Lake District, 16-17th June 2018

The Lake District, 16th-17th June 2018

This weekend was only the second club trip for this CCCC hanger-on-turned-member, and it proved to be a very rainy weekend of mountaineering. Unsurprising, of course, for the Lake District. However, there’s still a full weekend’s worth of activities to report on since a little bit of rain wasn’t enough to deter us. The trip was attended by: Kirill, Sam, Anders, Charles, Graham, Andy B, Andy S, Ciaran, Sarah, Grace, Lydia, Pete and Steve.

Saturday saw most of us go for a long walk, while Kirill, Charles and Pete headed to Kendal for time at the indoor wall, followed by a couple of routes at Raven Crag Walthwaite in the afternoon. For the walking contingent, the day was sold to us as being easy and full of pubs – i.e. suitable for the day’s sporadic showers and low cloud base. This was an accurate description for the second half of the walk; the first half was a bit more dreich. Graham led us up onto Silver How, a low summit, but one around which the cloud was already firmly wrapped. A misty cairn was reached after difficult walking along on a direct bearing, as well as the group separating and managing to meet up again near the summit. Then it was off again along the bearing with thoughts of the pub in Grasmere growing louder in everyone’s heads.

He's really one step above the ground

Anders ‘climbing’ during the long, wet walk to Easedale

Still, this bracing walk between Silver How and Easedale Tarn definitely made us feel that we had earned our pints later on. And it wasn’t as bad for me as it was for some; poor Steve got very cold with his jeans, trainers and not-quite-waterproof jacket. He stayed put at the first pub, and made his own way back to the campsite in Langdale once he’d dried off.

The first pub to play host to this bunch of sodden mountaineers was Tweedy’s in Grasmere, where we stayed until the sun came out. The rest of the walk took us to Rydale (pub = Badger Bar) and then around the lake and back to Langdale (pub = Britannia), via some very exciting caves. So we earned the fourth ‘C’ in the club’s name. My favourite cave was one which was mostly submerged, with a lovely row of stepping stones to the highest, driest point of the cave.

Reflections in the half-submerged cave

The weather had improved a lot in the afternoon, but we were still treated to the odd shower. Inevitably, despite some among us having pre-cut vegetables (that would be Anders and I), we ate in the pub. The rest of the evening was spent in a different pub, Wainwright’s, playing our novelty card game, ‘Exploding Kittens’.

A glowering sky followed us around Rydal Water, intermingled with glorious sunshine

Sunday dawned grey and wet. There was much shaking of heads and wondering about indoor walls or driving to Yorkshire, and a scouting crew drove off to the café to see if they could access the forecast, there being no signal in the campsite. In the end, though, we just went for it, picking the easy-access, single-pitching crag, Raven Crag Walthwaite; warm weather and a drying wind meant that classic routes were surprisingly climbable, and everyone got at least two or three routes done there. Climbing as a three with Anders and Lydia, I pulled off the second pitch of our first climb, Route 2 (HS**). I was told that I missed all the good footholds lower down, since I’d over-relied on the higher handholds; a classic example of making things more difficult while on lead.

With spitting, on-and-off-again light rain, we went ahead with our second route of the day, Route 1 (S*). (Both routes are classics, and had bottlenecks, meaning that there was a fair bit of waiting around involved as well.) Anders led this one, pretty easily, and Lydia and I followed as the rain picked up. After a descent on wet grass in rock shoes that was probably more challenging than the route itself, we joined the others who had already bailed to the nearest café.

Meanwhile, Kirill, Pete and Sam had headed to higher ground, aiming for what was described as a ‘wet V Diff’, aptly named The Cambridge Climb. However, they decided against this due to the long walk in and the low cloud, and headed to Middlefell Buttress (D*), led by Kirill and Pete. This enabled them to get to Gimmer Crag, and they were then able to do Bracket and Slab (S***). Sam lead the drier first pitch, and Pete and Kirill swapped the the remaining pitches as the drizzle began. This slowed them down, but not enough to spoil their successful day.

As people fractured into groups for the drive back, some headed straight for Cambridge while others – us amongst them – aimed for another crag. Aided by Charles’ knowledge, we did another two routes of sport climbing at Giggleswick. That is, Anders and Charles did another two routes – I did only one, since ‘Ugly Duckling’ looked like so much of a struggle! Charles, on lead, fell off several times and Anders really had to pull it out to make it up. Very pleased, and very pumped, he then led most of an easier route for me, but couldn’t get to the final bolts, which were out on an awkward traverse rather than actually the top of the route. We sent Charles up it instead, and only after having done it did he see that a more sensible anchor had been placed at the top of the route, just out of eyeline. Graham, Andy B, Andy S and Grace also had some fun on nearby routes, until the rain caught up with us at this crag, too. A final stop in Bradford for curry, and then the long drive back to Cambridge: we got back at half past midnight, and slept well.

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Scottish Winter Trip, 23rd-26th February 2018

Ten club members attended the winter trip this and thankfully this winter has turned out to be a classic especially compared to last winter and everyone took full advantage of the fantastic conditions and weather.

Seven of the team were especially keen and drove up to Glencoe on the Thursday night before grabbing a few hours sleep in or beside the cars in the Lagangarbh car parking area – you have to be really keen to endure this type of approach! Despite the reduced sleep three teams managed really great routes on Buchaille Etive Mhor on Friday:

Curved Ridge II/III Kirill and Anna
Crowberry Gully IV 4 Paul, Celso and Ian C
North Buttress IV 4 Pete and Ric
View of Buachaille Etive Mor

Photo: Celso Barbosa

Later that day Andy drove up from Glasgow and managed some scrambling on the lower slopes of the Buchaille, and Ian D and Rose drove up from Cambridge. Everyone stayed in the Bank Street Hostel in Fort William which is best described as functional. If you are a light sleeper it may not be the place for you on a weekend though.

Saturday was a day of blue skies but quite a stiff easterly wind. Three teams headed for Ben Nevis and two teams had a mountaineering day on Beinn a’ Chaorainn. Ben Nevis was very busy but for the most part the three teams chose routes which avoided the crowds, while Beinn a’ Chaorainn was very quite except for a rescue helicopter dropping off rescue team members searching for a missing walker, and a steady stream of Munroists.

Ben Nevis:

Zero Gully V 4 Pete and Ric
Harrisons Climb Direct IV 4 Kirill and Paul
Glovers Chimney III 4 Celso and Andy
Climber smiling below a steep, snowy gully.

Photo: Andrew Halley

Beinn a’ Chaorainn:

East Ridge II Ian C, Anna, Rose, Ian D
Climber on a snowy ridge, holding an ice axe.

Photo: Ian Dillon

Sunday turned out to be an even better day, one of those winter days that you really dream off. Blue skies and no wind, and even warm enough to climb with no gloves and hat (at least on those routes in the sun). How many times do you stand on a Scottish summit in winter with zero wind taking layers off?! Two teams headed to Creag Meagaidh and two to Aonach Mor.

Creag Meagaidh:

1959 Face Route V 4 Pete and Ric
The Pumpkin V 4 Kirill and Paul
Climber sat on a snowy plateau in bright sunshine.

Photo: Kiril Spiridonov

Aonach Mor:

Daim Buttress (variations) III Celso and Andy
Western Rib III Ian C, Anna and Ian D
Two climbers in front of a rock slope.

Photo: Ian Dillon

Monday was essentially home day and marked a change in the weather with cloud laden skies down to about 1000m and quite a stiff easterly breeze. One team called it quits and headed home, one team went to Aonach Mor heading for the east face but were thwarted by the wind and eventually ended up at Trowbarrow in Cumbria (!), and the third team went to Beinn Udlaidh.

Beinn Udlaidh:

Quartzvein Scoop IV 4 Paul, Celso and Ian C
Ice covered mountain crag.

Photo: Celso Barbosa

Trowbarrow:

Jean Jeanie VS 4c Kirill and Anna
Harijan VS 4c Kirill and Anna
Aladdinsane E1 5a Ric and Pete (with Ric leading this in winter climbing boots!)
Climber high on a featureless rock wall.

Photo: Kiril Spiridonov

Everyone went home with smiling faces and ‘Blue Sky No Wind Sunday’ will be talked about for along time. Will you be joining us next year?

Words by Ian Dillon. Photos as credited.

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Pembroke Range West

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by T Eveleigh The annual journey to the end of Wales took place somewhat earlier than usual this year. Normally a fixture of the August bank holiday, this year we found ourselves pitching camp at St Petrox on the late … Continue reading

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Easter 2014 – Cornwall

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Here’s a few pictures from the Easter trip to Cornwall taken by Philine. Report by Kirill. On Good Friday most people went to Bosigran, a wall of perfect granite with a lovely outlook. The weather was also perfect and everybody … Continue reading

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Red Rocks, Nevada, November 2013

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by Charles Moreton Feeling surprisingly fresh after the ten hour flight from London to Las Vegas, I almost suggested to my friend Steve, who had come to the airport to pick me up, that we should go out climbing straight … Continue reading

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Fontainebleau Trip, May 2013

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by Heather Mack Scary ‘just thrust’ top outs, squeezing in holes, sunbathing and silly games in Font… The second May bank holiday eleven of us attended an amazing trip to Font, expertly organised by Alison. After eight months absent from … Continue reading

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Winter Trip 2013 (Part 1)

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(This is a slightly lengthy account of me and Alison’s bothy expedition on the 2013 winter trip to Scotland. Hopefully soon to be joined by an account of the winter skills course by one of the people who did that.) … Continue reading

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North Wales

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by Kirill S. photos Pete A. This meet was attended by 9 members of the club: Graham D, Pete A, Tom E, Pete C, Emma M, Rob T, Johan P, Charles M, Kirill S. Saturday was a typical Welsh summer … Continue reading

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Mendips Trip

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by Gordon Scott Saturday started with ladder practice on the Wessex huts scaffolding tower, the first objective being NOT to put both feet through one of the hut windows! Suitably trained we headed off for GB cave. Taking the easy … Continue reading

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A trip into Alderley Edge Copper Mines

by Jane Bradbury Sunday 13 November 2011: After club members spent Saturday investigating Jug Holes and Knotlow, I had arranged a trip round Alderley Edge West Mine with the Derbyshire Caving Club for November 13, so it was an early … Continue reading

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