Roaches - The Don Whillans Memorial Hut
Fri 7th Sep - Sun 9th Sep, 2018
Meet Report – Roaches 7-9 Sept 2018
Members: Colin Maddison, Mary Stuart, Andy Stratford, Dan O’Brien, Geri Mihalkova, Robert Clark, David Shotton, Michelle Harvey, Mark Garrod, Roger Dyke. Guests: Kate Graham, Dave Rainsbury.
It was a bit cool, damp, and windy, so the highlights of the weekend were the accounts of diving adventures (Kate ) and ocean sailing (David R) by our very welcome guests. Geri is working out how to get into this sailing game….
There was some climbing. Colin, Mary and Andy Friday evening on Prow Cracks and Black Velvet: Sunday – Colin and David R whistled up Right Route and Pedestal Route. Colin asked me to note that after this he soloed The Sloth, Saul’s Crack and Matinee, but in the interests of truth, I won’t. The bribe you offered was not enough anyway Colin.
Mary was so enthusiastic about climbing on a chilly windy day that she opted to do all the dorm sweeping, toilet cleaning, kitchen cleaning etc instead. Mary, you should get a medal.
A copper medal – well, actually a gruesome 5” hand-made copper nail from Ty Powdwr’s roof – went to Andy for sweeping 3 bin-sacks-full of leaves and general debris from the kitchen roof, and unblocking the downspout, in full wet-weather gear. This not only stopped the water dribbling down the wall into the emergency lighting - it caused the rain to stop and the sky to brighten.
Dave Shotton and I took a walk along the ridge to the trig point, inspected Alpha Buttress as the probable location of an early KMC route whose name no longer appears in the guides, and returned to the Hut for lunch and chat. Then pottered over to Ramshaw, looping back to the Hut to finish closing it down ready for the next party.
Two places now available on this Meet as of 22.20 Thurs 6/9/18
You'll have heard about the big fire and the whole area being closed. Well, on Tues 28/8/18 the road was re-opened and access permitted again to the Upper and Lower tiers, the bouldering areas, and Hen Cloud. And the DWMH itself. All these areas are totally unaffected by the fire - I've been to check. Today, 6/9/18, Skyline and the ridge walk are open again but with the caution "keep off the burnt areas".
Climbing, walking, running, bouldering, caving, sheltering from the rain, eating, sleeping, getting fried by the sun… it’s all here.
Bouldering from V0 4a (even I can do that) to V10 (bring Ben Moon with you).
Walking along the Roaches Ridge to Lud’s Church and the pub at Danebridge.
Climbing Diff to E8 6c – with lots of top notch VD, S and VS’s, some needing 2 pitches, and even 3 for “Via Dolorosa” and “Crack & Corner”.
This collection of crags just drips with 3-star routes, including some of the longest on grit.
Bowden Black and other KMC members are responsible for several of the routes, including the superb classic “Valkyrie”.
One of the best Diff’s here is the meandering one-and-a-half pitch “Inverted Staircase”. My happiest memory of this route is following Bowden up it one wet November day long ago. He was belayed on the big ledge, and as I came up I felt along the edge of this ledge for something positive. I put my fingers in a big patch of sticky bird poo, right in front of his feet.
“You could have told me about that Bowden”
“Didn’t need to Roger – you found it for yourself”.
More conventional routes include (in order of increasing difficulty to me)
“Right Route” 1st pitch just VD – but ask me about the 2nd pitch.
“Pedestal Route” HVD
“Jeffcoat’s Chimney” VD
“Tealeaf Crack” S 4a – easier than it looks, but I have fallen off it even so.
“Black Velvet” HVD 4a – 24m in one pitch.
“Black & Tans” S 4a. 4a – same start, bold top pitch.
“Right Hand Route” S 4a – ask me how to avoid the 5a start.
“Damascus Crack” HS 4b - superbly protected (but only if you put runners in, as Neville once reminded me).
“Aqua” VS 4b – it’s just a laugh. Take an ice-axe to clean the crack above the crux.
“Runner Route” HS 4b – nice gear just when you need it, but nothing before that.
“Jelly Roll” VS 4b– fabulous finish, that I only managed with help from James last week… If you can get out of an empty swimming pool onto the end of a diving board, you’ve no problem with this.
“Crack & Corner” S 4c, 4a(?!) has the same finish and a nicer, harder start.
“Technical Slab” HS 4a needs nerves of steel. And little else.
“Rotunda Buttress” VS 4c is another of Bowden’s routes, and has a superb finish.
To the R of Rotunda “Batchelor’s Buttress” VS 4c taken direct is excellent.
On the lower tier, “Via Dolorosa” VS 4c,4a,4c is a 3-star, 3-pitch route, and it’s neighbour ”Valkyrie”,VS 4b, 4c is a must, of course. I’m one of the few people to fall off leading the first pitch of this, but have no problem with the second.
If you’re into HVS and above, you don’t need any guidance from me and you’ll relish “Saul’s Crack”, “The Sloth”, “Roscoe’s Wall”….
For something easier and more direct, to give newcomers a top-rope on, “Breakfast Problem” VD and its neighbour “Days Gone By” share a stonking belay on top of Alpha Buttress.
Or there are the nicely-sheltered cracks at the RH end of the Lower Tier around “Commander Energy”, if they haven’t been bagged by a Group.
Ten minutes away, on Hen Cloud there are a few off-widths to practise on ready for Yosemite, and a scattering of long easier rotes..
400+ routes, all within a few minutes walk of the Hut.
Endless bouldering. Excellent walking.
A café just half a mile away, a decent pub one mile.
There are 2 dorms, a total of 12 places, and it’s £25 a head for the weekend.
Cheque or cash to R Dyke (or electronic transfer to KMC Account 11838301 Sort 16-22-27 and email to Al or me) in advance is the only way to be guaranteed a place.
Lots of info about the Hut at www.donwhillanshut.co.uk
If you decide to come for just the day and not stay, that’s fine. We residents will treat you to coffee & tea, then in the evening you can treat us to supper at The Rock.