Nitty Gritty – May’s Monthly climbing blog By Saffra

It’s been an active month in the club with several weeks of very settled warm weather with very little rain. Here follows summary of our climbing activity since the beginning of the season (inclusive of April), starting with the limestone. At the beginning of the month several members enjoyed a visit to horseshoe quarry where Tim, Declan and Rob climbed several 5’s (up to 5c level) and Gemma led her first route outside (I believe) which was an on sight lead on bolted limestone (4a). Well done Gemma!


Declan, Jo, Emma Jo, Brid, William, Saffra, Dave (Espley) and Jaimella have also been hitting the bolts at Intake Quarry a few times over the month. We have managed to lead most of the routes on Take Away Wall inclusive of several 6a/a+’s and even a 6b (Chop Suicide – red point) and a 6b+ (clip sticked). Saffra, Dave and Jaimella managed to top rope the 6c+ (Big Moon Night) in the middle of Take Away and decided that it was something that none of us would ever be able to lead. This led to talk of super glueing fingers and other extreme measures!


In addition to the limestone sports routes there has also been some limestone trad action this month. I heard talk that Rob led one of his first VS’s at Alderly early in May (not sure which one). Saffra and Jo have been along a couple of times in the week and managed to lead a number of HS’s, VS’s and an HVS including Ash tree slab, Nettlerash, Clothesline, Mitre crack, The cardinal and Broken toe. Still on the list to do are HVSs Anti-digestant and Janbaloo.  The crag is getting quite vegetated now and getting off is challenging at the top of Clothesline due to nettles and a dodgey scramble to the top (trousers are recommended here).


There has also been some action on the sports routes (on the stone viaduct) down at New Mills Torr. Myself and Jo, Emma Jo and William managed to get up seven of these over a couple of visits (sports grades 6a up to 6b+/6c).


Now onto trips away and multi-pitch adventures. Two climbing days were achieved at Dow Crag on the Coniston meet with myself, Declan and Rob climbing. Two routes were completed (one on each day). Due to us climbing as a three it was not possible to complete more. These were Arete, Crack and Corner and Abrahams route. Both of which were graded severe but certainly felt harder in places. Declan got the prize for choosing the worst most sandbaggy pitch with the last pitch of Abrahams route which (even though he was very sure he had not gone the wrong way) appeared to be much harder than the severe 4a grade it was supposed to be. Unfortunately the sun was not shining on Dow Crag that day and, as Saffra and Rob observed from their decidedly chilly ledge, opposite everyone seemed to be having a great time walking up Coniston Old Man on a brilliantly hot sunny day.


Finally down to the nitty gritty! Obviously being based in the Peak District this section will be the largest and most exciting. So a lot has been done at Stanage with Alan, Tim, Saffra, Jo, Rob etc leading routes such as Tango Buttress (HS 5a), High Neb Buttress (VS 4c), Tinkers Crack (VS 4c), Paradise wall (HS 4b) and Paradise Arete (VS 4c) with a couple of exciting back-offs and climb arounds on the latter. We had a successful day at Bamford Edge one Saturday in Mid May with Bilberry crack (VS 5a) being led twice, Browns crack (HS) and Quien Sabe – Who knows!  (VS 4c).


The weekend after Ross and Rob tackled Ramshaw (there be demons there!) where they tackled The Arete, Boomerang, Magic roundabout before finding some real demons on Wall and Groove (presumably in the groove part of the climb rather than the wall part). Then Rob thought that Louis Groove looked ‘OK’ to top rope. He found many more demons in that groove. The moral of the story probably being don’t climb anything at Ramshaw with the word ‘Groove’ in the title unless you are a descendant of Don Whillans. Or you could do what I do and avoid Ramshaw all together.


Anyway more grit stories are Dave and Jaimella have been getting out bouldering quite a bit at Burbage South. Dave quite recently led a HVS at Froggatt but I can’t remember which one or find it in the book. We had the club meet at Lawrencefield which was covered by the weekly blog. Since then Saffra and Jo have returned and knocked off Meringue (HVS 4c), Tyrone (VS but apparently HVS in the definitive guide but who knows (Quien Sabe?)), One pegged wall (VS 5a), Nova (HS 4b) and Limpopo Groove (VS 4b).


Quite a bit has been done at Windgather this year so far with 3 lead ascents of Struggle (VS 4c) by Chris, Alan and Saffra. Probably all of the V Diffs, Severes and Hard Severes have been done now.


Other bits and bobs are: an aborted Sunday meet to Shining Clough (too windy). People have allegedly been to Hobson Moor Quarry but I haven’t heard a report. There was also visit to Castle Naze (early on in the month) where Rob led Nozag (VS 4c). Recently Declan and Rob took a trip to Laddow Rocks and completed Long Climb (S4a) which sounded nice and no epics were encountered.


So lots of climbing done, a couple of minor falls, a bit of tennis elbow, a broken toe nail, some sore fingers and the tans are improving. Bring on June!

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