Tag Archives: Alex

Stone’d

4th April 2014

Boscawen / Union Star Cove

Luke Skywalker – Severe 4a – Lead
Stone – VS 4c – Lead

The theory was that being early in the year we wouldnt get ourselves completely skagged trying to get into Tregiffian. That was the theory anyway. But it turned out Boscawen was the real villan in this piece and Alex who had joined us found this out when he became trapped in amoungst a dense patch of gorse and brambles.

Thorn Trouble

Thorn Trouble

I’ve been to Boscawen twice before but could I remember the descent route? We ended up going way too left and having to track through some viscous thorn and gorse before finally finding the arch. This always marked the way in to me so we dropped our bags here and abbed into the main face.

Alex abbing into Boscawen

Alex abbing into Boscawen

Boscawen clearly isnt getting much traffic at the moment. The cracks are very vegetated and placing pro is a bit of a mare. Luke Skywalker is strange for a Severe. A straight forward easy first two thirds followed by a very committing final section which feels very thin.

Alex on Luke Skywalker

Alex on Luke Skywalker

Mind you, the hardest part for me was finding my way back up. I managed to get myself stuck in a corner and had to aid my way out. Not sure that was the correct way???

Tom on Leuc Lively

Tom on Leuc Lively

The walk to Tregiffian was stunning at this time of year. Its as if the cliff has burst into life shoing off its colours and plantlife. At times you could have thought it was planned but its just nature making the most of things.

Like a garden but actually the coast path.

Like a garden but actually the coast path.

Then it was on to tregiffian where we discovered my tide predictions were also lacking in judgement. With a bit of swell running and a pushing tide the main face was no longer an option. Dave and Tom set up for Exit which is out of reach of the tide for a while.

Group gathering

Group gathering

Alex and I went scouting around Union Star Cove and came across a real gem of a climb. It took some finding requiring a short abseil and some scrambling but Stone is a really step and exciting VS. Good pro but some tough moves and quite strenuous with only one real rest spot.

Alex starting on Stone

Alex starting on Stone

It made for a great climb and Alex who hasnt been for a while did really well cleaning this one. After my first selfie it was pack up for the long hard walk back out to Boskenna Cross. There are two more routes on the Stone face that I will return to. They both look brilliant and this spot is a real find.

Ambiguous Grades

22nd July 2011
Zennor Cliff
Rosebud in June – HVS 5a – Lead
The Bumbles – VS 5a – Lead

As is often the case the day started out a bit grey with some drizzle. West Penwith though has its own micro climate and its always worth persevering. As it turned out it was the right choice.

Additionally, Alex had decided to come along too, a rarity these days so I wanted to make sure it was a good one. Equally Dominic was keen to keep pushing his grades, so it was going to have to be a good day.

Rosebud in June is the line to the left of The Royal Forrester and one I’ve had my eye on for a while. It looks like it is covered with lichen, but dont let that deceive you because it isnt. RIB is split into two parts really. A more technical bottom section followed by a magnificent crack leading all the way to the top.

The bottom section section has a tricky move across and up into the niche. Described as poorly protected in the guidebooks it is not really the case. You can get good solid pro in before you move which will protect you but then it is a few metres before the next arrives. As the move is low down it is a bit intimidating, but as long as your belayer is on the ball they will catch you.

The rest is brilliant. Well protected climbing on a line that sores above the deep zawn below. The views around are beautiful and on this day the colour of the sea was a fantastic blue. Dominic and Aletx arrived at the top with the biggest smiles on. Pumped, full of adreneline and raving about how good the climb was. Rare praise indeed from Alex. We all sat at the top in silence just trying to take it all in.

Now The Bumbles was a grade lower and considerably shorter. I had scouted this last time I was here and wanted to have a go. It looked hard for the grade and so it proved.

Its well protected and steep. In fact overhanging slightly. It looks like its full of holds, but they are suprisingly hard to come by, at least ones that are useful. Once on it I found that it didnt let up. No obvious rest spots so its a case of keep on going to a final and awkward move onto the slab. I laced it with gear which didnt help, but found it considerably harder that RIB. OK its short, but technically and physically its more demanding. Still a really good climb which showed no mercy with Dominic and Alex shrugging them off on the top moves. All persevered and made it, while for Dominic it was probably too much too soon. I forget he’s only been out a few times with little indoor practice. Taking that into account he did really well. Its one to come back to.

To top an excellent day we stopped at The Tinners Arms for beer. Many inuendo’s later I took a slightly light headed Alex home to face the music from his mum. Top day..

 

Growing old gracelessly

25 years ago when I started surfing there were a few ‘old boys’ who used to bang on about how surfing had changed since the new kids had arrived, bringing with them a bad attitude and no respect for the waves or their peers…. They were of course referring to me and my friends and we in time honoured fashion ignored them, regarding them as has beens and people who couldnt keep up with progress.

Well guess what? I’ve become one of those ‘old boys’.

Its strange how everything goes through cycles. Back then, I didnt understand what the problem was. There was plenty of room for everyone. Now, I do understand. Its not about the age difference….it’s about momentum. You see everything that you are used to being turned on its head.

Take for instance surf schools. When I started you taught yourself- the hard way, by making mistakes and almost drowning. I used heavy resin pop-out boards that could kill you as soon as look at you. Carrying them down to the sea was an act of heroism. Now, you get your hand held through the whole process, use soft foam boards and at the end of a lesson or two you are churned out, ready to surf. Then its straight down the shop for £500 worth of gear. Everyone has a new surfboard and wetsuit. It took me two years to get my first board and I surfed in a borrowed (very holey) wetsuit for that time.

Me, Dave and Alex at the north end

In a way I feel sorry for the new surfers. They will never have to go through the initiation that I and my colleagues had to take on. We are have been a tight group of friends who have lived and surfed together for 20 years and have grown to love our surroundings and understand how lucky we are. Unfortunately, we dont particularly like sharing it with so many others.

So now I’m one of the ‘old boys’ who bangs on about how good it used to be!