Monday, 25 August 2008

Once in a Millenium

Bank Holiday Monday - Dave and Brian were keen to help me to the 1000th Stanage route so we tootled out to the Plantation car-park. It was windy yet again, a bit of theme this summer, but we cracked on - this time it was the turn of Elastic, Pedlar's Wall, Bouldering Matt, and Blue December Day. No classics amongst them but a few worthwhile offerings.
Just as I was about to set of on number 1000 (perhaps aptly it was to be Old Smoothie, an odd traverse above BAW's Crawl), Sherri rolled up to join in the moment which was nice, even better, once back at base she pulled out a bottle of bubbly and four glasses so we celebrated in traditional fashion!

It has taken 40 years and 8 days - not a very impressive rate but we got there in the end By the look of it there are still a few more to do too!

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Rubies in the Grit

The last few visits to Stanage and my quest for the one thousand routes got me thinking. When I got home on Sunday (8 more making 985) I dug out an old diary I used to keep back in the 1970s. Rather amazingly it turned out my first visit to Stanage was exactly 40 years earlier to the very day - 17th August 1968 - and it was with Colin (and Pete Ackroyd).
I can still remember the journey down in the back of Colin's van from North Yorkshire (in the hammering rain), camping at North Lees and getting up just after dawn to walk up the road and get a first look at mighty Stanage. It must have made quite an impression.
40 years on and still climbing on the same cliff with the same partner - mind you 1000 routes in 40 years is pretty slow going!

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Kinder Reprise

The indifferent summer weather continues but by grabbing the best of the weather we are managing to get out regularly. Colin and team came down Wednesday and we spent a good day on Stanage. We hunted out 10 routes I hadn't done before, though some were rather indifferent! I sat down with the guide and did a tally - I make it 978 routes done on the cliff - so that is 22 to go!

Friday was clear and sunny for the second week in a row so it was back out to Edale and up Crowden Clough, this week the breeze kept the midges at bay. We wandered round the amazing boulderfield of Whipsnade, I photographed the four cliffs I was after, then we trundled back down Jacob's Ladder. Six miles, 1500 feet and 104 shots - another chunk sorted!

Saturday, 9 August 2008

Kinder - a Pleasant Surprise!

A mixture of very hot sweaty days interspersed with periods of rain have been putting me off tackling the photographs of the Kinder cliffs for Western Grit - most of the other areas have been going well, but always there has always been that big, high dark moor lurking in the background! The offers of help with the photography never came to anything (what a surprise!) so as ever, it was down to me and Sherri.

We grabbed the first cool bright day for a few weeks, parked at Edale and trundled up Grindsbrook to the plateau. The walk was pleasant apart from the final steep section of the stream that was thick with clouds of midges that hung in the still air - truly horrible. Fortunately the wind on the rim cleared the little bastards and we enjoyed the walk along the edge, the heather was at it glorious purple best. I photographed Nether Tor and Upper Tor on the way. Two down - plenty more to go!

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Three (***) Stars

We (myself, Dave and Steve) had set off for Wimberry, but once over the hill, the clouds were lowering and there were spots of rain in the wind. We stopped below Alderman for me to get a crag shot and it looked so inviting we decided to head up there without further ado. Dave and Steve had never visited the place and I had done precious little there. The grind was soon over and we zipped up Great Slab, two pitches and three stars (at least in my guide!), the first a pleasant and mild slab, and the second a steep strenuous and tough jamming crack. 
I did a bit of soloing, then we skidded back to the car in heavy shower and tootled round to the interestingly named Running Hill Pits, a series of quarries above Diggle. I have climbed there a few times over the years but had never done THE low grade classic - Plumbline VS 4c. Steve dispatched it in good style, Dave and myself nipped up it (superb actually) then we toured the rest of the quarries so I could photograph them for the new Western Grit.
Heading back to the car it rained yet again, but we didn't care, only a gentle day but two three star routes I hadn't done before - now that is a rare event!

Dreaming of the HubenDolomites

High above Canazie Canazie and Marmolata The ten days in Austria were great despite a breakdown in the weather towards the end of ...