First arrivals on North Lees campsite, after Alix had planted a new MMC flag, were Pradip’s car, bringing Stephen and cyclist friend Neal. Two brand new tents were unfurled in the darkness and the combined efforts of 4 people eventually got them up into approaching the correct shape. Harry’s VW van trundled in to take the slot Alix had been defending all evening.
By 1am Nick Round’s and Oliver’s hire cars had crept quietly in, bringing Nicole, Helena, Ghislain and Michael Ingram. As did Anna and Adriano’s car with Alessia and Marie and Mia-the-dog. On Sat AM, Simon Atkins strolled in fresh from a night in a proper bed. Nick Kemp, Pete Murphy and friends, Chuck and Damien also found their way to the meet during the day.
On Saturday morning it was drizzly but the forecast was promising – and turned out to be right. The team of 8 signed up for the training headed to Hope to meet MIA instructor Ben, to pick up helmets and other kit. Ben wasted no time in leading the cars off to High Neb on Stanage as the weather cleared. He got the team to set up their own top rope anchors using first only the rope, then slings and the rope, then finally placed gear. The range of routes went from V Diff to E2 – so something focus the mind! The E2 slab seemed to have been both a highlight and a lowlight of the day – even for the same person.
Further down the crag near the plantation Simon and Nick Kemp teamed up to tick a list of gritstone classics with Adriano.
Meawhile Anna, Alix and Helena wasted in inordinate amount of time trying to make a gritstone horror ‘go’. The name Hercules should perhaps have been a clue. Eventually, Harry identified a critical hold and finished the route having already dispatched two VSs with son Jobe.
A successful lead each followed for Helena, Alix and Anna who valiantly led Holly Bush Crack left hand (HS) which exits entertainingly through a hole.
Chuck sent Damien up some trad’ leads somewhere and was impressed. Everyone joined in for the curry at Maazi in Hathersage where we took over the whole of a side room.
Sunday was dry although windy and the training team had what Ghislain described as a ‘perfect day’ at Ash Tree Wall Burbage North with the instructor. Sheltered from the wind they put in their own anchors, climbed, abseiled (on a safety line) and practiced seconding Ben on a trad’ climb.
Prospective new members from front, anti clockwise: Stephen Nathan, Ghislain Henry, Nicole Meehan, Pradip Pun, Alessia Strinati, Nick Round, Marie Uri, Ollie Willmott and their instructor, Ben.
Simon and Nick K continued ticking classics at Stanage Popular end. Chuck and Damien ventured to Froggat for a 3 star HVS. David Dees arrived and joined Michael, Harry and Jobe also at Froggat where Jobe continued to consolidate his trad’ leading and routes VDiff to HVS were conquered between the four. Anna and Helena opted for Sport at Horseshoe Quarry and Alix went for a walk up Winhill.
On Sunday evening, various social calls were made around the region by club members whilst the prospective members squeezed in some evening bouldering before putting new stoves to the test.
Monday did not start well. Persistent showers sent the majority of members home and the rest to the Outdoor Café where David came to meet the new-to-outdoors team. Some cars headed back to London whilst Nick Round, Alessia and Ghislain took the gamble on the weather, following David to Birchen’s Edge. They were rewarded and were able to do ‘mock’ trad’ leads of 2 routes each, with David’s assessment of their gear before the seconds came up to take it out. David was impressed with their anchor setting and the techniques Ben had taught them for self assessment.
It was delightful to see seven of our Bowles Rocks climbers again and to meet Nicole and Helena for the first time. We hope to see you all again soon.
Our thanks to Guy Wilson of Pure Outdoor and instructor Ben for packing so much good quality instruction into 2 days.
Meet report by Alix Harrower