/ USMC Freshers Climb Lawrencefield 29/09/19

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AlexMorris 23 Sep 2019

Hey all, next Sunday 29th Sept the University of Sheffield Mountaineering Club will be holding our annual Fresher's Climb event at Lawrencefield. We plan to put up a few top ropes on gingerbread slabs to introduce lots of people to climbing, so expect the crag to be pretty busy. Really sorry to anyone who is planning to climb here, we will try to stay out of your way and will leave the crag clean and tidy.

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Graham Booth 23 Sep 2019
In reply to AlexMorris:

Not the most aesthetic venue, you would be better off going to Stanage popular end.

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NBR 23 Sep 2019
In reply to Graham Booth:

Seems to show a nice level of consideration not to bung up Popular End on the weekend. 

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In reply to AlexMorris:

How many people are we talking here? more than 6 and I think it's more considerate to split your group to different crags.

All very well to say you're going somewhere but you can't 'book' a crag and if someone comes along and wants to lead the routes you're monopolising then you have to remove your ropes.

Gingerbread slap is a very popular part of Lawrencefield that is already showing it's age and having tons of beginners puntering around on it isn't going to do it any favours.

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Valkyrie1968 23 Sep 2019
In reply to TheClimbingWallCritic:

> Gingerbread slap is a very popular part of Lawrencefield that is already showing it's age and having tons of beginners puntering around on it isn't going to do it any favours.

Counter-argument: Gingerbread Slab is sufficiently polished and sandy that any experienced climber choosing to lead routes there in the first place - considering they have so many quality low-grade routes at the same crag to go at, as well as at others within a ten-minute drive - is more of a punter than someone trying climbing for the first time.

As sad as it is, I think that there's a grim logic to giving over places like Gingerbread Slab, the Anatomy/Physiology/Sociology buttress of Stanage Popular, and Ant's Slab at Yarncliffe to groups of beginners. They're decent enough routes but nothing compared to the likes of Heaven Crack, Heather Wall, and Flying Buttress, and so applauding experienced climbers for taking people who don't yet have the knowledge to use their feet well, not climb in trainers, and clean their shoes means that routes that are actually good for those taking their first steps in trad leading - lines that are truly inspiring for people who are beginning to get past that initial phase - are less f*cked up.

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In reply to Valkyrie1968:

True, and maybe I care less about the venue and more about this assumption that just because you've posted on UKC it's ok to take huge groups and monopolise crags.

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Valkyrie1968 23 Sep 2019
In reply to TheClimbingWallCritic:

This argument has been had before, so in brief:

People are going to experience outdoor climbing for the first time in this way, whether you like it or not, so would you rather they just did it and didn't bother informing anyone? That would mean that you might turn up at a crag with your heart set on a route only to have to deal with hungover first-years and have to ask to take topropes down. This way, you can simply avoid the crag on the day in question, or go knowing what to expect. Alex has been quite clear that the organisers intend to do everything in their power to facilitate use of the crag and routes by others, so that's a decent option if you really must go to Lawrencefield on Sunday to lead one of the worst routes there.

In reply to Valkyrie1968:

I'm not saying I'm going to go to Lawrencefield but as it's a good venue when it's a smidge windy and horrible at other crags it's just irritating when you go there for the shelter and there's a horde of students. I'm sure they will be considerate of other climbers but if there's loads of them they will be noisy whatever and ruin other peoples day. 

They should, in my opinion, look at a few crags and spread themselves out. It's been done before (i remember a ukc post about it) the organisers put small groups at each crag instead of jumping on one of the more popular beginner areas en mass. 

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Valkyrie1968 23 Sep 2019
In reply to TheClimbingWallCritic:

I can't say that I'm a big fan of big groups of people at the crag, and students are the worst (I should know as I was one, once), but it's going to happen. Splitting a bigger group up is a good idea but not always practical (uni clubs generally travel in minibuses, which would mean a series of drop-offs and pick-ups; there aren't always enough experienced members on the trip to have proper ratios of beginners to leaders). Plus, not all student groups fit the stereotype that you and I have in mind, and even if they do - are we going to specifically ban groups of students from crags? Or do we ban groups of greater than x altogether? What happens if a group of non-students is behaving in a manner that is annoying to you or I - can we apply the student ban to them? Can we just implement some sort of governmental system where people who act in an annoying manner at the crag have to register on some sort of database, and can only go to certain crags at certain times that suit you and I?

The bottom line is that by negatively responding to these posts, student groups won't bother with them in the future, and that would be a shame for all of us.

Post edited at 15:51
Luke90 23 Sep 2019
In reply to TheClimbingWallCritic:

> They should, in my opinion, look at a few crags and spread themselves out. It's been done before (i remember a ukc post about it) the organisers put small groups at each crag instead of jumping on one of the more popular beginner areas en mass.

I think you're right that it's been done before but it doesn't take much thought to realise that it would pose significant organisational and logistical challenges for a uni club. At the very least, it would involve a lot more driving, which the UKC hivemind rightly tends to question from an environmental perspective these days. The club would also need to make sure that they had the right kit and expertise at each crag they visited, which isn't necessarily easy, especially at the start of the year when some of the most experienced will just have been lost.

And even if they put all that effort in, and announced it on here, you know for certain that some grouch would be moaning that they'd be much easier to avoid if they just went to one single crag.

In reply to Valkyrie1968:

I don't even care that it's students just large groups in general. I normally find freshers the best of the bunch as they don't have any annoying habits and are usually keen to learn.

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Offwidth 23 Sep 2019
In reply to AlexMorris:

Please ignore the critics. I've climbed at the crag a few times over the years alongside your introductory groups and have always been impressed with your politeness and behaviour. I have always regarded your club as an exemplar of good practice. It's excellent practice to advertise in advance and Lawrencefield is one of the best venues, especially as the climbs in the first bay that are most used for begginers are unpopular despite being OK. University beginner groups are rather mixed in their outdoor impact, better than they used to be a couple of decades back but still too often negative.

tjdodd 23 Sep 2019
In reply to TheClimbingWallCritic:

> I don't even care that it's students just large groups in general. I normally find freshers the best of the bunch as they don't have any annoying habits and are usually keen to learn.


If the key issue is avoiding large groups then I think the onus is on yourself to find a remote crag away from the masses.  The crags in the Peak that are busy (either with groups or just lots of people in general - I see little difference in terms of affecting your peace and quiet) are well known and therefore easy to avoid.  Equally the less populated crags are usually well known so gives you plenty of options (whilst some are less busy due to long walk ins some have pretty short walk ins).  I assume from your comments that you never climb anywhere busy so am not sure why student groups should be an issue for you.

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elsewhere 23 Sep 2019
In reply to TheClimbingWallCritic:

Don't mess with USMC, they'll call in an air strike.

Correction. Not Unite States Marine Corps.

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Jandwilson 23 Sep 2019
In reply to AlexMorris:

Absolutely unacceptable.

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abelmclinden 23 Sep 2019
In reply to AlexMorris:

Just to add to Alex's post, if you do find yourself in the area next weekend feel free to come and say hi, we'll have a BBQ going that anyone would be welcome to! Come and see how many people are excited to try out climbing and be the next generation of of the sport.

It goes without saying that if anyone wants to climb something on Gingerbread that we had occupied we would of course move for you. Equally if you see something unsafe or something you feel isn't best practice find a committee member and raise it with us 😃 

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Simon Caldwell 23 Sep 2019
In reply to TheClimbingWallCritic:

This argument happens every year. Some clubs will go to popular crags and set up top ropes. Others will go to slightly less popular crags, and split into small groups of leaders/seconders. There are arguments for and against each approach (and all those in between) - I have my own opinions, you have yours, but the clubs concerned do the same thing every year so it's pointless going through it all again

David Riley 23 Sep 2019
In reply to AlexMorris:

Ideal location.  Have a good one.

planetmarshall 23 Sep 2019
In reply to AlexMorris:

Just don't bring a drone and it'll be fine.

Mick Ward 23 Sep 2019
In reply to TheClimbingWallCritic:

> I'm not saying I'm going to go to Lawrencefield but as it's a good venue when it's a smidge windy and horrible at other crags it's just irritating when you go there for the shelter and there's a horde of students.

In my opinion, apart from St Peter, Boulevard and (arguably) Billy Whizz, the place is a dump and it's unlikely that there will be eternal top-ropes on these routes anyway. While I share your feelings about large groups, with a Uni Freshers' meet comprising lots of people who are a) inexperienced and b) young, I'd be minded to have them in as small an area as possible, to keep a beady eye on proceedings. And, for this, Lawrencefield is ideal. If you need shelter, you can go down to Stoney or across to Rivelin.

Traditionally Uni groups have had a bad press. However, some years ago, I came across a Bristol Uni meet at the bottom of the Sea Walls. The organisation and quality of instruction were the best I've ever seen.

Seems to me that the OP was as polite and well-mannered as you could be...

Mick

Presley Whippet 23 Sep 2019
In reply to AlexMorris:

When was SCUM dropped? 

peppermill 24 Sep 2019
In reply to TheClimbingWallCritic:

It's nothing new. Sheff have been doing fresher's climbs at Lawrencefield since waaay before I was there in 2008-2010. Top ropes in Roadside bay and the slabs for an afternoon isn't that much of an issue, it's not as if it's the only crag in the area. You could just cross the road and go to Millstone.

What happened to the High Peak Club as it was in my day?

Teappleby 24 Sep 2019
In reply to AlexMorris:

https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/weather/forecast/gcqz6kgdx#2019-09-29

You might all be arguing over nothing anyway....

Deadeye 24 Sep 2019
In reply to AlexMorris:

Good for you and thanks for letting us know.

Ade in Sheffield 24 Sep 2019
In reply to Jandwilson:

Your reasoned alternative would be ...

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Graham Booth 24 Sep 2019
In reply to NBR:

perhaps if I had actually been serious...chillax

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bouldery bits 24 Sep 2019
In reply to Jandwilson:

> Absolutely unacceptable.

I agree.

No one should ever go climbing for the first time.

In fact, the only people who should be able to go climbing are me and people I approve of.

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bouldery bits 24 Sep 2019
In reply to abelmclinden:

> Just to add to Alex's post, if you do find yourself in the area next weekend feel free to come and say hi, we'll have a BBQ going that anyone would be welcome to! Come and see how many people are excited to try out climbing and be the next generation of of the sport.

Climbing is not a sport. Stop telling people it's a sport. It's a way of life. A calling. A spiritual experience. A scarifying of the body for the purpose of perfecting the soul. 

:P

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Offwidth 25 Sep 2019
In reply to Mick Ward:

Did you get out if the wrong side of bed? I'm really disappointed that someone as positive and respectful as you normally are would say something silly and dismissive that Lawrencefield is a dump aside from those few routes. I'm sure I won't be the only one who's climbed there more times than they can remember and have always enjoyed it. Even some minor unstarred routes can be good and can need more traffic to keep them in a good condition after local heros clean them from time to time. A selection of my other suggested  highlights.

Classic lower grade quarry Pulpit Groove (VD 4a)

Uniquely explorative bumbly adventure Lawrencefield Ordinary (VD)

Many climbers' friendly first HS lead Three Tree Climb (HS 4b)

Classic quarry VS The Delectable Variation (VS 4c)  and  Great Harry (VS 4c)

A personal E2 milestone for many with rich history Suspense (E2 5c)

The eponymous fighting spirit  Frustration (E2 6a)

An ultimate teeter Scoop Connection (E2 5b)

Plus any number of other very good starred climbs across the grades.

Post edited at 09:31
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ChrisBrooke 25 Sep 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

Hear hear. For various reason, Lawrencefield is one of my favourite Peak crags. I love the setting with the pond and silver birches and enclosed atmosphere, and I've had some of my best leading experiences there with the likes of Great Harry, Suspense, Billy Whizz, Delectable Variation, Three Tree Climb and more. High quality routes!

I'm also very happy for freshers to go there and climb for the day. I've no more 'right' to the place than anyone else, and certainly if I turned up and found it heaving I'd just go over the road - not make a point of asking them to take their ropes down etc. "I really want to lead this VDiff, can you move..." Geez. 

Post edited at 09:35
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galpinos 25 Sep 2019
In reply to peppermill:

Same here, it was Lawrencefield in '98 but that was with SCUM, the High Peak Club was more of a walking club then.

muppetfilter 25 Sep 2019
In reply to Valkyrie1968:

Hi... I don't know if you are aware but University groups are members of the BMC and take full use of the subsidised training courses. They are also supposed to adhere to the advisory guidance on not monopolising small crags (like lawrencefield)

Its not exactly the best message to convey to new climbers that its ok to hog the crag rather than sympathetically enjoy it with aothers . Its there to enjoy and share not take for ones own purposes which to my knowledge has always been the ethos of the climbing instructor schemes.

The OP from Sheffield uni would do well to read the below advice.

https://www.thebmc.co.uk/student-club-officers-handbook-trip-planning

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Sam Ash 25 Sep 2019
In reply to galpinos:

SCUM was closed down in the early 2000s (apparently something to do with mushrooms and sea cliffs), so the climbers moved into the High Peak Club, which was climbing, mountain biking and walking when I started in 2010. By about 2014, it was mostly climbers and walkers (most of the mountain bikers were in the Cycling Club), so the name was changed to USMC.

Mick Ward 25 Sep 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

Well I haven't done Frustration (had never heard of it until now) or Scoop Connection. But, apart from the back wall, which would be more at home at Millstone, it's a place I've never liked. (By the way, I believe we've had this discussion before, so I'm surprised that you're surprised.) I simply find it third-rate. The routes are worn (they must be worse now, as it's nearly 20 years since I've left the Peak), they're often gritty after rain. I find them pedestrian. The pool can be dank; the place can be midgy. It has the classic quarry 'hole in the ground' ambience. Conversely the millstones and birch trees are delightful, as are the views. But although these are part of the place, they're not part of the crag.

By contrast, Millstone (like Dalkey upper quarry) is high on a hill and so much more cheerful. At HVS and upwards, most routes are worth doing. Some are of superb quality. It's one of the best places in the country to learn how to climb finger cracks.

For me, Millstone is a three star venue and Lawrencefield is grossly inferior. I probably prefer Yarncliffe (yes, grit, ants and all).

However I fear we'll simply have to agree to disagree. It won't be the first time (well it isn't, even on this topic!) and doubtless it won't be the last.

Mick

P.S. Has that line in the first bay been climbed yet?

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galpinos 25 Sep 2019
In reply to Sam Ash:

That's a shame, it was still going strong in 2002 when I left and the two clubs had a very different vibe. SCUM was certainly more anarchic.

Chris Craggs Global Crag Moderator25 Sep 2019
In reply to AlexMorris:

I'm not getting involved arguments for and against with group use of crags, but would ask you to reconsider having a BBQ on your meet. Not sure how many you are 'catering' for but I don't think it is a great idea to suggest BBQ-ing at a crag is a 'normal' thing to do,

Chris

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spidermonkey09 25 Sep 2019
In reply to Chris Craggs:

God this is so bloody tedious. 

Sheffield; enjoy your day. 

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Presley Whippet 25 Sep 2019
In reply to Chris Craggs:

Normal is what you make it. I quite enjoy a sunset burger after an afternoons climbing. 

What next, no stoves for a brew? No flasks of tea? 

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In reply to Mick Ward:

Hi Mick, don’t forget Suspense, that’s a really cool lead coming around the arête and up to the peg. Definitely worth the short walk in to do it. Pool Wall too if ever the water level is low enough. I’ve a proper soft spot for Lawrencefield, when I first started out, ticking rightwards from Limpopo Groove, then coming back for Billy Whiz as we got better.

worth it also to see Geraldine running around in circles trying to shed a legion of those biting red fire ants😂

In reply to Offwidth:

That’s a really nice tick list for a ‘scruffy’ quarry. Some great days out there .

Offwidth 25 Sep 2019
In reply to Mick Ward:

Since when did not being as good as arguably the best gritstone quarry make somewhere a dump. I can understand you don't like it but dump is pretty pejorative to a place so many really enjoy. I'd say Yarncliffe Quarry is on a par but with better obscurities that may need a clean.

I have no recall of a previous disagreement on this subject but then again my memory isnt what it was and threads here do resemble an inadvertent ground-hog-day at times

Post edited at 19:35
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Mick Ward 25 Sep 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

All right. I'll take it back. Maybe it's bit mean calling it a dump. I must have had some good times there. It's just not my cup of tea. Should go back though (punishment!) and at least repeat the three routes I mentioned. And Suspense. And it always seemed a good place for a picnic...

Mick

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Mick Ward 25 Sep 2019
In reply to paul__in_sheffield:

Agree, Suspense is good. Can't think why I forgot about it (senility??) Seconded Paul Mitchell on a direct version of Pool Wall (Loophole?) and there were some cool moves on that. Wouldn't have fancied leading it (or Pool Wall), just in case I ended up in the drink. Coward - moi?

Well, if you're throwing in Geraldine running around in circles, trying to shed a load of ants, you've just sold it to me. Hey, let's all go to Lawrencefield - great place! (Oh, bloody hell, freshers, them buggers get everywhere, harder to get rid of than the ants.)

Just to establish my bona fides as a complete and utter bounder, banning Geraldine from leading should clinch it. (About 1,000 feet to go, winter afternoon, going to get dark in a few hours. T shirts and no head torches. Give the girl her due, we were up and off that route minutes before pitch dark, like the proverbial rats and their drainpipe. Coward - moi?)

Lawrencefield - great place!

Mick

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Offwidth 26 Sep 2019
In reply to Mick Ward:

I only reacted as you are one of my UKC heros and such a mote is glaring to a grit obsessive (and especially funny if it's the second time)   

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In reply to Mick Ward:

That glacial leading pace was legendary, and really misleading to a casual observer. So many times I went to climb stuff which G had spent an age on, and found myself right on the  limit of being able to hold on and place gear. 

nuts and bolts 27 Sep 2019
In reply to AlexMorris:

Thank you for posting prior notice of this event. I for one have always supported new comers to climbing in whatever form that takes.

However I suspect you will not be inconveniencing anyone given the latest forecast - I suggest oilskins and wellies with a large tarpaulin to rig up over your chosen routes. 

You might post which pub you will be retiring to so everyone can avoid that also.

brianjcooper 27 Sep 2019
In reply to nuts and bolts:

> You might post which pub you will be retiring to so everyone can avoid that also.

Good call. We arrived at the Millstone once to find it had been completely taken over by a freshers meet. Had to fight to see the bar.  


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