Newsletter entries for 2018

November

Bowles - Southern Sandstone - Day Meet

04/11/2018 – 04/11/2018

Written by: Ruth

Attendees: Martin Lennon, Lorenzo Stafford, Claire Power, Steve Sutton and Ruth O’Brien + one guest

Overview

After a week of keeping an eye on the weather hoping for an improvement, we abandoned plans for Bowles during Saturday, and headed to Calshot instead.

We arrived as the wall opened, and soon got stuck into some the lovely high walls that Calshot has on offer. Throughout the day all the specialities were conquered, including the Twiglet and the spectacular wave and cave features, with a range of grades from 3+ to 7a.

Steve was determined that we all “really must climb the black route, it’s the best route here”, but none but Martin listened. Lorenzo got some first rate fall practice in, and Claire and I decided the only way to finish some of the harder routes on the slab was to grow!

We all got some lead practice in, and those heading to Spain next week were glad of the training opportunity.

We climbed until around 4.30pm when we couldn’t hold on anymore before heading home.

October

Dartmoor - Weekend Meet

05/10/2018 – 07/10/2018

Written by: Ruth & Steve

Attendees: Ruth & Steve

Overview

Thanks to family in the area, and a few extra days holiday, Steve and I were
able to ignore the awful weather forecast, and head west for the Dartmoor
meet.

05/10/2018

On Friday we made the most of a beautifully bright, warm and still day to head to Haytor. Many others had the same idea and we were soon joined on the crag by lots of walkers and tourists (we will be featuring in a number of holiday snaps!), about 50 small children flying their home made kites very very loudly, and a group of 10 beginner climbers who put top ropes up on all the lower graded routes. The crag took a bit of getting used to. We had to rediscover the “joy” of crack climbing and trying to place good gear on granite that seems determined to grab the nut in a really rubbish place. The Climbers’ Club guide lived up their normal standards, with routes seeming much harder than the grade given and both of us backed of routes. Me a VDiff, Steve a VS where the first gear placement was about 5 meters up and doubled as the first proper handhold.

06/10/2018

Although the weather wasn’t as dire as the forecast for Saturday, it certainly wasn’t possible to climb outside, so we spent the afternoon at The Barn, a climbing wall near Tavistock. With a combination of slab walls, requiring delicate footwork and their apparent trademark no hands move, and an alarming overhang, all elements of our climbing were put to the test.

07/10/2018

Sunday was another glorious day and we headed to The Dewerstone. It is a stunning venue. The crag is right next to a clear bright river, and the crag looms out of the trees. We had the crag virtually to ourselves, and managed to fit in 3 lovely multi-pitch routes: Pinnacle Buttress, Needle Arete and Route B before heading home. Steve still has designs on Leviathan (VS 4c). Let’s hope it’s not too warm at Christmas, or I might be being dragged out again!

August

Erridge/Harrisons - Southern Sandstone - Day Meet

04/08/2018 – 04/08/2018

Written by: Ruth

Attendees: Steve, Martin, Anton, Claire, Estera, Jaqueline, Ruth, Stu, Wendy

Overview

Another gloriously sunny day for our southern sandstone meet. Seven of us, including two new members, and two people new to sandstone, battled the heat and routes at Harrison's Rocks, tackling routes from grade 3 to 6a (old grades).

We soon got a few ropes set up, and it began the age old sandstone struggle of simply getting off the floor. Unsurprisingly it was the lowest grade route we’d set up that caused most of us the most difficulty!

We moved around taking our pick from the routes around the crag , Anton and Stu picking out the harder grades, trying and in the end failing to stay in the shade.

We were all hot and tired by the end of the day, but happy with our achievements for the day.

Steve and Martin decided to test themselves on the harder climbs at Erridge Green Rocks, testing themselves on routes up to 7a (new grades, just to make them look tougher!) Both agreed that despite the fact the top outs were horrid, it was a beautiful place to climb, and they were glad the prolonged hot weather gave them the opportunity to go.

Swanage - Day Meet

18/08/2018 – 18/08/2018

Written by: Steve

Attendees: Estera, Hannah, Sarah, Anton, Edward, Neil, Nick, Steve

Overview

A somewhat windy Saturday saw 8 members head to Hedbury for a mixed day of trad and sport climbing. We started at Mike's Corner after a interesting approach through a cavernous tunnel. Only a few trad routes were attempted, the best being Judy (S 4a) climbed by Neil and Hannah. Whilst Anton and Steve made use of the descent climb for a spot of trad training. Moving back to the shelter of Hedbury quarry we warmed up on a couple of sport routes. This led to the tricky Moves for the Masses (6a+) which proved to be too stiffly graded for most. All in all a varied day with some sport, some trad and a bit of lounging in the sun too.

July

Portland - Day Meet

01/07/2018 – 01/07/2018

Written by: Ruth

Attendees: Adrianna, Hannah, Nadia, Ruth, Sarah, Steve

Overview

With hot weather forecast the climbing plan was formed with the primary goal of keeping in the shade throughout the day. The cloud largely dispelled the need of this, but we stuck to the plan and began the day at Nicodemus Knob, where Steve acted as the rope monkey putting up top ropes for the rest of us to take advantage of. The exception was Adrianna who rose to the challenge of leading one of the routes. A favourite for most was the supposedly hardest route there – Nick’s Bulge (6b).

Having conquered all the routes on the Knob we moved onto Cheyne Wears. Hannah and Nadia paired up and were soon leading some of the green routes including the two star Tombstone route (3c); the rest of us opted for using to Steve to give us top roping access to some of the harder routes we wouldn’t want to have led, including two star The Truth is Out There (6b) and Where Silence Has Lease (6c).

We all had a good day, and Steve didn’t seem too scarred from his day out with a bunch of women.

South Wales - Weekend Meet

14/07/2018 – 15/07/2018

Written by: Ruth

Attendees: Adriana, Edward, Hannah, Jacqueline, Martin, Neil, Ruth, Steve and 1 Guest

Overview

Beautiful weather, cheap beer, tasty food, hot showers and great climbing.
It all came together to make a fantastic weekend.

14/07/2018

Day 1 saw us climbing on hard sandstone. The venue offered something for everyone though with grades from 4’s to 7’s. There were a couple of stunning fliers showing that all of us were pushing ourselves, but Hannah and Steve deserve specially mention both achieving new successes at 6a and 7a leads respectively.

After a visit to the pub on the way home, most of us opted for a delicious and super value night out at the campsite clubhouse.

15/07/2018

Day 2 we headed off to Gilwern Quarry to climb on limestone. Again a massive range of grades at the quarry provided something for everyone. Surprisingly despite our general familiarity with limestone, there was quite a bit of grumbling going on about the rock - it was very different to Portland. Most of us soon got the feel of it and, apart from Hannah who was soon drooping from her efforts the previous the day, squeezed in around 10 routes before heading back to the campsite to pack up, and head home.

June

Wye Valley - Day Meet

02/06/2018 – 02/06/2018

Written by: Ruth

Attendees: Neil, Caroline, Tony, Steve, Martin, Hannah, Ruth

Overview

After a far too early start we arrived at Symonds Yat just before 10am. We decided the most convenient place to base ourselves would be at the base of the Golden Fleece Sector, the most muddy, sloping bit of the whole crag.

Martin and Steve were soon climbing, going straight into the VS climbs, whilst the rest of us spread out a bit more in search of some easier grades to warm up on.

Neil, Caroline and Tony decided to start with the two star VDiff, Snoozin’ Suzie, and made sure to get the obligatory photo from the top block, whilst Hannah and I, after much futile searching for some routes further on (a guidebook would really have helped!) had to return to the slightly muddy Flying Machine, the highlight for Hannah definitely being the abseil off the top.

Steve and Martin kindly set some top ropes up The Druid and Exchange for the rest of us to enjoy, and then carried on ticking off the climbs on the sector including The Russian, which Martin revealed on the way home he’d seen several nasty falls on.

The rest of us tackled The Golden Fleece, and then swapped VDiff’s to finish off the day.

Clecy, France - Long Weekend Meet

14/06/2018 – 17/06/2018

Written by: Ruth

Attendees: Adrianna, Sam, Sarah, Neil, Tony, Hannah, Martin, Steve and Ruth

14/06/2018

After the overnight ferry on Wednesday we arrived in Clecy on Thursday
morning, slightly bleary eyed, but keen to climb. Luckily the mobile homes were only a 5 minute walk from the crag, and it wasn’t long before we’d found routes free of French school children to climb. Hannah was soon flagging and decided sleeping at the base of the crag was better to climbing, but Hannah aside we all managed to get in around 6 routes before the forecast shower arrived, and we called it day.

15/06/2018

Was bright and sunny and most of us headed back to the Crag to explore more of the routes on offer. Another full day for everyone saw most people climbing around 10 routes. Tackling routes from Grade 3 up to 6a, and Neil’s 70m rope came into it’s own opening up some lovely longer routes with minimal phaffing to get down.

Sarah and Sam opted for cycling in the afternoon and discovered a national cycle trail with great potential for future holidays.

We all enjoyed a few beers and a BBQ in the evening.

16/06/2018

Sarah and Sam gave climbing a miss for the day and headed off to explore the surrounding area on bikes, checking out the local juice and cider producers.

After some debate about exploring other crags, we decided to take the easy option, and headed back to Clecy for the day. Once again the weather was great, and although much busier with French weekend climbers we all still managed to find good fun climbs. Steve and Martin, Adrianna and Alberto all stepped up their grades tackling more 6’s. A particular highlight was Steve and Martin on La Cataracte (6a), which according to Steve needed “the hardest move he’s ever had to make” and involved a marvellous demonstration of prusik climbing from Martin.

17/06/2018

With an early evening ferry to catch in the afternoon we headed to the crag early to get some early climbing in before going home. Hannah, Alberto and I made use of the via ferrata ladders to head for some of the loftier climbs on offer. We still think we should be able to count getting there as a climb! Adrianna paired up with some local climbers and was very pleased with her achievements with them on some of the harder multi-pitches. Sarah and Sam tried out the via ferrata on the other side of the valley and finished the weekend in style with the enormous zip wire to get back to the ground.

Overall it was a great weekend, we packed a lot in and made the most of the time we had.

May

Fairy Cave Quarry - Day Meet

06/05/2018 – 06/05/2018

Written by: Steve

Attendees: Adam, Alberto, Ian, Jackie, Nadia, Ruth, Tony, Sarah, Steve, Wendy

Overview

It was a gloriously sunny and hot day, and a great day for three new members to come out on their first meet, and for four members to get their first experience of trad climbing.

Having camped nearby the night before Ian and Tony were climbing by 8am. The rest of us arrived around 9am, and soon got into the swing of things.

The routes at Fairy Caves are largely on slabs, and many were soon baking in the hot sun. We were all glad we’d packed a lot to drink, and remembered the suncream as the day progressed. Happily cave entrances offered some relief from the heat – both generally being in some welcome shade, and also pumping out cold air.

The heat did get to us though, guidebooks, nut keys, slings and carabiners went missing throughout the day. A surprising number turning up in the owners bag with everyone denying putting it there!

Wendy, Jackie, Nadia and Alberto all got to learn new skills – seconding and abseiling for the first time, whilst Steve waited to get on the Fairy Caves classic - Rob’s Crack.

We all climbed routes from VD to VS 4c. Ian and Tony bagged the most routes of the day, including 2 multi-pitches, before we all flaked out in the heat and decided to call it a day.

North Wales - Weekend Meet

17/05/2018 – 20/05/2018

Written by: Steve

Attendees: Adriana, Hannah, Lea, Ruth, Sarah, Alberto, Martin, Neil, Steve

Overview

6 members arrived at the Garth Farm campsite late Wednesday night, dawn revealed ice on the tents but the sun soon warmed us up.

17/05/2018

We climbed at Carreg Wastad, all routes were excellent multipitch trad; The Wrinkle (VD), Crackstone Rib (S 4a), Ribstone Crack (VS 4c)Shadow Wall (VS 4c)

Big Friday — 18/05/2018

Conditions were right for some proper mountaineering and we eagerly traipsed up to the Heather Terrace on Tryfan. From there Grooved Arete (230m HVD 4a) and Overlapping Ridge Route (150m D) were climbed with varying pace and degrees of faff...To add to the fun we descended via the North Ridge scramble, a day we’ll all remember!

19/05/2018

Another hot sunny day in the pass, this time Craig Ddu, some weary mountaineers rested whilst others climbed; Rib and Slab (VD), the sparsely protected Crown of Thorns (S 4a) and Yellow Groove VS (4b).

20/05/2018

Saw some members headed for the spectacularly exposed Crib Goch, whilst others stopped off for some sport climbing at Trevor Quarry on the way home.

All in all an excellent weekend with good weather and climbing, may there be many more of these!

April

Swanage - Day Meet

01/04/2018 – 01/04/2018

Written by: Ruth

Attendees: Martin, Steve, Hannah, Ruth

Overview

It turned out to be third time lucky and we finally managed to climb outside. The original plan had been to go to Swanage, but with a cold easterly wind predicted, we opted for Bowles as the safer weather bet.

It was still quite cold and the rock was a bit wetter than we'd hoped, but with the choice of routes on the crag, we soon had some top ropes set up, and started climbing.

It was Hannah's first outing on sandstone, and it took us all a few routes to settle in, but we all managed a good range of routes (with much debate on the correct route, Jingo Wobbly vs Climbers Club) from UK grades 3a to 5c.

Here's hoping the weather warms up a bit soon!

The Peak District - Weekend Meet

14/04/2018 – 15/04/2018

Written by: Ruth

Attendees: Martin; Adriana; Willem; Ian; Sarah; Sam; Adam; Steve; Ruth; David; Francis

Windgather — 14/04/2018

After driving up on Friday night, we were up and out early on Saturday. With a fair number of us still new to trad, or on their first outing of the year we choose to climb at Windgather which UKC describes as a beginner-friendly crag.

It turned out to be a good choice. After a grey start the sun soon broke though and we mainly climbed with blue skies above us. The rock was in great quality and with plenty of Mods through to HVS routes, plans to move on later in the day were abandoned and we climbed into the early evening. Adriana was particularly reluctant to leave, wanting to get just one more route in. But the rest of us decided a pint and dinner was calling!

It was a great first day. Everyone found routes they enjoyed and challenged them, new racks became a bit less shiny, the club trad rack got an airing by someone other than Steve, and the more experienced climbers got to visit a new area, and climb new routes.

Birchen — 15/04/2018

With rain forecast in the afternoon it was another early start. Steve was particularly keen to get out of the door and start climbing, rushing round packing up and waking people up to get things moving.

The plan was to climb at Kismet, but when we got there wet slimy rock forced a change of plan and we headed onto the main crag. With rain constantly threating no time was wasted getting on the rock. With tired bodies from yesterday’s efforts, and not the best night’s sleep, some people happily stuck to the easier lines. Steve however, with wise words of guidance from Ian, picked out all the routes with the most horrible starts. A particular highlight was Powder Monkey, where Martin’s efforts to get over the chock stone were brilliantly entertaining. The only negative was that there is no video evidence to share!

The forecast rain arrived soon after lunch, but with up to 7 routes completed per pair we headed home tired but happy.

March

Indoor Meet - Alton Climbing Wall - Day Meet

03/03/2018 – 03/03/2018

Written by: Ruth

Attendees: Martin, Steve, Sarah, Tony, Ruth

Overview

After a week of freezing temperatures, strong winds and with snow still on the ground, we decided our first outside climb of 2018 could wait, and headed of to the heated High Sports in Alton.

Alton is a fairly small wall, in comparison to some of the others we have visited, but there were plenty of routes to keep the 5 of us who made it, busy and entertained until we were tired.

Steve and Martin were keen to continue their outside preparations, so led most of the routes, honing their on-sighting skills. Others mixed it up a bit more, trying routes of all levels in interesting corners and on awkward overhangs. Tony, who hadn’t climbed for ages, was particularly proud of his 6a+ climb.

Everyone was pleased we’d made the effort to get out, and happy to have had the opportunity to try out new routes.

Calshot indoor meet

17/03/2018 – 17/03/2018

Written by: Steve

Attendees: Hannah, Nadia, Ruth and Steve

Overview

Arctic conditions forced the dedicated few to relocate to Calshot near Southampton.

It wasn't much warmer inside, even causing a case of the hot aches (southerner's version).

We all got stuck into some lead climbing, with Hannah and Nadia smashing an overhanging 5+, before attempting a competition 6b+. Ruth made a particularly bold diagonal traverse, with a high first bolt more fitting of a Portland landslip. I finally managed the big roof on something other than the easiest route...and was chuffed to have top roped a 7a. Cake and coffee saw a brief resurgence before we hit road, happy to have made the most of a bitterly cold day.

February

Winter Walking Meet - Weekend Meet

03/02/2018 – 05/02/2018

Written by: Russell & Nadia

Saturday 3rd — 03/02/2018

Our hike begins! We started off with the infamous Catbells, as a warm up hike, to begin the momentum of the weekend.

The day began with sunshine and drizzle mixed together, creating a nice effect for our steady start.The first struggle of the day, contained a semi vertical climb, to the ridge and then a more steady walk, across towards the changing weather. Once, we furthered towards lunchtime, we came across snowier weather. Many within the group, had to re-dress and put on warmer clothes than started, yet were not discouraged, to take a lunch break by a snow covered rock. Then continued along, until we reached the descend, taking quite a steep route down and causing some with brand new walking shoes, to slide down a few stages.

The rest of the walk, carried on in a straight line, among old ruins and a stream, taking the group into the land of the mud, where many had to spread out to avoid it. The evening, was accompanied by a trip to the shops and the pub, along with food and a movie on TV.

Sunday 4th — 04/02/2018

The group left in convoy heading out with ice axes, supplies and a blue sky. A steep ascent in sunshine soon had layers being removed and sunglasses put on.

Arriving at a suitably scenic gearing up spot, crampons were put on, which for some members was a novel experience. Then a slow and exhilarating scramble was enjoyed along Striding Edge, possibly the best ridgeline in the Lakes, particularly in snow. Progress was slow due to inexperience and sensible assessment of the conditions.

Snow that was knee deep in places and runners in shorts, t shirts and no crampons kept all amused. Then a picnic at the summit and plenty of photos with clear views between the fast moving clouds. Descending down Swirral Edge was quick and every bit as enjoyable as the ascent. Then the group divided into three different routes (snow, less snow and no snow) back to the car. Observing an adventurer skiing down had many of us wishing for our own skis to descend with.

Monday 5th — 05/02/2018

The third day, was in similar fashion to the second. The group started with crampons in their bags and sticks at the ready. We walked up in a similar area, that we had ended upon the previous day. Then cut across, walking down a slippery, curvy line around a mountain and up towards the ascent. The next stage of the hike, had an unpredictable weather change, causing a few, to put on their crampons too early and then take them off again, until we came to a suitable spot to gear up. The walk along the ridge of the the mountain, had some tricky encounters for those who were less experienced, yet proved to be enjoyable.

Next, was a lunch break in an exposed, windswept spot with an amazing view, which was explored by the group, since we could see the hike from the previous day. Later, came the slightly leisurely descend, bringing us back to our cars and the the long ride home.

Brighton - Indoor Meet - Day Meet

18/02/2018 – 18/02/2018

Written by: Sarah

Attendees: Steve, Ruth, Hannah, Nick, Toby, Sarah

Overview

Six of us set met in Chichester for the relatively short drive to the climbing wall on the outskirts of Brighton.

The Brighton wall catered for all, easier routes for the novice and younger climber up to overhang challenges for the season climber. There was a good sized boldering area and a training room.

We all found climbs to suit our abilities and got to work. The extra height of the walls compared to Chichester gave us all an added work out put provided some good training for the (we hope) imminent start of the outdoor season. 

We had a brief pause for some lunch and then carried on climbing until about 2.30 when we all decided it was time to head home.

January

Reading - Indoor Meet - Day Meet

13/01/2018 – 13/01/2018

Written by: Sarah

Attendees: Martin, Neil, Christine, Lisa, Sarah

Overview

Five of us went to Reading Indoor Climbing Wall for the first meet of the year. Neil was there first and had got some boldering in before the rest of us arrived. We climbed a variety of routes with Martin and Neil getting some lead climbing in. The extra height a Reading compared to Chichester tested our indurance, especially as the day went on. The carrot climbs (orange holds with green tops) prooving to be a challenge. 

The far end of the climbing by the hanger doors was a little chilly as there was a gap between the doors. By the time we had worked out way down there it was time for lunch and a warm up under the heaters in the cafe accompanied by some hot drinks.

Christine and Sarah also tested out the auto belays for the first time and overcame the fear of letting go at the top to glide gracefully back down to Earth!