of the car most of the way home.

I enjoyed my trip to the Fairy Cave Quarry despite the weather and look forward to going back and getting some more routes conquered.

June

Pembroke

03/06/2017 – 04/06/2017

Written by: Ruth

Attendees: Neil, Russel, Martin, Steve, Adam, Rachel, Ruth

Overview

Meet was changed to a day meet at Swanage

03/06/2017

It was dry, bright but unexpectedly windy at Subluminal.

Undeterred we paired up and tackled the first tricky obstacle of the day – the abseil down a corner. This seemed to be a theme for the day as Steve seemed determined to put the abseil rope in the most awkward places he could.

Martin introduced Rachel to Trad and everyones worked through a variety of S – HVS grades, although Steve and Adam were thwarted with their harder grade climbs, as every time they thought they had completed a HVS, Neil would get our his brand new Climbers Club guide, and point out it had been downgraded.

Everyone climbed around 8 routes, before it was time to beat a retreat from the wind, and head home.

Southern Sandstone

17/06/2017 – 17/06/2017

Written by: Sarah

Attendees: Steve, Martin, Ruth and Sarah

Overview

A beautifully hot and sunny day resulted in us choosing Harrisons Rocks in the hope of finding some shade. It was busy but not busy so bad that we had to wait for climbs. We found plenty to do even though it involved chasing the shade.

The gentle chatter (and occasional cursing) was occasionally punctualted but the steam train running up and down the line in front of Harrisons Rocks.

Climbs included Awkward Crack, Slab Direct, Pelmet, Bow Window, Sashcord Crack, Big Crack, Sagittarius and Longbow Chimney.

Ruth and I found a shadey semi circle of rock in which we managed a couple of climbs. The sun was slowly working it's way around the corner and reducing the amount of shade we had. Steve and Martin soon came to join us and Steve decided it would be "fun" to climb up a slippery slimey crack. By the time he was finished the sun was all the way around and the three of us were pressed up against one side of rock trying to keep in the shade.

A successful day's climbing was celebrated by a pint in a pub found by Steve's beer app. You wouldn't have known it was a pub if the app hadn't told us but the patrons were friendly and the garden had nice views over the East Sussex/Kent countryside. Cheers!

 

May

Swanage

20/05/2017 – 20/05/2017

Written by: Steve

Attendees: Steve, Sarah, Adam

Overview

The planned trad day at Swanage was swapped for Bowles, with 3 members attending.

It was Adam’s first time on sandstone but he wasn’t phased by the dusty rounded crags, eroded holds or the unintelligible grades!

The word“Awkward” featured in most of the route descriptions that Steve picked out, his personal favourite being Abracadabra. The “awkward” offwidth crack proved challenging, with years of indoor training being utterly useless for the required moves. Sarah’s determination was rewarded, and she soon mastered it.

Squeezing through the top hole of Sapper was another favourite, with a harness full of slings and flip flops adding to the difficulties…

A great day was finished with valiant attempts at Banana, whilst the banana shaped groove itself was solved, the final mantle proved too green and slippery.

If interested, there’s a good video of Johnny Dawes solving the Banana on YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J5g-ArMeeAo

April

The Peak District

01/04/2017 – 02/04/2017

Written by: Ruth

Attendees: Markus, Adam, Barry, Ian, Leigh, Christine, Martin, Steve, Ruth, Caroline, Nick and Baby Alex.

Overview

We all headed up to the Peaks and the bunkhouse at different times.

Adam and Markus left early, headed to Stanage and managed six climbs in fairly strong wind – quickdraws were being blown at right angles, before the light failed.

Saturday — 01/04/2017

Not put off by the drizzle and low cloud Barry and Ian set of on Route 25, a 10 mile walk in the search of Victorian postboxes, trig points and train wheels.

The rest of us headed out to see if the weather was any brighter at Stanage. It wasn’t, so we set off on a walk. At the midway pub pit-stop the weather started to improve, and we headed back to climb. Unfortunately the wind didn’t let up so we abandoned Stanage and headed to Froggatt for the afternoon.

Markus and Adam worked their way through the Rockfax tick-list, whilst the rest of us explored some lower graded routes around the Sunset Slab where Christine successfully mastered her first outside climb.

After the later start to the climbing, the majority made the most of the lighter evenings, and didn’t make it back to the hut until 8pm.  

Thankfully some people had left a little earlier, and it didn’t take long to get the usual feast on the table.

Sunday — 02/04/2017

Sunday was much brighter and we all had high hopes for the day.

Barry and Ian again chose to walk – a 7 mile canal walk this time, before heading off home.

The rest of us gave Stanage another shot. We were rewarded by blue skies and come the afternoon, no wind and warm temperatures. Markus and Adam continued with their ticklist, and Steve joined them to second some more adventurous HVS and E1's like Eliminator and Flying Buttress Direct.

The rest stayed within S to HVS, with routes like Black Hawk Hell Crack and Heather Wall.

Caroline and Nick joined us during the day. Nick opted for parenting duties, but Caroline needed no encouragement to fit in a few routes before they left.

The rest of us headed off at various points in the afternoon, sad to be leaving the glorious sunshine and god's rock.

Trad Training Day - Swanage

29/04/2017 – 29/04/2017

Written by: Ruth

Attendees: Martin, Steve, Paul, Jonathan, Willem, Adriana, Roxana, Ruth

Overview

Martin led the group in a fabulous introduction to the art of Trad climbing. We had a full day that covered:

A run through of the types of protection and where you might like to use them.
Ropes - static and dynamic and when to use them
Spacing protection, Zig Zagging and Twin ropes
Gear placement
Climbing calls, and the importance of clear communication
Safe setting up at top using rope or slings or both.
Single/Multiple anchors.
Belaying at the top of pitch.
Abseiling using belay device or Italian hitch and protecting yourself with a prusik loop.
Climbing the rope with prusik loops – just in case!
We spent the morning huddled out of the wind, learning more of the background information, and starting to get to grips with the different components of the trad rack.

In the afternoon we put it all together, firstly abseiling down the crag then leading some easy routes, built our own belay stations all safely checked and overseen by Martin and Steve.  Adriana won the award for best placed gear for a newbie – giving Steve quite a challenge to get it back out again! Paul was particularly pleased to have scratched up his shiny new trad gear, and look less like a complete beginner.

At the end of the day we stopped off at a local pub to warm up and have a chat before heading home.

Thank you Martin and Steve for giving up your day and passing on your knowledge!

February

Winter Walk

04/02/2017 – 05/02/2017

Written by: Russell

Attendees: Barry, Ian, Martin, Steve, Neil and Russell

Overview

Care in the community walks

The Saturday walk was the waterfall walk with Barry, Neil. We parked at Dinas Rock car park and headed north along the River Neath were we saw four waterfalls, Sgwd Gwladys, Sgwd y Bedol, Sgwd Ddwli Isaf, Sgwd Ddwli Uchaf and then across to Ystradfellte and headed south along the Afon Mellte with four more waterfalls Sgwd Clun –Gwyn, Sgwd Isaf Clun-Gwyn, Sgwd y Pannwt and the last Sgwd yr Eira were the path goes behind the waterfall, Barry and Ian got wet Neil had the sense to put his water proofs on, from there back to Dinas Rock car park. The walk was 9 to 10 miles of muddy undulating paths.

The Sunday morning stroll saw the previous day’s team members meandering once again towards the source of the River Neath, though not reached it provided a relaxed and entertaining finale to a very pleasant weekend.

Thanks must go out to Martin for organising of the event and to Neil for his perception of care in the community.

04/02/2017

Three cars drove up on Friday night in torrential rain, which didn’t bode well for the weekend.

instead, we awoke in the morning to porridge and blue skies. Neil, Barry and Ian ventured off for a walk amongst the waterfalls. Steve, Martin and RUssell headed to Tafarn-y-Garreg and parked outside the church layby for a ridge walk.

the walk started northwest along the valley. steve spotted a heron flying which seemed away from its normal habitat. He thought he spotted a “Scarlett elf cup” fungi” but was also overheard saying “one can never be too sure when identifying fungi”.

We carried on up a gentle incline with everyone removing layers as the sun and sheltered position meant it was wonderfully warm and t shirt weather (In Wales in February!)

The three stopped at Llyn y Fan Fawr (Lake) for a tea break and Russell went skinny dipping in the lake. It was apparent to all who observed that the water was cold.

After putting back on all his clothing and a flask of hot water the three carried on around the valley. To our surprise there had been fresh snow dumped overnight and we were walking on fresh snow leaving our tracks.

We then climbed up onto the ridge, into the wind and began to return southeast with beautiful views all the way back to the car, interrupted by a sighting of a red kite.

The evening was finished of watching England beat France in the Six Nations rugby.

05/02/2017

Ate, Slept, Ate, Climbed, Ate, Drove, Ate then Slept again.

Climbed Pen Y Fan (886m) including a steep ascent (straight up route one style) from the river to the ridge in the snow, picnic on the summit before descending and driving back. All arrived back in Hampshire in good time for Sunday Roasts.

Cracking weekend, great company in good weather.

Indoor Meet

18/02/2017 – 18/02/2017

Written by: Ruth

Attendees: Steve, Ruth

Overview

Only 2 of us decided to turn our backs on the lovely sunny day, and head indoors for a days climbing. When we arrived we did question our decision – it was far warmer outside than it was inside, but once we started climbing we soon warmed up.

The walls at Calshot offer a wide variety of challenges. Steve enjoyed tackling some of the longer overhanging routes on the lead walls, and some of the harder graded tiny hold routes. Ruth wimped out of this, but still found fun and challenging routes on some of the shorter (but still much bigger than Chichester!) top roped routes, and led some of the lower graded, more upright walls.

January

Indoor Meet

21/01/2017 – 21/01/2017

Written by: Neil and Ruth

Attendees: Ruth, Steve, Martin, Graham, Tony, Neil, Adam, Will and Andrew

Overview

We decided to have the indoor meet at Reading Climbing Centre, partly because it's a good place to climb and partly so Ruth could try some new climbing shoes on. We had a good turn out for the meet with six people initially showing interested but nine turning up on the day.


Everyone arrived between 10:00 and 11:00, with Tony being the first. Despite being indoors it was not particularly warm, it might actually have been warmer outdoors if there was no wind and the sun was on you. We all had a good climbing session with Steve & Andrew leading some hard routes and we left the wall at about 16:00.

Unfortunately the new shoes, and Graham, remained elusive for this trip.

Annual Club Meal

28/01/2017 – 28/01/2017

Written by: Neil

Attendees: Martin, Sue, Graham, Cindy, Sarah, Sam, Caroline, Nick, Alex, Nicholas, Paul, Jane, Ruth, Steve, Adam and Neil

Overview

This years annual meal had a really great turnout of people, with 16 attending at Cafe Tusk in Fareham. Although one was a month old child who doesn't really get to decide on where she goes.


Everyone turned up pretty much on time and made good use of the all you can eat buffet, some people going up for three helpings.

Top topics of conversation included upcoming meets, climbing & baby poo.