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Yes, SMSC is ten years old.

Our celebrations include a photographic exhibition at Southfields Community College, the home of the Aspire climbing wall where it all started.

Many current and ex club members came along to the Open Evening on Wednesday 13 April, where we reminisced about our activities over the last ten years then retired to the Earl Spencer to reminisce further over refreshments.SMSC 10 years old April 2016

The annual SMSC Winter skills weekend never fails to surprise with the weather conditions. We always hope for snow and this year did not disappoint.

We arrived on Friday evening for a slap up dinner at Plas y Brenin, after an afternoon’s walk for Maggi and Cec, and late arrivals from Hayley and Sian, and Julie and John, due to mechanical issues……Jon Ridgeon had already successfully completed a couple of solo climbs in perfect conditions.

Saturday started bright and sunny (yes sunny in Snowdonia) and cold so it was encouraging for the scrambling group heading for Tryfan, as well as for the walkers heading for the hills.

Julie, Jon and John headed up the north ridge of Tryfan, then across Bristly Ridge and eventually home via Devil’s Kitchen – an epic day out with fantastic winter scrambling conditions. Coffee at the Adam and Eve stones at the top of Tryfan was a real treat.

Pen y Pass youth hostel was ‘packed to the rafters’ so we had an early dinner and settled in for the traditional Cec quiz. Maggi excelled herself and won by a mile.

Sunday was another early start for the ‘quick run before breakfast’ club. After breakfast Jon R headed for more solo climbing, Maggi and Hayley took a leisurely stroll around the Miner’s track whilst Julie, John and Sian headed up the Pyg track aiming to summit Snowdon in sunshine. Being Sian’s first Snowdon summit attempt we were hopeful for good conditions.

It was an energetic and warm ascent, and we were glad of a relatively early start as, almost literally, every man and his dog had decided to get out onto Snowdon in such good conditions (we’re not sure if the chiwuahas made it!).

The final zig zag was a bit of a challenge with snow and ice but we pushed on (see photos below) and celebrated at the top with a pork pie, scotch egg and of course the traditional jelly baby.

A slightly more leisurely descent around the Miner’s track and we were back in just under five hours.

Well deserved tea and cakes at the Pinnacle cafe in Capel Curig – oh and a bit of retail therapy in Joe Brown’s – and we left Snowdonia bathed in late afternoon sunlight.

Can’t wait for next year…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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?

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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.

Julie

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

higher up.


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.

All in all, a fab weekend.