Sun 10th May, 1998
Peak Climbing - Black Rocks
Members and Guests:
Dave Dillon, Chris Williamson, Al Metelko, Rob Allen, Robert Clark, Tony Major, Rick Davies, John Hyde, Matthew Pennington, Mike Howlett, Dave Wylie (meet leader).
Black Rocks is evidently a "Real Man's" crag, as it seems the Ladies [Luncheon Club] were "having a picnic" at Birchens instead! They don't know what they were missing (or, then again, perhaps they DID know...).
The weather was a bit drizzly on the drive down to the crag, but once there it was warm, dry, and occasionally sunny until about four o'clock.
Four routes occupied most of the day: "Lone Tree Groove" (VS 4c), "Lone Tree Gully" (Hard V-Diff), "Birch Tree Wall" (VS 5a) and "Birch Tree Variant" (VS 4c). The guidebook seemed to be a bit confused about the last two routes, with the descriptions not really matching up with the rock at all. The grades given in the guide also seemed a bit different from the reality!
"Lone Tree Groove" proved to be the most tantalising route, with an "interesting" move to gain the groove itself. Everybody did it differently. Al took his time, but got there in the end. Dave W had to have two goes at seconding it. Rob Allen make it look easy. Most unlucky was Chris, who was just at the making THE move, balanced with his left foot on the crucial polished smear, when the heavens opened and literally washed him off the route. The gear had to be retrieved by abseil. There were quite a few drowned rat impersonations among the climbers who were actually on routes when the rain came. Did Mr Dillon get any blackmail 'photos with that new camera of his?
Overall, a very worthwhile meet. (Though it's a shame that nobody had a go at "Gaia" ;-)
In an increasingly desperate attempt to (a) go somewhere new and (b) get a bit more mileage out of the Chatsworth guidebook that I've only used once so far, I've picked Black Rocks for the mid May Sunday climbing meet.
There are loads of routes here at virtually all grades: from six Moderates up to two E8's (and even an unconfirmed E9!). Plenty of starred middle grade routes for us to have a go at if we're not feeling up to "Gaia". And there's bouldering too - what more could we wish for? (Stop that muttering about Pubs and Tea Shops...)
To get there, head South from Matlock a couple of miles down the A6 to Cromford, then follow the B5036 South towards Wirksworth. Just over a mile uphill, a lane forks left. This should be signposted for the crag. There is a car park along here according to the guide, only two minutes from the crag (which should be clearly visible).
I should be turning up at the crag in the late morning sometime, probably around 11-ish. See you there!