Steve's Roaches Page

Edition of 23. June 1999

The Roaches, near Leek, Staffs:
Youarsey Minithon Friday 18/6/1999

The Roaches are a prominent gritstone outcrop, more or less at the Southerly limit of the Pennines. Their South-Western aspect favours afternoon and summer evening climbing.

A group of six climbers from the uk.rec.climbing ("Youarsey") newsgroup met for a glorious afternoon's sport. Here are some photos (in a rather plain vanilla layout) for those of you who missed it.

In addition to Pedestal Route (HVD) and Saul's Crack (HVS 5a) illustrated below, I managed to gibber up another couple of routes with John.

Right Route, VD

I led this fine expedition, which has quite good protection.

Roscoe's Wall HVS 5b

John led this. It's short and sweet: starts with a tricky heel-hook near the ground (before you can protect it) and some powerful moves, to gain much easier going with very positive holds. I seconded, with a lot of help from the rope!

Tony (don't know what he's grinning about) Sean and Nick on Crack & Corner (?)
Update 22/6/1999:    Nick wrote:

"Our best tick of the day was "Chalkstorm" - top roping an E4 5c. Amazing slab climb!
[...and] "Kelly's Shelf" which is only a VDiff, but the guidebook comments about how even experts have to resort to using their knees to get onto the shelf, so I was quite pleased to avoid doing that ;-)"

Steve (C.) starting Fern Crack (VD) (Tony's update 23/6/99) Steve (C.) seconding Tony on Fern Crack, their third route of the afternoon
Tony and Steve also climbed Damascus Crack (HS 4a)
Upper section of the Pedestal Route (HVD): a nice, varied expedition, which can be divided into two pitches by taking a stance on the Pedestal itself, intimately situated below the notorious roof of The Sloth. You can idle a few moments away contemplating it for "next time".

The first pitch is straightforward, with some jamming and laybacks, and a final squeeze to gain the Pedestal. I thought that was the awkward mantelshelf referred to in "OPR", until later...

I was glad of a very solid belay by John as I stepped down to lead the second pitch, which later required a really awkward mantelshelf to gain a foothold on a break before traversing into a chimney, which has a small roof. Something for everyone.

As we'd walked up and down the crag, we'd been contemplating Saul's Crack (HVS 5a), and John didn't need all that much persuading to have a go at it. It has an obvious, dead-straight line, with a thoroughly nasty sloping-topped roof about two thirds of the way up. There's reasonable protection, if you have the stamina to place it.
John leading Saul's Crack, and Steve (P.) seconding (right, looking for another helmet jam)
Steve seconding Saul's Crack, with a good deal of help from a very tight rope! (left and below). I tired myself trying get one of John's Friends out, so naturally I was too pumped to get over the roof without some considerable help. In the end, he had to abseil down to get it (the Friend, not the roof).

Many thanks to Sean for taking these photos, while I was belaying or climbing.

Seeing what a mess I'd made of seconding it removed any possible excuse for Sean not to have a go at leading Saul's Crack, which he boldly did, getting as far as the roof
Sean leading Saul's Crack as far as the roof
You can also see our page about the Stanage Mammothon on 15/16 May.

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