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Posts Tagged ‘not raining’

“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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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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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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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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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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