Baking Bamford

Tuesday night saw the club heading to Bamford… it was forecast to be a blistering one but in the end turned out to be merely really hot.

Bamford is always a treat to visit with it usually being quiet with lovely views and relatively polish free climbing and it didn’t disappoint. There was a good BuxtonMC turnout with some new and new-ish members making the trip to both climb and walk.

Most action centred on Neb  and Gun Buttress areas. The classics of Bamford Wall and Bamford Buttress saw many ascents

But also Neb Buttress Direct by Saffra, Jo and William

and Joy strong-armed James into leading Oracle

So a pretty cracking night with the breeze high on Bamford making the heat bearable. Admittedly me and James ended the evening with a 40 minute operation to free a cam I got stuck.… but still better than any other way of spending a Tuesday evening.

Busy Day at Birchen

There has been a lack of posts about Tuesday Meets… so I’m going to prove that true by giving some info about today (a Sunday) at Birchen.

So with these sort of things a message will go round saying a and b are going to Stanage, and then c, d and e say they need to stay local so are going to Castlenaze, f and g say they don’t fancy either and are going bouldering to Roaches and x, y, z decide they fancy Horseshoe….. it then rains and no one goes anywhere.

But today all stars aligned and we had at least 15 people out at Birchen, spread all out along the crag.

 

The weather stayed nice, a bit of a breeze and the crag was not overly crowded (despite our attempts). A lot of action was around the Emma’s area and Crows Nest had a few ascents

 

It was great to see so many people out together on a weekend especially as there were a few newer members out too.

 

Well lets hope the nice weekends continue for a few months yet

Buxton Mountaineering Club East……… By Dan

This blog is the first from the Buxton MC’s newest chapter- Buxton MC East, based in Saxony.

Rob drove heroically to get me and my boxes of junk to Saxony, but after he left, I found myself alone, with no working phone or internet, and all shops closed for two days due to the Pfingsten holiday. It looked pretty bleak. I cycled through the woods and had a beer at the beer garden in the middle of it. This helped calm my nerves and inspire me to try once again with the little battery power I had left to make a phone call. As it turns out, my UK phone could make calls, but send no texts. Ulli insisted I get on the next train to Rathen, a spa town on the Elbe. One thing I have learned- with Ulli, anything is possible; Rucksack fallen over 100m onto a glacier?  No need to despair. A very long abseil should do the trick. (And he actually collected all the items that had fallen out on the way as he recovered the damaged sack!) So I went along and within 2 hours was greeting the good doctor on the platform. Soon I was at a party of people I had never met, drinking wine I never bought, and sitting around a fire outside a very large country house I had never been in. I felt like a celebrity.

The next day was sunny and warm. We hiked for an hour or so through the forest and uphill, trying to recall from memory what the guidebook we didn’t have would have told us. Wide tourist paths gave way to narrow paths for climbers, and then came a small obstacle- a bit of a scramble up some steep sandstone boulders and passages too narrow for rucksacks. Watching Ulli lift both legs and run in the air, cartoon style, while his pack held him in place will always be a highlight. We quickly set up a rope to pull the packs up and through, and even helped some other people behind us. Doing this all barefoot to save time made me feel closer to our forebears of the last century, who did all of these routes barefoot.

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One thing that has always impressed me, in fact, is the stasis of the Elbsandstein. It had not changed in the years I had been gone, and indeed it had not changed much in the 155 years since the first routes were put up. Oscar Schuster, Fritz Brosin, Oliver Perry-Smith and Rudolf Fehrmann had experienced it much the same as we did. The familiar sights, sounds, and smells of the woods and sandstone towers made me feel as if I had not been gone at all, as if the last eight years had never happened. I felt the timelessness of the place, it seemed to echo back into infinity.

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Soon we were staring in awe at Höllenhund, one of the great classic towers, some 70m high, a wall full of tiny, web-like structures, and according to the books, plenty of places for threads. I say awe, but fear is perhaps more accurate. The easiest way up is not easy at all, and quite dangerous. We decided instead on a few easier towers nearby.

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Each tower has several routes, the oldest generally the easiest, and almost always called Alter Weg (old way). Much like gritstone, the grades can be deceptive. Even theoretically easy grades can have very tricky portions. Soon we were on top of the Eule, the first I had climbed here in 8 years! Its narrow but long peak had a fantastic view. After a 25m abseil, in which we got off early on a sloping canyon, rather than descending the entire 35m or so, we walked to the Höllendhund Scheibe, which was close but in fact required an abseil from a tree on loose ground and through trees to get to, and thus was an effort of 30 minutes or so. Here we did a few more difficult routes, the last one having very marginal protection and very fragile hand and foot placements. By fragile I mean that they crumbled away in your hand.

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Perhaps most interesting here was the summit register at the top.  These are always in a small zinc box to protect it from the elements, and with a pencil which can be sharpened by scraping it along the stone. Each book stays there until it is full, at which time the local Alpine Club (SBB) collects it, replaces it, and archives it. Popular summits’ books must be replaced yearly or more often. This one, perhaps because of the difficulty of reaching the start, had been in use, in its zinc box, since 1976! And just before us, the lead climber had written that this was his final summit of all those in the Elbsandstein! There are over 1,100 such towers on the German side, and more if you include the Bohemian side.  Only a few people have done this, and even fewer have led at least one route on every summit. From the top we could also see a ring on the rock wall some metres away. Climbing on the innumerable massifs is not allowed, but the ring is there to accommodate the belaying of those who would like to jump from the massif to the top of the tower. It seems a rather large effort for something that has probably only been done once. Successfully.

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The walk back down through the fragrant forest, empty of humans, but full of birdsong and sandstone towers, was a pleasure only added to when Ulli pulled the beers out of the creek, where he had hidden them earlier, and we drank them on the ferry across the Elbe.

The Year So Far

So the news updates have been a bit lacking this season so far therefore a quick update is due after the first few meets.

The fine conditions continued and we got some good meets in. This season has seen decent numbers climbing at pretty much all the club meets with a handful of new people turning up.

 

 

 

 

Birchens, Roaches Lower and Lawrencefield have stood out for me as being meets where 15+ BuxtonMC members were climbing doing everything from Diffs to HVS (with mixed levels of success). A few years ago there was sometimes a risk of arriving at a crag and only having 3-4 members of the club there but now we always have a good show.

Even at Millstone where the weather looked menacing all afternoon 6 members risked it and had a great evening while others were climbing more locally to Buxton.

 

 

We have a had a few wet meets called off recently but now the nights are getting shorter (it’ll soon be Christmas) I’m looking forward to a string of good Tuesdays to keep things going.

Hang Tough

May Bank Holiday saw Buxton Spring Fair taking over the town once again. In the past we have attended, the first one saw me being told I couldn’t dangle from a tree! but this year we decided to either Go Big or Go Home with our very own Hang Tough competition…. basically grab hold of a horizontal scaffold pole and hang on till you can’t hang any longer

 

 

Tim came up with the ideas and did all the practical work building a scaffolding rig so much credit must go to him.

 

We were very fortunate that The Rope Race in Marple, Substation in Macclesfield and the BMC had provided prizes so we could run a genuine competition with out much outlay. We had a female, male and junior category which were all heavily contested.

It was a great day and we were busy the whole time through, often with queues of people waiting, at the end of the day we even had to turn people away….. some people hung for a 30 seconds while others, as you can see did some pretty impressive times

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The stand out performance weas a young lad called Joel who blew the competition away, staying off the ground for over 12minutes. He has never climbed but won a voucher to go to the Rope Race kids climbing session… so maybe someone to look out for in LA Olympics in 2028!

 

The competition was great fun and it was brilliant to see everyone having a go but the real reason was the let local people know about the climbing club. Only a week later we have had direct contact with 2 people who we met on the day and another 3 have joined the BuxtonMC Facebook site and hopefully will get in contact soon. We also were able to signpost people to the Substation and to The Roperace for intro the climbing tasters as well, so maybe some of those will filter through to the club.

All in all a great day, so we will be back next year… as Tim pointed out, he’s built it now!

For the many, not the few – by Ross

On Saturday I joined a hardy bunch to recognise and celebrate the 1949 National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act, the act that essentially allowed the setting up of the Peak National Park two years later

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The Spirit of Kinder supported by the National Trust, Peak Park, Ramblers and the BMC was due to be held in Winnats Pass, where many rallies pre-Kinder Trespass occurred. The event was not well advertised… i happened to pick up a leaflet, plus a friend works for the NT.  This poor promotion was a blessing in the end as the church could not have held many people… but if the weather had been good, several hundred people packing out Winnats pass would have sent quite a message about the value of sustainable access to our Countryside.

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Winnats Pass late 20s

 

After a few pictures were taken we returned to the Peveril Conference Centre/church for some speeches and a cuppa. Speeches were by Lord Blunkett, the CEO of the National Trust Hillary McGrady, Lynn Robinson the president of the BMC and High Peak MP Ruth George. Realistically though the most noteworthy and entertaining talk was by Pulp Frontman Jarvis Cocker.

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Jarvis

Jarvis talked about his love of the Peak District and that despite living in Sheffield it was never somewhere he and his family felt they belonged until a school trip which non of his friends were looking forward to. The Countryside is now somewhere he goes for calm and inspiration. He is currently setting up and art an discovery trail that will start and end at Edale train station as part of these 70 year celebrations.

All speakers were keen to highlight that a lot has been achieved but that there is much to do. What remains is mostly around sustainable access and use of the national park, encouraging all people to come and visit but having as little of an impact as is practicable. Issues around erosion, re-wilding (including grouse moors), off roading and litter were all raised

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The new generation

The event came to a close with a number of ‘Elders’ of Kinder’ (including BMC Access stalwart Henry Folkard) passing the mantle onto a group of young NT volunteers in the form of swapping badges. Yes it was a bit twee but you cant fault the sentiment, Conservation now needs to be thought of in 50+year plans so the young generation are going to be needed to keep the NP, the NT and the governments feet to the fires.

Two out of two

So two meets into the new calendar and we have a 100% record  (shhhhh!)

A new addition to the calendar was a early visit to New Mills. This would not be really possible if it were not for the floodlights illuminating a decent amou t of rock and mostly the bouldering and sports routes on the viaduct pillar.

We had 5 or 6 members plus a person who had planned to pop down and say hello and were even joined by a climber who didnt know we were going to be there but was walking back on his communte from work. He then legged it home and grabbed his kit.

All in all an excellent meet.

The following week was Windgather and to be fair.. it all looked rather doubtful. Even driving through Whaley bridge i was mentally planning a walk in my head, but i got there and it was dry. Andy had been there from 4 and said you could see rain falling all around by not on Windgather.

Admittedly is was cold and we did have flurries of snow but a number of routes were led and even more soloed by the 6 or so climbers there.

A good start to the year… but dont say it out loud!