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 Oread Mountaineering Club Newsletter  May 2010

Chris -  Summit of Fleischbank, Wilderkaiser

Editorial. (Last Date for next edition 26/05/10)

As we head towards early summer thoughts turn to The Alps and Greater Ranges. This month we have an article by Chris Radcliffe telling us his adventures with Gill during last summer, their ascents and the Hailstorm incident (nb Dent!!!)

By the time you read this, we will have completed our first Beginners Meet. I was there on the Saturday and can say it was a great success, everyone enjoyed themselves and with a little help, we should have some new members from all the effort. Well done Mike Bate, look forward to the write up next month.

Gower Meet: Early May Bank Holiday, 1st to 3rd May 2010

Reuben Dakin

I’ve just found this poor defenceless abandoned meet wrapped in an old copy of the meets list on my doorstep. It’s a bit malnourished and unloved, and could do with some Oreads to help me nurse it back to health.
The Gower is a superb location for all outdoors enthusiasts. There is a very wide range of sea cliff climbing all along the south coast of the Peninsula, with many routes within walking distance of the campsite. There are also good beaches, spectacular coastal walking and fine mountain biking.
We’ve booked in for the weekend at 3 Cliffs Bay Holiday Park, Penmaen, (01792) 371218 (mornings only), (, grid reference 534886). The small site has a superb location, is well equipped, and takes tents, campervans and caravans. There are a couple of pubs/ restaurants a mile’s stagger away.
As this will be a popular weekend, it hasn’t been possible to provisionally book spaces, so you’ll need to contact the campsite directly to make a booking. They’re filling up fast so you’ll need to contact them as soon as possible. Please also let me know if you’re coming, by telephoning 01332 834543 or by email. Hope to see you there

Northumberland 7th, 8th, 9th, May 2010

Dave Helliwell

I've booked Demesne Farm Bunkhouse at Bellingham.  See

The bunkhouse sleeps 15 people all bed linen is provided but no towels.  Cost is £13.66 per night.  There are pubs in the village that do food.

For walkers the Pennine Way passes through the farm and for cyclists Kielder Forest is close by.

The climbing is excellent and the nearest crags are Great Wharney, Callerheughes, East Woodburn and Crag Lough.

I'm hoping to have some experts on hand from the Northumberland Mountaineering Club to point out the plums.

If you're that way inclined I'm told there is excellent bouldering in Northumberland.

Contact me to book your place on 01298 812753 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Wed 19th May, Evening Meet The Millstone, Hathersage.

The evenings are getting a bit longer, so we can go further afield.  The pickled eggs at the Millstone make it doubly worthwhile!  Millstone or Lawrencefield Quarries provide a wide range of easily accessible climbing objectives, whilst the mountaineers amongst us might go to one of the other crags in the Burbage Valley or even up to Stanage. Simon Pape  07813 616563

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Arran - Spring Bank Holiday.

Sat 29th May to Sun 31st May 2010 (or longer).

Chris Wilson.

A big thank you to all those who have let me know they are coming, on what should be a spectacular Bank holiday weekend.  There’s still time for the rest of you to join us.  The last ferry leaves Ardrossan at 20.30 on Friday night, so I shall be arriving at Lochranza on the Saturday.  The earlier folks book their ferry crossing, the more likely they are to depart at the time of their choosing.  The campsite has told me that they will find it simpler if bookings are done by one person (me), so I’ll be doing something about that very soon.

The island offers something for everyone – walking, climbing, cycling, as well as all the other associated activities.

Later bookings will need to be done by individuals.

Chris Wilson, 10 Beacon Road, Rolleston on Dove, Staffs DE13 9BG. Tel 01283 520911, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Cornwall - Spring Bank Holiday.

Sat 29th May to Sun 31st May 2010

Roy Eyre.

We are booked in again at Trevaylor campsite which is between St Just & Botallack.  So, for the people who want sun warmed rock, walking the coast path, swimming, not forgetting the Cornish pasties and cream teas, (no midges), this is the place to be. Please ring me on 01623 469658 before May 21st so that I have some idea of numbers. I will already be down there sorting out the good weather.

Oread Summer Alpine Meet 24th July to 15th August 2010

Steve Christian

The Uri or Urner Alps

There are 21 definite attendees for our summer trip to The Uri Alps of Central Switzerland.  The dates for the trip as a whole spans a 3 week period, as some people have expressed an interest in joining us at the start of August and staying for two weeks.

I have now confirmed bookings with the campsite for the Families Mawers, Christians, Hayes, Lancasters, Briggs, Roscoes, Papes and Richard Hopkinson (  We will have an area of our own so that we can set up a communal camp.

So please do contact me to express a potential or definite interest on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 01629 825292, 07824 623945 or at 1 Duke Street, Middleton, Matlock, DE4 4NB.

News, Articles and Reports from Meets.

Spring Stride Sun 28th March

Tony Howard

We set off from Curbar Gap at 10:30 as planned.  Seven of us that is: Chris & Sue  Jonson, Chiz & Reu, Tony S, John (Newsletter) Green and me.  At the first signpost on White Edge we looked back & could see that man with the unique gait gaining on us!  He was being questioned intently by our new President.  The First Lady was left struggling about 30 metres behind.  A hundred metres behind her were three more Oreads.  They had come on foot from Heathy Lea, making a more proper walk of the day.  We waited for them all – it’s less embarrassing than having them catch us while moving!

When Mike, Chris, Jan, Colin, Pete & Tony R joined us, we set off along White Edge.  There was a strong cool wind & the sky was cloudy with fast blue streaks.   Once we were above the Lodge, we dropped down to it and cut back to The Grouse – arriving just after midday.  Jack, who was on a more northerly circuit, joined us for lunch.

After a team photograph was taken, we returned in sunshine via the top of Hay Wood, Froggatt and Curbar edges.  The ‘more-proper’ walkers continued to Heathy Lea.   It was a very pleasant day out!

Spring Striders outside the Gruse Inn                         The meet leader enjoying lunch

Spring Striders on White Edge                               What’s this press job like anyway?

First Outdoor Evening Meet Wed. 31st March

Neil Weatherstone.

This year's first trip outside didn't benefit from the warm, dry sunny weather that we had last year. Instead it was very cold with driving sleet and snow. The wet weather option was the wall at Wirksworth and most Oreads took refuge there.  But as it wasn't raining and merely snowing a few (fool)hardy Oreads still turned up at Harborough Rocks and bagged some routes. The testing conditions made the usually straightforward routes quite adventurous, which made for a fun night. Much more entertaining than the wall. The Olde Gate was especially inviting afterwards with the warmth from the open fires and fine beers.

Rusty and Reg enjoying the winter conditions at Harborough Rocks

The Alps Summer 2009

Chris Radcliffe

Following my official retirement at the end of June I was at last able to enjoy an extended summer holiday in the Alps and Gill and I set off shortly after the end of her teaching commitments on July 16th.  Our plan was to drive to Austria through Belgium and Germany to walk and climb in the Wilder Kaiser, then to join the Oread MC Meet at Colfosco in the Italian Dolomites.  Finally we would travel to France to climb in the Ecrins and the Vercors National Parks.


We had a pretty tiresome journey across Germany in continuous rain with frequent road repairs on the autobahns causing innumerable traffic delays.  We broke the journey to visit a former colleague near Schwäbisch Hall, east of Heilbronn.  This was an interesting medieval town and we spent a damp couple of hours looking round before we moved on.  Pete and Jude were already travelling in Austria and we exchanged text messages so that we were able to meet up in the camp site at St. Johann-im-Tyrol.

The weather suddenly improved and we enjoyed an introductory walk on the Niederhauser with Pete and Jude and also followed a klettersteig route to the summit of Ellmauer Halt, 2344 metres, the highest peak in the Wilder Kaiser.  For our climbing objectives we toiled up to the Stripsenjoch hut on a very hot day.  Unfortunately I then discovered that I had left our guidebook in the hotel in Germany we had stayed at on our outbound journey.  I also had a 1:100,000 map acquired in my youth – now 50 years old and virtually useless.  I spent some time copying possible routes from the hut guide and we decided to climb the “Via Classica” on the Fleischbank – Nortgrattabruch, a 400 metre 14 pitch Grade V route.

On the evening before the climb we could study the start of route from the hut and we also witnessed a helicopter rescue from a neighbouring route.  The main feature of the climb was a deep cleft that was followed for three pitches that gave “atmospheric” climbing with steep situations. This led to a terrace and further climbing to the top of the route.  A descent down the face was possible, but we opted to get to the summit – mostly scrambling, but we roped up again for some steep sections.  We didn’t have a guidebook description of the descent, but red arrows and abseil points indicated the way down. Unfortunately we managed to chop one of the ropes on the last abseil.  We then had a steep descent into the Steinere Rinne and back down to the hut – an excellent 12 hour day.

Next day, limited by lack of a guidebook and feeling a bit jaded after yesterdays climb we opted to do some 2/3 pitch routes on the Wilddangerwandl which was immediately in front of the hut.  It was a really hot day and after a couple of hours we descended to the valley and returned to our camp in St. Johann.  There was a very rapid build up of cloud and as we cooked our evening meal there was some pretty intense thunderstorm activity in the mountains.  At this point we were still dry, but it changed very suddenly and we made a dash for the tent.  Then for no more than 5 minutes we had a barrage of the biggest hailstones I have ever witnessed. When the storm subsided we went outside to check the damage.  The field was still strewn with golf ball sized hail stones and we measured one that was over 5cm wide.  Inevitably all the cars were damaged and when I eventually had mine repaired I needed a new roof, windscreen, bonnet and boot lid!

The view taken from the Piz Da Lech and shows the road leading to the GardenaPass ( which is just cut off by the foreground).  Several of us climbed routes on the pointed peak above the pass on the left – Gran Cir (Grosse Cirspitze) while on the right the peak with the obvious L to R ramps is the Saas Da Ciampac which several of us climbed by “The Old South Face”.


We managed another walk and klettersteig before we left Austria and crossed the Brenner Pass to join the Oread Meet at Colfosco, near Corvara in the Dolomites.  Inevitably the campsite was pretty crowded but our team secured a good pitch close to the camper van contingent and it was a very sociable couple of weeks.  We generally had good weather and managed an activity every day, interspersing via ferrate routes and a couple of sports climbing days with classic routes on the ever impressive Dolomite faces.  The Köhler/Memmel “Classic Dolomite Climbs” is a useful guidebook and this was supplemented by a new (2008) German guide book that covered the whole of the Dolomites in 2 volumes.  Despite being a “selected routes” guide each is the size of a telephone directory.  Fortunately the camp site allowed us to photocopy relevant pages for free. In the Passo Gardena area we climbed both the “Via Camerun” and “Via Demetz” on the Grosse Cirspitze and the classic “Old South Face” on the Sass da Ciampac. From the Falzarego Pass we did the classic “Hexenstein” on the South Rib of the Sass di Stria.

However our most memorable routes of the trip were from the Sella Pass area – the “Tissi” on the First Sella Tower and the “Big Micheluzzi” on the South Face of Piz Ciavazes. We very nearly didn’t get onto this route. When we arrived we found two guys from New York climbing the first pitch – based on their Christian names we referred to them as “Hermann the German” and “Boris the Yorris”.  They were incredibly slow and another party in desperation gave up waiting, but we stuck it out and trailed them up the first two pitches.  While Hermann was pratting around on the third pitch we shouted up that he should be traversing further left.  Unwilling to do this he rather irritably waved Gill through and as she was on the correct line, we managed to get ahead.

The “Big Micheluzzi” has a crux section of 3 pitches that traverse across the face in tremendous position.  We were no speed merchants but we got well ahead of the two Yanks.  A party of two Slovaks was not so lucky.  Making a late start and probably capable of climbing quickly, they were unable to pass the Americans.  Later when we returned to the car we found the girl friend of one of them stuck because he had the car key.  It was now getting dark and the other parties were still well below the top of the route so she was facing a long wait.

Hailstone - July 23rd                             Summit group - Grosse Cirspitze



When the Oread contingent set off home we moved on to the next part of our trip.  A huge volume of traffic made it a very slow journey to Trento, but once on the autostrada we motored quickly across northern Italy in hot sunny weather past Milan to Torino and then the road leading to Val Frejus.  Once we got to the mountains the weather changed and as we crossed the Col de Mont Genève and down into Briançon it was pretty miserable.  We had booked an auberge for the night and eventually managed to find La Boule de Neige in St. Chaffrey, part of Serre Chevalier 1350.  This was a welcome haven and as the weather was set to be unsettled for a couple of days we decided to stay for two nights.  In fact the weather was fair the next day and we completed a longish walk from Serre Chevalier, 2491m called the “Sentier des Combes” over several cols and back to our village through the forest.


Our main destination was La Berarde which is on the NW side of the Ecrins massif, a similar gateway to the high peaks to the more popular Ailefroide.  We found the area delightful and relatively quiet.  Our plan was to climb on the granite domes near the village and we did two routes on the Tete de la Maye: Pujolidal, D+ and Habbé Hard, TD-.  Both were bolt protected 14 pitch routes giving quite long days out; Habbé Hard in particular had some stunning pitches that were steep, quite committing and scary.  We felt we had earned our beer when we got back to the campsite.  We also walked up to the Refuge de la Pilatte, 2577m, returning with a diversion up the Chardon valley – a really enjoyable day with stunning scenery.

The weather was perfect, the mountain temperatures amenable and in hindsight we should have stayed here, but instead we pressed on to the Vercors and camped in Coranche below the impressive limestone cliffs of Prelles that we planned to climb.  However at this lower altitude of the pre-Alps it was always going to be hot and this year the temperatures were exceptional – up to 40 deg.C.  Climbing multi-pitch routes really wasn’t an option and we resorted to a tourist trip on the river at St. Nazerre-en-Royans, visiting a show garden: Le Jardin des Fontaines Pétrifiantes.  We also walked in the forest above Prelles and managed a few single pitch climbs one afternoon on the periphery of the main climbing area.  The forecast was for the heat wave in France to continue. We had had a great trip and felt quite fit after plenty of multi-pitch climbs, so on August 18th we were content to head for home a few days earlier than planned.

2010 Handbook

Attached to the electronic version of this edition should be a copy of the latest Oread M.C. Handbook. If any of our Postal members would like a copy, could they please contact me and I will send one to them. Editor.

K Fellfarers 75th Anniversary Book.

K Fellfarers have produced an anniversary book which has now been published. They are offering this to reciprocal clubs at a discount. The price is £20. If you would like a copy at this price, mention the Oread when purchasing. Contact is Clare Fox - 01539 727531 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Climbing Shoes.

Hardly used climbing shoes going for £35 per pair. Evolv Pontas velcro fastening - size seven and a half, and 5.10 Anasazi (green) lace ups size 5.

Half a size too tight for us but otherwise brilliant shoes. Let me know if you are interested.

Malcolm Leick, 0115 9881853 or 07846 366247 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Hut Bookings for May.

Please note that hut fees should always be paid to me and no one else. Colin Hobday. 


May 14/15th.       Vibram MC          cottage.

May 21/22nd.      London MC          Cottage/barn.

June 4/5th.          S King (B.M.C.)   Cottage.


May 1/2/3.                                      2 people

May 7/8th.           Cambridge Uni.    16 people.

May17/18th.         J Dench              2 people.

May21/22nd.        K Fellfarers         Whole hut.

May 30/31/1         Bank Holiday

Remember  winter 2009/10 – Colin Hobday’s pictures of Black Rocks as we rarely see them.


Forthcoming Meets


Sat 1st to Mon 3rd

Gower Camping Meet

Reuben Dakin

01332 834543

Sat 8th – Sun 9th

Northumberland Bellingham

Dave Helliwell

01298 812753

Tues 11th

Committee Meets Royal Oak Ockbrook



Wed 19th

Evening Meet Pub Millstone.

Simon Pape

07813 616563

Sat 29th – Mon 31st

Arran Lochranza

Chris Wilson

01283 520911

Sat 29th – Mon 31st

Cornwall (Parallel Meet)

Roy Eyre

01623 469658


Sat 12th – Sun 13th

Heathy Lea Work Party.



Tues 15th

Committee Meets Royal Oak Ockbrook



Sat 19th – Sun 20th

Tan yr Wyddfa

John Green

01332 832101

Wed 23rd

Longest (Wednes)day

James Tubby

01283 736737

Sat 26th – Sun 27th

High House - Borrowdale

Simon Pape

01629 822450


Sat 10th – Sun 11th

Heathy Lea Beer Festival

Dave Heliwell

01298 812753

Tues 13th

Committee Meets Royal Oak Ockbrook



Wed 14th

Evening Meet Royal Oak Wetton



Sat 31st – Aug 1st

Urner Alps

Steve Christian

01629 825292

Copyright – Oread Mountaineering Club.

Editor: John Green, Ivy Cottage, Church Lane, Morley Derbys. 01332 832101

Email – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.