Another successful wild camp cooking night in Earlsfield – the food was fab, the crate challenge resulted in an unexpected injury and we had a torrential rainstorm – yes successful and it proved just how resilient the club members are in such inclement conditions! Photos to follow.
The Welsh 3000s – 15 peaks over 3000ft in Snowdonia in 24 hours – sadly remains an elusive challenge for Southfields Mountain Sports Club, despite a plucky attempt on 30th June by new junior members Tom and David.
With the weather wet, wild and windy, we decided against an early start on the Crib Goch ridge and opted instead for a gentler 9am approach from Ogwen to Tryfan. Nine hours of walking through driving rain and sideways hail later, and five peaks were ticked off – Tryfan, the Glydrs, Y Garn and Elidir Fawr by Tom, David and Jane, with Maggi and Cec accompanying the first half of the day then meeting us at the pub.
Over a steak and chips stoke-up in the Plas y Brenin bar, Tom and David decided they were up for an attempt on the Snowdon section next morning, so starting at 4.30 am Cec accompanied them up and over the frankly terrifying Crib Goch ridge, Garnedd Ugain and Snowdon, both ascending and descending through more heavy rain. Meanwhile Maggi and Jane got to work on some much needed bacon sandwiches for the boys and the sun finally broke through just as they arrived back at the campsite.
Could 2013 be the year when the weather finally favours the SMSC 3000s attempt?
We are hosting an open day at Aspire from 10am as part of the Wandle Valley festival. Free ‘taster’ climbing sessions are available (booked in advance) so if you would like to bring your non-climbing friends along to have a go then let Cec know – it will be a fun day.
We are planning to put on a gallery of action shots from club days out, your days out and general ‘action’ pictures so if you have something you’d like displayed please email to me or Cec.
Unfortunately the walk has to be postponed to sometime later in the year.
Friday was spent on the road, Moel Siabod, the climbing wall and most importantly dinner in the bar in Plas-Y-Brenin. Local burgers, big chips and a pint of ale from the local micro brewery, not a bad start.
The descent of Moel Siabod ended up as a trudge in the dark through the woods. Cec, Maggie, Jane and Alison got back reasonably early but we did wonder whether to send a search party for Chris and Gordon. With just one torch between them they eventually managed to avoid the lake and find their way to the bar. Was it their night navigation system?
Only disappointment of the evening came in the bar of the Youth Hostel at Pen-Y-Pass. Beds made, we settled down to discuss the options for Saturday. But no decent whiskys? We made do with John’s home made chocolate and Julie’s sloe gin. Not bad, really.
Saturday saw us divide into three teams.
Maggi “hacking cough” kept everybody on the straight and narrow Miners track. She told us later that somebody on Crib Goch had been calling for help and the rescue helicopter had arrived sometime later. Her advise to a bloke in trainers and not much else to maybe not try and go to the top of Snowdon surely saved another rescue trip. The path was icy
Cec “I hate hill walking”, Jane “lets take the long route”, Alison “how do I use
crampons again”, and “I just want an easy day” Marc had an epic. Starting from Ogwen, sandwiches in the secret corrie, up the ridge to Y-Garn with crampons and ice axes. Then the long long slog over Elidir Fawr down to Nant Peris and the Vaynol Arms. Apart from old climbing equipment on the walls the real attraction apparently were the girls’ toilets, the walls covered with “calendar girls” type photos of the male regulars. Naked climbers of all shapes and sizes with strategically placed ice axes and other climbing gear. Worth a visit? More hilarity was caused by Cec going to the bar with a sticker on his forehead “try me”. Honestly, what is this club coming to?
The Snowdon horseshoe was the plan for team three, the intrepid pilot due Chris and Gordon, “pink hat from Colonsay” Julie, John “the injured fells”, “thankfully we have an experienced navigator” Pete and “apprentice navigator” Christine.
Conditions were too icy for Crib Goch so up the P.Y.G track we went. As it was a winter skills weekend we put our equipment to good use on the icy upper sections. We looked good with our ice axes and crampons and at least we got to overtake the multitudes in walking boots.
Despite cloud and no visibility at the top (there was a surprise), the mountain was mobbed. Eating sandwiches in the freezing cloud is not everybody’s idea of a great day out but we were in good spirits.
No visibility and snow on the ground meant we needed maps, compass and GPS to find the path to continue on the Snowdon horseshoe, great practice for navigating skills. Away from the maddening crowds and with ever changing clouds and views it proved to be a brilliant walk. The ice formations on rocks and grass were incredible.
Sunday morning, the fell running contingent headed up the Miners track in the dark. The views soon repaid our efforts: above the clouds with snowy mountains reflecting in perfectly still lakes, eerie mist swirling around and some red clouds hanging around Crib Goch. John thinks we should make early morning runs compulsory on the winter skills weekends. The suggestion did not go down well at breakfast, he was threatened with extermination!
Quick trip to the Slate museum for Cec, Maggi and Jane. Not so quick trip up Glyder Fach for Julie, Christine, Alison, Pete and John. Rain, clouds, snow, SUNSHINE (!) and breathtaking views. We even had to take the sunglasses out – although not for long. It was almost impossible to take the obligatory photos on the cantilever stone.
1 (borrowed) black labrador
6 hens eggs
a couple of jars of jam
a bowl of chips
some grade A conkers
lots of sunshine
Set off from Wootton Hatch pub car park and navigate to Leith Hill tower, taking in pretzel and jelly baby breaks, stick throwing exercises (dog and children), have a lovely cup of tea at the tower.
Wander back through autumnal tracks amongst the trees,
Share a bowl or two of chips at the Stephan Langton pub in Friday Street,
Pick up a box of hens eggs and a jar of bramble jelly at Pond Cottage,
Carry on walking through autumn leaves bathed in glorious sunshine,
Arrive back at Wootton Hatch car park after 6 or 7 miles of relaxing rambling through the Leith Hill woods.
Lots of smiles and tired children and dog
Repeat at regular intervals
Julie, Chloe and Christine set off and headed for the sunshine in Dorset last Saturday. It’s been a while since we had a day out on Portland so we were looking forward to it and we weren’t disappointed. Not too busy and the other climbers there were a very friendly bunch so it was a nice relaxing day. We took enough food and water to keep us going for a week so we enjoyed our picnicking throughout the day. Being so close to the sea we had hungry seagulls for company, eager to snap up anything that was left unattended!
We ended up on the Fallen Slab area at Blacknor South for the last couple of hours and I think this has to be my favourite – climbing on the arete with the early evening sun shining on the rocks and the sea crashing around below – what a fantastic place.
The only downside? The delicious smell of someone else’s bbq sizzling away close by…….add that to our list of kit for the next visit.
No dates planned but we are keen to go again soon so will send out an email when we are going, would be great to have more club days out there again.
In the meantime if you’re looking for some activity next weekend Maggi has a walk planned on Saturday 16th July – to Lovelace. Contact Maggi for details.
I can’t go on that walk as I’m going camping in Norfolk for the weekend. No mountains but plenty of walking, running, swimming, lazing on the beach. Our campsite is near Blakeney (near Wells-next-the-Sea) on the north Norfolk coast and if anyone is interested in coming along just email / call me for more details.
Otherwise see you at the Aspire wall on Thursday evening.