Eggselent Easter week

The first tentative (but irreversible?!) steps out of Lockdown were perfectly timed to coincide with the clocks changing (OK, that’s pretty predictable!) and another great week of sunny weather (who says Bozzer is a clueless buffoon?) Happy coincidence or genius plan; either way it proved a great week to restart climbing in more sociable (but still Covid-cautious) groups.

Wednesday more or less coincided with the 12 months anniversary of the last official Rucksack Club meet, so it was great to be able to “Get Out There!” again under the auspices of the first official post-Covid Meet. As this was convened in line with the guidance of the BMC (the sport’s governing body) the “Rule of Six” doesn’t apply and about a dozen of us enjoyed the traditional Wednesday Evening Meets curtain raiser at Hobby – and what a stunning evening! Clear blue skies and temperatures into the 20s made for shirtless climbing and much lazing and banter (all at a distance of 2m+)

Here’s Evening Meets supremo, John, sporting the “Get Out There!” T-shirt and surveying the fun:

Chris cruising Crew’s Route:

… and me sketching up Sunshine Superman and feeling glad of the “early season side-runner” I’d felt obliged to place!

Credit to the those in the Club who put the hard work into sorting and implementing the guidance (Andys x3, Joe and John) – it’s a potentially thankless task, so here’s a BIG THANK YOU.

Temperatures had tumbled about 15C by the next day, but I still managed a quick hit at Rivelin with Jim – no photos (so you can tell how cold it must have been) but Croton Oil and Blizzard Ridge are always guaranteed to leave a warm glow.

Saturday was back to being scorchio (sheltered from the prevailing northerly) and called for an Intake take-two for some unfinished business. People laugh when I say it reminds me of Pembroke, but if you screw your eyes up…

We kicked off with a couple of sports routes on Father Walls before the main objective of some of the 30m trad lines on the Back Wall. I Love You, at E2 5b, might represent the lower end of that technical grade, but the rock quality would merit some proficiency at that E-grade.

Papal Rain ratchets up the aggro on both the climbing and looseness fronts – well worth E3 5c but probably not the stars it gets in some guides (though the top 30ft of wide crinoid cracks is excellent). You can make out Andy setting off in the middle of the picture below:

… and approaching the aforementioned cracks:

Big Thing Coming represents the opposite end of the quality spectrum – you’d be hard pressed to name a better E3 on Peak limestone (sacrilege to some, no doubt, but try it and then tell me I’m wrong). Steady but interesting climbing leads to a mid-height breather on a ledge, at which point things steepen significantly! A few pegs mark the way and provide confidence to launch into a series of stiff pulls, which are rewarded by generally positive holds for a 50ft blast up the gently leaning head wall. Here’s a lad called Felix starting the steep sequence

… and Andy approaching the crux

Another chilly day on Sunday called for a sheltered venue – great minds think alike and prompted another visit to Rivelin. Arriving late I was suckered into warming up on Ring of Roses – a very tough proposition at HVS and a somewhat chastening experience (not to mention scarring!)

Dave lead Reprieve, which requires a very cool head – much easier on the blunt end of the rope!

I then recovered a modicum of pride leading White Out (which felt about 2 grades easier than Ring of Roses – not 2 grades harder)

and Martin did Blizzard Ridge. Grand!

An Easter Monday day trip to Crookrise in Yorkshire merits its own post (the first time climbing outside The Peak in 5 months!)

… so I’ll finish with another Colehill Quarry outing the following day. Another day of “max 5C feels like minus 5” was surprisingly comfortable while the sun was out. I struggled on Taste the Grit, 6b+, but was more than chuffed to manage the adjacent Just This Side of 30 – my first 7a in a while. Here’s Jim on The Reincarnation

And Chris on the route of the crag: Another Roadside Attraction

Hard to believe that the following picture was taken only 15 minutes after the one above!

Time to bail, but no complaints after a fun-packed week!

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