Tag Archives: Chris

A very sociable journey

13th to 19th March 2018

Leonidio/Kyparissi

And so ends an amazing week in Greece. Leonidio is a gem of a location; probably the best overall venue that we have been to on our travels so far for rock quality and atmosphere. It is a sleepy rural town that has stumbled upon climbing as a major revenue stream. As such its geared towards climbers and very welcoming. More on the crags here.

Just walls of rock ­čÖé

We stayed at Leonidio Apartments nestled below a major area of crags and within walking distance of a number of venues. Alexandra turned out to be the perfect host, turning up with cakes and pastries on regular occasions. Her sister ran the organic bakery down the road (Vlamis Wood Bakery) with a 100 year old oven and olive and tomato pasties that were gorgeous.

Chilling on the veranda

Leonidio is a very idyllic town. Quaint and full of Greek character and charm. What I particularly liked was the laid back atmosphere. All the locals out and about, eating, drinking and socialising. You dont tend to find this so much now, particularly in tourist areas, but Leonidio retains this aspect.

Main Street

We also lucked into meeting a great group of people who helped to make the trip even more enjoyable. When everyone is so friendly you cant help but have fun.

“Lets start on something easy”

6th April 2017

Sennen

Delilah – E2 ┬á5b – TR Dgd
Africa Route – VS 5a – Lead
Terrace Cracks – HVS 5a – TR
Slanting Crack – HVS 5a – TR

Its been a while since Chris and I had a day out on the rock and given Chris’ recent absence from climbing and me being away for a couple of months, we figured we’d warm up on an E2. Of course we did! What else would we do/ Just what were we thinking!!!

Well, bizarrely it was a great idea. We both failed to climb it clean, but with waves crashing into the platform at the bottom, slightly damp holds and an exhilarating airiness to the whole affair we were buzzing by time we finished and ready for more.

A quick repeat of Africa Route reminded me of what a good climb it is. Technical start and with delicate moves through the groove. Well worth its three stars and a reminder that Sennen is littered with quality climbs that are well worth repeating.

The remainder of the day was spent messing about on a top rope on the HVS’s in the Hayloft area. Both were good fun. I probably should have led both, but to be honest sometimes you just need no frills, safe climbing where you can cut loose and make shapes. This was certaininly the case with Slanting Crack where Chris and I tried multiple variations and had a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon.

So, what a great day! No real anxiety, lots of good climbing and possibly the only downer was that we forgot our surfboards as there was a bit of swell in the bay. ­čÖé

Aqua Chris (aka Chris’ big wave challenge)

29th December 2016
Commando Ridge – V Diff – Alt Lead

Ok, so last year Dave backed Tom into a corner and he took the big soak when a wave crashed into the point off Commando Ridge. So this year we all obviously knew better. Except Chris, who decided to admire the massive set pushing into the bay right up to the point where it towered above him. Outdoor gear keeps you dry most of the time, but a six foot set tests it to the max.

Chris post bath

So it looks like we are establishing a tradition. Who will it be next year. My moneys on Dave…

Another boomer comes through

Well that provided the laughs for the start but this was such a good day out. Back to old skool get out and enjoy Cornwall. It was also Joe’s first venture on the ridge and he must have brought the weather gods as the predicted grey bleak day turned into sunshine and stunning vista’s in every direction.

The colours of Bosi

Something about Commando ridge always makes me feel good. I remarked that for a novice climber the ridge is the perfect outing. But even for the experienced climber this is just such good fun.

SELFIEEE!!!!!

I’ve got to know the pitches fairly well now, but I still look forward to each one. Its a grand day out and one well shared with good friends.

Would you trust this belayer?

25% Pink??

17th July 2015

Oldwalls Point

Matchless – E1 5b – Lead

According to my DNA listing I am roughly 5% Irish, 2% Iberian, 2% North African, 46% Western European, 20% Anglo Saxon and 25% Viking or Pink as the boys put it. I prefer the analogy with hairy arsed, ax wielding, pillaging fellas from up north personally.

View north from Oldwall

View north from Oldwall

Mind you, being part viking would help on a day like this, where the walk in was equally as terrifying as the climb. Teetering pile of choss is a good description for the area around Oldwalls Point. Looking at the huge fin of rock I wonder how long it can survive. I’m glad I got on it now.

The fin of Oldwalls Point

The fin of Oldwalls Point

After a sketchy traverse onto the ridge above the wall/slab you are faced with an abseil down a grassy gully and down to the beach. Pete, using his particular branch of warped logic felt that extending the gully out onto the wall might create a fun situation. It duly obliged, launching him into an arc across the face resulting in ‘resistable force meets very immoveable object’. Hence Pete spent the rest of the day bleeding over the beach and anything else that came close to him.

Pete, post abseil

Pete, post abseil

Chris and I set up for matchless, which was … well ‘matchless’. Its quite unique in the climbs I’ve done, with a full on wall experience which makes mincemeat of your toes. The crux is fairly low down ( I always hate that) with a series of difficult moves past a rusting old peg. The committing part is starting off past the peg. Tiny holds and smeary foot placements get you into slightly better territory, but not enough to set and place gear, so I had to push on a ways until a nice thank god hold appears allowing for everything to calm down.

A rest of sorts but your feet are screaming by now!

A rest of sorts but your feet are screaming by now!

From there it just keeps coming at you, consistently good climbing with pretty good gear up to the pancake. The next dilema is ‘push on through the veritable forest’ or take the clean unprotected arete. I took the arete which is fairly easy but needs to be treated with real care.

Chris about to find out the Pancake isnt any easier

Chris about to find out the Pancake isnt any easier

All in all, a fantastic route which Chris smiled his way up, with a few cheek puffing moments. I think this one suits both our techniques which is why we were so chuffed with the route.

Joe on More than a Match

Joe on More than a Match

Meanwhile Joe was fighting his way up More than a match, the E3 next to Matchless. It looks to be in a similar vein except for some grunty moves at the bottom. It does have a 5c move so one to consider for the future maybe. Thats if I can be pursuaded to clamber back across the nightmare that is the walk in and out.

The treacherous escape

The treacherous escape

Pete, Chris and I exited off the beach, saving the most dubious climbing until the end with Chris nearly getting stuch in a pile of shale and Pete threading his way up through a boulder field and remarking on how one particular boulder the size of a Mini was loose. It happeded to be right above me and thankfully he treated it with kid gloves.

Now the most scary part. Explaining Pete’s injuries to Melis!!!

Jet Wash

3rd July 2015

Penberth Cove

Nicks Niche – Severe – 4a Second

Horney – VS 4c – Second

Penberth was of course the original venue at which Iwas introduced to climbing by Bart. It therefore holds very fond memories for me and returning there is never a chore.

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A new member of our group came along. For Harrison it was his first experience of outdoor climbing and my thought was that Penberth provided a good venue where we could tackle a few reasonably graded routes while at the same time introducing him to the safety routines and climbing protocols that he’ll need when we go to the more serious venues like Bosi or Chair Ladder (no I wouldnt… not yet anyway).

Harrison  warming up on Excalibur

Harrison warming up on Excalibur

So during the course of the day we visited some Penberth classics such as Nicks Niche and The Hornet, as well as spending some time in Area 5 which needs a low tide. It was good practice for Chris and I as well as we went though some of the basics, which we always need refreshers on.

 

Harrison on Bionicle HS 4b

Harrison on Bionicle HS 4b

The rising tide, which almost caught us on Nicks Niche ( a wave actually spat just past me soaking the whole climb but miraculaously missing me!!) eventually pushed us to the Hornet where Chris and Harrison on his first attempt, made short work of of what I had always found a difficult climb. Must have been me then…

Chris, pre wash

Chris, pre wash

Harrison on the face left of Nicks Niche

Harrison on the face left of Nicks Niche

 

Meanwhile Joe and Tom had mooched over to Porthguarnon  to something very hard (around E3 I believe), but did return for a quick run on Groucho.

Tom on Groucho

Tom on Groucho

There are two E1’s here at Penberth which I would like to try, so I might pay a mornings vist on the way through on one of our outings and try and get on them.

Little guns….. “Meet the Beak”

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.

Descent Gulley

Descent Gulley

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.

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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.

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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.

Top pitch of the Beak

Top pitch of the Beak

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’.

Tom in the tricky flake chimney

Tom in the tricky flake chimney

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.

Nearly!!!

Nearly!!!

So what a day. One of those that will stick for a while and one that just makes you want more and more.

Amazing sea off Carn Guthenbras

Amazing sea off Carn Guthenbras

To good friends……

Feb! Really?

6th February 2015

Black Carn North

Gelert – HS 4b – Lead
Pudsey – VS 4c – Second
Wasp Pant Terror – HVS 4c – Lead
Cro Magnon Man – E2 5b/5c – TR┬áDogged

With the cold snap continuing we knew we needed somewhere out of the wind and preferably in the sun. Favorable tides also meant we could explore some of the less well known venues around Porthgwarra which would be on the lee side.

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I keep walking past these locations thinking that ‘one day I’ll check them out’. On this occasion, armed with some exploration knowledge we picked up last time we went to Carn Barra, we dropped down to Black Carn North.

Chris on his way on Gelert

Chris on his way on Gelert

Its a tricky descent at first crossing some pretty loose ground and a gulley which is steep. Once onto the seaward rocks its OK though. If you go, drop down before the obvious wall and keep to the right of the gulley. Then follow rocks down and around to the right facing out to sea. You’ll eventually get there.

Very cool shot

Very cool shot

The obvious attractive line on this small but friendly crag is Pudsey. An angled line across the face below Cro Magnon the elephant in the room. As it happens its not the best despite appearances. My favorite on the day was Gelert. Great moves for HS and a good thoughtful move into the upper crack.

Chris not suffering from Wasp Pant Terror.

Chris not suffering from Wasp Pant Terror.

Pudsey is all about a couple of moves fairly low down, although it looks harder. Chris made short work of it. Good, but no cigar. The weird looking and sounding Wasp Pant Terror proved quite good with a couple of great mantleshelves and a final bold series of moves to the top. I really enjoyed it. Not strenuous, but quite technical.

I'm sure I know what this is for????

I’m sure I know what this is for????

Of course Joe had his eye on the main obstacle on the crag Cro Magnon Man. I can see why they call it this. The top has an uncanny prehistoric look to it. The moves though are great. Crimpy and thin on the lower face, it finishes with slopers which are just waiting for the unwary. I of course was one of the unwary’s. I thought I had it but as I barn doored off I realised it needed a bit more thought. Second attempt I unlocked it using a finger jam to keep my balance. Not one for the tall as you get compressed into a ball! Fun though.

Precariou. Joe on the pinnacle

Precariou. Joe on the pinnacle

This is a crag to come back to next winter when we’re looking for a sheltered spot. I’m sure there are more routes to find here so I might do a bit more exploring next time I’m over there and cant climb because of conditions.

Oooh Suits you Sirs

1st January 2015

Bosigran
Commando Ridge – V Diff – Alt Lead

Big Ron and the boys made the most of a dreary New Years day, with an assault on Commando ridge in impeccable style… well maybe not impeccable but better that your average ridge climber.

Nice Tie

Nice Tie

Big Ron and the Boys

Big Ron and the Boys

After too many Prosecco’s at the Fish House at Fistral (amazing food by the way) the previous night we met early dressed in our finest New Years day suits. Strangely there was something actually likeable about climbing in a two piece, probably a throw back to bygone days.

Gearing up? Or already geared up.

Gearing up? Or already geared up.

We were also incredibly quick for us. Probably due to the impending rain, but we were up there in less than 2 hours. Plenty of soloing and moving together. By time I’d finished I was proper sober again, but absolutely knackered. The sleep on the way home helped!

The classic ridge.

The classic ridge.

What a great way to welcome in the new year.

Hung over selfie

Hung over selfie

Block Party

17th May 2014

Bashers Harbour

Footloose – VS 4c – Lead
The Flake – VS 4c – Lead (Dogged)
Mince Pie Problem – Diff – Solo

Everyones entitled to do something stupid once in a while. It helps if the consequences of that stupidity wont be fatal.

Relieved and scared

Relieved and scared

In hindsight and after reading an article on UKC titled ’10 ways to stay alive while climbing’ I wish I had done things differently. Maybe taken a bit more time thinking things through. The Flake turned out to be a bit of a nightmare really. A very hard (and wet) start with a nice 2ft square moving block finale. All of which added up to Tom not being able to second me because of the danger of the whole lot going. As dodgy as my abseil looked this was not really the danger point. It was backed up by two bomber nuts. The danger was the top blocks breaking loose while I was cleaning my gear and pulverising me.

My ab belay?????

My ab belay?????

Half of my rack was commited into the climb so the consequences of not retrieving it would be expensive. But gear is meant to save your life, not put it in danger. ┬ú200-┬ú300 is a small amount in the scheme of things. Maybe next time I’ll just leave it and renew my rack.

View back to Dave and Chris on the initial buttress.

View back to Dave and Chris on the initial buttress.

That adventure aside, the other climb we did was brilliant. Footlosse is balancy, edgy and technical. Pro is adequate but not abundent, but altogether it is a super climb. Setting up the belay can be tricky as Chris found out, having to down climb back to a safe spot. And its not comfortable, but its worth it.

The Main Face area

The Main Face area

As is all of Bashers Harbour. A lovely (if loose place), with a remote feel to it and a real spirit of adventure. We had it all on this day; falling rocks, dodgey abseils and a tide that waits for no man and nearly claimed Dave and Chris’s rucksacks, except for the quick witted Tom who leapt across the bolder field to rescue them.

Tom watching Pete on Footloose

Tom watching Pete on Footloose

 

The day ended with the demise of my long suffering Lumix Camera as it finally gave it up after having been bashed around the cliffs for 3 years and a solo on Mince Pie Route. Quite enough excitement for one day.

 

Vegetables are good for you. Sometimes…

2nd May 2014

Pen Olver – The Lizeard

Lying Eyes – Severe 4a – Lead
The Womb Tomb – Severe 4a – Second
The Giant Carrot – E1 5b – Lead
Sesame Street – V Diff (Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha………!! ) – Second

Before we even got to Pen Olver I knew I would end up preoccupied with The Giant Carrot. I’d checked it out on our previous visit but didnt have the nerve to do it. This time I thought I’d better give it closer attention.

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Pen Olver was looking its best. Calm seas. light winds and a cool temperature. Typical spring day really. Chris and I paired up, with Tom, Dave and Pete in the triumvate. I suspect Pete felt that Dave and Tom might give him an easier time of it so he could rest his damaged leg. I think maybe he was wrong here as Dave set off on the brilliant but tricky ‘The Peoples Queen’. ┬áPete who has been climbing superbly recently had time to squeeze in an ascent of Lying Eyes, my first lead of the day as well. No rest for the …..

Pen Olver_May14 005

Lying Eyes is short but OK. A good warm up route and it gets you to the top of the pinnacle which is always a treat. Looking across at Dave fighting his way up TPQ ,I think Chris and I had the easier option but Dave despatched yet another VS to add to his growing list.

Pen Olver_May14 007

Chris then subjected himself to a bit of ‘trollism’ as he negotiated the fantastic ‘ The Womb Tomb’. Anyone who goes to Pen Olver should do this climb. It is excellent. The final exposed traverse just caps off what is a truly different experience form most climbs. And the famous cave painting is still there. Or is it a fake??

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So onto my main event. Or would it be? From below I thought I had this one sussed.But once on it, it becomes a different beast. Not sure I agree that there are small wires to be had on the traverse. I placed two in what appeared to be good slots, only for one of them to shatter when Chris removed it. A crucial cam in the face settled my nerves and I was away. It was scary, but scary good. A few difficult moves later I was sucking in air on the arete and feeling decidedly sick. Way too much adrenaline. But what a buzz. I was soooo pleased to get this one, especially after making a couple of false starts.

Pen Olver_May14 020

The adrenaline wasnt finished for the day though. Chris was scratting around for a lead wanting something around HS but not finding anything. So he settled for a really good looking line called Sesame Street. Given V Diff in the book. V Diff My Arse!! I always trot out the saying that if it looks hard from the ground, it is hard.

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Chris found this out, battling up the route and getting a real shock at its difficulty. Looks like he got his VS, because I rekon this was the more appropriate grade. It made for a fitting end to what was a great day out.  Tom spent a lot of the afternoon racking up leads on the Main Face with Pete. Looks like Pete might get his 60 after all.