Posts Tagged ‘not monday night’

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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A quick day off and down to Sheffield to Rivelin Edge with Andrew to celebrate his birthday. No longer able to do a route for every year he’s attained we managed approximately 10%.
Rivelin is neat little edge with a large needle and although blowy and overcast the rockface was well protected and friction was excellent.

Rivelin Needle in the snow (Nov 2004)
Started ambitiously and at the top of our leading grades on Left Edge (VS 4c) which as a delicate slab climb turned into a gear-free wandering epic with much tree hugging off piste. So we then settled down to a couple of V Diffs and a severe, taking comfort in the thought of it being early season and all the indoor climbing is no preparation for the real thing, we haven’t been out on Pule etc etc. I can’t remember the names but one I think was Temple Crack. Anyway this is what they looked like:

Left Edge:

Left Edge VS 4c

Temple Crack:

Temple Crack

Misc routes

On the way back I read my notes in my copy of “On Peak Rock” – I did Left Edge in August 2004 and followed my mate Graham up  the Needle on Croton Oil (HVS). sometimes its two steps forward and two back …

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2 August 2009

East Face of Tryfan

We made an early start to get down to the Ogwen Valley and try and beat the crowds – it was a Sunday in high summer. A head full of Wilfred Noyce’s descriptions of Tryfan (from a book of British mountains my father had mailed to him in ’51 whilst serving in the Korean War) made the East Face sound like just the sort of expedition that would nicely fill a day with great position and a feel of climbing something really substantial – as Noyce calls it “above all things, a rock mountain”. The North Wales dash by the major routes saw us in the car park at Llyn Ogwen in good time. The weather was a bit neither nowt nor summat so Andy and I sorted out gear, made provision for both big boots and rock boots and began the plod up the boulder field towards the Heather Terrace. We soon warmed up and the weather brightened for a spell. Apart from a couple of individuals scrambling over Milestone Buttress, we only saw a couple of walkers en route. About an hour later we are at the foot of Grooved Arete (HV Diff *** 244 metres 8 pitches) on our own. Mixed weather led us to choose to take a sack with boots and heavier waterproofs whilst wearing rock boots. The early start meant that, like good Hobbits, we were due a second breakfast. This allowed some pushy student to get on the route first (you know who you are University of London Mountaineering Club). Having bigged up her leader’s credentials she proceeded to whinge at him all the way up the first two pitches. We gave them a generous couple of pitches more to get out of earshot, secretly wishing the leader was armed, Yates-like, with both intent and a pen knife.

We stashed one sack in the gulley to the right of the climb and Andrew led off in to the groove and over the slab. We alternated pitches following a well trod path among grooves, ridges, slabs, and aretes. This was really beautiful climbing, not hard at any stage or unprotected, but simply rhythmical movement and balance. A series of linked moves that required a some working out to put them together, bit of caution required as the rain briefly became more persistent and finally we were on a gentle grassy terrace below the crux slab – a steep slab crossed with delicate cracks which I led through and belayed on the edge of the arete. I brought Andy up and as he climbed through and up the ridge I chatted with the leader of the following pair of climbers who’d made short work of the pitch. Then I was following the rope up and climbing through over the final jumble of steps and boulders and it was done. As I belayed Andy up the last pitch I watched as the cloud seemed to flow around the top of our little bit of Tryfan leaving us with a view over Little Tryfan and the Ogwen Valley.

We headed off towards the summit and the descent down North Gulley. It was still fairly early so we took some time to try and find the start of Belle Vue Bastion (VS *** 48 metres) part way down. The guide describes it as “the best route on Terrace Wall with some fine situations” so we thought it worth a look. The weather was still in our favour and I set off from the grass ledge through the large blocks. The climbing became harder than Grooved Arete and the route less well used. The grooves were more exposed with less gear but the holds were sound and the friction good. Moving over the ridge and back again was less daunting than it might have been thanks to the practice on Grooved Arete and I belayed Andy up to a smnall stance. The next pitch was perhaps the nicest I’ve ever climbed: a tricky traverse on to and round an exposed nose; right, into a corner and back left over tricky groove that required some work to unlock the moves. But it felt fantastic. I sat and belayed Andy, watching ravens wheeling in the late afternoon sun. It felt like we belonged in the place, having spent such a good time in the company of Tryfan and it’s notoriously fickle weather. As Noyce says of it “I would greet the mountain as a friend, not an idol”.

Back down again we retrieved the sack, and made a swift descent to the car park a little later than planned but having had a fuller day than we could have hoped for.

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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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