Category Archives: IMC Trips

Grit weekend : 2-3 Apr 2016

Some of us took the opportunity of a forecast good weather window to make have a quick weekend in the Peak District. Here are a few photos (all my photos are on Flickr, if you click on any image below it will also take you to the photo on Flickr)


The weather didn’t start off as bright as we’d like, so we spent the late morning and early afternoon in cafes.   Below, Jeremy making an early attempt at ‘Blob of the Year’ after the lid fell off the brown sauce bottle.

2016-04-02 10.54.11


We all then went to Froggatt, and eventually it brightened up as shown below in the picture of Ben completing Hawk Nest Direct




The next day, although the day started overcast and rainy, it cleared a lot earlier than Saturday and we went to Bamford Edge.


Above: Andy Hansler with Bamford in the background.


Above: Bamford edge


Above: Jeremy on Brown’s crack


Above: Jason on Bilberry Crack

Below: a few photos of various people climbing Gargoyle Buttress





Beginners Meet & Pre-beginners meet – more photos

And a few more pictures from the weekend

Stanage – Friday 16th May

Jeremy leading Mississippi Buttress Direct – approaching the Crux – not too sure that second piece of gear is too solid though. Not quite an on-site due to seconding Mike on Mississippi Variant prior.

Burbage North – Saturday 17th May

Carl attempting to follow Mike up Barry Manilow VS 5a. Belay is protected from the rock face behind and a cam next to Mike to stop him being pulled off the side.

Beginners Meet & Pre-beginners meet

Just thought I’d post some photos from the beginners meet (Sat 17 to Sun 18 May) and from Fri 16th when some of us got there early to ‘warm-up’ and enjoy the beautiful weather – I’ve reduced the size of the photos on here, if you want the full resolution then let me know.

16th May – Stanage

ThrombosisJeremy and Andy trying to see who can lose most skin on Thrombosis

17th May – Burbage North

Baz and Billie on one of the cracks on Ash Tree wall (either Ash Tree Crack or Bilberry Crack)

18th May – Birchen Edge

SailorsVarious attempts at Sailors Crack


Sicily Hot Rock trip – March 2014

The IMC March hot rock trip went off virtually without a hitch, last week. 9 Intrepid IMCers braved the wild Mediterranean March climate and even wilder rock faces to return triumphant, if not very bronzed.

It wasn’t a bad spot to stay in – this is a view from the Col above our rented house

The rock is pretty sharp though…


Ali powers his way up a 6c

Karen cranking in sector Bunker

Tom in sector Bunker

Robert styling his way up a 5c+


Although the climbing was excellent, the food & drink wasn’t far behind. John & Sylwia came over one evening for dinner, meanwhile Robert admires possibly his greatest cocktail creation yet, a pear juice & mandarin liqueur combo (that still needs a name…)

Dolomites – Sept 2013

Here are a few pictures from our trip to the Dolomites

Heading for the hills: East face of Catinaccio (Rosengartenspitze) in the background with Punta Emma to the right, and Vajolet Towers appearing above Punta Emma.

Steve on top of Punta Emma, with the Vajolet Towers in the background

Simon enjoying the exposure on the South West Arete of the Delago Tower

Johnboy posing near the top of the Delago Tower

North Wales Trip

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

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 slabs!

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 inside.

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 foot.

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 snored!


Glen Coe

Winter Walking in Glen Coe

Phil Lee – December 2001

Driving up on Boxing night it was not until Loch Lomond side that we encountered any serious amount of snow. Following the Christmas day festivities, John Sellers and I had planned a trip to make the trip to Glen Coe and we prayed for snow about a month before.

This was the second festive period I would spend in the spiritual home of Scottish Mountaineering but 2000 had been spent with my family and low-level walks were the order of the day. This was my second walking trip with John, the last being in Wales over the beautiful ridge of Cnicht.

Arriving into Glen Coe at 1.30am we set up our tents outside the Clachaig Inn. For those of you that know the Glen well will know what a shrewd move this was. It turns out that camping is not strictly allowed where we set up our tents but the owners of the Clachaig were happy to let it go because we were small in number compared to the summer hoards.

The view from base camp
The view from base camp

The following day we decided that a gentle walk to break us in would be good so we decided upon the Pap of Glen Coe (Sgor na Ciche). Since we were only a couple of miles away from the access point for the hill we decided to walk to its base. This is not a hill that should be underestimated in winter as it shares the attributes of many of the hills round those parts, it is steep and the summit cone is quite rocky. We did underestimate it! The decision was made back at camp to leave our axes and crampons behind since it was “only the Pap”. When climbing the summit cone we realised the error we had made as we attacked what must have been approaching a grade 1 scramble with seriously slippery snow beneath our feet. The heather quite often provided the best handholds!

Top of the pap
Top of the pap

One of the best reasons for a stay in Glen Coe is the nightlife and we made the most of it. In the Clachaig Inn there is a real sense of community and the sense that you can talk to anyone you want (probably because you share a common passion). Coupled with live music acts it is easy to see why Trail Magazine voted it the best outdoor pub in Britain.

Two days in and we still weren’t feeling over adventurous and decided on the hill behind the Kings House Hotel called Beinn a Chrulaiste. A friend of mine had reliably, informed me that this hill afforded the best views of any in the Glen Coe area. This did not mean much to me while climbing the corrie with a large cloud of mist sitting just above us but once up the corrie headwall the breeze wafted that away and we were treated to the most amazing views from the top which was basking in sunshine.

Mor and Beag from Chrulaiste
Mor and Beag from Chrulaiste

I felt pretty good about climbing this hill because it has escaped me while doing the West Highland Way due to “bog miserable” conditions. We popped down the west ridge and walked back along the WHW path to the Kings House. Sadly it seems that this bar is not as popular as it once was but that could have been explained by the earliness in the Ski season. I can however recommend the Kings House for their meals that are vastly preferable to the 3-min microwave food at the Clachaig.

Third day and it was time for some Munro-bagging. I had made an attempt on Bidean nam Bian back in February 2001 but had been forced to retreat Munro-less from the Col just after Stob Coire nan Lochan due to heavy wind. This time the conditions were much better in every sense and we looked good for our target. Our chosen route was up to the Lost Valley up the corrie headwall then up Stob Coire Screamhach then up Bidean itself. Unfortunately our plans failed for two reasons. One reason was that I was pretty seriously dehydrated most of the day, the other was that John had spent so much time with getting up and getting his breakfast (probably didn’t expect me to walk so slowly though!). It was still a memorable day and the Munro of Stob Coire Screamhach was attained and we were within 200 feet of the summit of Bidean when we turned down due to failing light. A word of warning though: The Lost Valley is not a place to be descending though in the dark. The jumble of Glaciated Boulders and precipitous paths proved to be slow going and we didn’t get back till the car till 7pm. I will be back to get that hill at some point!

Entrance to the Lost Valley
Entrance to the Lost Valley

Having had a fairly heavy day we decide upon a rest the following day which was spent in the delightful shopping town of Fort William. Those of you who have been there will note my sarcasm. We spent a few hours wandering round the shops before we were seriously bored. We returned to Glen Coe and went to the Study to take a couple of snaps of the 3 sisters. I then showed John a small gorge with some waterfalls that I had spotted during the descent from Buachaille Etive Beag back in February.

What followed that night can only be described by the phrase “heavy drinking and carnage”. We were really getting into the atmosphere and John had more to drink than I have ever seen him have. At this drunken stage there was ramblings about climbing Curved ridge on Buachaille Etive Mor with basically a summer rack and a non-dry-treated rope.

Luckily when the haze had passed in the morning we had decided on just a walk up the larger of the two Munros on Buachaille Etive Mor. Rather than follow the hoards and climb up the large corrie from Altnafeadh we decided on an approach from Glen Etive. This meant more ascent and we didn’t see anyone till the very top of the mountain

A very Scottish New Year’s Eve followed and it was back to the tents for the last time.


Buachaille Etive Mor
Buachaille Etive Mor