Off we went to the Peaks for the penultimate camping meet of the year. It did not disappoint! With 24 people signed up the meet was always going to be great fun. Many arrived late on Friday evening whilst some snuck up early on the Saturday to avoid the queues.
Several contingents of climbers headed to Stanage Popular, which lived up to its name…at least in terms of midges, with whom it seemed very popular indeed. Never before have so many appeared in such a short space of time in these parts, with each MMCer immediately being immersed in a cloud of the irritating things upon reaching the base of the crag. Smidge® (alternatives are available from all good retailers) proved no deterrent whatsoever and the teams were beating a hasty retreat before their bags even came off.
A quick huddle and assessment of the options was held and Froggatt was chosen as a potential suitable alternative, which turned out to be a good choice, as midges were only present in very minor numbers and the Smidge worked its magic against those few that tried anything.
Oli B teamed up with Ifrah and Sarah H for Sunset Crack (HS 4b), Heather Wall (HVD 3c) and Terrace Crack (HS 4b), each one being quite different to the other but all enjoyable in their own way. This was Ifrah’s first experience of Trad, having only done Sport climbing before, and she embraced the challenge head-on.
Matt O teamed up with Christine and Maggie and they also climbed Heather Wall, as well as Bollard Crack (VS 4c) and Gamma (VD).
Matt D teamed up with Matt G and Tom, who was joining for his first MMC Meet. Together they put down Tody’s Wall (HVS 5a), Heather Wall and Terrace Crack, among other things.
Damien paired with Hannah to lay siege to Valkyrie (HVS 5a), with Hannah building an impressive hanging belay at the end of pitch 1. The pair ticked an impressive roster on top of this, with Broken Crack (VS 5a), Diamond Crack (HS 4b), Green Gut (HS 4a) and Sickle Buttress Direct (VS 4c)
The walk-in from the far end of the crag passed underneath Froggatt’s imposing but impressive Great Slabs. Sarah H and Oli B fancied having a play on Donwnhill Racer – a Top 50 E4 6a, so they put up a bottom rope for themselves and anyone also interested in having a go, of which there were a few valiant takers. Oli B managed to top-out on the route after a couple of falls, albeit with a few Ondra-esque screams along the way. On lead this climb is effectively a solo, which given its difficultly is insane (at least for mere mortals like us).
Another appealing route, but still pretty scary for leading, was Brown’s Eliminate – a Top 50 at a more amenable E2 5b. The group decided top-roping this one was the way to go and would be a great end to the day. Matt D was first to go, followed by Oli B, Sarah H, Matt G, Hannah, Matt O, Tom and Damien. Everyone climbed it cleanly with no falls or resting on the ropes… and 8 E2s in a day (month/year/ever?) must be an MMC record!
Whilst all this Trad nonsense was ongoing, Chuck, Stef and Joe headed for some Sport, later to be joined by Paolo and Jobe escaping the flying insects. Routes were ticked all over the glorious venue that is Horseshoe Quarry, highlights included Two-Loos (4c), Latrec (5a) and Thomas Crapper (6a+) in the aptly named Toilet Sector.
Too many beers were had that night in the Travellers Rest Pub to recall all the other adventures people had. So all I’ll say is that the walkers walked and some other climbers climbed! But a great time was had by all.
Matt O, Matt G, Matt D and Oli B headed to Millstone for the second day of action, putting down some fairly big routes between them. Matt O led Lyons Corner House (HVS 5a), which has a tricky traverse leading to an airy and satisfying arete to the top. Matt D led Great North Road (HVS 5a) – apparently the most popular route at the crag, but certainly not the easiest with a strenuous layback middle section and a tricky roof to navigate near the top, it kept on giving. Oli B led Bond Street (HVS 5a), a perfect hand- and foot-jamming crack – it was his third attempt at the route and he managed to get it clean this time, resolving his unfinished business. The Great Slab (HS 4b), Lorica (VS 4c) and Flapjack (VS 4b) were also bagged between them.
This day also saw a mass MMC invasion of Horseshoe as many looked for a short walk in and quick escape back down south. Some classics were ticked including the long routes on the Chocolate Blancmange Wall. Eventually the sun became too much and many started to head home.
A great weekend in the Peaks!
See you all on the next one.