SUMC Peaks and BUCs trip
by Jack Goodfellow Stuart McDowell
We arrived on Friday after a long drive filled with traffic and snacks! Glad to be there we were rewarded with the sterling food provided by expert chefs. Although late, it was much welcome. Competitors and Trad climbers alike went to bed early in anticipation for the events of the next day.
Saturday started painfully early with much grumbling and pretending it was not time to get up. After a quick breakfast the BUCS competitors hurried off to The Works to begin the competition. After a brief panic at the lack of parking, most of the team ended up waiting outside the centre like a bunch of numpties waiting for their student cards to arrive with Stuart. With much admiring of down jackets we entered the centre for a quick wonder around to see what crazy climbs awaited them. With many cries of “that’ll go” the competitors enjoyed a much higher calibre of setting than they were used to! After a very quick warm up and brief we started our attempts at the climbs, some of us starting on the silly hard climbs because why not? For 4 hours we wore ourselves out on climb after climb, with Michael trying so hard he actually broke a hold! It was on Stuart’s climb as well… Despite injury and exhaustion it was a very enjoyable morning. Ciaran even managed to get the local low down on the night out that would follow, despite not really trying to climb. After the time was up we once again gathered outside to get one last picture before heading back to the hut for lunch! On our way out we overheard a Sheffield competitor being disappointed with a score of 213 out of 250… bastards…
After a brief spot of luncheon we headed out to Stanage to try our hand at some Trad and bouldering. Despite idiot drivers we made it there in one piece to a packed crag in the freezing cold! Once the various cars had reunited, climbing could begin in earnest. After lots of sitting around at the top of rocks freezing our butts off waiting for our seconders to follow us up we’d got too cold to continue so we once again headed back to the bunk house to warm up. Fighting for the single shower naturally ensued leaving many looking miserable until they had warmed up in the hot water. Finally everyone had returned to the hut and food could be made! It didn’t take much drink for table bouldering to start, however the tables were far too unstable to do it properly meaning ballast in the form of people had to be used to keep them stable. After a nap in his indoor tent Ciaran was raring to see what Sheffield town had to offer, and succeeded in dragging half the people on the trip along with him and with the loud blare of Snoop Dogg, headed off into the night.
Moaning of heads and hangovers chorused the start of the last day of the trip. This was then followed by the gradual rising of sleeping climbers and the begrudging tidying and packing of the hut. We then headed off back to Stanage only to find in horror that the weather had turned for the worst, causing the crags to be wreathed in fog and cloud. An intense debate ensued and the group split into those hard-core enough to climb and those who were either still hungover or valued warmth. The sensible group promptly headed to the nearest café. We were met with a hoard of adorable dogs, hot chocolate and chips! Now feeling somewhat more human, we started the 200 mile trip back to Swansea!
By Jack Goodfellow
The Sunday proved to be a much wetter occasion than the Saturday with the clouds descending on the Peak District. The weather wasn’t a problem for the keen though with a brave few heading back up to Stanage North to search for dry rock! The results were mixed, with a vast majority of climbs dripping wet and being blasted by the wind, however there was still hope as some dry rock was discovered. Bertrand Rome and Henry James decided to start off easy on a very green looking VDiff, ‘Cave Buttress RH’ before Bertrand wanted to move onto something a little bit more adventurous and decided he wanted to “test his gear”. Scrambling up the start of the HVS, ‘The Dalesman’ Bertrand placed gear after gear before traversing across the notoriously pumpy hand traverse, taking a good couple of swinging falls to test the wet Stanage rock. Happy to trust in his protection he then reversed the route and came down with a wet grin on his face. Meanwhile Stuart McDowell, Abbey Tildesley and Emma Broad scampered up the Severe, ‘Kelly’s Variation’ before being buffeted by the constant driving rain at the belay ledge. Attempts were made on some more green, wet routes but second thoughts were quickly made and the thought of ot drinks and cake in Hathersage was far more appealing as the team packed up and headed for drier ground. Although not an awful lot was achieved everyone ended the day with a smile on their face and a feeling of a day well spent outdoors battling with the elements.
By Stuart McDowell