Peaks 2016! (freshers trip #2)


So we’ve just got back from Freshers Trip #2: Peak Times (as I’m dramatically calling it). I’m almost sad because this pretty much means it’s officially the end of freshers, but that’s also a good thing in that the freshers that are still showing up are pretty likely to stick around, and so far they’re a bunch of all round good eggs. It was another big trip by club standards, and filled up days before we left, which is a testament to the enthusiasm of club members this year 😀

In other news: Lead lessons are starting this week, as well as more repeats of the intermediate lessons, so whether you’re trying to lead (lol) the way and move on with the course ASAP, or you’re taking it steady and doing the lessons as the mood takes you, we’ve got you covered. We also have our HALLOWEEN PARTY THIS SATURDAY!! I know there’s a lot of options around Halloween at uni but we’re 100% the best one, fancy dress is compulsory, and below I’ll give you a little preview image to get you ready. The rest of this post is basically gonna be about the trip, so if for some bizarre reason you’re not interested (pffft) you can stop here 🙂

halloween last year

I’m sure everybody’s going to believe me when I tell you that we were all lined up outside the minibuses and ready with our kit precisely on the stroke of 5:55 ready for a prompt 6pm departure. With flawless organisation and efficient packing, we piled into the buses and set off, stopping at Warwick for Subway and outrageously overpriced fish and chips. One of our buses took the wrong exit and wound up on the M6 toll, but would later get to be smug about this when the M6 turned out to be an absolute nightmare (Y).

While Lewis was treating his passengers to a scenic tour of Stoke-on-Trent, Dale’s bus came up with a Peaks playlist. It’s on Spotify, so if you wanna throw yourself back into the trip atmosphere or just enjoy some decent tuneage, the link is here: (thanks to Matt Smith, Gemma Harvey, Adam Sykes and Harry Sutcliffe for compiling it).

Once we’d all finally arrived safe at Roaches Bunkhouse, we settled down for card games in front of a roaring fire like something out of little house on the prairie and then went to bed. (Congratulations to anyone smart enough to select a bedroom with a window or a working light, I for one was not so lucky).

Day one of climbing started with egg and bacon rolls, and a trip to Morrison’s for those with good taste in supermarkets (Asda for the rest of you). Certain members of the group were pleased to find some Halloween photo opportunities at Morrison’s.


When we arrived at the crag after a long and smelly walk-up, returners started to set up topropes. Because anchors on trad take a bit more time and effort, this left a bit of a wait for the freshers, but on the plus side the views were absolutely stunning.


“How not to set a good example of trad leading”, by Harry Sutcliffe 2k16

We had quite a different crowd to the first trip, so although a few freshers had already sunk their teeth into some sweet routes in Portland it was a lot of people’s first experience outdoors. Even for those who were on trip #1, the feel of a gritstone crag was a bit different to what we’d tried in Portland. It was nice to get a feel for this on some nice beginner climbs.






In the midst of this, our trusty president was nursing a finger injury and had a go at one-armed climbing (don’t try this at home)


As much as everybody seemed to be enjoying themselves, we did hear a few complaints that the topropes we’d started with were too easy…so, not ones to disappoint, our trad leaders set up a few trickier routes for the more ambitious freshers. At the same time, Harry Sutcliffe took a group of keen boulderers to try a real life boulder. Without the aid of a guidebook, he picked one nice easy beginner route and then moved on to a problem absolutely nobody could do. Everybody’s attempts were valiant, but more importantly everyone took on board Harry’s advice about outdoor spotting. Making your climbing trip safe is 1000x more important than nailing the gnarly climbs so we should all be proud of that.






steve later

(a good attempt at a really tough route from Captain Steve*)


Although the views were incredible, I’ve tried to limit the body of the post to climbing photos, so if you wanna see some nice arty shots, mostly courtesy of Sam, they’ll be at the very end of the post.

I don’t know about anyone else, but on return to the bunk house I literally went in my room to drop my bag, and by the time I was back in the common room there was barely anyone without an alcoholic beverage in hand. The demand for drinks was so great that the kitchen couldn’t supply enough glasses, which led to Sam looking about as upper-middle class as it’s possible to look while drinking rum and coke in a room with 40 sweaty students.





The last living photograph of Mark S’Souza.

Someone get that girl a straw (dungarees ftw)

In the midst of the festivities, we had a birthday to celebrate! Congratulations Matt, hope you had a good one, and well done on cutting up the world’s smallest cake into 40 pieces, it was probably the most impressive feat of the day.


The Portland blog update focused mostly on climbing, but I think it’s important to document evening activities as well, so this time I’ve made an effort to fill that gap 😛 The night kicked off with a game that’s not one of our regulars (but probably will be in future). The basic premise is that four people lie across each other in a square and link arms, and then the chairs are pulled from beneath them and they have to stay off the floor for as long as possible. This is pretty hard to describe, so I think some illustration is required:



Pretty sure stopping participants from breathing is playing dirty, but Lucy held strong…

…until Lewis came in with his recorder and finally broke this team…




The Cereal Box Game (a venture as old as time) followed.


Featured not for the actual game, but so you can see how many pairs of socks Maggi had to take off first.

Perhaps the most impressive contestant was Matt ft. crutches. 8 days post surgery.

George and Hebe brought something new to the party, with a partner game involving trying to place a bottle as far away from a line as possible, with only one participant’s hands touching the floor. Respect to anyone who tried this, I avoided it on the grounds that it’s probably horribly painful for both people, but do correct me if I’m wrong.
Probably the most action George has had all year…

…but a standard evening for Harry and Kat.

Because there were a lot of new faces and ex-bums**, everybody was asked to introduce themselves with their name, position in the club and an interesting fact. I’ve documented a few of the best ones, but it was great to hear from all our members. Nice to meet you all! 🙂

Heartfelt introduction from P <3 (we'll ignore the bow and arrow) IMG_9093-min
“…so basically I’m club bitch” ~ Harry Rivett, 2016

“yeah I’ve been hit by a car twice” looking really really happy about this

“I can turn both my hands all the way around” which is awesome but please don’t do it again >< IMG_9114-min
“…and girls, if you can grow a moustache you should grow one too”

“I’m Matt Smith. Like the Doctor.”

“I’m on placement this year. AT DISNEYYYY!”

“I get naked at every social” said Harry, at every social.

“I was the first person ever to climb 9b”, a fact with slightly more gravity than the one it follows

“I really really really love Shakespeare” followed by a genuinely impressive performance. Thanks Cam!

This was actually a really nice “getting to know you” activity, so hopefully anyone reading this who wasn’t there knows their buddies a bit better now! 🙂

The next day was looking pretty wet (booooo) so once we were all up and packed, the sensible decision was made to go for an indoor wall (after the peaks trip 2015 was spent hiking around in the rain waiting to see if it would dry up (it didn’t)). We only had two relatively minor injuries, so an improvement on previous trips. Unlike anywhere else a lot of people including myself had climbed before, Awesome Walls Stockport featured a 25m high wall, aka a massive test of physical stamina. Aside from this, there was also great bouldering and a few interesting feature walls. For freshers who’d never climbed at an indoor wall other than Brunel before, this was all a new experience. Everyone instantly became a much better climber (not because their grades were soft or anything) and so we all had an amazing day.



Getting vertigo yet?

Freshers trip #2: Peak Times was a great end to our freshers festivities and it’s been amazing to get to know so many cool aspiring climbers in the last few weeks. I can’t wait to see what everyone achieves during the year, good luck everyone!!!!!!!!!!!! 😀

Thanks to Sam Perry, Milo Deane, Poppy Walters, Adam Sykes, Gemma Harvey and George Killer-spy for the photos.
*Steve isn’t club captain (Dale is), just has a particular fondness for Captain Morgan’s
**”Ex-bums” is a term referring to people who’ve graduated and moved on from the club, but still pop in for socials.