Never been on a ULGMC meet?
Here's a few of our past meet reports to whet your appetite!
August Bank Holiday - Caseg Fraith, Snowdonia
This August Bank Holiday over 20 people turned up to our club hut, Caseg Fraith, for some walking, climbing and running in the hills. It was a pretty cosmopolitan bunch including 8 people who had never been on a ULGMC meet before. The rest were members, including a group of outdoor instructors, a group of South-East office warriors and a family from Norfolk with their dog.
Some keen early birds arrived on the Thursday night to make the most of the Friday sunshine by climbing a few routes on Crib Goch. The rest of us came up after work on Friday just in time for the fog on Saturday!
As it was wet and foggy, most of the group made a mass exodus up Y Braich to Carnedd Llewellyn as it’s a nice walk from the hut and a few people wanted to practise navigating in the fog. Two of us decided there weren’t enough hills in that plan, so went up the Glyders, down Y Garn and back up the other side over Pen yr Ole Wen. The common theme of both walks was a bilberry picking competition, the proceeds of which were made into a delicious pie when we got back to the hut!
On Sunday four of us went to Tremadog to do some single pitch climbing. Two of the guests were completely new to climbing so we set up some top ropes on some quiet routes while they found their footing. At the other extreme, two members climbed Cenotaph Corner (E1 5C) and Left Wall in the Llanberis Pass (E2 5C). The rest of the group made the most of the sunshine by scrambling up Bristly Ridge.
Monday on the August Bank Holiday meet usually involves an organised activity. In 2012 this was white water rafting in Bala. This year we went canyoning near Ffestiniog. We slid down a 100m slab, interwoven with plunge pools and culminating in a zip wire jump off a waterfall. It was great fun, especially sitting in the sun watching the look on people’s faces as they hit the water.
Next year… surfing? MTB? Land yachting? You’ll have to come and find out!
The Cornwall Meet happens every year at Sennen Cove and has been running for over 20 years! This year fewer than normal turned up thanks to GCSE’s and A-Levels, but we still had a not-too-shabby 17 campers, including two families. The meet usually runs for one weekend, starting on late May bank holiday, and most stay for the following week.
Most of us arrived on the Friday evening, greeted by some pretty warm weather. Two of us decided tomorrow couldn’t wait and went straight down to Sennen Cove to do some easy single pitch climbing as the sun went down, taking in the last of the sun’s rays and a dawdling basking shark just off the coast.
The sun stayed with us so the next day we tackled Commando Ridge at Bosigran. This is a fantastic Mod/Diff that takes in a 200m cliff from the sea to the top. We’d had to make an early start to get the tides right and beat the crowds, so were done by lunchtime and went off to have a cream tea! Meanwhile the others had walked from the campsite to Lands’ End, stopped for an obligatory pasty and then walked back again.
The weather closed in on Sunday and it was raining pretty heavily. Undeterred, a few of us decided (as we were wet already) to go surfing for the afternoon. We are pretty rubbish at surfing, despite going every year, and just about managed to stand up but it was great fun nonetheless and a very unique experience swimming in the sea in the pouring rain.
Sunday evening on the Cornwall Meet always mean a communal meal in the barn. It’s usually one of our regulars birthday too so ALWAYS involves a massive cake. So a very merry time was had, despite the rain, which, apparently, subsided for the rest of the week for all those lucky enough to stay on.
Alpine Trip, Dolomites
2013 saw ULGMC putting the M back in our name by heading for the Alps for the first time as a club in some years. We headed for the Dolomites, our goal: get two of the greenhorns mountaineering and up the Marmolada by the end of the week. Did we achieve it? Read on…
After a few meetings in London to arrange logistics, we headed off for the Dolomites in July hoping for some good weather and copious amounts of pizza. After a minor mishap at baggage handling, we made our way to Cortina and obtained ourselves the finest accommodation our tents had to offer, camping by a river and, more importantly, a bar.
On Day 1 we headed up the Punta Fiames (2240m), a mountain up-valley from Cortina, on a 600m via ferrata called Michielli Strobel (3B). This was a great introduction to “walking over irons” and got us used to long mountain days in the heat. The highlight though was a fantastic scree run from the top to the bottom that allowed us all to practise our glissending. It also, rather unhelpfully, wrote off a pair of, old, tired boots!
Day 2 was to be more via ferrata, this time on Tofana di Mezzo (3244m). We took the cable car up but found that it was too snowy to do the route we wanted to. Nevertheless, this was the highest our greenhorns had ever been and a good introduction to the kind of altitude awaiting us on the Marmolada.
As the day was still young we headed over to the Lagazuoi tunnels to spend the rest of it in the dark. These tunnels were carved out by Italian forces evading the Austrians during WWI and provided a fantastically fun day out.
We took it easier on Day 3, heading to some easy via ferratas (Giovanni Barbara and Lucio Dalaiti) in a picturesque river gorge, with some of the paths running behind powerful but beautiful waterfalls.
Day 4 was another day of WWI history, climbing the 1000m pioneers path up to Monte Piana, a mountain littered with trenches that have now been turned into an open air museum. This was also a great day for marmot spotting!
As the Marmolada approached, we took Day 5 as a rest day by visiting the Reinhold Messner Museum on Monte Rite (2181m; we took the bus!).
Day 6 was the big day. The Marmolada awaited us. We had planned to do the via ferrata right to the top but, as we found on Day 2, it was frozen, which was unusual for the time of year. We decided instead to go straight up the glacier (PD+), a first mountaineering experience for two of the crew (crampons ‘n’ all). The weather was pretty good and the crevasses were well visible. It was very busy, with probably 30+ other climbers on the glacier. Our two newbies got used to crampons and ice axes pretty quickly and we made good progress up to the via ferrata near the top. This is only about 100m of easy climbing and the heavy snow meant there was no bergschrund to contend with. The shoulder of the mountain (without cornice) then met us, with a spectacular drop off one side, to the summit. The view was the best of the week. We descended without issue, overall a great success for a first glacier.
Still with a day and a half left to spare, we spent Day 7 on some easy via ferratas at the Tri Cime, again through some rather spectacular tunnels. This is a really picturesque part of the Dolomites, with the Tri Cime looming over. There are also a lot of mountain huts here so we did treat ourselves to a beer!
Remembering that this was a summer holiday and not all hard work, we spent Day 8 before our flight lazing in the sea near Venice. The perfect way to end a perfect (knackering!) summer trip.