Monday, 31 May 2010

North Wales with Leeds Met Climbing Club 31/05/10 - 02/06/10

After some brilliant climbing yesterday psyche levels were high as we travelled to Wales in two minibuses. After getting to know some of the group (Danny, Daz, Jenny, Jess ,Jonny, Kieran, Lucy, Mel, Ryan and Pete) We headed straight to some limestone bolt clipping at Trevor Area which provided some good easier routes for everyone to get stuck into. The rock was very polished on the easier routes and there was a fair bit of discrepancy in the grading but it was a good day out nonetheless. I was pleased with an onsight of Bordeline 6a+, my hardest sport onsight, which was a great route and deserving of it's two stars and Ieuan did well to get the flash.

After this we headed to Maeshafn for the evening which gave some easier trad lines again on limestone, with routes of interest being Layback On Me, Puppy Power and Rambler. We headed back for a late barbeque after making the most of the day due to the forecasted rain tomorrow.
The rain arrived in force in the early hours of Tuesday and after packing up the wet tents and making some lunch we headed towards the Gwern Gof Uchaf campsite at the bottom of Tryfan. Fortunately the weather cleared up as we headed west and by the time we got to the campsite the roadside rock of Tryfan Fach was dry. Danny, Daz, Jess, Lucy, Pete and I headed up to try and climb some of the classic routes on the East Face of Tryfan, but as we walked up to the base of the routes the clouds closed in again and with very limited visibility, dripping wet rock and no knowledge of the mountain or descent route we decided it would be prudent to head back down. Fortunately the rock was still dry on Tryfan Fach and the day was salvaged with six routes of interesting slabby climbing. As the evening went on the weather continued to improve and Pete and I made plans to have an alpine 3:30am start and head back up to the East Face tp try and tick some of the classics.

After an early night we awoke to an almost cloudless sky and walked into the base of the face under the stars. As the sun rose we made our way up Grooved Arete before descending South Gully, and heading up First Pinnacle Rib with the Thomson's Chimney Finish, descending South Gully again and then finally heading up Gashed Crag.

It was a brilliant morning climbing thirteen pitches and almost 600m of fantastic rock in four and a half hours, made all the more special by the incredible weather. It was great to get so much climbing done and practice moving efficiently over easier terrain, especially with a trip to the Alps looming.
After meeting up with the rest of the club we headed back down to the campsite and packed up before heading off towards Clogwyn y Tarw. Unfortunately we didn't have enough time to get to the famous Idwal Slabs but had a good evening of easier climbing before heading back to Leeds.

Another great trip in another new location!

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Heptonstall Cragging 30/05/10

After the rain yesterday we were relieved to awake and see the wind was blowing, the sun was shining and the roads were dry! We met up with Adam and headed to Heptsontall, which has a multitude of routes in the Severe-HVS range which were all of excellent quality. The day's antics started on Fairy Steps Direct which gave a long and varied pitch of continually interesting climbing, I then followed Adam up Main Line, before battling my way inelegantly up the awesome Whillans classic Curving Crack. Adam put on a great show to overcome the roof and mantle on Boo Boo Roof before wandering up Pulpit Route which had a different feel to the other routes in the quarry. I then got back under the roof and ascended Grindlay's Grunt on lead with some grunting and general hilarity, before finishing the day with the three star classic Bull's Crack which gave ameanable climbing up the enjoyable lay-back crack. A fantastic day at a great crag with lots of good climbing, hopefully a theme to be continued into next week in Wales.

Friday, 28 May 2010

Another quick visit to Yorkshire 28/05/10

Before my last exam had even finished I had managed to arrange another trip! This weekend I am back down in Yorkshire and am looking forward to going to Wales on Monday for three days. After meeting Ieuan in Leeds we headed to Caley for a relaxed afternoon bouldering before meeting up with Pete, Nick and Kieran for an evening at Baildon Bank. After Pete despatched the classic route Scar with ease, I headed up Rip which was pretty sandy and generally not very nice, with an especially grotty top-out to finish it off. After this we did some nice bouldering until darkness prevented further climbing and we headed homewards. Forecast for rain tomorrow but a rest day will do me some good!

Friday, 21 May 2010

Dumbarton 21/05/10

Still speaking in Yorkshire tongues Daisy, Greg, Mhairi and I headed to Dumbarton today for some sport climbing and bouldering. With very warm temperatures and the sea breaze making the sport routes slippery we ended up mostly bouldering. There were some quality problems including; Cheddar Direct, Hard Cheddar and Blue Meanie which made for an entertaining and relaxing day. We even had the good fortune of a friendly bunch of chavtabulous youths turning up to give their support! Another day of revision relaxation down...I now need to start cramming!

Friday, 14 May 2010

Yorkshire Rock Trip 14/05/10 - 19/05/10

With a two week gap between my second and third (final) exam for this semester I decided I needed a little revision break. We were talking about heading to Reiff but with a poor weather forecast we decided to head southwards in hope of sun. After we piled three people, their kit and a dog into Mhairi's Fiesta we set off on Friday towards Yorkshire via Northumberland.

We stopped at Back Bowden Doors and enjoyed a good day climbing in the mostly dry weather. This was my first time climbing on sandstone and it was really good fun, suiting my strength at the moment with all the gritstone climbing. After warming up on Woodcutter's Crack I seconded Greg up The Sorceror which was a fantastic route and well deserving of its three stars with two contrasting sections. I then got on the classic introduction route at the crag; Straight Crack which also proved to be a great climb with good jamming action at the top. After Greg and Mhairi played on some harder routes and I led up a fun little route called Wall and Crack, I finished with some easy soloing on Forester's Corner and Gangway. With fish and chip filled bellies we headed down the motorway towards Goredale camp site. After some profound woofing from Daisy and a lot of bouncing around in the back with Mhairi's failing rear suspension we arrived and quickly pitched the tents for our first night camping of the trip.

On Saturday we awoke relatively early and after a quick visit to the breath-taking and awe inspiring Goredale Scar, headed off towards the similairly impressive Kilnsey. With most of the routes being outside my ability at the moment I found a nice little route called New Mystique to red point and was pleased to tick the route and find out after that it was graded 6b. Greg and Mhairi were crushing routes, Daisy was romping around and the sun was shining so it was another good day.

Sunday started rather more lethargically as we awoke to the rain drumming off the tents. After some coffee and cakes psyche levels were slightly higher and we headed back to the crag and to meet up with Adam. Everyone was again sending routes as the crag was still dry (possibly due to its grossly overhanging nature which causes dry rock but quickly failing arms) and working projects, but by mid-afternoon everyone was feeling it from yesterday's antics and we decided to call it a day and get organised to head down towards Leeds for some gritstone tradding.

After finding the highly recommended Dobrudden Campsite, which thouroughly lived up to its reputation, and getting a good nights sleep we awoke on Monday to glorius sunshine and a cool wind; perfect conditions for standing on slopey gritstone and being optimisticly hopeful about the quality of rubber on your shoes. Rubber quality must have been high as everyone had a great day at Caley on the brilliant boulder problems and selection of short routes. Highlights of my day included; Angel's Wall, Boot Crack, Chicken Head, and Rabbit Paw Wall and with a total of eighteen routes or problems it was another great day.

Tuesday was a scorcher and after the mandatory coffee and cake stop we headed up to Almscliff. I was keen to get on the classic HVS of the crag, and my first proper HVS since last summer, Great Western and as it was shaded in the morning I jumped on this after a quick warm up. The route was brilliant and deserved a full three stars; with big juggy holds, solid gear, good moves and a fantastic position. In fact it was so good that I seconded it and finished up the alternative Five Star Finish shortly after! After a brilliant start to the day I did some bouldering, some spotting and quite a bit of sunbathing. After seeing Adam off homewards we headed back to the campsite via the supermarket to cook up our last night barbeque feast, and what a feast it was!

After packing up on Wednesday we headed to Giggleswick South which was on the way home and had a selection of easier routes suited to tired bodies. The weather held out and we had another good day with flap-jack fueled ascents of some of the better routes at the crag before packing up and heading for home.

Not unexpectedly the rain started as soon as we hit the Borders but spirits could not be dampened as it had been such a fantastic week of great climbing and lots of laughs. With some disheartment I will have to start revising again for my last exam, but I will soon be free to make the most of summer!