Sunday, 25 April 2010

Stoney 24th April

Getting out to go climbing has never been easier, as 4 of us piled onto the No. 65 bus to Buxton from Sheffield.
Driving out through the dark peak we descended into Valley of Stoney Middleton, we got dropped off at the lay-by across the road from the impressive Windy Buttress and Garage Buttress of Stoney.
Unsurprisingly there was no one else on the crag when we arrived at just after 10, meeting up with a couple more friends we headed over to Prayer Wheel Wall.
By lunch time several other groups had arrived making it seem a bit more used but still pretty empty considering its a glorious Saturday and it would've been empty if it hadn't been for our group of 8.

That said Scoop Wall got two ascents and so did Windhover, both classic routes starting from Windy Ledge. There also seems to be a new line of bolts going up between Kink (E5 6b) and Kellogg (E5 6b). Would be interested to know what it is.

Where have all the Climbers gone?

Following a quality day at Horseshoe Quarry we went for another day on the Limestone, so headed to Aldery Cliff. We left early to catch the early morning sun and were incredibly surprised to see this roadside crag devoid of people. It's full of easier trad lines on high quality rock with little or no loose sections.

Unlike a lot of Limestone crags especially trad ones which can often feel big and intimidating, Aldery Cliff has a much friendlier feel being slightly smaller and nicely situated in a quiet valley with no walk-in. It seems daft that this crag is empty when Stanage is probably heaving.
After the sun drifted round the corner just after lunch time we decided to seek out some afternoon sun.

Heading back towards Sheffield we stopped off at Water-Cum-Jolly for a bit of bouldering and a go on some super hard sport lines, mainly because the easy ones were still seeping a bit and had extra large puddles under them.
It seems like its going to be Limestone all summer now.

Aldery Cliff, Picture Courtesy Ben Ranson

Tom Anthistle on Clothesline S 4a

Spain in the Peak District

Winters over and the suns come out so it's time to hit the Limestone and start cranking hard.
So off we trotted off to some quality Peak sport climbing so we can pretend we're in Spain, our first stop was Horseshoe Quarry.
Lots of other people with the same idea but it was never too busy, the BMC have done a quality job re-equipping the lower-off's and several of the routes despite a few badly placed new bolts.
The day was slightly marred by some quite aggressive route cleaning on the back wall next to Neanderthal and then pulling off some large blocks myself while trying a new line near The Whinger in the top Quarry area.

Me with the block which nearly took my head off

Picture courtesy of Michael Bamford

Monday, 29 March 2010

Stanage Bus is Running Again 28-03-10

The clocks have gone back and so the Stanage bus has been rolled out again for some Eco friendly weekend climbing.

After failing at getting up early I caught the second bus out which had a surprisingly had no climbers on it!

Seems strange when it costs all of £2 to get out and get back, Having been a student getting public transport is often the only way. It seems "Normal" people are a bit harder to convince, or its because it was windy and not perfect and its only the first time the bus has run.

Anyway I managed quite solos before Ben got out and then we got in a few routes, Ben's first of the year.

Great day on Stanage enjoying the wind not at all made worse by having to run down to catch the bus!

A quiet Missippi Buttress and Unconquerable's Area

Friday, 19 March 2010

Spring has sprung

It finally looks as if spring is here and we've had a few lovely days in the Peak now.
So I trundled off out to Burbage but unfortunately with no partner in tow and seeing as I've not had too much mileage on rock recently I tried to solo as much as I could.
It was nice and dry with a bit of wind perfect for trying some 'ard stuff but unfortunately a few months on winter training I now have no finger strength, bad times.
Couple of lads were on the The Promise E8 7a, James Pearson's mega hard arĂȘte on The Oxford Block.
I managed to solo 28 routes up to 5c, then cracked out a Guinness as its St Patrick's and met a few friends to watch them fall of some boulder problems.
Great Day out.

Nick almost crushing Banana Finger Direct

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Scotland, Early March

Glen Nevis and Steall Falls

Managed to get another trip up north in order to get scared in the snow.
Went up with my Dad (Anthony Bennett) however as he has a rather large aversion to getting cold and wet this was going to time winter climbing.
We had used crampons and axes in the summer while in the Alps buts it's warm there so no problem!
So off we went on Wednesday morning (10-03-10) up to Kinguisse, We arrive at around 9pm after taking it steady on the drive up with plenty of coffee breaks. Unfortunately there was only room in the Tipsy Laird for one night so we booked into the Aviemore Youth Hostel.
Thursday was a day of cloud and wind but luckily no rain, we went for skiing with the hope that the forecast would be right it was going to be better on the Friday.
Skiing was awesome and i would highly recommend spending a day sampling the delights of skiing in the Cairngorm.
These delights would be as follows:

  • No visibility-We couldn't tell where was up or down for a bit

  • Wind-If you stopped polling you got backwards

  • More Wind-It blows snow at you which is like be sand blasted and having large hand fulls of gravel thrust into your face.

  • No Mountain Restaurants-Our European counterparts have one up on us there.

But that's all part of the fun.

So on Friday we woke up full of excitement because it was going to be nice, Was it buggery we were treated to more cloud and wind and then it snowed too. I was not happy as i walked up into Coire an t-sneachda barely able to see my own feet and falling through the crust of ice on top of the snow every 3 feet.
Luckily the cloud lifted just for long enough for me to be able to see Aladdin's Mirror and off I shot up the first bit of gully pointing out the finer points of kicking the snow as hard as you can to my Dad.
Mirror Direct was particularly small this week at a staggering 2.5m plenty of snow banking it out now.
The route progressed with out incident until we topped out into a gale and the proceeded to get a bit lost and then walk to the top of Cairngorm and come down past the funicular Top Station.
So all in all a very good day!

After enjoying the fab Cairngorm weather we went off to see what was happening on the West Coast and what a surprise the weather on the Ben was even worse. We opted to have a day off and wander round Fort William being tourists.
Exhausted from all the sights we booked into the Glen Nevis youth hostel which to our dismay we had forgotten is nowhere near a pub!
Looking at the weather we decided we didn't want to do winter climbing (we are massive wimps after all, that's why we're alive) so we walked down the Glen Nevis valley until the rain became horizontal then headed back to the Hostel for Tea, Medals and not forgetting Deep fried haggis for tea.

Cracking few days in Scotland, I love winter climbing its truly horrible!

Our winter climbing House on wheels

Exciting Bridge in Glen Nevis

High Peak Marathon 05-03-2010

Our home for the 24 hours on Bleaklow

It's the beginning of March there's snow in the peak and it's fooking cold outside.
Must be time for the High Peak Marathon again, all the loony fell runners come out of the woodwork for this 42 mile fell race around the Derwent watershed and just to make it harder they start at night and most of the course doesn't follow any paths making the HPM a unique race.

This year we (as with the last 3 years) were checkpointing on Bleaklow Head, It's quite a long walk in up form snake pass and this year had a massive amount of snow to contend with.
We left snake at around 16.30 after helping set up the tents for the food checkpoint there, we got up to the top at about 18.00 which was really good as we could set up the tent before it was pitch black and quite impressive considering how bad the vis was once we got up above 600m.

After setting up the tent we settled in for a long night of not sleeping, listening to radio (obviously we gave some extremely helpful banter during the night) and devouring our cheese board. Our dinner that evening was very enjoyable as we always pre-cook meatballs and sauce before heading up then we settled down as we have nothing to do till 05.00.

At around 04.30 we decided that it was time for breakfast and i fired up the stove to make some bacon sandwiches which went down very well. Then we saw the first team (Flippers Gang) powering across Bleaklow at 05.51, after that we had teams coming through quite regularly all morning.
However we were not too busy as we had time to build our very own igloo as proof of the amount of snow.
The last team came through at 10.23 at which point we dismantled our tent and waited for the all clear so we could walk down to snake and get the bus back to Edale for some well deserved stew and a cup of tea.
It was a cracking night up on the hill and all went off with very only a couple of small injuries, big thanks to Ali and Nick for awesome organisation and everyone else that helped out.

Our igloo on top of Bleaklow.

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