Posts Tagged ‘falling off’

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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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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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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It’s been a good year for the Marsden Monday night-ers. Reasonably good weather meant early season outdoor outings to boulder at Pule, Standedge (3 times?), Buckstones and as is traditional,West Nab providing the infamous Mr Tuck horizontal buttock jam (photos provided by Sharpey).

West Nab, as nature intended

... or when they come in the mother ship will they need a bouldering mat?

Three men and a rock

Mr Tuck contemplates the head jam

Mr Tuck tops out

Mr Tuck releases himself from the infamous West Nab buttock jam

A dynamic finish for the Tuckmeister

Diver Driver gets his leg over at the end of the night

Remembering to make it look worthwhile for the camera

In amongst this were some dedicated trad climbs most often on Pule where Square Buttress finally succumbed to the persistent charms of Dr Crowe and Mr Tuckle. On the other hand, later on in the season, Dr Crowe (and most of his gear) succumbed to the indifference of a greasy Flying Buttress. Due to fine belaying by Mr Tuck serious injury was avoided. Further afield the quarry at Standedge repelled all boarders in a fit of overhanging chossy offwidth shite. Trips further afield to Standing Stones in June and Alderman’s Rocks in gave good value and established our credentials at a reasonable VS 4b/c for leading. Dr Crowe and Mr Tuck enjoyed a fine late May bank holiday afternoon at Alderman’s leading four routes and soloing another five – thereby doubling what they’d done all year outdoors! A repeat trip in June saw Diver Driver take his first outdoor lead, the second pitch of Rib and Face. Hobson’s Moor Quarry in Stalybridge in July gave up Crew’s Route (VS 4c again) before night set in and drove Drs Crowe and Ali back circuitously to the Riverhead.

Other activity started to take place outside outside of a Monday night. Dr Crowe and Andy Wood had a bright afternoon skiving off work and childcare duties at Ravenstones, knocking off a couple of easy routes (it was only June after all) and spotting that Birchen Clough might have some autumnal promise. The same pairing took on Slanting Buttress Ridge Route described elsewhere (Wet Wet Wet) but in between times at the back end of August they had a great day out on the East Face of Tryfan. Slightly unpromising weatherwise, they took second position in the queue for Grooved Arete (HVDiff 244 metres) a fantastic 8 pitch wonder that I’m sure I’ve written up somewhere. It included just about everything: ribs, faces, cracks and a traverse. The crowning glory was a steep gulley descent (North Gulley) that led us to the foot of Belle Vue Bastion (VS 48 metres) which was an absolute joy, good gear, exposed position, some lovely moves the best of which were at the start of pitch two. the two together made for a really great day out.

This isn’t all, I’m sure.

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Thought I’d retrieve this for posterity, and changed the date so it’s not way out of order chronologically.
Ravensdale – an atmospheric setting for a day’s climbing we walk along the valley with a view through the trees to catch a glimpse of an imposing limestone buttress (Raven Buttress) up to about 50 metres or so. Drop down by some splendidly isolated cottages to cross the river bed and climb through woods to come up at the foot of the buttress. Round to the left is Flying Buttress, although this one is twice the height of our beloved Pule Crag version. The position at the base of Flying Buttress already feels quite elevated and very secluded. This impression is only re-inforced when you get to the top of the climbs (even if it feels like you might never make it), great views along the sheer sided valley, across the tops of the tree cover and over the rolling moors above. Absolutely fantastic on a fine day. A few of the routes on the Raven Buttress are off limits due to nesting kestrels which we hear but don’t see. The flying buttress forms a cave (full of sheep shit) for sheltering in from the infrequent showers. The buttress forms a right angle to the crag at the summit. It’s in that 90 degree corner square of blue sky that I caught a glimpse of a pair of ravens wheeling round and disappearing round the top of their crag. We managed four climbs (all grades are purely speculative and subject to variation depending on your guidebook):

Tria  VS 4b 1* 18m. The right-hand corner of the alcove is worthwhile, giving enjoyable bridging marred only by the polished holds. [We used some in situ abseil tat round a tree at the top of Tria for all our descending needs on this trip, very handy and the abseil is modelled by Dr Mark and photographed by Dr Ali]

Ash Crack  VS 4b 2* 14m. Climb the central crack in the back wall of the alcove. Well-worn and well protected throughout! It eases with height. [No it bloody doesn’t – the first 12 metres on polished marble means the last two are a real struggle for numpties like me]

Gymnic  HVS 5a 1* 20m. Left of the through-cave, tackle the twin crack and the bulge to access the interesting groove above. Although highly polished, it remains popular [though possibly not with Dr Ali]! Exit either side of the final roof [give the tree a big hug]. [Protect the top – the top out as Dr Ali found out is a dome (doom?) of loose vegetation – fortunately this time it tested the Petzl helmet rather than the climber]

Cave Corner S 4a 0* 14m. The left corner of the square alcove is approached up the juggy wall. Care is needed with blocky rock near the top. [Another quality top -out]

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