Tuesday, 30 August 2011

A weekend of fun

Some friends came up for the weekend, which is always good. Its wonderful to see the London scales fall from the eyes of people as they wander off the train... well, to be honest, its normally too dark for them to see much when they get off the train, its the morning after, getting up and looking out onto the hills (through the mist) and going... does it ALWAYS rain like this?
The result of a weekend in our house.

The original plan was to head up to the Roaches on Saturday for a bit of climbing. Our guests had never climbed there before and it is certainly a fantastic place to go, both in terms of the climbing, and also in terms of the atmosphere. Up early and out, thats the way forward. None of this slacking around in bed for hours. We drove out of Glossop and up over past the Grouse, and the whole place was blanketed in mist and rain. Not entirely boding well for conditions at the Roaches.
We carried on, and saw glimpses of the sun, but really nothing to make us feel overly excited about the prospect of finding dry rock. After 30 mins we got to the parking under the Roaches, and true to expectations, it was a total washout. The rock wasn't so much wet as seeping. However, if you haven't been to the Roaches before, its still worth a wander around with the guide book, see whats what, look at some famous places in climbing history. As we were there at 930 we decided to have a wander around (also with the faint hope that during our time there it might just brighten up).

Wandering around, the atmosphere was brilliant. Mist tendrils brushing the trees, water dripping off rock, photographers standing in odd places trying to get "the" shot.
We walked past the lower tier, marking climbs that we would like to do, to the upper tier, again, earmarking areas, and imagining the weather to be crisp, cold and bright, perfect for a decent bit of friction, and then coming back to the fact it was damp, chilly and getting wetter.

After a while, looking about at places in the Roaches, and gazing across to Hen Cloud, which was in much the same condition, we trudged off, and decided rather than bail, - storm over to Yarncliffe and have an afternoon of amusement there instead. I know its not the most picturesque of places, and I know its not the most classic area of climbing in the Peak, but it was dry, it was sheltered, and we got an entire afternoon of climbing there.
Only slightly marred by having to rescue someone off a climb because they had a self-defribulator that was shocking them, a belayer who had never belayed before, 2 screaming kids and on his first lead for 12 years. That was fairly amusing and test of quick thinking and improvisation. It worked though, and we got him down without any dramas.

Second day was not much better in terms of weather, though the sun was occassionally shining through. The call of the day was to the hills, a bit of a run, and then, if we feel up to it and the weather allows, a bit of local climbing as well. The girls drove off up the pass to get more of a flat run in, while we boys went from the house to see how much height gain we could get. Well, not really, I don't think they realised what kind of hill they'd be going up, but it was fun to do anyway.
Over Shire hill and up Doctors Gate, on up to the cloughs, and hang a right up the Shelf Moor race route to James Thorn. That was a killer of a hill, and there was a lot of walking going on there. Still, a decent pace was kept up, and we eventually got to the top. The weather was helping a little with quite a tailwind battering us from down the valley. It was also bringing a fair amount of rain as well, but that was a mere footnote.

Up to the Lancaster wreck and the decision whether to contour around the top, or dip down and then up through the peat and heather. The latter was of course the decision of the day. Half way through the muscle sapping craziness I saw 2 waving characters at the crest of the hill, the girls. Amending my course I carried on up the hill to them, sweating away like a proper runner.
By now the sun had come out- but it was still windy, so the windproof had come off, and the weather was feeling prettu nice on the back. After a short pause for the others to catch up, we trotted across the heather and bog to "overexposed" to mull over the B-29 wreck for a short while, then another bash across the bog to Herne Stones where the Kendal mint cake was broken out and we had a short break.
Herne stones sugar stop

At Herne we said farewell to the girls and went Northish up to Wainstones- taking pretty much a bee-line. The great thing was that pretty much wherever I was going, the other two were following no matter what. So I have to admit I didn't really take much of an intelligent path, but just ran through whatever appeared in front of me, no energy saving, no dodging through groughs, bang up and over. I have to admit I fell over a couple of times, and shoes were nearly lost, but it was fairly amusing.
At Wainstones, a left, and head down toward Glossop, in order to hit the edge of Shelf moor just at the right place to dive down into Yellowslacks brook and straight up the other side to Dog Rock. We startled a couple of Hares and had a brilliant time coming over the moor. Not all out running, it just wasn't the terrain for that, but still at a decent speed.
As we hit the edge there was a comment "oh, I see what you're doing". Yup.
Straight down. As Rob commented, "nice route finding".
Good route finding

Getting up to the top of Dog rock I noticed that my garmin was off. Ah. Must have knocked it when I fell over in a bog at some point. Ah well. Switch it back on again, and carry on going. Over the moor, up to the top, down to Cock hill and back down to town. A lovely run, with some great company.

Note- Baregrips all the way, felt fantastic, no issues downhill on peat etc. and they really made me forefoot strike on the way up on the track. Wouldnt want to run down the track in them though. Montane H20 top was excellent, its beginning to delam quite spectacularly though.

The late afternoon was taken up by a brief visit to Hobson moor where it rained, so we set up a couple of Top ropes on an E3 and an E1. I was pleasantly surprised that I could actually do the moves, and the E1 felt really quite good. Not sure I would want to place protection on lead though, but the footwork was really good, it just flowed really well.
All psyched up and ready to climb
Maybe I'm leading just a little too conservatively for my actual ability...

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