21st March 2015
Porth Loe Buttress
The Beak – E1 5b – Lead (dnf)
Times Remembered – HS 4b – Lead
This was well and truly the first proper day of spring. Equinox, Eclipse, New Moon. And mega sunshine.
The conditions transpired to make Porth Loe Buttress appear to be the best venue in Cornwall. There is a stunning backdrop across towards Carn Guthenbras, the sea was an amazing blue and the granite immaculate. Add good friends and it was just perfect.
We’d never been here before and yet we’ve walked past it loads. Probably because of the more major attractions of Fox Prom and Carn Bara. The descent is down a narrow steep grassy gully with a cool gearing up ledge. The final section is climbable, but more relaxed on a short abb. The platform at the bottom provides a spectacular location with a few really good clims.
Dave and Chris set off on Eileen and multi pitch severe on the left looking towards the cliff. A bit damp, it nevertheless looked very good and challenging. High in the grade I think.
Tom, Joe and I set up for The Beak which I was lucky (unlucky maybe) enough to get to lead both pitches. The first is some tricky manouvering into a great crack. Layback and commit and you’re OK. The top pitch is mental thuggery. A hard groove leads to a massive overhang Both I and Joe looked at the actul beak, but this seemed really unlikely at 5b, and the description of ‘well protected’ in the guide is a loose one. Yes there is gear in the bottom face of the o/h but once up into the beak there is nothing and you’d take a pretty good lob.
I found a flake just left of the beak which seemed more positive and protectable. Good job really because after 15 determined attempts I fell off. Thankfully Tom caught me but it was still freaky and lead to the loss of much skin. I just couldnt do it… not quite strong enough, but very close. I was within a whisker of making it.
Tom suffered from the same problem as me, but Mr Muscles Joe cranked through it remarking that he’d wished he’d ‘warmed up a bit’.
Times Remembered is great. The top giant flakes are hard to unlock and pro is sparce, but the climbing is engrossing. More importantly the view across to the couple of idiots on the Eastern Buttress provided grand entertainment. There was a reason the big rock at the base of the climb was wet… it’s called the sea and Chris very nearly became intimate with it on this day. We were having bets on how long they’d last, but to be fare it did look very exciting. Adds a new spice to the climb when there is the chance you could be doing it underwater.
So what a day. One of those that will stick for a while and one that just makes you want more and more.
To good friends……