25th March, 2011

The unseasonably warm March weather caused members to flock to the Lakes, eager to bag an early route. Saturday was bright and clear but over optimism led us to choose Little How as a destination. The clouds soon turned the sky grey and by the time we were gearing up, we were wearing five layers and had thick socks under our rock boots. Its never a good omen when you have to stop half way up a climb to put on gloves. At the end of the route we had a unanimous vote to retreat which was followed by tea in the warmth.

Sunday brought clear blue skies and the promise of a much warmer day. Raven Crag was soon swarming with parties basking in the sun and enjoying the delights of Evening Wall and Original Route along with an creakingly slow accent of Subsidiary Ridge by yours truly. It would appear that I haven’t forgotten how to climb during my lay-off, I’ve just buried the memory deep in my subconscious and it takes time to bring it all back up to the surface!

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The Perils and Pleasures of Portland

11th March, 2011

By Ann Jamm
What was I thinking? Portland – steep sport, hard, polished, windy – I really hadn’t thought this through. I’m struggling on a 4+ for goodness sake (equivalent 4c – yeah right) and can see no way up over this bulge – what’s a bulge doing on a 4+ anyway? Saturday morning had started well, with full English breakfasts all round at the Youth Hostel.

We headed to Cheyne Weares, where I ‘cruised’ Tombstone – a well deserved 2-star 3+, then seconded Valerie’s Patio (3) – so far so very pleasant. Having warmed up, I then upped the stakes (as per my Sports Plan), and opted for Jody Sunshine (4+) which was satisfyingly challenging – I reached the lower-off with ahem, only 1 pt of aid. Now this debacle. I lowered off and sportingly offered the lead to C….., who whipped up it, with no messing about.

But I had thought it through – I’d estimated from the guidebook that there were just enough routes in the Green Zone (Rockfax 1- 4+) to occupy me for a wet weekend in March, at the start of the climbing season. Paradoxically, the gloriously warm and sunny weather was exposing the flaws in my logic.

Fortunately I wasn’t the only one reluctant to ruin their Sports Plan by peaking too early. So Sunday saw me as one-third of a chilled out trio heading for the beach and a day of relaxation on the sunny easy-angled boulder routes of Fallen Slab and Diamond Boulder.

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