Steve Wilson and Dave Wynne were the only two members attending this meet along with visitor Andy Mac.
Meeting at the reservoir car park we walked up to the crag on a sunny and hot day arriving at the crag after about an hour.
First up was Steve on the Atherton Brother’s (S4a). A rather disjointed route in my view and not without a challenge at 4a! Definitely at least a 4b move half way up.
Next was Andy’s lead on Via Principia (S4a), a beautiful Severe. The book says it is a contender for the best Severe in Britain and it was very good indeed.
Dave then Umm’d and Ahh’ about whether Monkey Puzzle (VS4c) was a good bet or the one he really wanted to do.. Stable Crack’s (VS4b). On viewing the off width crack from the ground he felt it “didn’t look to bad”. It was also agreed that Steve’s Camelot No.6 (specially flown in by Chinook!) was even to large for the crack.
So Dave set off on the first move…..and fell off. (4b? I don’t think so!). Fortunately he was held by a 00 Camelot placed in a horizontal break and the No. 6 Cam in the large crack just above it. Now a little embarrassed by the initial fall from the first moves Dave set off again and just made the first hold, truly desperate move at 4b. Once established lovely moves (and well protected) were made to the base of the crack. Staring up at the 12 foot off width from it’s base however brought on a GULP!
I think I will try that Cam 6 he shouted down to Steve and Andy. After some effort the CAM was hauled up on a rope. It didn’t fit! Not even close. Expletives followed and the Cam was lowered back down.
Dave now contemplated his position. Calculating roughly the next available protection point above the crack vs the consequences of a fall from that position and decided to back off.
On the ground there was more umming and Ahhing. Steve decided to have a go, tied on and set off to the crack with the Mega Cam attached to his harness. Managing to step up into the crack he found that if he really squeezed the CAM as far as it would go it fitted in the crack higher up. Steve then finished the route. A great credit to him.
Andy then followed up to the Cam. It wouldn’t come out! He waggled it, kicked it, bit it, shouted at it, but it wouldn’t shift. Andy passed the Cam and climbed to the top. Looking up at Steve’s face on top of the crag I could see that the thought of losing £100 worth of gear was killing him. Dave then set off and got to the Cam, he wiggled it waggled it, stabbed it. It wouldn’t come out. Dave climbed to the top. It was now clear that Steve was not going to abandon his treasure.
Dave set up a belay and lowered Steve down to his Cam. Steve was carrying a very large boulder and a stern look. After much thumping and banging from below came a cry of elation as he managed to release the Cam.
Climbing back up triumphant I did question whether the Cam was fit for purpose after such rough treatment.
By this time the day had gone but I think we all really enjoyed ourselves on this new venue. I can highly recommend it though the grades may be a little deceiving.
A Great Day.