31st July 2015
Kittiwake – HVS 5a – Lead (dogged)
Excelsior – E1 5b – Alt Lead
Ok, before I get started… the most surprising part of the day was when Joe told me he had never tried Marmite! That is something I intend to resolve the next time out so be prepared for Marmite Sandwiches.
Sometimes when you are out climbing you realise how blessed you are to live in Cornwall. Chair ladder could only be described as magnificent on this day and the sea rippled with millions of refracted suns making it look like it was covered with diamonds.
Eulogy to Cornwalls coast over… now to some important stuff. It’s been a while since I’ve climbed at CL and I wish it hadnt been so long. Its such a good venue. Kittiwake was one I had looked at before when on Seal Slab, but I must confess I had forgotten how steep it looked.
It didnt disappoint. The slab is fairly staright forward, but as soon as you hit the diagonal split it steepens and from then on until you clear the overhang it’s ‘power on’. I was doing great until I arrived at the overhang. Its a little run out, but to be fair I bottled it, and instead of pushing through ended up slumped in my gear. Disappointing to say the least, but this year has been a bit like that. I think I’ll get on it right away next time and proove to myself that I can do it. Strangely the wall below the overhang is littered with good holds, just a bit crumbly as you move through the overhang.
Joe and I have not done many climbs together recently, so it was brilliant to set ourselves up for Excelsiour. With Joe’s recent run of form in the E3 catagory, I left the two 5b pitches to him. A bit of a cop out, but I’ve been a bit up and down, so a bit of cushty seconding seemed a good idea to me.
True to form Joe blitzed the lower cracks, which are by far the hardest sequence of the route. OK until you have to make moves into the left hand crack and then push for the horizontal break. That’s where they become a bit desperate, but if you keep moving the good holds come.
I had the honour of the 5a corner. Great fun! A bit tricky and more than one way to go abut this pitch as Joe and I did it in very different ways. Joe also found the hidden hold deep in the crack, which I missed. Bummer as it helped to increase the pump for me.
The final pitch is not so much hard, but freaky. Good lower gear leads to thin moves with little or no pro until you make the upper section. Good lead by Joe as it is out there and scary. And so finished our E1 multi pitch and well worthwhile it was. 3 stars!
There was enough time left for us to barrack Dave and Tom on ‘Red Wall’ as we sat above Carn Guthenbras looking across to the Western Buttress. And yes, Tom also has a Pink top. Welcome to the club Tom.