Monday, 28 September 2009

Anglesey Camping Meet

Friday 9th to Sunday 11th October 2009 past event.

Gail and AndyC on Lighthouse Arete.

A booking was made to use the campsite at an activity centre called Outdoor Alternative, near Rhoscolyn. This is conveniently situated for access to the Rhoscolyn cliffs, the sandy beach at Borthwen and the White Eagle public house. See the Outdoor Alternative website for detailed(and downloadable) directions.

The campsite is approximately seven miles from the parking at South Stack via Trearddur and Porth Dafarch, and it is a similar distance through Holyhead to the Breakwater Country Park for access to Wen Zawn and North Stack.

Since low tide will be between 9am and 10am during the visit, anyone with ambitions to visit a tidal venue will have to be well organised in the mornings. You can check the tide times for yourself on the Climbers' Club website.

For members who have not been before, the climbing at Gogarth generally requires, as a bare minimum, a competent and experienced leader able to comfortably lead VS and preferably with some HVS experience. Approaches are usually either by abseil or by scrambling traverses which require good sea conditions. Failure to complete a route here will have serious consequences, you have been warned.

The Main Cliff at Gogarth.

However, there is still plenty here to entertain the beginner and the inexperienced. Holyhead Mountain has a good selection of single and multi-pitch routes at most grades and is easily accessed on foot from the South Stack car parks.

Holyhead Mountain.

This trip incorporated an opportunity to explore the Rhoscolyn cliffs which according to the guide book offer the prospect of, amongst other things, some interesting single pitch climbs in the lower grades.

For anyone seeking inspiration, on our website there are lots of photos and reports from previous trips to Anglesey.

South Stack Lighthouse.

Mousetrap 2009

Mousetrap 128m E2 (5b,5a,5a) 3*

Jonah allowed himself self to be led astray again by the ever photogenic Mr. Buddle on Saturday.

Here are Jonah's comments on his experience:

Mousetrap - IN THE BAG - F**king Hell

Awesome route but very geologically challenging - amazing rock structure, but you can scrape it away with your nails......

Buddle led the first and third pitches, I got the middle one, awesome belay position at the top of the second pitch, would be perfect if it wasn't made up of 7 pieces of very crap gear (think micro wires in v.soft sandstoney stuff, and slings 'draped' over features).

Sunny, brilliant day.

Fortunately, Mike's comments are a little more expansive:

Mousetrap? Fookin hell...

Started early and hopped over boulders to the base of the route after a double abseil. I lead pitch one up the solidified mud. Fairly easy at first but with poor gear.

Got to the traverse after placing more poor gear, then placed a single goodish wire and started traversing into the chimneys accoss some good quality mud; running it out 'till I found some decent quartz in the chimney and awkwardly climbed this to another runner and easier ground which lead to a belay with five pieces of gear.

Jonah followed and then set off up pitch two. 25ft up he decided to snap a hand hold on the suprisingly steep wall and was saved from a plummet by luck, I suppose. A nice steep section lead to a lovely easy ramp which was climbed without much gear to a great stance where Jonah rigged a seven point belay - of which there was one decent piece - relaxing back like an English gentleman to watch my antics on the head wall.

On this I climbed over abysmal rock to a niche where there was enough decent gear to give enough courage to make a hard swing onto the vertical wall and steep solid-ish climbing to a ledge. This was followed by a lovely corner to the top and a four sling belay to finish.

Great stuff. Nerve racking at times, but kinda fun in an odd kinda way.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Gogarth by Kayak

Graham C was out in his kayak on Sunday and has produced an excellent set of photos of the sea cliffs at Gogarth.

Mousetrap Zawn.

The Main Cliff at Gogarth.

Wen Slab, home of A Dream of White Horses.

Climbers setting off up Britomartis.

Castell Helen and Lighthouse Arete.

Anyone feeling inspired to climb after seeing these photos should consider coming along on the Anglesey camping trip in October. Check our main website for the meets list.

Pavey Ark

JeffB, GrahamC, Rich and Ste, were at Pavey Ark in Langdale, in 2009 enjoying the brilliant sunshine and unseasonably dry conditions.

They climbed Arcturus and Golden Slipper. An excellent combination of routes leading up the front of Pavey Ark to within an easy scramble of the summit.

Helsby Ramble 2009

Sunday 13th September 2009

The meet started promptly at 10am and proceeded up the wooded slopes of Helsby Hill to the base of the crags where members were able to inspect some of the famous and historic climbs including Eliminate 1 and Flake Crack.

Then followed an ascent of Clashooks Gulley, leading to a traverse of the Broadwalk giving good, but slightly misty, views out over Helsby and the Mersey estuary.

This also provided an opportunity to inspect the belays and discuss the technicalities of top-roping routes in this area.

After returning to the gulley, a short sharp scramble up a corner led directly to the summit.

There followed easy rambling, via sections of the Sandstone Trail and the Delamere Way, through birch woods, rolling green fields and leafy lanes, with a brief stop for blackberry picking. Arriving, at Overton, lunch was taken at the Bull's Head, accompanied by some fine real ale from their extensive selection.

The return journey, followed the Middle Walk across Frodsham Hill, where a descent of Jacob's Ladder led to Woodhouse Hill. After a little searching below the main path the Frodsham outcrops were eventually located in the trees. These provide a variety of top-rope and boulder problems at all grades. Due to the nature of the rock, many of the routes involve surmounting overhangs and roofs by "black arts" such as "heel hooking".

After this the route returned to the lower slopes of Helsby Hill and followed the broad lower path, parallel to the Old Chester Road back to the start.

An enjoyable day out with good food(and beer), good weather(after the mist had cleared), and much of interest to the rock climber. Hopefully this will inspire some return visits with a rope. It was also good to see some fresh faces attending the meet.


Sport climbing and the search for the G Spot.

MarkD, AndyO, Charlie and AndyG travelled up to Giggleswick for some bolted limestone sport climbing. They were joined later by Jess and AndyC, and also Maurice. And even later still, Will and Chris turned up since this was in fact the first day of Will's Yorkshire Camping meet.

Mark and AndyO had a good day climbing in the low to mid sixes, with the occasional F6c thrown in for good measure. They also got an ascent of the classic of the crag, Black Swan Rising 16m F6b 3***.

Will was climbing well with his usual balance and composure, born of long experience. However, his companions found his example hard to follow.

Likewise, AndyG, Jess and Charlie were also having a hard time finding their feet on the limestone but they still managed about half a dozen routes around F5 and F5+.

After, a final exhausting attempt at top-roping an F6a previously ascended by Mark, they decided to go and find the G Spot whilst Mark and Andy did a few more F6a's to "warm down". As you might expect, even with Jess along for guidance, the G Spot proved hard to find and the intrepid crew travelled far through dense undergrowth and explored several clefts and caverns before finding the right one.

For those of you who don't already know, the G Spot is a cave high in the hillside above Giggleswick and is home to one of the two hardest bolted sport climbs in Britain. First ascended in 2004 by John Gaskins, Violent New Breed 7m F9a+ 3* climbs out of the back of a cave and directly up the apparently blank and obviously bulging wall above.

Returning to the main crag, after taking several wrong turns on the descent, they found that Mark and Andy had finally worn themselves out. You know that Mark has had a hard day when he says things like, "I just fancy a pint outside a nice country pub," instead of jumping into his car and driving straight home.

Monday, 7 September 2009

Laddow Rocks

A tale of mushy peas and laundry bills.

Sunday 6th of September 2009 the plan was to explore a new venue and do some easy climbing. So, after meeting at the station, Jess and Andy set out over Holme Moss and down Woodhead to Crowden. From there, it is another hour and a half's walking across the Crowden Great Brook and along the Pennine Way to Laddow Rocks.

Laddow has a long history of climbing dating back to the turn of the last century and has been explored by such illustrious figures as J. W. Putrell, H. M. Kelly, Ivar Berg and even Geoffrey Winthrop Young(after he lost his leg). However, it has been neglected in modern times and, combined with the effect of recent wet summer weather, is now returning to nature. Not to be deterred, it was decided to warm up on something straight forward like a V. Diff.

North Climb 16m V. Diff 1* - Take the big groove over easy ground to a possible stance. Then, from a thread in the chimney, shuffle left to reach and finish up a chimney. - Sounds simple, doesn't it? Anyway, it was horrible.

All the potential holds, which can be pretty tenuous at the best of times on gritstone, were coated with slime which was just about the colour and consistency of mushy peas from your favourite chippy. In an attempt to find some feeling of security on the route, the full range of bodily protruberances were called upon in a desperate parody of traditional climbing. After taking tension from the thread in the chimney, Andy eventually accomplished the toe traverse to the base of the final chimney and made his escape.

After some adjustments to the ropework, Jess followed with similar effects to her trousers. Definitely a case for extra enzymes in your Persil.

Returning to the bottom of the crag, Andy allowed himself to be persuaded by the only other party at the crag, that the first pitch of the Long Climb 25m Sev. 4a 3* was possible. Surprisingly, the first pitch was a delight. The rock was a little more exposed to the wind and had dried nicely in the afternoon sunshine. Emboldened by this success, Andy examined the next pitch. Again, the face looked dry, so it was decided to have a go.

The pull into the scoop was a little precarious but well protected. However, the route then started to move left, away from the dry rock on the front of the buttress, and into various uninviting damp clefts and corners. Facing the final damp corner, with a soaking off-width crack at the back, it all got too much for him and Andy decided to improvise. After a sneaky foot traverse rightwards, out onto the front of the face, he found rough, clean, dry rock. It was the top of the second pitch of Leaf Buttress 25m VS 4c 2*. Although a harder and more technical climb, it was infinitely preferable to another desperate grovel up a slimy corner.

That left just enough time for a gentle stroll around the rest of the buttresses that constitute Laddow Rocks before heading back down Crowden Great Brook to the car park. If you feel inspired to share the historical climbing experience, don't forget a towel, and you might find an old tweed jacket useful too.