All posts by Andy Tees

Alps and Spaghetti Tour 2015

Faith in mountaineering now fully restored, after many recent washouts!
We ( Finbarr, Aoife, Fergus, Marg and self) hired a car at Geneva, and drove to the alpine meet in Saas Grund joining club members Cliona, Gerard, Andrew and Sarah, with Sandra and Dave arriving shortly after. There was a fair crowd of MI members camping in the sunshine, with Niall and family renting in the village. Some idiot came up with a plan to walk into the Amageller hut the next day, traverse the Dri Hornli Ridge, stay overnight, and do the traverse of the Weissmeis 4000m+ the next day. A bigger idiot ( me) thought it was a good idea. Reality kicked in when it took everything I had to make the hut, and the rest of the day to recover. Andrew and Fergus did the Weissmeis traverse, while Finbarr and self, with Gerard and Elaine and Sandra And Dave had a simply superb day on the Dri Hornli ( a cross between the Cuillin Ridge and Howling Ridge, but far better). The next few days saw the Allalinhorn, the Nadelhorn and the Jagihorn climbed, as we prepared for the Spaghetti extravaganza.
Friday saw Margaret and Aoife take to the TMR ( Tour de Monte Rosa), to trek to Gressoney from Saas Grund, while Sandra, Dave, Fergus, Finbarr, and self drove around via the St Bernard tunnel. Lifts took us to 3600m and a short trek to the Gnifetti Rifugi, which was jammed with people, it being the weekend. The atmosphere was jubilant and the food was fantastic!! In the morning we followed hoardes up the glacier, and Vincent Pyramid 4215m, Balmenhorn 4157m, Schwarzhorn 4322m, Ludwigshohe 4341m, and Parrotspitze 4432, fell to our weary tred, before we had to make the exhausting ascent to the highest hut in Europe, the Margarhita, at 4554m, atop the Signalkuppe. In fact the fourth highest summit in Europe is the toilet on the top (our) floor as there is a step up onto the throne. Thus, the saying ” I am going for the summit, and may be some time”. This exhausting day coupled with sleeping ( or not sleeping) at altitude, meant that we were down to three for the ascent of the Dufourspitze the following morning. We made the Zumsteinspitze in good time, but descending the knife edged snowy crest to the sattel was dry mouth time, and when Fergus’s broken wrist started to give him trouble on a down climb, we decided to give the alps’ second peak a miss, from that side.
The next day was the mighty Liskamm, and on Martin Moran’s recommendation we opted for the Cresta Sella. Getting to the satellite peak was unexpectedly tricky as the hot weather had melted any path of ascent, leaving steep ice, and necessitating placement of several ice screws. Getting down to the col looked problematic, and the ridge itself long and loose, so only two decided to give it a go. When the exhausted two returned down the ridge they were greatly moved to see that the other three had loyally stayed put to support them in their hour of need. It soon became apparent that the three were in fact stuck, the rope being much too short for the precipitous icy descent to the glacier on the other side, and the wise decision was made to remain put. Even with two ropes and placement of ice screws the descent was prolonged and tricky, with two abbs and a pendulum. 14 hours after setting out, the weary crew trudged onto the Quintino Sella hut. Amazingly, they were fed, despite being one hour twenty minutes late for dinner. I love Italy. This simply would not happen in France!!
Dave and Sandra decided to head down the next day, while Fergus, Finbarr, and self climbed Castor 4225m in just over 2 hours from the hut (about an hour under guide book time) then followed them down to Gressoney, where Marg and Aoife had just arrived. A fine celebratory meal out was had at the Flying Bra, followed by a rest day ( Dave and Sandra decided to go cragging but forgot to bring a rope), and the last day we walked over the Rothorn Pass enchanted by all the lovely alpine flowers we had denied ourselves by being up on the glaciers pretty much all of the trip.
Super trip, now I need a holiday…..

Update: Climbfest 2015

The Donegal Climbfest will be once again held in Culdaff on the 1-4 May 2015.

Camping will be available behind the pier as previously, with toilet facilities provided. Due to renovation work on the pier, parking will not be possible on the pier, but further back on the road to Bunagee. We hope to have access on the track up to the campsite, so campers can drive up, deposit their gear, and then park their cars back down on the road.

As usual, on Saturday morning there will be a beginners session, for anyone to come along and have a climb. Gear, belayers and instruction will be provided from Colmcille Climbers club members and Gartan instructors. The beginners session will be at Dunmore Head (out past the beaches).

At some point during the weekend, there will be a gear sale to raise money for the Nepal Earthquake (www.dec.org.uk/Nepal). Club members will be selling all kinds of used and less-used gear, please bring along anything you would like to donate to the gear sale. This will most likely take place in McGrory’s, enquire with Colmcille members on the weekend for more info.

Topo guides for all of the local crags are available for viewing and download from this website. The files are quite large, so get them downloaded to your smartphone before you head off! Paper copies will be available on the weekend.

Registration fee for the weekend is 10 euro.

The new climbing wall in St Columb’s Park in Derry is now open. At the moment, weather on Sunday is looking particularly bad, so it might be an opportunity to check out this brand new facility!

AGM 2014

Minutes of the AGM 2014 @ Corcreggan Mill, Dunfanaghy, 11th October 2014.

Present were Dennis, Sandra, Keith, Margaret, Kevin, George, PJ, Anthony, Niall, Damien, Valli, Ivan, Helen, Martin, Geoff and Alan.

The chair, Geoff, welcomed all to the meeting.

Apologies were received from Sam, Alfie , Bill, Cliona, Les, Columba, Seamus, Gertrude , Andrew, Gerry, and Maeve.

The secretary’s report was read ( see attached).

The treasurer’s report (see attached) revealed that we made a loss of over £400 this year due to the Climbfest, but that we still have a healthy bank balance. Alan pointed out that the major item of expenditure was production of the buffs, but we have about 50% of them left, and can use them next year and recover our outlay. This is a normal occurrence with the Climbfest. Dennis advised that the MI subscription would be £21.30 PA and the cost to the club of a member £4. It was suggested that the sub be set for £25 full membership, £4.00 for associate, and this was agreed.

Election of Officers.

The existing officers were re-elected.

Chair ,Geoff. Proposed Margaret, Seconded Keith.

Secretary ,Alan. Proposed. Anthony, Seconded Valli

Treasurer, Dennis. Proposed Margaret, Seconded PJ

Also elected were Margaret (Environmental officer), Maeve (training officer) and PJ ( Child protection officer).

New Climbing Wall.

Geoff reported that the wall was ahead of schedule, and that the actual climbing structure was currently being assembled off site by ‘Walltopia’. It will be an international standard competition wall, and a centre of excellence for climbing, wrestling and judo. Keith suggested that the club should have some sort of electronic photomontage at the wall to attract new members. Geoff to look into it. Geoff advised that coaches were required for the wall, and that appropriate training will be given.

Meets list 2014.

Alan suggested that the monthly meets in 2013 worked reasonably well, as many of them piggybacked on events that members would be going to anyway! (eg MI spring meet, Climbfest, Island midsummer trip, Alpine Meet etc). However, if some prospective new member contacted us to go climbing, our meets were so well spaced, and often remote, that it was difficult to offer something convenient for them. With a new source of members coming from St Columbs Park, we need some additional structure within our activities to deal with this. Alan suggested local midweek outings during May and June, and he would be prepared to organise them. Geoff said he would be happy to help.

It was suggested that we utilize a possible climbing wall site inspection in early December to include a Christmas dinner somewhere in Derry. PJ and Anthony to liaze with Geoff and organise.

A winter weekend in January was proposed, and Johnny Sharkeys Eglish cottage agreed as a good venue. The winter trip to be with the MI winter Meet in Onich, probably February.

Climbfest 2015.

Alan’s suggestion that we base the Climbfest at the new wall in Derry received little support, and the meeting agreed that the Climbfest should be in Culdaff again, using the St Columb’s Wall as a wet weather alternative. Anthony proposed that we take a Saturday at the wall prior to the Climbfest both to promote the club, and to invite the indoor wallies to our event.

Thank you to Pete Smith. Bill’s suggestion was unanimously agreed. Anthony also suggested that Andrew’s hosting fees for the new website plus his club membership should be met out of funds. This was agreed, and appreciation expressed to Andrew for all his work.

Other Business

AGM 2015 to be held in a pub in Derry.

The Lonastone was awarded to George, for his hugely successful week in the Alps.

There being no further business, the meeting concluded at 7.45, followed by a meal, and a slideshow entitled ‘Ireland and Irish Mountaineers’.

Alan Tees

Secretary 13/10/2014

St Columb’s Wall Update

Building of the new facility at St Columb’s Park, which will house the climbing wall, is well under way (photo below).

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The opening date is currently scheduled for March 2015, with the climbing wall installation planned for November/December this year. Depiction of what wall might possibly look like is below (note CCC classic practices of soloing, and abseiling on ropes that are too short).

View_6_Climbing_Hall share

Here are a couple of other photos of what the wall will look like, thanks to Paul Dunlop for passing them on.

wall1 wall2

Well Done Rodders!

Congrats to Rodney for winning Coach of the Year award for coaching the North West Youth Climbing team.

Derry Journal article here

From the MI website:

Rodney Moore has been awarded Coach of the Year at the 2014 Derry People of the Year Awards. Rodney coaching efforts have helped many young Derry climbers to get involved in climbing and to push their personal standards.

Rodney who himself is a very active climber runs the North West Youth Climbing Team with the help of a great group of equally able and enthusiastic climbing coaches. Michael Cooke of the North West Talent Project has been instrumental in supporting Rodney and his team over the past number of years.

The Anointed One

PJ, Thomas , Margaret and self went to Scotland to prepare the way for the great one, one whose destiny was about to be fulfilled. To pass the time before the coming, Margaret led me astray, to pay homage to the unworthy, a mere Corbett of such nonentity and remoteness, as to not justify the last trudge through the mist and drizzle to its miserable highpoint. ( PJ and Thomas wisely did Sgurr Donail on the Ballachulish horseshoe).

So demoralised was I, that I could venture no further than the retail wilderness of Fort William Main street the following day.

Spirits recovered on Thursday and we had a fine walk over the Grey Corries range, bagging a number of summits including a couple of new Munros for me.

On Thursday evening, the great one and his disciples arrived, to set up operational headquarters in Witherspoons.

As fortold in the scriptures, the day arrived, with the multitude gathering in Glen Nevis in anticipation of the great event.

Heavenward, they rose in unison ( except the old and decrepid, who took the cablecar round the back) up the flanks of the Lochaber giant to the summit, where the great one gained enlightenment, and joined the ranks of the celestials- (Margaret and Jimmy). Nectar was in great supply ( and Dungiven paintstripper), before the multitude floated back to earth on a airborne chariot, sort of.

Celebrations went on into the night, but in the morning there was light, and it was good.

They sought the celestial tower, and after much labour, privation, (and dehydration) the faithful came to the gateway.

But there came amongst them, a false prophet, Finbarr, who leadeth them ashtray, and they forsook the anointed one, so it came to pass that the first became last and the last became first. And the lord sent a cloud to separate and confuse the pilgrims, and it worked fairly well, but the faithful prevailed and reached the promised land, some eventually, and indeed they came upon great multitudes milling about looking for salvation, or the way down.

But gettin down was another story. ( Revelations 2, V17).

Margaret did another Corbett.

Trials and Tragedy in the Alps

Trials and Tragedy in the Alps.

The only things of note I did in a month in the Alps this year, were the traverse of the Pelvoux with Fergus, and the Gran Paradiso. The former was great, but make sure to bring enough rope to make 40m+ abseils on descent, as the glaciers have retreated substantially. The second week of the MI meet at Ailefroide wasnt actually that bad, but Courmayeur was more unsettled ( although the campsite was excellent).

I didnt actually see the Gran Paradiso at any stage, thick cloud and light rain/snow prevented any level of visibility, but we got to the top thanks largely to Anthony’s GPS and the new GPS compatible map ( does this mean my alpine map collection will have to be replaced?). Needless to say, as soon as Fergus, Ant, PJ and self got back to the hut, it cleared up. This was the story in 2014, the weather was unsettled, capricious, and the forecasts entirely unreliable.

Still, we came back safely. Sadly others didn’t!

Alan

Owey

Great trip, many new climbs (some destined, perhaps, to become classics). See guide book later for details. Also kayaking and kite flying (don’t ask). Good to see Valli, Ivan and Martin Boner. Great help and hospitality from Dan Betty Gallagher et al. No trip to Owey now complete without a visit to The Donkey’s Pelvis (provided you have the head, stomach, liver and stamina).

Bill