& speaking of helmets

by uzwi

Here on the third floor of the Ambiente Hotel Retirement Unit we barely remember last week, let alone 1979, so Brian Cropper’s pic of the novice MJH grinding up Mississippi Variant on Stanage is a valuable aid. Helmets, de rigeur now, had just gone out of fashion then; unless you were on a proper mountain, or in some really quite collapsing quarry, all a helmet announced about you was: I’m a bumbly. But I’d paid for it & I wore it religiously until Brian finally persuaded me to give it up towards the end of that year. Instant relief. Note the hard rubber EBs & chalk bag the size of a bucket. These days, eight year olds probably use that route as an easy way down, wearing loosely-fitted floral wellingtons.

There’s also this great shot of Loz Francomb freeing Constable’s Overhang. Three or four people took turns belaying while he fell off it repeatedly for an afternoon, then once he’d done it none of us could follow. I think it was raining for some of the time too; but it was always raining back in those good old days, when many climbers still adopted the weather-beating DH Lawrence look.

& because I never do anything more agitating now than walk to the end of the garden, here’s the Southern Hawker I found there yesterday morning–

A Storm of Wings–written mostly in 1979–comes to Barnes.