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Posts Tagged ‘2010’

We’ve had a few Monday nights out, an unmemorable evening chez Den Lane midge pits and peat quarry, a more interesting time at Running Hill Pits which, with eight small quarries to go at and some bits and pieces in our grades will be somewhere to go back to, a lovely atmosphere atmosphere and setting as well. I think we snuck a quick Alderman’s in there as well. Dr Crowe and Steven Fraser managed a half day at Ravensdale reported on Farcebook. All these social media choices and instant web2.0 gratification, if only the quality of the climbing was as good as the reportage.

Knocking all that into a cocked hat was a plan hatched for Monday 9th August as Dr Crowe had an enforced change of work schedule and Steven was devoid of responsibility. In a blinding move master Jack Crowe made an 8.15 AM appearance at Marsden station (all the way from York where he’d been playing in the Anti-Racism World Cup) and the party was complete. Only deviating to the butchers for essential pies it was straight over Holme Moss and across the Woodhead Dam for the walk into Shining Clough. The weather was good the path was lousy but once up at the crag the full majesty of it became apparent. “Ahhh, cracks, ooooh chockstones – lovely!” Dr Crowe exclaimed.

The views were pretty cool too.

We started out on Atherton Brothers (S4a **) which was a delight for Dr Crowe to lead. With Fraser on only one pie there was a lot less hauling than at Ravensdale. Steven then took up the lead on Via Principia (S4a **). Making short work of an offwidth crack to a short ledge it began to rain, but he battled gamely on. An awkward moment above the second ledge as the rain came in more heavily and assorted alternatives were tried. Eventually he got a sling round a chockstone. The only problem was that it moved a bit under load. Confidence dented and clearly a bit pumped he carried on for a couple more moves but found the top out beyond his reach. Like any good dad Dr Crowe sent Jack up without any gear to finish off and Steven nobly popped round to the top to help him sort out the belay stance.  Seconding the route showed what a really great effort Steven put in to almost make the lead and it was clear that the weather and the feeling that a key bit of gear was a bit suspect made coming off the right thing to do.

Steven watches his own progress on Via Principia …

Steven ascends Via Principia

And comes back down again….

To round off we tried to up our game and have a go at Phoenix Climb (VS 4c***)

Phoenix Climb - the full length crack in the face

the fabulous vertical crack that stands out on the face. After the usual struggles Dr Crowe realised that with only one piece of gear that was big enough to hold in the crack below the hole there wasn’t much hope of getting further as the crack above the hole just got a bit wider and was unprotectable. So back to the hat trick: rain, downclimb and a bit of top roping. With the exuberance of youth Jack hauled himself up the climb forgetting that his feet would be of any use. But enjoying it nonetheless…

The grin says it all really – another quality Peak District day out, and back to the car before it really threw it down.

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Phew, finally caught up. With the lads up a Cairngorm at the weekend a reduced party (Diver Driver, Dr Crowe and Michael) took to the crags on Mother Pule. A first proper Monday night out, the longest day and a beautiful evening.

First up Flying Buttress, it still needs a minimum of 3 pieces of gear in the vertical crack, a bit of faith onto the ledge and some awkwardness to feel around the horizontal bulges but the handholds are as good as ever.

Fraser led a corner (next to the hideous green scoop) with aplomb and to round off Dr Crowe had a go at Square Buttress. The first go ended with a Dr Ali-like lunge for the main break. It was followed by a Dr Ali-like pendulum across the face. All the year’s experience came into play – if at first you don’t succeed then light a cheroot and have another go, and so it went, with bats flying around and a curlew and an owl calling at opposite ends of the hill. Dusk came and we went to the pub. Marvellous.

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“Where’s Pots and Pans?” … “In de cupboard under de sink”. Actually it’s here.

We’ve been twice – first time in the lower, right quarry with some enticing lines and some not very enticing lichen covering the rock. Woody and Dr Crowe emboldened by the Dr’s rercent downclimbing practice backed off a number of difficult routes. The Prof soloed the unprotectable arete. Steves Tuck and Fraser and Dr Ali sensibly led two severe(?) routes.

The second visit saw Sharpey, the Prof, Diver Driver, Mr Tuck, the two Drs and Michael take on assorted boulders and in various combinations attempt the obvious hs (?) route  in the left quarry. This was led by Dr Crowe who was then hauled up the adjacent HVS crack by Dr Ali in the spirit of some experimental cheating.

Better sport was to be had in the higher quarry behind on Pans led by Ali which had much better friction and turned out to be a quality lead. Tuck and the Prof took a route to the right which turned out to be challenging – not least because of loose rock on the route, loose rock coming onto the route from above and a spectacularly stuck pice of gear. A really atmospheric spot, great views and sheltered with loads of bouldering scattered about as well. We’ll be back…

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Our first trip to Pule, Drs Ali and Crowe, Mr Tuck and the Prof. A stark reminder of the off width and bulgy, slightly overhanging nature of the quarry. The forgotten art of downclimbing was retrieved from our collective unconscious. I think each pair only completed one climb as a pair. Certainly Dr Crowe and the Prof had to lay seige to a crack that was just out of their reach – a bit like the Ottomans trying to take Vienna – each attempt adding another piece of gear. The Prof finally hit the move needed to take the top. Dr Crowe in a fit of ambition demonstrated the lack of balance that keeps his belayers on their toes and fell off soimething he’d led last year. Truly going backwards. A beautiful evening and the first post-sunset finish needing headtorches in order to abseil down to retrieve (or not) bits of stuck gear.

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Dr Crowe and Woody had a quiet evening out at Buckstones above the road trying out a few problems at the right hand end of the outcrop above the road.
Also a few repeats of some of the slippery critters from the previous week.

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Another trip to Buckstones, going above the road trying a whole load of problems. The highlight was Dr Crowe sliding off a sharply overhanging arete continuing down the slope backwards head first … Sharpey provided this photo of him hanging on.

Dr Crowe hangs on

The second attempt at the arete was “cheroot assisted” – the additional weight tipping the thoracic friction move in his favour but masking the critical move in a Thomas the Tank Engine style cloud of tobacco smoke.  Perfect technique.

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With the good Drs Ali and Crowe opting for Huddersfield climbing wall Mr Tuckle decides to take advantage of the last of the snow before the thaw. Deciding against Black Hill I opted for a trudge up Pule Hill, a much safer bet on my own.

The lane leading up to the A63

The lane leading up to the A62

snow drift

Some interesting snow drifts have formed on the old farm track

ST

My initials peed into the snow. Some people never grow up. I blame the parents

footprints

I don’t think anybody will know which way I came

hole

My foot disappeared down a snow covered hole. Looking back I realised I had wandered too far right and had ended up over the gulley with a stream in the bottom. As I tried to push myself back out with my left foot it too began to slip down the bank into the gulley. Waste deep, I scrambled out. Realising that the conditions were a little too rough to be tackled alone I broke open my flask, had a coffee and made my way back down.

snowman

I put my time to good use by building a snowman which, on reflection looks a little scary. His name is Jim. Follow snowmanjim on twitter

snowman

I bade Jim the snowman farewell and set off for home

bridge

After all the trudging through deep snow it was good to be back in the village.

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