Wed 8th Aug, 2018

Robs Rocks - Chew Valley

Members: Andy Stratford, Jared Kitchen, Emily Thompson, Mark Ashley,

Guests: Matt Mitchell, John Smallwood, Luke

Oldham had a torrential downpour around 3.30pm but in sunny Mossley and the cheerful Chew there was no sign of precipitation. We really have got spoilt by the warm temperatures in the evenings so tonight felt like it was a little back to reality with chill breeze – but at least there wasn’t a midge in sight.

This was Jared’s first visit to Rob’s – this was evident as he was considering his normal grade (E2) as a starter. I persuaded him to try Nameless One – a mere VS 4b.....but of course this is the Chew. I wonder if it was named the Chew as many climbers seem to get themselves chewed up on it’s many incredible routes! Anyway, back to bits of gear later Jared made it up the steep wall, espousing a new found respect for the Chew grit and for the obviously esoteric grading used in these parts. Andy jammed his way up and Emily decided half the route was plenty. (Chew 1, Emily 0).

Mark (and John) followed Matt up Letterbox (VD) then got busy enticing almost the whole team to follow him up the crags classic troglodyte route Ylnosd Rib (VD). Helmet on, swearing, helmet off, swearing, gear on bandolier, swearing, right facing, swearing, left facing, swearing, udging, more swearing, hand traversing – it was all going on. Then Luke solo’d it and somehow popped out of another completely unfeasibly small hole in the side of the hill behind Mark’s belay. EPIC!

Andy led the delicate Cascade (HS 4a) followed by Emily (Chew 1, Emily 1) and Matt followed – it was time for Emily’s lead of Letterbox (Chew 2, Emily 1). Sometime later, following the use of a judiciously lowered rope from the top Emily reflected on the letterbox experience.

‘’My leg was having a disco all of its own’’

‘’But you can climb steep Ice really well’’ said Andy

‘’Yes, but I kick really hard and can bury my axes. And it’s not so easy to do that on rock!’’

Matt took John and Mark for a final jaunt up Niche Wall (S) meanwhile Andy and Emily finished on Cripples way (VD) meaning Emily’s final scoreline was a respectable score draw of Chew 2, Emily 2.

Over on the first walls Jared had led Juggle Crack (VS 4b) ‘’much easier than nameless one’’ and finally Nice Edge – another VS 4b. Luke climbed the wildly overhanging prow of fantastic edge at a grade of, you guessed it!! Yes, that Robs Rocks catch all Grade...VS 4b

I have a theory that the pioneers on this crag forgot there was an H in the Alphabet.

The sunset was, as ever from this spot, totally stunning. It had been a beautiful, bright, dry evening at a lovely clean crag. The newly refurbished Clarence hosted the voting and majestic Wilton 1 was duly voted in. See you all next week at one of Lancashire’s best loved quarries.

Andy Stratford

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