Author Archives: iant

Newsletter – December 2002

Editor’s Erratum

Welcome to this bumper edition of the IMC newsletter. Many thanks
to those who have contributed to this issue; in fact I’ve had so
many much stuff a couple of articles have been held over for the
next edition. I’d also like to extend my thanks to everyone who
has helped with the logistics of putting together and distributing
this copy of the newsletter.

I’m going to try and publish the newsletter on a quarterly basis,
with the next one coming out in early March 2003. Please send your
contributions by 28/2/2003, either by email to:

or via snail mail to 10 Princeton Mews, Colchester, CO4 9SJ.

Please don’t stop your contributions coming though, there’s only
so much I can make up once a quarter! Without wishing to create
any expectations, I’m sure many of us would like to read about
October’s caving trip or the Sardinia week …

This issue of the newsletter sees a few additions and some
different formats. Your feedback on these changes would be



President’s Prattle

Welcome to the latest edition of the IMC Newsletter, which I
hope you will find entertaining and informative. Well first if
all it is all change on the Committee as a result of the recent
AGM! From a personal point of view I found myself being elected
as President and I only hope that I will be able to represent
the interests of the club as well as my predecessors.

I am sure you will all join me in thanking the outgoing members
of the Committee (Mark Gilbert – President, Ian Thurgood –
Secretary and Jo Gilbert – Newsletter Editor) for their sterling
efforts over the past year and in some cases several years! They
have been replaced by myself, Mervyn Lamacraft and Mike Bayley
respectively. Dave Scott remains as Treasurer for yet another

Looking ahead it has become apparent that winter will soon be
upon us. In fact, for me this has been a bigger shock than usual
as I have just returned from a month in Nepal (more about that
later) (Next issue – Ed.) I can handle the cold but it’s all the
moisture that the Great British winter brings that pisses me
off! This brings me neatly onto the winter program of events
that you will find within this newsletter, which I hope will
feature stuff that will tickle your fancy.

If you have any additional ideas or if you have any plans which
you would like to extend to other members of the club, please
feel free to inform me or any committee member and we will “put
the word on the street!” Keep your eyes on the website for such

Time for a quick plug. Don’t forget the Christmas Curry (details
somewhere in the Newsletter), which is taking place on Friday
20th December.

That’s enough from me for the moment. I hope you all have a
great Christmas and all the best for the New Year. Whatever
you’re doing on the hill over the winter enjoy yourselves and
stay safe.




Report on the North Wales Trip, August 2002


“So why exactly did Christina and Louise spend 10 hours NOT getting to the
top of Snowden?”

Despite a poor weather forecast, a good crowd (quality as well as
quantity!) turned up for this weekend. We were staying in the campsite near
Capel Curig. The weather was great. Since I had headed up (with Cathy) a day
early, hoping to do some navigation practice, this was not such great
news…but you doubtless all know that mountain weather is fickle. We went
up the interesting East Ridge on Pen-y Ole-Wen, thus avoiding the crowds and
a boring upwards slog. Towards the summit of Pen-y Ole-Wen, we met some
people heading down our route. As we ate our lunch, up they popped again.
You do meet all sorts! Then we had an enjoyable long stomp round and down
the other side of the Carneddau. The next day was climbing in Llanberis
Pass. I was in a group of 6 including Jean and her sister (the amazing
beginners), Cathy, Christina and Mike. Did Mike really want to get entangled
in an otherwise all-female climbing group? Hum. We did some very enjoyable,
multi-pitch routes.

The next day did not get off to such a smooth start. At the last minute, we
realized that Jean and her sister wanted to walk not climb. So Cathy and
Mike teamed up and dashed off to climb Tennis Show on Idwell Slabs. They
were so enthusiastic, they could not wait to leave the car and get going.
Unfortunately, they were a little too enthusiastic. They set off too soon,
and this later resulted in a long cross-country stomp around Tryfan to the

Christina and myself decided to try the Gambit (v.diff) on Crib-Y-Ddysgl We
quickly skimmed the guide book – the route had 3 stars, what else do we need
to know? We got our stuff together. Then Cathy yelled her parting shot “you
do realize you have to carry your pack on that climb, you come down the Pig
Track on Snowden?”
So, Christina repacked into a smaller rucksack that she
could actually climb in. We had borrowed Cathy’s car, and planned to drop
Jean and her sister at Pen-y-Pass, collecting them again sometime before the
cafe shut at 6. But then we discovered the petrol looked very low. Or, was
it diesel? Oh dear. Eventually, a nice chap listened to the engine for us.
Of course, when we finally unscrewed the petrol cap, it was colored green

So, after all the hassle of the morning, by the time we set off, it was
already 11 – not an auspicious start! By 12:30 we had found the foot of the
climb. Since neither Christina or myself had ever been let loose without a
much more experienced friend on hand, we were impressed even by this small
achievement! We had lunch, and then set off up the climb.

An hour later we had a little snack and decided that getting 2m off the
ground in an hour was not good progress – although we had both got up that
same 2m several times, after we learnt how to utilize an abandoned piece of
gear to safeguard our retreat. We also had some moments of high drama when
Christina decided to try an alternative start, which then started to crumble
under her feet. Luckily, she decided to do the next move very quickly,
rather than tumble 3 moves extremely quickly. Well, after a discussion about
whether we would have better grip on the slime wall in walking boots,
whether walking boots could be worn to aid foot jamming, whether a tall
experienced friend would be a help, we decided to give up and do something
else instead – climb the Parson’s nose. This was an easier graded climb – a
Diff. And indeed we ran up it, two very easy pitches, all finished by 3pm.
Unfortunately, that saw us on top of the nose, with air all around. I have
since discovered that nose’s are often like that – live and learn! Half an
hour later we had worked out how to get down to the ledge that connected the
nose to cliff (well, neither of us have done that sort of thing by ourselves
before). That descent would be easier for tall blokes. I jumped the last 6
inches, Christina, being 5.5 inches shorter than me, had to jump nearly a

Now, those who know the area will know that:
there is an easy scramble down from that point
there is a long scramble up from that point

We know now that it is always a good idea to read up on the route the night
before. (Or take an experienced friend along.) I looked around, saw that we
were probably 40 minutes from the ridge. We’d be a bit late at the cafe, but
we could always run down the track. So, we went on. To be precise, we
carried on climbing. We now know why climbing, on double ropes, up a
relatively easy but winding scramble is not a good idea. 40 minutes later,
and we still appear to be 40 minutes from the ridge. Although the conditions
are fine, I am starting to feel a bit concerned. We phone up Cathy just to
reassure anyone waiting for us. We re-assess our moving strategy. Christina
remembers doing the same scramble in winter with just an experienced friend
to push/pull/grab her on the trickier bits. Get rid of a rope; coil the
other so we only use it on the trickier bits (as by now my nerve is shot to
pieces!) Of course, since neither of us has had to coil ropes like that
before, having always had the experienced friend on hand, it takes us 15
minutes just to remember how to tie the rope properly! Women – spent more
time gassing about what to do than actually doing it! It was at this point
that we start hallucinating about cups of tea. Anyway, at long last we get
to the ridge, and get on our walking boots. Rupert is surprised to hear
that we are still on the hill. He is already at Huntingdon. We start to run
down the Pig track. The sight of 2 women pelting down the track, still all
geared up, caused some light relief to the last few people heading home that
evening. We encouraged each other on:
me to Christina: “Come on Christina, I’m catching you up”
Christina to me: “this isn’t even a 5km race pace”

and made it to the car before sunset. There, see we had plenty of time!

It was great to be out climbing on a great hill, with great scenery in good
weather. What it’s all about really. Fantastic company – Christina offered
not one word of criticism on my time estimation, or my lack of bottle. It
was great to do something where we had to make our own mistakes – I hope we
do it better next time. Perhaps we should try our big exploits on a Saturday
rather then immediately before a 5-hour drive on a Sunday? Thanks, deeply
groveling thanks, must go to Cathy who kept calm, sorted out transport,
packed our tents, waited, and waited, and waited for us, then greeted us
with a cup of tea, and drove us much more than half the way home while we



Climbing Ethics, Going Back to Basics

Keith Lodge

During this year’s AGM, I raised a point, which brought about a lot of
interest and concern and I was asked to put together this article for
the newsletter for all members to read.

As the many members who know me will know, I have for many years stated
that I do not like climbing walls. Quite ironic that I should now be
working at Copleston Centre as the Wall Supervisor! But my dislike for
climbing walls stems from their use and the bad habits they introduce to
climbing, especially when these bad habits are transferred to real rock
with fatal consequences.

Fortunately the IMC has had an incredibly good record regarding climbing
accidents and injuries but I feel it is a time bomb; a time bomb that is
ticking and very loudly in my ears. By my working at Copleston I hope to
bring back the true art of safe climbing, whether it be on rock or on a
climbing wall.

Let me firstly direct you to the article in Summit magazine titled “It’s
Your Life” in issue 28 – Winter 2002, which you recently received.
Please read it carefully, there are many issues raised in it, which in
turn were raised at the AGM. One point in particular I quoted was:

Climbers are simply not as competent and risk aware as they once were –
the advent of superficially ‘safe’ environments has dulled that sense of

It was also mentioned that IMC membership subscriptions would have to
increase to cover the increase in BMC affiliation fees to cover the cost
of litigation, which is unfortunately creeping into the sport.

These ‘safe’ environments referred to are twofold; modern developments
in all climbing equipment and of course climbing walls. So, with my
Climbing Wall Supervisor hat on, I would like to point out from what I
have personally observed at climbing walls the sort of unsafe practices
which are causing the problems.

Climbing walls serve two functions. They are a training aid for
experienced climbers to develop their climbing skills and muscles to be
able to climb to the best of their physical and mental ability. They are
also supposedly a safe environment for newcomers to learn to climb
safely. But what a lot of climbers are forgetting in the use of climbing
walls is that the end result to climb on real rock. Many of the basic
“ethics” of climbing are being forgotten and overlooked in the use of
climbing walls, even by very seasoned climbers. What is even worse is
that these bad habits are being observed by newcomers and in some
instances taught as the norm!

The climbing wall at Copleston was built primarily for the pupils at the
school and other schools in the Ipswich and surrounding areas. My main
responsibility as wall supervisor is towards those pupils and their
enjoyment of climbing. As I made quite clear at the AGM, apart from the
personal agony of serious injury, even death, any such incident at
Copleston would effectively close the wall down. From the outset of
instructing the pupils at the school I have emphasised safety. As many
of those of you who know me only too well know, I have always taught and
advised on safe climbing and I can quite openly say that these
youngsters that I have been teaching could put many an IMC member to
shame regarding safety.

The main concern voiced was the height at which people are bouldering on
the wall. Bearing in mind my other article about the wall where I have
described the reasons for not having matting on the floor, it is felt
that the BMC’s concern of climbers lack of ability to assess the risks
in climbing are in evidence at Copleston. Apart from the personal risk
to anyone bouldering at extreme height and to any others below who may
involuntarily become crash mats, there is one element which is being
missed; despite the competence of the boulderer, there is always the
risk that a hold may spin, or may not give the grip anticipated due to
chalk, dust and boot rubber build-up. But of more concern to myself is
the impression left on newcomers to the wall, who observe such high
level bouldering and think they can do that on their first visit –
unaware of the risks, such as the spinning holds and that it is harder
to climb down than up!

I am not one for wanting to impose rules and regulations; I have always
supported and actively pursued the true freedom of being able to climb
without restrictions. But in this instance as there has been concerns
expressed by Centre and School staff and as a self imposed common sense
approach has failed to be observed by climbers, I am having to introduce
a height limit for bouldering. This limit has been clearly marked on the

It is the responsibility of ALL users of the wall to observe this limit
and to warn anyone not observing it. Although I am present at the wall
on a Wednesday night, I am not working. I teach a class on Wednesday
after school and stay there solely to meet and chat to friends and club
members and even occasionally climb. I am not there to police the wall
because I am there. I feel it is the responsibility of the club and club
members to respect and care for the use of the wall, on behalf of the
club members, other users and for the school pupils. Hopefully this will
be the only such regulation introduced at the wall.

As part of our employment at Copleston, Roy Truman, a teacher at
Copleston who also teaches climbing on the wall to school pupils, and
myself have to set up top ropes for the pupils and to achieve this we
have to free climb the slab. Let me say this, for example, a Bomb
Disposal Expert in the army is employed to do a dangerous job, which he
does as part of his employment Would you attempt to dispose of bombs? I
don’t think so!!!!

Other points of concern I have noticed of bad practice at this and other
walls are as follows:

Climbers standing, walking and treading on climbing ropes – Ok so there
are no particles of grit or rock on the floor of a climbing wall, but
again if you follow this practice at a climbing wall, do you do the same
on rock? What about newcomers? Do you tell them not to stand on ropes
and why? Have we forgotten this life-threatening rule of thumb? Do we
not care about our equipment any more? Do we really want our ropes
snapping due to internal damage caused by treading on them?

Climbing Calls – We all know them. We all use them on rock. But why are
they not being used on climbing walls? Climbing walls are supposedly a
safe environment to introduce newcomers to climbing; do you teach them
climbing calls at the wall? Do you use them at the wall? Why are they
being forgotten, are they not important? Why do we have them?

Belaying – I have observed a lack of concentration by belayers.
Climbers, are you truly happy that your belayer is actually
concentrating on your safety? Are they really competent at stopping you
from creating a crater in the floor? Lying flat on the floor is not a
good way to belay and as far as I am aware is never taught. When I climb
I personally want my belayer to belay me as I would belay them – to a
high standard, as anyone who has climbed with and been belayed by me
will know. But if I am not happy with someone belaying me I will say so.
If they are lowering me down too fast I will let them know, not only
them but everyone on the wall Embarrassment goes along way in curing
such bad habits and to have a climber shout at the top of their voice
“SLOW DOWN!!!!” works well, as Jo my partner well knows. All climbing
instructors are taught that there are 3 elements to successful safe
climbing – balance, control and confidence. Letting some one descend at
Mach 3 towards terra firma to me does not indicate control, nor instil

How many times do you show a newcomer how to belay, but do you show them
how to stop a falling climber? Anyone can copy the belay action as
demonstrated; how often I have seen this done and then the demonstrator
starts climbing without having shown the newcomer how to stop a faller?
When I teach belaying I demonstrate how to stop a falling climber, then
I ask a volunteer to climb to the first bolt hold and jump off whilst I
observe the new belayer. I stand in a position where I can grab the
“dead” rope and stop the faller, should the belayer fail to stop them.
This has a twofold purpose, it gives the newcomer the experience and
confidence to stop a falling climber and it gives the climber the
confidence that the belayer can stop them falling.

I would like to finish with 2 further quotes from the previously
mentioned article in the latest Summit. Words from the BMC, not mine.

How far are we off the day when all climbers feel compelled to carry
liability cover? When you can’t visit a wall without it. When the first
question asked of a prospective partner is no longer “What grade do you
climb?” it’s “How much cover have you got?”

We need to say no! To chancers, the climbing leeches, who try it on with
the “I didn’t know it was dangerous” rubbish. In simple terms we need to
go back to a state where climber, belayer and anyone else involved never
forget that climbing/mountaineering is a game where people can get badly
hurt or die. And where all take responsibility for minimising the chance
of this happening”

Keith Lodge
Climbing Wall Supervisor
Copleston Centre
IMC Belayer of the Year 1994


* Glen Coe  –
December 2001
Winter walking in the spiritual home of Scottish Mountaineering


Secretary’s Stuff


A good turn out this year with over 30 attendees. Highlights for your delectation are:-

President Peter Krug
Treasurer Dave Scott
Secretary Mervyn Lamacraft
Rupert Holbrook & Christina Ennis
Newsletter editor Mike Bayley
Webmaster Simon Chandler
Supplementary Keith Lodge; Dave Tonks; Martin Hore; Steve Culverhouse; Cathy Tye; Ian Thurgood; Chris Harbottle

Bottom line – we are in credit to the tune of £814.91

Membership Fees:
BMC’s insurers have increased premiums by 100% so our fees to
BMC have been increased – but not by the same percentage you’ll
be pleased to hear. We will now have to pay to BMC £6.25 for
every member.

Consequently IMC fees for 2003 have had to increase to £9
individual and £15 couples living at the same address (a renewal
slip is attached – Ed.).


  • If anyone has any old climbing shoes (or even rock boots!) that
    are contaminating the loft Keith Lodge will gladly (?) take them
    off your hands – or should that be feet – for use at the
    Copleston Centre.
  • Should we have a few harnesses stored at Copleston for loaning
    to IMC members who are introducing new climbers?
  • Club nights will remain as the third Thursday of each month from
    September to March.
  • A motion was put to the meeting from Martin Stevens for payment
    of fees by standing order which will be investigated by the
    Treasurer and new committee.

I would like to thank everyone for all the support you’ve given
during my spell as Secretary and trust you will give Mervyn the
same support in his new role. I would also like to give a
personal thank you to the outgoing President and Newsletter
Editor (Mark & Jo Gilbert in case you didn’t know!) for their
time and effort.

One last thing – for those that have the capability, please
remember to check out the website as regularly as possible.
Simon continues to put in a lot of his time to revamping and
updating the format and information.

Th-that’s all folks!


IMC Photo Competition, Winter 2002 – Rules

In order to brighten up our IMC web page we are launching a photography competition. Here are the “rules”:

    1. Each member can enter up to three photographs
    2. The photos must have been taken by the IMC member (obviously!)
    3. The photos can be from any date, not just the last 12 months.
    4. There are two categories for which we will select a winning photo
      1. The first is an ‘open’ category, which can be any photograph that you think is relevant to the IMC.
      2. The second category is for photos that show “an IMC member in action!” for whatever IMC activities you think appropriate.
    5. To enter a photo into the competition, send it to Simon Chandler by post (for prints or slides) or email as an attachment. Just ask if you need advice.
      Prints or slides will be scanned by Simon then returned to the contributor within 1 week of receipt. The postal address is: S Chandler, Martlet House, Sandy Lane, Barham, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP6 0PB.
    6. Each photo that you submit should include a brief caption explaining what it is, and when it was taken. Also, tell me which category you’re entering it for.
    7. As they are entered, the photographs will appear on the web (anonymously)
    8. At the beginning of February 2003, club members will be able to vote for their favourite photo. One vote for each category for each member.  Voting will be done by completing a simple on-line form.
    9. The closing date for voting will be the end of February 2003.
    10. The winners will be the photographs in each category that get the most votes by 1st March 2003.
    11. The competition is open to all IMC members, committee included, since voting will be by all members.

Please note that at the end of the competition the contributed photographs
may be used on the website.


Copleston Climbing Wall

Keith Lodge

The Finished Wall

The Finished Wall

On Thursday 29th and Friday 30th August many club members came to
have a preview climb at the newly built climbing wall at Copleston
Centre. Everyone seemed to enjoy the experience and many have been
coming regularly to the wall since it was opened to the public on
Wednesday 11th September 2002. Although the wall is quite small
compared to Stowmarket, we are already talking about extending up to
twice its existing size, starting next summer. However I do believe
it will have some advantages over Stowmarket for many club members.
The most obvious being that for many it will be very local and
indeed for some I spoke to during the preview evenings, within
walking distance! The Centre Management and myself are very keen for
the club members to be highly involved with the Wall in many ways,
one of which is being given a free hand to set routes upon the wall,
as and when required, which many of the more active climbers within
the club have already been doing.

I am very keen not only as the wall supervisor, but as a long
standing member of the club, that club members should have a good
input to the running and functionality at Copleston. I am always
open to your ideas and suggestions. Indeed, I look forward to them
with great interest and, for those of you who have met the Centre
Manager Dave Little, you will know that he is also very interested
in the club’s presence and involvement with the Wall.

One main concern during the preview evenings was the lack of any
form of matting below the Wall. I include here sections from the
“BMC Climbing Wall Manual” regarding this. I have a personal copy of
this manual; should you wish to read further, please ask me when you
see me at the wall.

“There are no existing standards that apply specifically to safety
flooring/matting which are appropriate for climbing on artificial

For climbing which is intended to be protected with the use of ropes, whether this is by leading or top-roping, proficient ropework and belaying will safeguard climbers in the event of a fall, without the need for a cushioned landing. Experienced climbers are well aware of the importance of the rope system and reinforcing this importance by having a firm floor surface will help climbers both at the wall and when they apply similar practices out on the crag.

Traditionally climbing walls had no special surface beneath them, and so climbers not using ropes would climb to a height at which they were comfortable before climbing down. Often climbers bouldering would operate in pairs and one would watch and field the other in the event of a fall, a technique known as spotting. Down-climbing and spotting a partner are good practice, in very common use and to be encouraged at climbing walls. Experience has shown that climbers adapt their behaviour to take into account the landing, accepting the level of responsibility and risk that they would if pursuing a similar activity outdoors.

If thick mats are provided climbers may put much less emphasis on looking after each other and may be tempted to jump off rather than climb down. Young climbers in particular have at times been encouraged to jump deliberately from high on the wall, and this cannot be accepted as good practice.

Thick matting beneath a wall does not in itself make a wall safer.

If matting or safety flooring is provided ensure it is permanently fixed, has a regular consistency and a continuous profile.”

It is due to the nature of the multi-use of the Sports Centre which makes the last statement above impossible to meet. Thus it has been decided to not supply loose safety matting and to place the emphasis on the wall user to climb appropriately as would be done in the natural environment where safety matting is not provided!

There is also a new element to the wall at Copleston in that there
are no anchor points provided, either in the floor or at the base of
the wall for attaching lighter belayers. The wall manufacturers now
no longer provide these with new wall constructions due to the
number of incidences of accidents involving the use of these types
of anchor points. The preference is for the wall management to
supply “belay bags” for the use of lighter belayers. These are
purpose built bags containing 3 stone in weight. They can be
attached to the belayer’s harness with a daisy chain or tape sling.
The belayer can now stand in an appropriately safe place of their
choosing and not be restricted to having to be close to the supplied
fixed type anchor points.

The wall opening times are:

Wednesday 6:00pm – 11:00pm
Thursday 8:00pm – 11:00pm
Friday 6:00pm – 11:00pm
Saturday 1:00pm – 5:00pm
Sunday 1:00pm – 5:00pm

Admission charges will be £3.20 per session, or £12.00 per month by standing order.

Climbing courses will be available for those who require them:

Taster Session: A 2 hour introductory session, designed for those who wish to try climbing to see if they would enjoy it.

Beginners Course: A course of four 2 hour sessions, this is a comprehensive introduction to wall climbing, for those with little or no experience. Over the period of the course you will acquire the necessary skills to enable you to climb at the wall safely and unsupervised.

Improvers Course: Six 3 hours modules. Improve your skills and knowledge with a 3-hour improver module. Choose from one or more of a number of advanced subjects.

Further details of course content and prices can be obtained from the Sports Centre.

Keith Lodge
Climbing Wall Supervisor
Copleston Centre


Contacting the IMC

All enquiries and correspondence should be directed to the Secretary. Until the end of December

Ian Thurgood,
63 Sunnyside,
IP22 4DS

Tel: 01379 651092 (H),   01473 222868 (W)  or send him email.

From January onwards:

Mervyn Lamacraft,
11 St Georges Road,
IP11 9PL

Tel: 01394 277050 or send him email.


Diary Dates

See our Club Meets page for up-to-date details.


Odds & Ends

Recycle your old rock boots

Do you have a pair of worn out rock boots and don’t know what to do
with them? Then bring them along to Copleston Centre and donate them
to the Junior Club for the youngsters to try them out before buying
their own. Any condition accepted, they will do fine for the purpose.
But please bear in mind not many of them are size 10 !!!! The smaller
the better. Many thanks, Keith Lodge

Winter Bouldering Competition

Martin Stevens asks: ‘Is anyone interested in a winter bouldering
competition, around February or March time?’ Please contact Martin if
you’d like to take part.

Lob of The Year Award

A special request from Captain P. L’off: Lob of the year will be
presented at the Christmas curry on December 20th by Keith Lodge.
Please report (snitch) lobbing action to Keith ASAP.

Forthcoming Trips

Lundy, August 16-23, 2003. Simon Chandler has booked 14 places in ‘The
Barn’ and currently there are still 3 places available, at a cost of
£70 for the week. If preferred, camping is also available adjacent to
‘The Barn’. More information is available on the website. Please
contact Simon if you’re interested in going.

Like many, I’m not working between Christmas and New Year. I’d like
to get away during this time for some mountain biking, perhaps in
North Wales or the Peak District. Is anyone else interested? Please
contact me if you are and we’ll see what we can arrange – email or tel. 01206 752176.

Newsletter – August 2002

President’s Prattle

Well, can you believe it is August already and we are now well
into the summer holiday season? I hear that there have been some
good meets so far during the year.

I have ventured out recently to Windgather rocks, rather aptly
named, in the Peak District and was delighted to see some of our
youngest members getting their first real taste of rock (aged only
3 three years!!). I can recommend the crag to beginners to get
some good solid experience of first leads.

We have an excellent start to our winter slide shows this year,
with our special Friday evening slide show on Everest by Mike
Johnston. Whilst we have enough volunteers to take us up to the
AGM, I would welcome volunteers for the early months of 2003.

I am excitedly anticipating our holiday to Norway this year that
will see some challenging rock to get to grips with.

Anyway I’ll keep it short, hope to see you on the rock,

El Pres


Letter from a Club member

Dave Hammond

Dear Mr President,

What mysterious disease occurs when people join your club? Why is
it that folks who have probably used perfectly good English in
their previous life suddenly lapse into old Shakespearean English.
I mean, hey nonny nonny but when they write up their trips they
“retire to hostelries to sup on beverages.” They seem to “avail
themselves off the local sustenance” and “sample the comforts”.
These people suddenly have “breakfast pleasantries” and have “time
for a small libation of germinated barley, water, hops, and
yeast”. They also experience weather phenomena’s of “precipitating

I am surprised they don’t “wander lonely as a cloud o’er hill and
dale”. We are off to the West Coast next week where we will see if
the accommodation is up to scratch, have some grub and a beer or
two and hope it doesn’t piss down. Hopefully we won’t “suffer the
slings and arrow of outrageous fortune” I’m off to partake of
some……………shit, its catching!


Welsh 3000s

Darren Lambert

When a colleague from work mentioned 6 months ago that he was
attempting the Welsh 3000s in June, and suggested we might like to
go along too, Clare and I (obviously fresh from some kind of
recent success) decided to sign up. We were swept into the (very
necessary) military style organisation of what appeared to be a
loosely associated bunch of enthusiastic individuals – one of
those groups where everyone knows at least one other person, but
nobody knows more than three or four others.

We were curious when we received a laminated map – highlighting
the route on one side, while listing all the vital statistics on
the other. Forgive me if any facts or figures I give from here on
don’t agree with yours – it’s not that important! The route
seemed fair enough in theory – we knew some of the Snowdon &
Glyders sections quite well, but had barely ventured into the
Carneddau which is the last part of the route. The vital
statistics were however more of a surprise – 22 miles from the
summit of Snowdon (starting point) to the top of Foel Fras
(finishing point). PLUS a 3 mile walk to the start from Pen y Pas
and a 4 mile walk out from the finish to the pre-placed car at
no-where in particular – quite near the sea (Grid Ref 676716).
Total ascent during the day: 11,400 feet. Then there were a whole
series of tables that you could use to track your own progress at
each way-point (generally the summits) – one table for each
“target” completion time. These ranged from 8 to 15 hours for the
22 mile route. We had no real idea of our own target time,
although we suspected 8 hours would be well beyond us, and that 15
hours was appropriate for families with their reluctant children,
assorted pets and picnic hampers. We probably fitted the 12 hour
category then – we’d done long days in the Alps with big sacks –
we’re people of the mountains aren’t we? – if we can’t do it in 12
hours, then who can?

I’ll tell you who. As it turned out, lithe, fit, trained marathon
runners, fell runners, and tri- athletes – wearing go-faster
footwear, skimpy waterproofs and a bum bag filled with Lucozade
and Fruisli bars.

We met the above for the first time, a bit dazed, at 1 a.m. on
Saturday morning for the short drive from the Bryn Tyrch at Capel
Curig to Pen y Pas. There were 19 of us geared up for the route,
plus a small support team (who were fantastic, by the way). Clare
& I looked a little “frumpy” in our walking gear and what we
thought were small sacks, but our worries were eased a little as
we easily held our own on the walk up the Pyg Track. After the
excited chatter had tailed off (by the time we diverged from the
path up to Crib Goch) I only recall a trudge to the summit of
Snowdon, which we reached at 3.30 a.m. By that time the wind was
up, and it was cold. Visibility was poor and we wondered when
(not if) the rain would come.

Two of our number had bivvied near the summit, having walked up
the night before. Purists amongst you might say this was cheating.
Most of us might say fair enough, but those that did it said they
wished they hadn’t – it had been a cold and uncomfortable night.

The starting gun was fired around 3.45 a.m. and by the time we
reached Crib y Ddysgl, night was turning into day. We descended
below cloud level on the ridge to Crib Goch which brought fine
views and some relief. The party was stretching out even by this
point – the front runners heading back towards us as we scrambled
up Crib Goch, and the tail-end looking tentative with the
scrambling behind. We bagged the third 3000er and headed back to
the col (Bwlch Coch) where we descended towards Nant Peris via
Llyn Glas, Cwm Glas Mawr and Blaen-y-nant – tip-toeing past lazy
campers at the campsite. A quick cup of very welcome char handed
out by the support team, and we were starting the ascent of Elidir
Fawr. 5.15 a.m. and at this rate, we were on for somewhere between
a 12-15 hour finish. We had teamed up with Sarah and which we
achieved at around 12.30 p.m.

The support crew were on hand again to replenish our liquid
carriers, and to bring us news of others. Some had called it a
day (or a morning) back at Nant Peris, while the hares had left
Ogwen several hours ahead of us. This was the last sensible point
to back out – escape routes from here on were infrequent and not
really much of an escape (Bethesda can be reached from the
Carneddau, but it’s a long way). We were ahead of the last
recommended departure time of two o’clock, feeling in reasonably
good shape, and all had the same thought – we may never get as
good a chance again. We decided to go for it.

As we began the third and last major ascent of the day – 2200 feet
to the summit of Pen-yr Ole Wen – we knew that if we could crack
this, we were very likely to finish. Conditions rapidly
deteriorated, and as we reached the summit (after at least three
false ones) we were already in full element-repellent gear. We
feared the driving rain and low visibility was set in for the rest
of the route, and so it proved. We were now ticking off the
summits – there wasn’t much to be enjoyed, other than gradually
getting closer to the end! The compass showed us the way over
Carnedd Dafydd to Carnedd Llewelyn, at which point the route
required a sortie out to Yr Elen and back again. This was duly
completed and a bearing taken towards Foel Grach. The remaining
three summits did not involve much upwards or downwards effort –
each consisting of a pile of rocks along a broad ridge. Garnedd
Uchaf was barely registered as we headed out for the finishing
line at Foel Fras. We found the trig-point at around 7.30 p.m.
and stopped the watch 15 hours 40 minutes after starting it.

Relieved, but realising we still had a tricky bit of navigation to
get off, we headed downwards. Luckily we stumbled across a small
pile of white stones that marked the point where we needed to
change direction towards Llyn Anafon. More descent and suddenly
the resevoir appeared as we emerged from cloud. Navigation was now
a formality, but we still had 3 tough miles of walking ahead.
Brent was barely capable of walking at this point so it was a slow
shuffle to the car, during which a mountain biker screamed past us
at high speed. Had we seen or heard him coming, I’m convinced we
would have had him off and nicked his bike. We arrived at Brent’s
car at 9.30 p.m. which he was incapable of driving, so I drove us
back to Capel Curig – just in time for last orders.

What a great day out.

Newsletter – May 2002

President’s Prattle

Well the season’s under way and I hear that some of the leading
lights are already knocking off HVS’s! Personally, I enjoyed the
Beginners Meet and it doesn’t seem five minutes ago that I was
attending my first. I’ve certainly enjoyed the vertical fun in the
intervening years, and the company of those that I’ve met along
the way. The faces may change but the love of the great outdoors
remains a constant.

Before I forget, thanks to all those that contributed to the
winter slide shows and to Martin for his excellent quiz. As usual
volunteers for next autumn are always welcome.

Anyway I’ll keep it short, hope to see you on the rock,

El Pres


Munro-bagging and bog-trotting, Easter 2002

Peter Krug

In my circular I billed this trip as Easter in Scotland,
99.99% need not apply, and it seemed as if you all heeded my
advice as the only participants of this fest of walking and munro-
bagging were myself and John Penny! We did meet up with Jeff and
Louise Farr on a couple of evenings over the weekend but they had
their own agenda!

I woke up on Good Friday in my tent bleary- eyed having had a
marathon eleven hour journey up and putting my tent up at 2 a.m.
and it was bloody cold too! A few hours kip and a pot of porridge
and I was ready to follow in the steps of Sir Hugh Munro as John
wheeled into the campsite to pick me up and take me to today’s
project. The destination was Loch Awe and the targets were Ben
Cruachan and it’s sister peak Stob Diamh.

I was a bit unsure as to the demands that were about to be
inflicted upon my body. I did not have a single munro to my name
and Ben Cruachan at 1126m was miles higher than anything in
England and what was worse we were starting virtually from
sea-level! A tough baptism indeed but Ben Cruachan is rated as one
of the finer Munroe’s to climb so I was looking forward to a good
day’s walking. Luckily I had been putting quite a few miles in on
the road prior to departure and felt pretty fit. However, before I
could start I had an appointment with a gear-shop because I had
forgotten to pack something. I am on a walking holiday so what did
I forget – yes you’ve guessed it – I had forgotten my f*****g
boots! “Oh dear, that’s an expensive mistake” said the man in the
gear shop at the Green Welly Stop in Tyndrum with a glint in his

We set off from the Power Station deciding on opting out on the
suggested route in John’s guide, which seemed to demand clinging
to the side of a gorge! Found a path and headed upwards and the
sun was beating down on us and soon we were both sweating like
pigs as we toiled in the morning sun. “What’s this about Scottish
weather” I muttered under my breath. We soon reached the
reservoir, climbed to the top and continued along the track before
heading up to the Col between Ben Cruachan and Meall Cuanall,
which was reached in easy time, and we enjoyed a bit of lunch and
some excellent views.

Then it was the final leg up the rocky south ridge of Ben Cruachan
and to the summit. It was a bit busy up there as there was a
rather noisy party of Irish girls (I think garrulous might be a
fair word to describe these lasses as John will testify) and
couple of other folk at the top when we arrived. It was still
sunny and I enjoyed what I was told the rare privilege of enjoying
a view from the top of a Munroe! Pictures taken and then we headed
northwards toward Stob Diamh which featured an interesting down
climb, come scramble, a bit of ridge-walking and a few climbs as
well before we reached the top. En route we enjoyed some fantastic
views into the corries on the north side of the Ben Cruachan
massif if I am permitted to us such a poncey title! We descended
from the East Side of the reservoir before rejoining the earlier
path. A great start and due to the quality German craftsmanship of
my newly purchased Meindl Peru’s no blisters – bonus!

The next morning and the weather had changed. Clouds – this was
more like it! We headed up to the Bridge of Orchy and met up with
a couple of John’s friends who are “completists” which is the term
to describe all those who have bagged every Munroe. Today the
targets were Beinn Dorain and Beinn an Dothaidh and from the road
the tops were shrouded in cloud. It was a good walk and it was
nice to walk with some new faces and chew the fat as we chatted
about our respective walking experiences. We did not get to see
anything from Beinn Dorain but there was plenty of snow at the
summit – come to think of it there was plenty of snow all around.
We were treated to the sight of a pair of ptarmigan – which was
nice! We descended to the Col between the two mountains and had
lunch during which we all agreed how good a film “Lord of the
Rings” is before continuing up to Beinn an Dothaidh. It was on
this leg that I got my first taste of another famous feature of
Munroe-bagging which I called “bog-trotting” although I am sure
there are more colourful ways to describe this facet of
Munroe-bagging and I probably used them later on in the week! We
visited all the tops and commented on how the other tops seemed
higher than the one we were on at any particular time – certainly
Beinn an Dothaidh seemed smaller than it’s neighbours.
Furthermore, periodically we had a view and saw a pretty
impressive cornice overlooking a gully on the North face of the

We made it down safely and believe it or not both tops were clear
of cloud by the time we got down and it was pretty warm too. We
had a drink at the pub and then headed back to Crianlarich.
However, en route we stopped in Tyndrum which was were I thought
Jeff and Louise were staying based on a text message I had
received the previous day and sure enough we found them and had a
meal with them in the pub before heading back “home.”

Easter Sunday dawned – sort of – the cloud was lower today which
was a bit of a blow and there was drizzle in the wind. Today the
original plan was to do “curved ridge” on Buachaille Etive Mor
with another of John’s friends but the weather forecast was poor
and he had opted out. John and I did take a look at Buachaille
Etive Mor because there was a new Munroe (obviously it had always
been there but was only declared a Munroe by the Scottish
Mountaineering Council in the last revision of the Munroe tables!)
which he had not done. We decided against it and sought out a
plan b which turned out to be the nearby Stob a’ Choire Odhair.
This turned out to be an uneventful climb but an interesting
descent as we found ourselves lured into a steep sided gully and
eventually opted for some reverse ghyll scrambling before
eventually finding our path down. Oh, and there were no views from
the top!

I think it is fair to say that the fourth day’s walking was not
the most inspiring. A pleasant start along the side of a stream,
followed by a long trudge across boggy ground followed by a hard
pull up to the top of Meall Glas all in low cloud with
intermittent rain and sleet showers. Then we headed west toward
Sgiath Chuil losing height and staring into the face of what
appeared on first sight to be a gruesome 300 metre ascent to reach
the summit ridge but actually was not too bad! We even managed to
get some sort of view from the summit before the descent
(interrupted by a vicious squall with stinging hail) which
involved a heck of a lot of wallowing in bog.

However, better things were to come on the fifth and for John the
final day. The weather had improved and we returned to Buachaille
Etive Mor and this time went for it. We opted for the standard
ascent route up the gully on the northwest face of Stob Dearg
(Coire na Tulaich) that is one of the two Munroe’s on Buachaille
Etive Mor. This route is very direct and impressive and,
therefore, very popular. There were several parties ahead of us.
It was a cracking walk in – scrambling up paths as we followed the
stream and culminating in an interesting plod through some snow
near and to the top of the gully. The rest of the way to the
summit of Stob Dearg was an easy walk and we enjoyed lunch whilst
viewing the magnificent vista all around us. Rannoch Moor bathed
in sunlight was particularly impressive.

Then it was off to the other Munroe, Stob na Broige which was a 7
kilometre walk along the ridge to the other end of Buachaille
Etive Mor. En route we climbed a particularly impressive mountain
(Stob na Doire) which although higher than Stob na Broige does not
qualify as a Munroe due to some quirk in the system employed by
the SMC in determining what actually is a Munroe. As we approached
Stob na Broige I was certainly thinking why is this a Munroe but
once we had reached it all the cynicism was washed away by the
incredible scenery. We were surrounded by dozens of Munroe’s and
had a grandstand view of Loch Etive and I must admit we lingered –
it was hard to drag ourselves away.

But away we must as John was heading home via some friends and I
was moving tent! A steep descent was followed by some quality bog
trotting (in many places it was easier to ignore the path!). We
said our goodbyes and headed off to our respective destinations –
in my case the Red Squirrel campsite between the Clachaig and
Glencoe. I pitched my tent and was treated to an awesome view of
the northwest face of Bidean nam Bian. Fantastic!

The next day I was on me tod but John had given me some tips on
what to do focussing on easy navigation (as I am not too confident
in this). The weather was not great – well you can’t have it two
days in a row! I headed to Balachulish and did Sgorr Dhearg and
Sgorr Dhonuill, which proved to be quite entertaining! A long hard
uphill pull along a ridge featuring some easy scrambling near the
top and then wander along the ridge through the mist until I
reached Sgorr Dearg at which I needed to use the compass to head
in the right direction for the second peak – and it worked. There
was some interesting scrambling and a bit of exposure on the way
to Sgorr Dhonuill that added a certain piquancy to the day’s work.
However, the fun was not over yet – no way! After another boggy
descent I ended up in a forest following the track as described in
the handbook and happened upon a no entry sign, which I ignored. I
soon found out why they were there as at various points the path
was blocked by fallen trees which I clambered over or under as the
case may be. “Health and Safety – bollocks!” I thought. At one
stage I was faced with a seemingly impenetrable obstacle. Every
option I tried proving a dead-end until I spotted a faint path
heading downhill, which I followed. I clambered over a barbwire
fence and contoured across some scrubland for about half a mile
before I eventually found my way back to the track and to

My final full day in Scotland was spent in the Mamores.
Unfortunately, the week of walking had taken its toll and I was a
bit knackered by this stage but I had ambitious plans and it was a
nice day. In fact it was a bloody nice day with the sun beating
down on me. I took the suggested option of parking at the Mamore
Lodge Hotel and headed up the long track to the shores of Loch
Eilde Mor amidst some wonderful scenery. I left the track and
followed the path up to the lake (Coire an Lochain) which was
still partially frozen. Then it was an arduous struggle up the
slopes of Sgurr Eilde Mor and I begun to realise that this was not
going to be one of my greatest days on the hill in spite of the
breathtaking scenery (thank God I found another adjective!).

After lunch I had an err….. interesting descent before making my
way towards the second of my targets for that day – Binnein Beag
which did not appear to be that hard an ascent but I made heavy
work of it which made my mind up that I was not going to attempt
objectives three and four (Binnein Mor an Na Gruagaichean). In
fact I could not see a plausible path up Binnein Mor from vantage
point in any case. However, because it was such a nice day I
lingered at the top enjoying the views including one of Ben Nevis
and Aonach Beag (not in cloud!) which lay to the north and also
views into Glen Nevis. Then it was time to head down to my car
which was quite some distance away.

The following day was time to go home as I had an appointment with
the IMC at North Lees that evening (it’s not often I get the
opportunity to say I am going south for some climbing!) so I
packed my gear. However, I still had plans for one last fling in
the Highlands as I had decided to tackle Ben Challum which was
just past Tyndrum and, therefore, on the route home.

This certainly proved to be an interesting walk as I started from
the wrong place but managed to find the path and then headed
upwards toward the as yet unseen top of Ben Challum. There was no
real path in sight and I was herded in a certain direction by
fencing that littered the hillside until I reached a knoll. There
was a strong wind blowing, but ahead of me, and of course in the
clouds, lay the summit. However, on the plus side there was an
obvious path which I decided to follow which lead me up the ridge
towards the South Summit which I attained with some difficulty
because the wind was now bloody strong and was threatening to
knock me off my feet. I now followed the instructions in the
handbook but am not sure I found the summit because the visibility
was poor but I did a circuit of the top and visited several cairns
so I reckon I must have found it.

I have some abiding memories of my experiences which are
incredible views (when they exist), some of the best walking
anywhere (and I mean anywhere in the world) and bogs. Another
interesting feature, which entertained me, was how paths appeared
in the middle of no-where and just as quickly disappeared. Strange!

Jubilee Lake District Meet

Mike Hams

Eight of us went to Hollows Farm in Grange Borrowdale for the
Jubilee Meet. The campsite would not accept a block booking so to
avoid the risk of us not getting a pitch the tents were taken by
the advance party of Cathy, Steve and myself. As I finished
pitching the three tents I had brought with me, Steve and Cathy
arrived back from their day on Black Crag, fresh from their
experiences on the three star Troutdale Pinnacle (S). One of the
pair had climbed in big boots due to having two right rock shoes
in their rucsack!

Saturday dawned bright and clear and the weather was forecast to
remain good for the rest of the day. Rupert, Steve, Peter and
Martin headed for Goat Crag above the campsite and the delights of
Preying Mantis (E1), plus the other HVS and E climbs on the crag.
Christina and Cathy walked off for a day on Shepherds Crag, while
Ian and I went across the road to Black Crag to try to get on
Troutdale Pinnacle if the queue was not too big. (It was so there
went my Severe leading experience for the day)

A change of plan saw me leading off on the first pitch of Holly
Bush Corner. My ambitions for the weekend had been for leading
Severe and then maybe having a bash at Hard Severe. Oh well not
much difference between that and VS is there? At this point I was
a little concerned. The first pitch was interesting due to the
large amount of moss on the slab making it slippery underfoot, and
all the big hold pockets being full of pieces of dead gorse which
lodged in at least two fingers. Pitch 2 was a slabby corner which
Ian lead and I slipped on, trying to remove the gear; I really
enjoyed the exposure (not).

I had to wait at the top of pitch three for a young lady to clear
the shared belay on Troutdale Pinnacle. She did not enjoy the end
of the slab traverse while I belayed Ian up to and past the
unforgiving holly bush on the exposed corner. We were both
assaulted without mercy. Pitch 5 was a scramble out over the gorse
and heather and I had finished my first multi-pitch VS.

The trip down was uneventful as we had carried our walking boots
up the crag. We hoped to get onto the pinnacle either before or
after lunch but the queue was still 3 teams long. A light lunch
was rudely interrupted by a plummeting no.3 friend, there was no
warning from above. 4 feet further from the crag and IMC would
have been looking for a new secretary. Our choice of route after
lunch was Troutdale Corner (MVS). I lead off again on a lovely
arete climb, great protection and holds. Ian lead the short 4b
wall climb and for fun we swapped the belay (much head scratching
and this goes where type questions). Ian then stepped boldly
around the corner over a very exposed drop and disappeared. There
was much stopping and starting as the rope was not running well
from the rope ring and kept knitting up. I then lead the short
last pitch, 2m of climbing and a 35m scramble across the heather
and gorse to a big birch tree belay.

On the trip down the tea shop in Grange suddenly exerted a strong
hypnotic pull. (Lots of sun on the crag and a lack of water). We
were joined by Christina and Cathy who discovered the
perils/advantages of relying on old guidebooks when choosing a
climb. The HS climb they had chosen turned out to be a VS in the
current Borrowdale guide, which pleased Christina as it was also
her first VS lead. The rest of the evening was spent in the
campsite with me as midge bait until the barbecue was pressed into
service as a smoke generator. Peter explained how Martin had his
experience broadened in the use of Anglo-Saxon by a second
climbing E1 for the first time.

Sunday dawned overcast and turned wet after breakfast. Team “Lower
the Tone” (Ian, Peter and I) went into Keswick for a gear fondle.
In anticipation of better weather later in the day I bought myself
a pair of ropes and the weather was set for the rest of the day,
sun and heavy showers – the law of Sod had struck. After a stop
for tea at Betty’s we changed the plan to a scramble up Cat Gill.
Two of us had footwear that wasn’t really up to the job but we
were up for the challenge. Highlights for me were solving the slab
traverse over a big pool, one very soggy foot later, and the two
large waterfall climbs at the top before leaving the trees.

On the second climb, the disadvantage of pit- zips was illustrated
by a river going in my jacket as I reached for a hold. After lunch
in a hollow we headed off over the fell for a view of Derwent
water and Bassenthwaite Lake. In the evening we all ate at the tea
shop as a way of avoiding the rain. The food is very good and
orders are taken up until closing time at 7pm. Your sweet will
arrive with the main course if you order late and the owner is a
climber, his wife is Eastern European and the food has a
Mediterranean theme. After a quick clean up at the campsite we
walked down the river bank to Rossthwaite for a libation or two at
the Riverside Bar (Draught Theakstons ales and a vast selection of
malt whisky to work through). The return walk was more interesting
due to the dark and the aforementioned whisky selection.

Monday’s climbing was washed out so we all travelled to Rheged to
see the national moutaineering exhibition. It was fascinating to
see the advances in technology used in climbing gear since
Victorian times. I was especially impressed with the standard of
photography and Doug Scott’s self portrait with smashed ankles on
his long crawl out from the Bonnington expedition. (I don’t think
I would have wasted the energy on a self portrait in the same

My weekend was finished after the Rheged trip as I had to work on
the Tuesday morning. I believe the Yorkshire constabulary have a
portrait of me that I will shortly be invoiced for from my journey
home! I hope they got my best side as I hadn’t done my hair or

Great Wall of China

Just another reminder that Dave Tonks is undertaking a ten day
trek to the Great Wall of China in June. This is part of an
organised trip in aid of the St Helena Hospice in Colchester.

If anyone would like to sponsor him for this event then please
feel free to call into Action Outdoors, see him at Stow climbing
wall or give him a telephone call.


Hospital abseil

Dave Tonks

This will take place again this year at Ipswich hospital on the
6th and 7th of July. Please can you let me know if you are able to
assist/would like to volunteer to help and also, if you could let me
know which day (or even both?).


Hot rock – Sardinia, October 2002

Steve Culverhouse

I’m planning to organise a ‘hot rock’ trip to Sardinia over
October half-term. If I’ve got the dates right that’s 19th-27th
October. We’ve put together a
with more details and the latest news about this trip, so
keep an eye on this if you are interested.

Sardinia is a pretty big place and there is a wide selection of
options but the best i’ve seen so far seem to be the sea cliffs and
some large limestone crags just inland on either the NE or SW coast.
The climbing here seems to range from the mid 5s (~VS) upwards and is
a mix of single and multi-pitch. There is also a lot of Granite on the
Island (which sounds attractive to me!) but I’ve yet to sort out where
the best spots are for that. There are also some almost alpine outings
such as this
17-pitch affair

The distances are pretty substantial so we’ll definitely need to
hire cars

Cost should be approximately:

B&B in UK £30 (optional!)
Flights £100 (Between £70 and £140 depending on what
days/time we want)
Accommodation £80
Car Hire £60
Food £30 (+evening eating out costs)

So I reckon that looks like around £300 + the cost of some
meals out and spending money.

URLs to whet your appetite:

If you’re interested in going to Sardinia in October
get in touch ASAP, by email, or phone 01473

Secretary’s Stuff

Just a brief note of thanks to all who helped at this year’s
beginners meet – and of course to all the willing (or should that
be ‘wailing’!) participants.

As anyone who has organised this or similar scale trips can
attest, it is almost impossible to get it 100% right. So if there
are any attendees who felt that part(s) could have been smoother
or didn’t get from the weekend what they had expected, then we can
only apologise. Overall – inspite of the weather, again! – the
feedback has been very positive. To the beginners & novices – stay
in touch and keep an eye on the website Meetings Noticeboard &/or
your ear to the ground for more trips. To the old hands’ – let’s
encourage the new devotees as much as we can.

Newsletter – March 2002

President’s Prattle

So here we are, the new season is getting underway with folks
heading above and below ground. No airtime yet reported, but I believe
head torches have been required by seconds! I may not have qualified
for “air miles” this year, but I have been falling over a lot. Jo and
I have just returned from a week cross-country skiing in Norway.
Neither of us had worn any type of skis before, but by the end of the
week we were hooked, definitely another string to add to the list of
mountain activities.

There are several events on the cards, with some still requiring
organisers. If you’re interested in helping then contact Rupert or
Christina in the first instance or a committee member if they are not
about. Don’t forget that we are trying some more social events this
year, so give the list a scan and contact Lou if you are interested.
If you fancy trying something not covered so far then drop us a line
and we’ll see what we can manage.

There is one more slide show evening for this season, the subject
as yet to be defined. We have some organised for next winters shows
but we are in need of more, so why not put a slide film in the camera
for your next rip? It doesn’t bite, and I can assure you that the
quality will impress. One thought that has crossed my mind is to do an
IMC climbing year show with contributions from as many people as
possible. Let me know what you think and I try to put it together.

Ian Thurgood, Dave Tonks, Pete Krug, Rupert Holbrook and myself
recently attended a meeting at Copleston School. They have funding to
build a climbing wall in their sports hall and are very keen to
involve us from the start. We explained the nature of the club, and
what we thought we would want from it. We also highlighted some of the
problems that we have encountered with Stowmarket in an attempt to
forestall things like clashes with large groups and wall maintenance.
I believe that we all came away with a very positive feeling, that
this relationship could be beneficial to the IMC. The wall, to be
built by Rock Works, will have less surface area than Stow, but will
be a metre higher. Watch this space!

Enough of all this, the Peaks are calling, see you on the

El Pres


Photography competition

In order to brighten up our IMC web page we are launching a
photography competition. Here follows the “rules”:

  1. There are two categories. The first is an ‘open’ category, which
    can be any photograph that you think is relevant to the IMC. The
    second category is for photos that show “an IMC member in action!”
    for whatever IMC activities you think appropriate. Each photo should
    include a brief caption explaining what it is.
  2. All contributed photographs should be sent to Simon, our
    Communications Officer, by post (for prints or slides) or emailed to him.
    Closing date 31 May 2002). Prints or slides will be scanned by Simon
    then returned to the contributor wthin 1 week of receipt. The
    address is: S Chandler, Martlet House, Sandy Lane, Barham, Ipswich,
    Suffolk, IP6 0PB.
  3. At the beginning of June the photographs will appear on the web
    (anonymously), where club members will be able to vote for their
    favourite photo. One vote for each category for each member. Voting
    will be done by completing a simple on-line form. The closing date
    for voting will be June 30th.
  4. The winners will be the photographs in each category that get
    the most votes by this date.
  5. The competition is open to all IMC members, committee included,
    since voting will be by all members.

Please note that at the end of the competition the contributed
photographs may be used on the website. We will also reveal the names
of the contributors.


Skiing in Hallingen, Norway, March 2002

Jo Gilbert

Well, I have to say that this was the most nervous I have been
before a holiday. Whilst I was excitedly anticipating a weeks cross-
country skiing in Norway, most people I mentioned it to said “isn’t
that hard work? – you have to be really fit”. So Mark and I tried to
prepare with some running beforehand so that we were ready for
whatever was thrown at us!!

As it happened, we both had more than enough stamina for the weeks
skiing ahead and it was great fun. The first day out we were taught
the basics of diagonal striding out in the loipe’s (cross-country ski
tracks) which was not too bad to pick up, but a little play on a
gentle downhill slope before lunchtime showed us we still had a lot to
learn. There was quite a bit of falling over by most of the beginners
in the group.

The afternoon was fun as we were taken to a gentle slope to
practise our ‘swooshing’. This was the very technical description our
leader gave to ‘free-wheeling’ down the hill without having to brake.
It is supposed to help you learn about balance and I don’t think we
did too badly for our first ever day on ski’s.

Unfortunately, the second and third days were cut short by the
weather. We ventured out each morning into clear skies but by
lunchtime the cloud had come in and there were very strong winds and
lots of snow.

It made for very interesting viewing on the way back to our hotel
one afternoon. The wind was so strong that you didn’t have to do
anything, it just carried you along and considering that we had not
yet learnt any braking skills there was carnage everywhere. People
were being blown in the wrong direction and as we both looked back up
the hill (as we were both near the front of the group) there were
people rolling around in the snow everywhere. I have to say that even
though we were at the front, the reason we had a chance to look back
is that both of us had had a flying run down a hill and without being
able to stop had landed dramatically in a snow drift at the bottom
(and may I say that our President did some excellent head dives into
the snow which I could not match!!).

Though Wednesday was cloudy we managed to get a full day out in
the snow. There is some amazing scenery and our leader took us through
his favourite piece of woodland with birch and pine trees that was
spectacular in the snow. There was also an extra special big hill to
‘swoosh’ down.

Thursday was absolutely brilliant for the weather as it was clear
blue skies all day – so it was time to roll out serious amounts of sun
tan lotion. Finally, we tried practising our braking skills and I
think we still have a lot to learn. Whilst the half snowplough was
getting there, the full snowplough for braking wasn’t really working,
so we still had to resort back to sitting on our bottoms to stop!!

Our final day was definitely the best and most rewarding as we
started with a lovely ski through the trees and down the slope our
leader called the ‘flying kilometre’. It is amazing that even after
one week the slopes look much less intimidating and whilst we did not
always stay upright, we were keen to have a go. Then we had a three
kilometre slog up hill, which took us to approx 1,100 metres, but boy
was it worth it. We had the most spectacular views across the other
mountains in the area, and we could not have timed it any better as
ten minutes after we had arrived some serious cloud rolled in.

I have to say that even though Norway is not the cheapest place to
buy food and drink we were fairly lucky with our package as it was
called half board, but you were allowed to make up a packed lunch from
the breakfast buffet every morning and we had superb food in the
evenings. It was a fairly teetotal affair as a cheapy bottle of wine
started at £20!!

Once of the nice things about the trip was that you can use any of
the hotels in the area to stop for a break, use the facilities and
each your packed lunch in the lounge, on the understanding that you
just bought a drink. One of the hotels did a wicked hot chocolate and
had great views from the lounge windows, so it was always a welcome
lunch stop there. If only the English were so amenable… We will
definitely be returning next year.


Borrowdale Feb 23/24

Ian Thurgood

I’d been looking forward to this – my first weekend away of 2002 –
for some months now. So it was an excited Ian that set off on Friday
evening with Pete, Mike and Merv to keep me awake on the drive oop

The A14 came and went as did the A1 with a quick pee break on the
way, along with a minibus of lasses in various states of dress – or
should that be undress (maybe I’m getting old, but surely they must
have been cold!!) – that unfortunately Pete missed due to nature’s
call. Left turn at Scotch Corner on to the good ole A66 and here comes
the snow, ice and driving blizzards. A slow but thankfully uneventful
2 hours later and here we are slip sliding along Borrowdale looking
for the Hazel Bank camping barn Rupert has booked in Rosthwaite. Safe
arrival about half an hour behind Steve, Rupert, Christina and

Time for a small libation of germinated barley, water, hops and
yeast whilst bed-rolls are laid out in the less wet parts of the
‘dorm’. I wouldn’t want to steal Christina’s thunder by trying to
describe the sleeping quarters of this establishment – if you ask her
nicely I’m sure she will recount more eloquently than ever I

Saturday morning sees us divide into 2 groups – after breakfast
pleasantries and comparing notes on how much wind and snow came
through the ‘roof’ are over and done with. Rupert, Steve, Alastair and
Mervyn in one group with myself, Mike, Pete and Christina in the
other. The A- Team (Rupe et al) opt to go off and tackle a proper,
grown-up, scramble whilst us others choose the more leisurely activity
of a nice walk in the hills.

We decided to head for Glaramara and trotted off, with the other
group for a short while, in that direction. It wasn’t long before we
were walking in real snow with the sun shining and beautiful views
back towards Derwentwater. This is what I came for – if I had to go
home there and then it would all have been worth it. As we gained
height however, the weather began to close in and the wind speed
increase. There was no wallowing in satisfaction at the summit –
rather it was beat a retreat to less hostile conditions.

After some excellent map-compass navigation by Mike (ably assisted
by Pete) we stepped out of the cloud precisely at the descent path and
trundled on down Hind Crag to the valley floor – not without stopping
for some nosebag and more view admiring.

Back in the valley we decided to take a low- level path rather
than trudge along the road. Ahead we see a young couple battling with
a baby and ATP (All Terrain Pushchair!) and say to ourselves “they
must be mad”. Well, just imagine our surprise when we catch up with Mr
& Mrs Scott and baby Scott – being too honest for our own good, we
had to tell them all the things we said about this mad couple pushing
a baby along the path. I think they have forgiven us though! Just as
well we did happen along however, as a few times it took a human chain
to manoeuvre the buggy over uneven (or just downright difficult)

And here comes the rain – still, we’re nearly in Rosthwaite now so
it’s not worth faffing about with over trousers and such like – how
wrong can you be! After much deliberation and debate (yeah, right!) a
decision was made to – in the interest of safety you understand – to
repair to the Waterside Bar and avail ourselves of their roaring fire
and fine hospitality. Hospitality generally manifesting itself as
pints of Theakston’s Old Peculiar.

But, Lo, who is this figure clad in shiny new boots and jacket.
It’s none other than Jenny ‘I slept in the car park at Keswick’
Massicot. Having left Ipswich later on Friday evening, Jenny didn’t
get through the snow until 3am so decided to put the seats down and
sleep in the car. Upon waking what else to do but check out the shops
and give Mr Plastic a minor headache.

Pete and I manfully (!?!) volunteered to return to the barn to
leave a note for the other team, taking with us surplus rucsacs etc
This done, we hot-footed it back to the Waterside Bar and settled down
for the evening.

The others soon joined us, as did the Scott clan and the usual
night of feasting, yarn spinning and next day planning was had. The
fire, food and beer worked it’s customary magic so it was not long
before we were back at the barn for another night of broken sleep – at
least the wind had dropped and no snow/rain was falling so things
weren’t as bad as the previous night.

Another morning of bacon butty/porridge/ muesli (whatever is your
usual poison) ritual over, it was time to pack the cars and head off
for today’s fun and games – a mixed bag comprising ghyll scrambling,
‘ordinary scrambling’ and walking.

This was to be my inaugural ghyll scramble and, despite being the
first to sit in the ghyll bruising my coccyx into the bargain, I
haven’t had so much fun in ages. If anyone hasn’t tried this game I
can thoroughly recommend it! Discretion took pride of place on the
upper sections of the ‘ordinary’ scramble – Allen Crags – and safe
routes were picked. Although this still allowed for some opportunity
to ‘play’ on safe rocks near the top.

Once again, the summit experience was one of howling wind and
nasty precipitating stuff – but some more expert navigation by Mike,
Pete, Rupert, Steve saw us soon back under the cloud and heading off
down Hind Crag once more.

A quick change of clothes by the roadside and it was homeward
bound after a truly excellent weekend. My thanks to Rupert for
organising the barn, to all who lead us safely through the cloud and
to everyone there – I hope they all enjoyed it as much as I did.


Great Wall of China

For those of you who are not already aware, Dave Tonks is
undertaking a ten day trek to the Great Wall of China in June. This is
part of an organised trip in aid of the St Helena Hospice in

If anyone would like to sponsor him for this event then please
feel free to call into Action Outdoors, see him at Stow climbing wall
or give him a telephone call.

As part of his fundraising, Dave is organising an event on
Saturday 1 June. Playing live at Mistley Village Hall will be the
band, Raindance, who perform popular covers. Tickets will be at


Hospital abseil

Dave Tonks

This will take place again this year at Ipswich hospital on the
6th and 7th of July. Please can you let me know if you are able to
assist/would like to volunteer to help and also, if you could let me
know which day (or even both?).


Hot rock – Sardinia, October 2002

Steve Culverhouse

I’m planning to organise a ‘hot rock’ trip to Sardinia over
October half-term. If I’ve got the dates right that’s 19th-27th
October. We’ve put together a
with more details and the latest news about this trip, so
keep an eye on this if you are interested.

Sardinia is a pretty big place and there is a wide selection of
options but the best i’ve seen so far seem to be the sea cliffs and
some large limestone crags just inland on either the NE or SW coast.
The climbing here seems to range from the mid 5s (~VS) upwards and is
a mix of single and multi-pitch. There is also a lot of Granite on the
Island (which sounds attractive to me!) but I’ve yet to sort out where
the best spots are for that. There are also some almost alpine outings
such as this
17-pitch affair

The distances are pretty substantial so we’ll definitely need to
hire cars

Cost should be approximately:

B&B in UK £30 (optional!)
Flights £100 (Between £70 and £140 depending on what
days/time we want)
Accommodation £80
Car Hire £60
Food £30 (+evening eating out costs)

So I reckon that looks like around £300 + the cost of some
meals out and spending money.

URLs to whet your appetite:

If you’re interested in going to Sardinia in October
get in touch ASAP, by email, or phone 01473

Beginners Weekend, Peak District, 18/19 May 2002

Ian Thurgood and Peter Krug

At long last and after some prevarication we have decided – after
negotiating Greenhills down to £ 4.00 per tent per night – that
this will be the venue for the 2002 Beginner’s Weekend. Anyone
interested in attending either as a beginner or as an instructor
please let either
Ian Thurgood
or Peter Krug know as soon as possible.

There is the usual disclaimer in that the Ipswich Mountaineering
Club is not a teaching organisation and that anyone wishing to attend
must accept that help will be on an informal basis with those that
know passing on their their knowledge to those that don’t in the best
tradition of climbing. Anyone wanting a more professional course
should attend one of the many excellent courses provided by the BMC,
Plas y Brenin or Reach Out For Adventure (amonst others).

In the usual manner, we will book the campsite, arrange for
additional climbing equipment, organize beginners and experienced
climbers into small groups for the weekend. We can try to match “bums”
to seats in various cars, but no guarantees. Tents, sleeping bags,
food, cooking gear, etc. are up to the individual.

As for the climbing, Bakewell is centrally placed for most of the
major crags in the Peak. Both gritstone and limestone are possible,
but limestone generally does not offer the variety of low graded
climbs that is possible with grit.


The plan is to camp at Greenhills Camping & Caravan Park, just
outside of Bakewell of the A6 to Buxton. Turn left off the A6, just as
you leave the 40mph limit and the campsite is on your right.

What to bring

You’ll need the usual stuff for camping, including feeding yourself.
There are pubs close by in Ashford and Bakewell, if you prefer to eat
out in the evening. Please indicate if this is your preference as we
usually need to book in advance due to the numbers involved. Bring
some form of packed lunch, as most crags are not near any shops or
burger vans! Also make sure that you have an adequate supply of fluids
– you never know how hot a British May weekend is going to be. For
climbing we can provide harnesses and helmets if required, but if you
have your own please bring them along. Use the same sort of clothing
that you’d take for a day in the hills, but we’d suggest you use older
stuff as gritstone has a nasty habit of putting holes in things. If
you don’t possess rock boots, then trainers or walking boots will
suffice. We may have to levy a small charge from all at the meet to
cover the cost of hiring additional gear if necessary (yes that’s
everybody, regardless of whether you use the additional gear). The
more accurately we know what to hire the lower we can make the charge.

Again, we’ve put together a webpage with more details and the latest news about this trip, so
keep an eye on this if you are interested.


Secretary’s Stuff

Received from BMC one copy of ‘The First Fifty Years of the British
Mountaineering Council’. First published in 1997 it does exactly what
it says on the tin – i.e. gives an historical account (with some
pictures as well!) of the BMC since it’s inception in December 1944.
Please let me know if you would like to have a look/read.

Membership is now up to 80 and an update to the contact list is
enclosed with this newsletter.

Those of you who I haven’t seen in person will be getting your
membership card by post shortly (better late than never!).

Pete and I are starting to plan the beginner’s weekend for May
18th/19th (see previous article) – so please contact one of us if you
are interested so that we can get a feel for
numbers/leaders/beginners/novices etc. See the article in this
newsletter for more information.


Newsletter – January 2002

President’s Prattle

Happy New Year to one and all. Hopefully this year we will
have access to all the crags for a whole year, nice clear
frosty days with plenty of snow for the rest of the winter and
sunny days through out the summer for cragging………. well
we all need our dreams don’t we?

Looking back at last year the restrictions we faced seemed
to bring out a greater sense of determination. The net spread
to include several new crags for many of those that ventured
forth. The Beginners Meet, displaced to August, saw people
climbing Saturday, Sunday and Monday, despite precipitation on
both days at the weekend. We have events for January and
February including pub nights, plus a couple of other tentative
shows (dates to be confirmed), but we do need more volunteers
or other ideas (Speak to me or Lou, our new Social Secretary).
Hopefully the meets list will continue to expand (Contact
Rupert or Christina), as your New Years resolution to organise
a meet comes to fruition?!?!

Anyway too much waffle, climb hard, be safe and have

El Pres


Wall News

Ian and myself (El Pres) attended a meeting at MSLC for
clubs/groups that use, not just the climbing wall, but all the
leisure centre facilities. We both repeatedly raised the issue
of improved wall maintenance and cleaning (of the holds).

Hopefully some of the message will stick. Encouragingly, the
management are attempting to recruit a specific individual to
have responsibility for the climbing wall. We were ensured that
they would be given sufficient time to do the job well.

Another point that might be of interest to members with
children is that the leisure centre has dropped the minimum age
for supervised attendance from 10 to 6 years. It was suggested
that the wall user group be reinstated. Perhaps this combined
with a permanent climbing wall manager will help improve
relations between MSLC and ourselves.


Winter-walking Wonderland

IMC New Year Festivities 2001/2

Peter Krug

As many of you know a hardy bunch of IMC’ers (and some
friends) sloped off to the Lakes for a long weekend’s
activities. Overall we enjoyed some reasonably good weather,
usually starting off bright and chilly in the morning with some
cloud rolling in about mid-day (just when we were on the tops)
and then clearing again in the late afternoon. Unusually stable
conditions and no – I repeat no – precipitation (apart from
some snow on the Friday night)! This is the Lakes you know.
There were some “epics”, mainly on the M6, although Matthew
Thomas’ epic started at home with a timely headbutt on his
ceiling at home.

Conditions in the barn were described as basic, but what do
you want? A club 18-30’s hotel room? Steady on. They can be
more accurately described as freezing with some less hardy
souls wearing just about all the clothing they had when in
their sleeping bags (Lou and Jo may I suggest you avoid the
high Himalaya!).

Anyway as there were a large number of us we split up during
the day into various groups depending on what people wanted to
do e.g. scrambling and ghyll scrambling for the really hard and
walking for the rest of us! Various sorties into Keswick for a
bit of gear-fondling were also on the agenda.

On the Saturday a group of seven of us set-off for an
attempt on Pillar. Having left the cars at Gatesgarth we set
off heading for Scarth Gap on a glorious Saturday morning – it
felt great to be back on the hill I can tell you. Rapid
progress was made and we soon reached Scarth Gap and descended
into Ennerdale. Having lost all the altitude that we had worked
so hard to attain we were faced with another long hard slog
uphill (why do we do it?).

The next point we reached was Pillar Rock where the party
split into two groups with Rupert, Steve C and Steve G decided
on a grade three scramble up Pillar Rock and Martin, Christina,
Carole and myself opting for a more sensible route to the top
of Pillar itself. Having said that I thought we were going to
scramble up to a ridge and then saunter up to the summit
itself, but no Martin takes the lead and unerringly leads us up
anything that was not a walk! A more or less direct approach to
the top ignoring anything remotely resembling a path and yours
truly muttering on about a limited tolerance for scrambling,
blah! blah! blah!

Anyway we made the summit just before three o’clock and what
a view we didn’t have, as the summit was of-course shrouded in
cloud! A quick stop and then we were off heading down towards
the Black Sail Pass, across the River Liza, and past the Black
Sail Youth Hostel as the night descended upon us. We climbed up
towards Scarth Gap and with almost impeccable timing bumped
into the other group retracing their steps having failed in
their attempt on Pillar rock (apparently they were slightly
geographically displaced and had to ab off). We finished the
walk in the dark at six o’clock and headed for the pub after a
quick change of clothing. Not bad for starters!

The next day I decided to go on a slightly easier day and
joined the walkers in a walk organised by Munro John. This time
it was off to Buttermere where we dumped the cars and our group
of six (John, Christina, Keith, Matthew, Vicky and me) set off
up past Buttermere Moss and onto (Anne) Robinson which we
reached late morning. For the moment the view was great but
with the wind it was bitterly cold (my water bottle was icing
up nicely) so we did not stop long. Then we headed along the
ridge to Dale Head as the cloud descended and we got a murky
view of the classic glacial U-shaped Newlands valley. It was
still a bit cold and exposed so we headed down towards Honister
Pass stopping in the shelter of some rocks to enjoy a spot of

Once we were at the Honister Pass there was a bit of a
gathering of walkers – in other words a melee. Someone was
offering lifts down to Buttermere in an effort to get some more
weight into his car because the road conditions were
treacherous to say the least (I heard one chap mutter “I am not
f*****g going in there!” as he set off up towards Fleetwith
Pike). The group split into two with Keith, Matthew and Vicky
taking the Low Road and John, Christina and I taking the High
Road up to Fleetwith Pike (I think we reached the top as there
were lots of tops and bog-all visibility) and down the other
side which was interesting considering how icy the path down
was! We reached the pub in Buttermere about half-an-hour after
the others who had a sedate saunter along the road. Once again
we spent the evening in the pub in search of warmth and more
importantly some libation!

New Year’s Eve dawned and it was cold – damn cold! Not that
I noticed. I must have been hungover as I thought it had warmed
up and did not realise how cold it was until I got into John’s
car and the thermometer registered minus 9 (I wondered why my
slightly damp hands stuck to the washroom door!). Anyway, we
were down to two (was it something I said?) just John and I.
Our plan was to go to Braithwaite and walk from there. Other
parties were to be seen scrambling up a ghyll onto Grasmoor and
another one was taking on Hopegill Head!).

What a day. It was clear skies, and I mean clear skies, we
could see for miles and the views were breathtaking! The start
was a hard slog up to Grizedale Pike but having got that over
with the rest was sheer bliss as top after top succumbed to our
inexorable march. We reached Hopegill Head at mid-day (missed
the others by half an hour) and then descended down to the
Coledale Pass and then headed up the valley between Eel Crag
and Grasmoor We met up with Jeff and Louise at the pass at the
top. As it was early we decided to go up Grasmoor and we
lunched at the top enjoying magnificent views into Crummock
Water and the fells beyond. Of the others we saw no sign but
apparently they did not reach the top until about three.

Then we were off again, heading toward the Eel Crag and
Sail, which inevitably meant some more down, followed by some
more up but I was up for it and it proved to be no problem.
Must have been the Christmas cake which was an important part
of my lunch. Then we headed down towards Braithwaite which
included a slightly tricky exposed arete and another icy path
later on which had to be treated with utmost caution but we
safely made it into Braithwaite. What a superb day!

For the New Year’s Eve festivities we installed ourselves in
the Yew Tree for a few pints, some excellent food and we saw
the new year in by dancing around, guess what, a Yew Tree (I
assume) outside the pub. Thanks for arranging that

Then it was the last day which was started by clearing up
the barn and then we parted with various car loads doing their
own thing. Martin, John and I headed off to Blencathra which we
climbed via Hallsfell Top. An interesting ascent involving a
fair amount scrambling up rocks and an airy feel as the slopes
fell away steeply on both sides. Unsurprisingly we had no views
from the top and again unsurprisingly by the time we got back
to our cars the top was clear! Others went walking/scrambling
in Borrowdale and several people went to a Mountaineering
Exhibition (in Kendal?).

All in all it was a tremendous weekend and my thanks go to
Christina and Rupert for organising it and all those who could
make it. Next stop Wales


New Year 2001/02 continued…

Christina Ennis

The whole trip was great but I suppose the highlight for me
was reaching the top of Grasmoor via Lorton’s Gully. The
approach was steep but mercifully short. Having donned harness
and crampons the fun began. We hauled our way up ice, snow,
frozen turf and rock – some of us with ease and skill, some of
us with grunts and curses. It was possible to avoid some of the
trickier, icy parts of the gully by attacking the frozen turf,
liberally protected by bilberry plants. Unfortunately, there
was a price to pay – I can’t taste bilberry any more, but I’m
still picking its stalks out of my clothing!!

John Penny

On the first day when Pete was off tackling Pillar, four of
us (Keith, Jo Howlett, Cathy and myself) went up from
Buttermere onto Red pike and the High Stile ridge. The weather
was excellent at first but turned very windy and cold later. We
were fortunate to keep the view all the way along the ridge.
Unfortunately Jo had a nasty fall on one of the descents which
slowed her up, meaning that we were unable to take in Haystacks
as well. At the end of the walk back round the lake the hot
chocolate in the pub was truly appreciated!


New Year 2002 in the Lakes

Keith Lodge and Jo Bone

Reports on the radio that the A14 was on fire brought about
a hurried rethink of the route to the Lakes for the Club’s New
Year Trip. Thetford, Downham Market, Wisbech and Sleaford
brought us out onto the A1 without too much problem. But a set
of road works reducing 2 lanes down to 1 on the A1 added to the
journey time. But Penrith soon came and went, and we rolled
onward towards Cockermouth, then Mockerkin and finally
Loweswater, and Swallow Camping Barn, our home for the next few
days. We were not alone, as Steve and Carol were already here
and heading off to the pub. Jo and I dumped our gear in one of
the barns with 2 spaces still left and then headed off for the
pub. Well we might not have found it this night but never fear
we found it for the next 2 nights. We discovered that we were
sharing our room with Jeff and Louise.

Saturday 29th, and staggered breakfasts alleviate the lack
of room for all 18 of us in the dining area. Overnight snow had
settled around the farm, although only light, it was here to
stay. Much discussion as to who was going where and doing what.
Lou decided to join Jo and I on a short gentle trip around
Loweswater Lake. We set of along the road, took the lane and
soon found the start of the path up the snow-covered hill. It
looked steep, very steep, so we traversed left to more gentle
ground and made the summit, to overlook the lake and the
surrounding area.


The snow topped hill
The snow topped hill


This was Jo’s first time ever in the Lake District and
winter walking and she was captivated with the view before her.
Checking the map we could see from the contours that we had a
saddle and then another summit to negotiate according to my
original plan, but the far side of this 2nd summit had contours
more closely packed than the original ascent route, a change of
plan then ensued. We dropped down into the saddle, then
followed the stream down towards the road and the lake. We
eventually ended up on a path within a wood with benches
overlooking the waterfalls, so we stopped here for lunch. We
then rejoined the road having found the way out of the wood,
and followed this for a short way, before turning off towards
the lakeside. A good wide path took us quickly around the far
side of the lake, and almost out opposite the Camping Barn, a
good little warm up walk to start with. Tea was taken back at
the Barn, whilst awaiting the return of the more intrepid
members of the group. The evening was passed relaxing in the
Kirkstile Inn.

Sunday 30th, and as this was Jo’s first time to the Lakes I
thought we would spend the day in Keswick. Getting there was
going to be the problem. Overnight heavy frosts and more snow
were our downfall. The car struggled magnificently up the short
hill, taking about 5 minutes to do what would normally take 30
seconds. The farm near the top was a far as we could get. Cathy
drove past us without any problem to the top where she stopped
and Lou walked down to see if we were ok. I said we would have
to turn back, and Lou kindly offered to come back and pick us
up from the barn. I managed to turn in the farm entrance and
started down the hill, to be followed by the Gritter Lorry!
Glad that I had managed to get off the road before he came
down. Safely installed inside Cathy’s car, we then set off for
Keswick, where the girls dropped Jo and I off, promising to
return to pick us up in the afternoon. Keswick was bustling
with bargain hunters, and bargains were there to be had. We had
lunch and then found that Jo’s knee had had enough, her old
injury obviously didn’t appreciate the previous days bold
effort. We met the girls, and returned to the Barn for Tea and
biscuits. Another evening was passed relaxing in the Kirkstile


Bowness on Lake Windermere
Bowness on Lake Windermere


Monday 31st, we said cheerio to Jeff and Louise who were
heading off homeward bound to pick up their daughter, from the
grandparents. With Jo’s dodgy knee in mind we headed in the car
{the gritter had done the trick on the hill) to Windermere, we
walked to Bowness, caught the bus back to Windemere, and then
drove to Ambleside for lunch. No bargains found here today! We
returned to the Barn early and leapt into one of the showers.
Mind you Christina and Carol were lucky having just finished
their showers when the electricity went off! Took a while to
restore the power, obviously the heater in the dining area just
tipped the scales with both showers running. Christina had
booked tables at the Royal Yew for all of us, and 4 drivers
offered to drive there, me included, so passengers secured we
headed there. Full marks to Christina for discovering what
turned out to be the best pub I have ever eaten in, and the
bread and butter pudding was to die for. Carol thrashed me
hands down at Cribbage; she must have been practicing since we
last played! We saw the New Year in outside around the Yew tree
in front of the pub.


Tuesday 1st, and we breakfast, pack, and clean out the barns before heading off for home
Tuesday 1st, and we breakfast, pack, and clean out the barns
before heading off for home


Many thanks to Christina for all the hard work put in
planning and organising this trip, including the sprinkling of
snow which was just what the doctor ordered. Mind you the
overnight temperatures, which dipped to -9_C, kept us on our
toes, especially those of us who have to frequent the toilet
during the night!!


The Beckoning Silence – Joe Simpson

Mark Gilbert

If you liked “Touching the Void” or any other of Simpson’s
books then you will certainly not be disappointed with his
latest offering. The book continues his examination of why he
climbs and reflects on his past experiences. It is also the
story of his attempt at the 1938 route on the North Face of the
Eiger, combined with a potted history of the many attempts made
on this classic Alpine face. A very enjoyable read, which may
inspire some to try alpine mountaineering and convince others
that summer cragging is quite sufficient


IMC Lob of the Year 2001

Peter Krug

It would seem that any lob activity took place on my brand
spanking new rope (which might tell you something – probably my
choice of dodgy climbing partners but hey that’s another
story!). Obviously by the end of the climbing season I was
feeling somewhat left out that I decided to join the Lobster
club. Climbing with Mike Ham (which if you ask me is a
brilliant climbing name) at Stanage at the beginning of
November I parted from the rock (on Flying Buttress) in a move
so unexpected that I only realised I had fallen when I was
dangling a few inches above the ground. The phrase “silent but
deadly” comes to mind. It certainly woke up the belayer!

However, my effort is not even close when compared to the
efforts of the other candidates! In my opinion in third place
is Mervyn Lamacraft’s efforts at Hen Cloud when having had some
practise earlier in the day on Batchelor’s Climb, embarked on a
bout of persistent lobbing which can only be described as
Culverhouse-esque in proportion on the crux on a climb called
Rainbow Crack. Time and time again Mervyn was repelled as he
tried to get his legover …. I mean up high enough to lever
himself up to easier rock above. He even had the presence of
mind to berate his belayer for letting him fall when he was
actually a few feet above his last bit of gear! Classic stuff.
As an aside I can tell you that Hen Cloud is a difficult place
to climb as even Rupert took some unprecedented aerial activity
or a lobette (a 60’s band I have not heard of) as he described

For the next candidate… picture the scene. Secretary
Thurgood on his first outing on real rock for some 18 months
and on his second lead. In a bold decision eyes up this climb
on the Count’s Buttress (Stanage) called Flaked Crack (HVD). A
climb which I described as looking ‘orrible. Having placed a
couple of items of gear Mr T was working his way handjamming up
an awkward sloping crack – the belayer on tenterhooks as a
result of the repeated calls of “take in” and “keep me tight”
then the sound of scrabbling feet and he was falling
gracelessly from his perch about 8 feet above his last bit of
gear. He was in a horizontal position as he flashed past his
last bit of gear and continued his descent and ended up fully
inverted with head literally a few inches above the ground.
However, he was not finished yet as his journey continued
sideways in a glorious swing which was rudely interrupted when
he crashed into a nearby slab. Undeterred after a bit of a
recovery and the acquisition of a climbing helmet Ian took an
alternative route to complete the climb.

However, this year’s honours (unless you know better) also
occurred on the same weekend. This time the scene was the Emma
Area on Burchin Edge and the route was the appropriately named,
as events turned out, “Deluded.” graded VS. The winner having
just lead another VS called “The Prow” eyes up a nearby climb
and decides to the take the plunge (as it were). Off he heads
onwards and upwards. He has to squat in a small cave underneath
an overhanging bit of rock which he has to overcome as he
places what turns to be a crucial size 10 nut in a crack just
above his head (I can tell you it was a bugger to get

Having placed his bit of gear the leader worked his way
tentatively up the overhanging crack and well above his gear
the signs were that he was struggling. He was having problems
finding somewhere to place his hands and then his feet. It was
inevitable. The sound of scrambling feet (echoes of yesterday)
and he was off falling backwards into space and ending up fully
inverted with has head inches above the ground. This year’s
winner for the style in which he lobbed, the location in front
of twenty or more bemused onlookers, the equamity with which he
handled the event (he surprisingly did not say a word), and,
most importantly for the spectacular effect on the belayer who
was hauled forward by the momentum or should I say weight of
the leader having leap over an intervening boulder and ending
up kissing the rock has to be Dave Tonks (and can I have a new
rope please?).


Newsletter – November 2001

Club Nights

We are still looking for offers of slide shows for this winter season. If you have a slide show, which you would like to present, then please contact Mark Gilbert.

Budding Artists

We are holding a competition for the best-designed poster, which can be used to advertise what we do throughout the year. A prize will be awarded to the best entry. Please contact the Club Secretary Ian Thurgood for further details.

Newsletter Articles

As the new Newsletter Editor I am writing to you all out there to request articles for forthcoming newsletters. It could be about any subject related to mountaineering, or not, as the case may be, as long as it may be interesting or amusing to other club members.

Once again I would like to reiterate what others have written before me, this newsletter needs your articles to survive. It could be anything from a diary of events from your holiday to a short anecdote.

If you have anything to include in the newsletter it can be emailed to me on:

or if it is handwritten then send it to me in the post and I can type it up. I look forward to hearing from you.

President’s Prattle

Hi folks, I’d like to kick of this article by thanking Steve Culverhouse for all his efforts as club president over the last couple of years, Cheers Steve.

I’m not sure if it’s the enforced lack of climbing earlier in the year, but I certainly sense much more of a buzz in the club at the moment. Not being one to miss an opportunity, I want to encourage you all to think about what you can do to help the club better serve your needs. If something is missing that you’d like to see, then tell me (or one of the committee) and we can try to make it happen, but remember you are likely to get roped in to assist!

‘Volunteers’ to organise events are always welcome. If you are unsure what’s required, or are just a bit nervous, then give me (or one of the other old hands) a call and we can guide you through. We have a good database of suitable accommodation and places to eat (see the club web site). It’s not difficult, and the more individuals that help, the more meets we can organise, and the less burden on any one person.

I am also proposing to act as a contact point for beginners, helping them to identify potential climbing partners and gain more effective access to club meets. What I need from the rest of the club members is an indication as to whether they are prepared to climb with, and assist, beginners. Perhaps we could also indicate whether beginners would find a trip suitable or not, e.g. Portland might be considered a tad difficult for the newcomer.

At the AGM we also agreed to trial a guidebook database, to facilitate the
sharing of guides with other club members. This may be particularly useful for
those hard to find books, but could be applied wider. Obviously loaned guides
will be subject to some wear and tear, but if this scheme is to work I think
there needs to be an understanding that if guide books are severely damage or
lost they will be replaced by the borrower. Also it is not meant as an excuse
for never buying another guidebook, rather to expand everyone’s
‘virtual’ library. I have started to set up a framework but now I
require data. If you are prepared to loan your guides can you fill in the
details attached to your renewal form. I will initially police the process to
ensure that people don’t abuse the system, e.g. if people are continually
borrowing yet offer nothing in return.

I guess I’d better stop, but to summarise the club will only ever serve the members needs if we know what you want and perhaps, more importantly, if sufficient people are willing to put in an effort to make it happen. I’ve put forward some ideas in this section, if you think they are of use then please contribute toward making them work. If they’re not of interest then we’ll drop them and try something different, BUT PLEASE NO APATHY!!

Have a great Christmas and New Year, and fingers crossed for plenty of snow this winter!!


Secretary’s Stuff


The AGM on 15th November was reasonably well attended with approximately 25% of members present.

The full minutes are available — please contact me if you would like a copy — but here is a summary of the exciting bits!


  • Mark Gilbert has taken over from Steve Culverhouse as El Pres. Thanks to Steve for all the work during his reign.
  • Dave Scott was re-elected as Treasurer.
  • Ian Thurgood was re-elected as Secretary.
  • Keith Lodge has retired from the post of newsletter editor and webmaster. The mantle has been taken up by Jo Gilbert and Simon Chandler in a joint newsletter/communications role.
  • Rupert Holbrook and Christina Ennis were re-elected as Meets Co-ordinators.
  • New role of Social Secretary taken on by Lou van Zwanenberg.
  • Committee members are Steve Culverhouse, Cathy Tye, Dave Tonks, Keith Lodge, Pete Krug, Martin Hore.


  • Fees for 2002 will be unchanged from 2001 at £8 individual and £12 couples.


  • Some talk of inviting guests such as Tim Emmett, Neil Gresham to speak or possibly give another Master Class.
  • Club may purchase some helmets for use on club trips.
  • We will be making a donation of £100 to the BMC Access Fund.
  • Possible meets for 2002 to include High Ropes Course; Lundy Island; Skye.
  • MG is to set up and co-ordinate a ‘library’ of such useful literature as Guidebooks, Accommodation lists etc that members are willing to lend to other members.


As you have seen from AGM summary, subscription fees are unchanged.

Please complete the form and return it to me by the end of January 2002.

There will not be any reminders.

It will help the newsletter distributors and keep the impact on funds to a
minimum if as many as possible can receive newsletters by email — please
consider carefully and tick the box on the renewal slip if you are able to do
this. Even better would be to complete the on-line questionnaire

There is also a section for details of any guidebooks or other publications
that you are willing to include in the ‘library’.

Grand IMC Quiz Night, Thursday 17 January, The Brewery Tap

I will be question master for this year’s IMC quiz. Expect questions to tease
the memory on all aspects of mountaineering from hill-walking to sport
climbing and from the Peaks to Patagonia. Categories will include geography,
history, equipment, skills and personalities. A blend of questions is promised
aimed at younger members as well as those whose brains stopped functioning
around 1970. Teams of 2 or 3 (or 4 at a pinch) can be organised in advance or
on the night. To win you’ll need a team with a broad spread of knowledge. To
take part and enjoy the event you’ll just need to turn up.

Martin Hore