Trips for 2019-20
Our first trip of the year takes us to the north of Wales and the beauty of the Snowdonia national park. Here we will have various options from trekking up Mount Snowdon itself (the second highest peak in the UK), hopefully gaining some magnificent views of the surrounding area, to the more involved and adrenaline inticing act of scambling up Tryfann. All the while we shall be staying in the well equipped and warm GMC hut near Llanberis.
Number of places: 20
The awe-inspiring nature of the Scottish Highlands more than makes up for the journey that must be endured to reach the area. During this trip we will be staying at the basic but superbly located Steall Hut, requiring passage through the Nevis gorge. What better places to wake up than at the foot of Steall waterfall (110m high), and in one of the epicentres of UK mountaineering. This trip will give some of our members the chance to bag their first Munros (mountain in Scotland over 3000 ft), an activity that can become highly addictive. The ring of Steall allows us the bag 4 Munros in one round trip.
Number of places: 12
The last trip of the semester takes us to the heartland of English mountaineering. For those that have never been to the lake District you will be truly questioning whether we are still in tthe country (weather dependant). Here we various 'fells' that may be summited including the imposing peaks of Scarfell Pike and Great Gable. During our trip we shall be staying at the well equipeed Little Langdale cottage near the top of Lake Windermere.
Number of places: 16
The perfect opportunity to get stuck into some winter mountaineering in a stunning environment, being taught by experienced and knowledgeable guides. We use these guys year after year so they know what we like to learn and they know how to teach it. There will be something for all ability levels to learn.
Winter skills course for those wanting to learn the basics about being able to move safely and confidently in winter mountains. You will learn things such as moving in crampons, ice axe basics and digging emergency shelters.
For those who have a bit of experience and want to learn something new there's the winter mountaineering course. This is great for those that are confident with the basics and want to learn more technical skills with particular attention on ropework, belaying in snow, emergency belays, chisel juggling, securing yourself to anchors, fighting bears etc.
For those well on their way to being king of the mountains there's the even more challenging winter climbing course. This involves, as it suggests, learning the skills you need to be able to tackle the more challenging winter routes which require climbing with ice axes and crampons up steep snow, ice or mixed snow, ice and rock climbs.
All of the courses teach valuable skills and it's not just for those taking it seriously, if anything else it's 3 fun days in snowy conditions many of you will have never seen anything like before! Also the perfect opportunity to escape after January exams! The bunkhouse we're staying in is the Glenbeg bunkhouse, always warm and inviting it is more holiday cottage than bunkhouse! Complete with table football no less.
You will spend the first 2 days with your guides learning new winter skills and then on the 3rd day we'll venture out into the hills and put them to the test! So if you want to get started with winter mountaineering i guarantee you won't be able to do it cheaper anywhere else, especially with the opportunity to borrow normally expensive gear from the club!
Our first trip of 15/16! We saw loads of new faces and a few old ones - and all of committee made it (except for the most important President Jessy who was called away on important medicine business to the wilderness of Snowdonia)! There was 26 of us in total, so it was a bit of a squeeze in Ben's Cottage, but we've done it before and we can do it again...
The first day saw us split into 4 groups and head over to Buttermere, where we had fairly balmy and very clear and sunny views! Compared to last year this was a pretty amazing turn of events.
Shane and Jonny led a group over from Braithwaite to Buttermere, Ben P took a group up Scafell Pike, and Ben L and Pete took two groups on a loop around Buttermere itself, although going in different directions. We bumped into each other eventually at the tarn below Haystacks. Some of us were even tempted to go for a swim, but then the wind began to pick up and we fancied the pub even more! Possibly the strangest behaviour I've seen on a scree slope was Ed getting bored of his boots and running up the hill barefoot - he's clearly a secret hobbit...
After reconvening in the pub with pints all round we headed back to the cottage, it took a while though as we got stuck behind a cyclist and when they finally sped away and left us to reclaim the road, we met a road block...after passing a narrow cattlegrid...on a stretch of road with passing places few and far between and a hefty ditch on one side - let it never be said that the Bens can't manoeuvre a big ole minibus - they know what they're doing!
For dinner we had BEAN SUPREME (my first as vice pres - it was quite stressful, but I had a pretty sound team of helpers and in the end all I really had to do was make sure the whole pot of chilli powder didn't fall in the pan...not that this has ever happened before of course). This was served, possibly for the first time ever, with non-burnt rice - so thanks Dom, for achieving something mountaineering has spent years struggling over! Even if you were telling us some dubious tales while you stirred the rice...
We then took over the pub in Penruddock, which was actually pretty busy so we got demoted to the games room upstairs, complete with darts and pool table. Some of us even stayed til closing! Crazy night!!
Everyone was well up for some scrambles on Sunday, so one group did the Sour Milk Gill, another did Ruddy Gill (the person that named it obviously wasn't a fan) and the last group did a walk up the side of Sour Milk and up onto Great Gable. Cast your minds back to last year when we had to give up on Great Gable because of the 80mph rainy gusts that were knocking everyone over! Well this year was definitely an improvement - windy as expected in Windy Gap, but fairly good visibility and not a drop of rain. Amazing!
After two pretty full-on days we had a nice cuppa at the cottage before clearing out and getting back to Notts at a pretty reasonable hour.
The whole weekend was a brilliant success and we all made some new friends and learnt some interesting things about each other! Solid start to another year of mountaineering.
PHOTOS! (Thanks to Katrina and Wei Jing)
Great second trip of the year! Lots of new keen faces, plus a few old ones (yeah Paddy, that’s you now). Usual late arrival to the area, followed by a ‘short’ walk (it was only a mile I promise!) and crossing of the wire bridge to reach the stunningly located Steal Hut, not really fully appreciated at 5am, when all people wanted to do was crawl into their sleeping bags. Jokes about there being no point even going to bed, the sun was rising already, were not apprecitaed either.
Woke to a glorious day and went for a stroll up the valley, with a few interesting river crossings along the way, to reach the isolated summit of Binnean Beag. Quick descent down a steep scree slope, then the long walk back down the valley to the hut. We were greeted by a big pot of tea made by Matt and Libby, who’d turned back early after Matt took a dip in a river- wrong time of year for that. Evening entertainment courtesy of Sally, who made us think of things we’d never considered before eg favourite type of wood, favourite road, plus many more…
The weather deteriorated on the second day; however that didn’t stop everyone from making it to the summit of Ben Nevis! The original plan to do the ‘ring of Steal’ was brought to an abrupt halt less than 100m from the hut, where we couldn’t cross the river below the Steal falls! Quick discussion and Plan B was made- five of us went up the Ben via the CMD arete (interesting in strong winds, low visibilty and a bit of a drizzle), the rest drove down the valley to do the ‘normal’ path. A bit of luck and err perfect planning of course, meant we met on the summit for a misty group photo. We all descended the same way down to the minibus, with the wishful idea of a pub and catching the rugby world cup final at the bottom, but time was against us and we ended up making the walk back to the hut under headtorch. Veggie curry was on the menu for dinner, followed by some pumpkin carving, see photo below for the results!
Day three started early, watching the stars dissapear and sun rise in the valley. We were limited for options because of the river situation, but Ed had a great idea- pack and clean up early to drive over to Glen Coe, also conveniently on our route home, for a day in the mountains there. We split into two groups; half of us went up Stob Coire Raineach and then along to Stob Dubh, where we met the others on their way up. Another beautiful sunny day, with plenty of opportunity for lying around soaking it in, er I mean catching our breath. Windy lunch break on the summit, waiting for the swirling mist to lift so we could catch a glimpse of the ‘amazing view of the sea’ promised by Ed. It remains a mystery; he may have lured us up there by lies. The early start and relatively short walk meant we were back down at the minibus by half 2, and on the road back to Notts not long after.
It was a trip of many firsts:
•First time I’ve seen a penguin onesie on a
•A squeezy tube of condensed milk as a snack..
•First time I’ve had to think about what my
favourtie road is
•Chili was made which didn’t set everyones
mouths on fire
•SUN in soctland in November!
•Back in Nottingham from Scotland before midnight
The aim of this day was to give members a chance to learn some navigational basics from a few of our more experienced members - a big thanks to Ben and Jack for taking two groups out for a (slightly wet and misty) day on Bleaklow!
Basics were covered such as learning our pacings, timings, taking bearings and back-bearings - and then using these new skills and a map to practice some micro-navigation (pinpointing our specific location on a map by considering large landmarks like the contours of the hills and also the smaller features, such as streams and crags).
The enthusiasm for this day out was brilliant and hopefully we'll see more members wanting to have a go at the map-reading when we're out in the hills over the next few months! If you didn't get to come on this trip but would like to learn some of these skills from us, we are always happy to share knowledge on our weekend-long trips, so just ask whoever is holding the map! And if we have enough interest we may look at running another day out in the second semester.
We finished up the day soaking wet, but in the Snake Pass Inn with delicious food and beer!
So, we started our trip on Friday night with a few new faces, which is always a good thing! New people are always very punctual, in comparison to the rest of us. Unfortunately some people had to drop out, so we went at slightly below capacity. Goes to show, always put yourself on the reserves list! The weather was forecast to be pretty horrible, and judging by how dreary it was already, we were in for a hell of a weekend. Ben drove up everyone from Lenton, whilst the group at Savoy were given lower odds of survival with Daisy driving. Despite some shoddy navigation they avoided the toll roads and located the camp.
Meanwhile, Ben reversed too close to a farm wall and almost took off the wing mirror. This amused Shane into a cackle heard through the night. We arrived at the hut, fumbling around in the dark until the generator was turned on. Choosing beds was a fun experience, like a big sleepover where you try and sleep next to your friends. Shane called me “his bitch” and threatened to spoon me. A fire was lit, and alcohol was consumed, which are both decent ways to warm up in the cold nights of northern Wales. A big first night problem was a lack of running water. The worst result of this was someone having a poo and suddenly realising the horrible consequences of their actions. After more drinking, the last stragglers went to sleep, at roughly 2:30am…
...Only to be woken up very soon after by a far, far too chipper club president at 7am! After breakfast, we split into two groups to traverse either Snowdon (Shaisy) or Tryfan (Jess & Ben..Bess? Jen?). Dom marks the start of a good day by throwing up. He claimed it’s because he’s not a morning person, but he did have a lot of red wine the night before. And then the second we’re out of the camp, Shaisy go the wrong way. Good job guys, it’s an omen of things to come. With the Jen group, the previously written off scramble was given the go ahead, despite the looming weather. I think Jess was just testing our mettle, honestly. The scramble led to some pretty icy ground and headfirst into a wind powered hail barrage, but despite it all we reached the top, took a quick picture and pissed off down again, only stopping when Jess reverted to a five year old at the sight of snow. Ironically enough, most of the injuries from the Jen group came after the icy climb of doom. Dom’s horrible day continued in what was called “Dom’s face vs. Wales”, in which the wind made him hit the ground pretty hard. Ben’s excellent first aid skills included “Shit!” and “EAT SOMETHING” whilst the poor man had a nose bleed. Another gust took John out. Ever seen those tumbleweeds from wild west movies? Yeah, imagine the human version of that. Wet and defeated, they returned to the bus for dramatic Harry Potter readings and hypothetical conversations about cannibalism within the society. Jen’s group then went home.
Shaisy went for Mt. Snowdon, we are a mountaineering society after all, so do the biggest one around. Episode VI Return of the Wind brings swift disaster. Sally can’t stay upright and her thumb takes the brunt of the fall. A possible broken thumb means that she, along with Kat & Daisy, took an impromptu drive to A&E. Shane & co valiantly continued, considering themselves immune to further damage. Unfortunately, all men are mortal. As the wind picked up to terrifying levels, even the most hardened of objects fall apart. Salar’s glasses lost a lense, and everything became a big blurry mess. With no depth perception (or really any vision at all), he proceeded to fall and stumble all over the place. Witnesses described him as “a lump”. Shane is not a benevolent creature, so he dragged Salar and anyone left up to the top of Snowdon, which means they still won, technically. You can take our glasses, but you can’t take our freedom. Decent is uneventful. Shaisy, minus Kat & Sally, returned to the hut to join the other survivors in a miserable attempt to get warm and dry whilst Jess & Ben headed to A&E on a rescue mission. As they picked up Sally, they happened to meet a kayaker who also hails from UoN. Not much conversation was had though, as his concussions seemed distracting. How do you get a concussion kayaking? We may never know… Lots of fun was had once everyone was back at camp, including a game of murder, conversations about spirit animals and Dom V attempting accents (he sucks by the way). Dinner was an incredible sweet potato curry. Even the hardiest of meat eaters had to admit it tasted damn good! Then for desert, Jess put on a few hundred gallons of custard and some swiss rolls. Needless to say, we all ate well that night. Afterwards, a serious issue had to be addressed. How would Salar be able to see the next day? With only one lense left, he had two choices: embrace the life of a pirate and adopt an eyepatch, or visualise everything that is more than 3 metres away as one big blur. The only other thing of note from that night was John consuming a large amount of whiskey and falling asleep on the sofa.
Sunday, a.k.a “don’t tell RamSoc”
A bit of a late start was probably needed, judging by the wounded and damaged lying in their bunks. The worst of it was Dom, as his face had swollen up on the side he’s fallen on. It was grim. To avoid any more disasters we decided to hide in a forest, away from foreboding peaks. A really quiet, peaceful day with much fewer tumbles and a lot more early christmas songs. Some of the navigating skills were put to good use, with Salar the blind leading one group. He used other people as his eyes. Afterwards a short stop at the pub before heading back to base to clear the debris. There was a small wait from then until we set off back home, in which we entertained ourselves by watching sheep fight. Very Welsh indeed. A sleepy bus journey back, which was probably good as I think any more excitement might have killed someone.
Great first trip of the year in the Lake District, based at Ben's cottage in Penruddock, near Penrith. Two minibuses full of enthusiastic mountaineers arrived late on the Friday evening and all piled into the cottage, hurrying to secure the best sleeping spots! On Saturday, the few intense rain showers in the morning and then strong winds along the ridges were all we experienced of the supposedly awful forecast, making it a pretty enjoyable day for everyone (I hope...)! We had three separate groups out, all on pretty similar level walks, one over Blencathra and around the valley behind, another doing a similar loop nearby, and the third over on another set of hills, ending in Threlkeld (that's the only name I can remember...) Bean supreme, chocolate cake and a trip to the pub in the evening were the perfect ending to the day (even if the beans were a bit too spicy...).
The promised storm arrived on Sunday, with all three groups getting equally wet and blown around! Two groups did gill scrambles, Hause gill and Sourmilk, both fun grade 1 scrambles up rivers, while the third group walked up the side of Sourmilk. All three groups ended with a walk up Green Gable, where the winds were in excess of 70 mph!!! The Hause gill group walked along the ridge over a few more summits to reach it, and had an exciting time getting blown over and then sprinting between gusts! Safe to say, we did not attempt Great Gable, instead dropping down to the valley via Windy Gap, which definitely lived up to its name! Relatively peaceful walk down from Styhead Tarn to Stonethwaite where we all gratefully collapsed into the waiting minibus. Quick clean up of the cottage, then back into the minibus, tired and smelly, but happy after a great weekend in the mountains (and for not getting blown off any).
400 miles and 9 hours later eventually arrived at Glen Nevis, only to have to put on our boots and rucksacks and walk a couple of miles up a river valley to the hut... Was a pretty exciting walk, a narrow path traversing up the side of the valley, with a river crossing at the end over a postmans bridge (a wire for your feet, and one for each hand, like the things in adventure parks, apart from if you fell, you'd get a bit wet), not easy when carrying a pumpkin! Oh did I mention it's 4am and pitch black? Collapsed into the surprisingly comfy mattresses of the magnificently located Steall Hut and passed out instantly.
Didn't get up till 9 on Friday, lie in!! Took a while to get the generator going, although we only had electricity for long enough to boil a kettle and then it gave up, but luckily the gas for the stove worked, so we could still cook! Not having electricity just added to the atmosphere of the place, making it feel even more wild and remote. The horrendous weather and late start meant we picked two relatively short walks, both pretty similar just on opposite sides of the valley. I was in the group that went up Anoach Beag, which was a steep 900m climb in the wind, rain and mist up to the top, all good fun. The descent was great, picking our way down a very steep mountainside, navigating the rivers and cliffs.. Didn't realise how steep it was until we looked up from below and wondered how/ where we'd just come down! The other group went up Binnean Beag.
Cooked a massive spaghetti bolognaise in the evening, and was amazed at how quickly all the spaghetti got eaten, until the third packet was discovered uncooked hidden under some bags the next day.. Oops! Usual fun evening full of banter, the murder game and beer. New addition this trip of articulate which provided lots of entertainment, ex-president of Iraq Ben? The pumpkin was carved and stood watching from the end of the table.
With an improved forecast for Saturday, we got up early and set off to do the 'ring of steall' a traverse of the mamores conveniently located right above the hut. After the initial gruelling 700m climb up An Gearanach (and people say welsh names are impossible..) we stayed up on the ridge for the rest of the day, crossing 6 peaks, four of them munros. Luckily the rain held off for most of the day, giving us some views of the area and letting our soaking clothes dry off in the wind! Entertainment of the day was provided by Ben, Matt, Chris and Ed having a race back to the hut through the bog! Arrived back at the hut in good time and sat around waiting (attempted to work-never happens.) until it was a decent time to cook! The menu for Saturday was butternut squash curry, which most people declared was the best they'd even had (because it was the only one they'd ever had). Ben tried to sabotage it when my back was turned by adding a bag of 9p gravy, but luckily you couldn't taste it and no one got ill. Another fun evening full of jokes and games and desperately failing at the 'people' category of articulate.
The weather got worse again on Sunday, but being so near Ben Nevis, we couldn't not go up it.. A few people were tired and went for a short walk in the valley and kindly tidied the hut up, but the rest of us braved the weather and headed up the Ben via the CMD arête- where it snowed! Was great until the wind picked up and it turned into a stinging hail.. Fun scramble for a few kilometres along the ridge, then up the snowy rocks to the summit. Was so cold up there, we didn't hang around, just headed straight back down! Nice steep, quick way down, along a very impressive waterfall.
The journey home went very quickly, all of us high on mountain air and haggis, singing along to Queen.
Can easily say this is the best trip I've been on so far, had a great time!
There's a first time for everything- left Nottingham in the pouring rain, heading to North Wales and a dry forecast (never mind that it ended up raining anyway). Drove round Dolgellau for a while in search out of the bunkhouse, before realising it was the place we'd first stopped at (it was dark okay).
Had two groups out on Cadair Idris on Saturday, one doing a loop of the ridge around Llyn Cau and up to the summit, the others adding length by starting further away and then walking back to the bunkhouse. Lovely weather, even a bit of sun, until we got up onto the ridge, where it was rain, wind and mist for the rest of the day. The first group were down and sat in the pub enjoying a drink and the start of the wales-New Zealand rugby game, when we got a call from the others and had to leave the comfort and go collect their minibus. Watched Wales lose the rugby from the bunkhouse (which had a TV and wifi!? No more jokes about no electricity in Wales please.) whilst cooking chilli con carne. Ellen (ex-president) popped round briefly, but unfortunately had to leave before the murder game began! The evening was topped off with toasting marshmallows on the gas hobs..
Have a feeling I wasn't popular with the 6am wake-up on Sunday morning, but well worth it when we reached Snowdonia by 9, with bags packed and bunkhouse cleared. One group did a traverse of the Glyders and Tryfan, with a scramble up the North ridge of Tryfan and the again up Bristley ridge. A second smaller group walked up Snowdon via the PYG track and down the miners track. The rest of up did the Snowdon horseshoe- involving a fun scramble up Crib Goch, a traverse of its narrow knife-edge ridge, more scrambling on Garnedd Ugain, up to the summit of Snowdon (crowded as usual, even on a cold, misty November afternoon), then down and along to Lliwedd, the last summit in the circle, where we finally got some views of the route! Was met by mum en route for a quick gossip and box of chocolates! All in all, a great weekend away.
New Years trip to Torridon
Twelve of us braved the long 12 hour minibus journey up to Kinlochewe, near Torridon, on the west coast of Scotland. We had a great bunkhouse to ourselves, massive kitchen and drying room included.
Day 1 was spent doing a horseshoe of Ben Alligin, a nice ridge traverse. Lovely day with intermittent views and good solid snow underfoot. A few bits of scrambling along the ridge added some excitement! Quick descent thanks to a good bit of bum sledding- great fun and a good opportunity to practice our ice axe arrests! The geology of the area is amazing, the mountains rise from sea level up to around 1000 metres in step, impressive black cliffs. Snow clung to these in layers, giving them a striped appearance, almost like that vienetta ice cream. Attempting to revise in the evening was interesting, Pete chatting non-stop, not a care in the world (or for revision anyway).
Day two was warmer, windier and wetter (all bad things start with a ‘w’), but we still managed a good long day out on Beinn Eighe, plus a BRILLIANT bum sledge down. We stood at the top of a steep snowy slope, the bottom obscured in the mist, wanting to go for it, but held back by a bit of self-preservation, next thing we know, Pete is on him bum, shooting off into the mist.. We hear a shout from below.. Well it means he’s alive I suppose.. Either its safe, or we’ve got to get down there to help him.. Let’s do it. Best decision ever. Well mayber not ever, but near enough. It was tempting to walk back up and do again, but it was a very long way and we were all too lazy er I mean tired already.
New Years Eve, day three, was even warmer. We walked up Slioch, a long slog along the valley and then slowly up to the clouded summit. The snow was so soft, so we had to find a really steep slope to bum sled down- again all of us hesitant at the top. This time I went first, knowing the boys would all follow, couldn’t be shown up by a girl.. Celebrated the evening in true Scottish style- haggis and mash followed by irn bru & whisky (not together) in the pub next door. A human pyramid was constructed in the road outside as the clock struck midnight. Chatted with locals, ate lots of free homemade mini sausage rolls, Matt got naked, standard night.
Luckily the weather was horrendous on New Years Day, so we didn’t feel bad about spending it sat around playing cards, drinking tea and eating biscuits. A few of us went for a quick dip in Loch Torridon, best hangover cure.
We got up early on the last day, a morning walked planned before the long walk home, but the weather had other ideas, so we just cleaned and packed up (followed by a few games of cards) and got on the road.
Lake District Wild Camp
Arrived in a wet, cold Langdale sometime around midnight of the Friday. Walked for about a kilometre or so until we found some lovely (others may disagree), flat sheep pens to camp in. Woke on Saturday to a BEAUTIFUL day! Learnt my lesson from last year and made porridge for breakfast, so I wasn't just standing around waiting while Pete cooked his three course meal (or just some very long cooking porridge). There we're only six of us, so we stayed as one group and walked up and over Crinkle Crags, Bow Fell and Esk Pike to Sprinkling Tarn, where we camped for the night. Lovely day, first time I've ever had views of the Lake District!! Arrived at camp pretty early, so we explored the 'island' then sat around playing cards until it was an acceptable time to eat. Sunday's weather was as expected- windy, snowy and misty. Walked along to Angle Tarn and then up High Raise- worst kind of mountain: steep initially then a long flat walk to the top. Conditions were crazy on top, hard to tell how windy it was, but the forecast said gusts up to 60mph! Interesting navigation getting back down to the valley, especially since most of us forgot our goggles so couldn't look into the wind (not that you could see much anyway).. Got back to the cars soaked, after walking below the freezing level for the last half an hour, where everything that was frozen slowly melted..
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