Stanage, 19 May - by H Middleton
Eight of us in two cars were pleased to find that the further south we drove the better the weather became then, on our arrival at the Popular End, we found that there were still parking spaces available. These things are not easy for a meet leader to organise but it was done.
After the short walk-in we geared up below Robin Hood's Buttress, but the question of who would climb with whom proved beyond my skill as meet leader so everyone had to sort themselves out. However, we soon morphed into four teams consisting of Phil+Carol, Dave+Mick, Mark+Ann, and Sandra+me.
It turned out we were one rope short of four doubles, but this wasn't too much of a problem as most of the routes are around 20m and can be done on a doubled half rope (don't worry folks, this is as technical as it gets). Soon the tally of starred classics began to grow including Bishop's Route (S 4a), R-H-R-H Buttress Direct (HS 4a), Ellis's Eliminate (VS 4c), and Rubber Band (VS 4b) to name but a few.
In no time it was lunch time, then in the afternoon the continued good weather ensured that the tally became ever more respectable with ascents of (in no order) Paucity (HVS 5b), Desperation (E1 5c), and Central Trinity (VS 4c). Mick and Dave ventured a little further north and climbed Balcony Buttress (S 4a) which the guide book fittingly describes as “a fine, old-style route with a spectacular finale”. As well as such hallowed classics several obscure routes (i.e. ones not in the Rocfax guide) were ascended including Twintrin (E1 5c) which prompted Sandra to say “What? Does it go up through this greenery?” those familiar with Stanage Popular End will know that this is highly unusual state of affairs.
Still the weather remained good although given the coolness of the breeze a little more sun might have been appreciated (but not while palming on friction holds). Climbing continued until past 7pm and, given the long drive home, the usual post-climb analysis (in the pub) was sacrificed on the alter of expediency.