Rocky II

Trip Start Oct 10, 2008
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Don Whillians Memorial Hut

Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Saturday, June 23, 2012

I tried to get there on Friday, I really did, but what with my eldest two heading off to Barcelona and the rest of the family packing for Canada, my little trip to Staffordshire got shoved to the back burner. When I did finally set off, I had to turn back after half and hour, as I had forgotten my bag. There comes a time, when you have to take a hint. The Gods are saying "Don't go tonight!"

By Saturday, the Gods had forgiven me and I set off at stupid o'clock, so I didn't miss the day's climbing at the Roaches. There were plenty of BMC members there, plus a few friends and family. Some were off walking for the day and others were climbing. I teamed up with Emma, Lesley, Martin and Rory to tackle some of the popular easy climbs on the Lower Tier. Later on, I did some climbs with Jan, too.

I have been climbing regularly for several years at the indoor wall near me, but my outdoors experience was limited. I was keen to play on real rock for a change, despite the wet and windy weather.

We roped up, first of all, for some easy climbs near the Chalkstorm area. It was Rory's first experience of climbing, and he was dancing up the wall like a jet propelled fairy, making it look like he did it all the time. Emma took the lead rope and I learned about double rope belays, something I'd not experienced climbing indoors. We did Prow Cracks, Corner Cracks and Prow Corner, I think. They are all in the VD/HVD range and get you to practise jamming. At one point I managed to jam my foot in so well, it got completely stuck and I had to use the rope to pull on to get it out again. No, I'm not exactly a smooth operator. Sorry, no excuses.

After a break for lunch and a major downpour, we headed back out. Lesley, Martin and Rory went for the classic Valkyrie route, which goes up, then traverses across to the nose, before ascending another ten or so metres. There's one point where you have to step across a gap, but with no obvious handholds. Leslie had a twenty minute epic trying to sort out how to tackle that one, while the wind blew their words away and the spectators gathered.

Jan and I took on HVD Yong, a cracking crack with little for the right foot to use. Gritstone, however, is very grippy and smearing is not a problem. The wind at the top was phenomenal. It was hard to walk coming down the steps, as the wind charged up the gully in a rage.

In the evening, we headed off to the pub for a bit, then back to the hut for food and chat. It was great to see all my friends and catch up.
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