Tag Archives: E2

The Nearly man

7th July 2017

Kellan Head

Zugzwang – E2 5a,5b – Alt Lead

Rock-a-bye-baby – E3 6a – TR (DNF)

So after a bit of a lay-off since Mallorca Joe, Dave and I returned to the Cornish Coast for a day out at Kellan Head. The news about Bart was made all the more poignant as we walked into one of the most beautiful locations for climbing in Cornwall. How many wonderful days have we had in the past with Bart at similar places; and these memories make the circumstances of his death even more tragic. Rest in peace buddy… no one can take away the good times.

The Waterslide

Every time we go to Kellan Head the waterslide ramp is wet, but the recent dry spell has worked wonders and the start for both the HVS and Zugzwang was almost clear of damp patches. This opening sequence has always been a bit traumatic for me. There is really no protection to speak of, so I made the decision that I’d just go and clear the fractured stuff and gain the first ledge. Probably about 15ft of climbing with no pro! Surprisingly everything held together and the moves went well, so I arrived at the first ledge and placed a couple of crappy pieces of gear, before traversing left to the main ledge.

Chilled Dave

But this is just the opening 5a pitch. Entertaining, but the real action starts from here as you move up to the strange angular protrusions. While Dave was napping on the belay ledge Joe set off up some of the grippiest rock around. Gear is OK and the moves are great. The bridging traverse move is tricky, but can probably be done a number of ways. For me it was full extension and udging as high as I could get before transitioning. There is loose stuff at the top but a pre placed belay using outcrops higher up means you can set a safe belay.

Sorting a belay

Dave ‘nearly’ made it, failing on the bridge having almost done all the hard work. But it was very ‘near’. 🙂

Rock-a-bye-Baby is much harder though. There are two cruxes. The first overhanging section and the move onto the main face and then the second overhang, with a viciously powerful move to get established on the upper slab. Joe persevered and got it in the end. For me, I managed the bottom moves eventually (two very reachy rockover type moves. But had no chance on the upper one. Need to get into Arnie mode.

Lunch

Dave ‘nearly’ made the bottom crux. Nearly….

As is often the case we saw dolphins about. The disconcerting aspect of this was watching a rib chase them around the bay. Surely this cannot be right? There must be some law against harassing them.

Oddly we bumped into another climber ‘Danny’. This must be the first time this has happened in this area. Really just co-incidence but who’d have thought this was a venue we’d met someone at.

So a really good day back on the rock. Going to come back for the hidden amphitheatre.

The perfect day for shorts

7th April 2017

Boscawen Point

Looking Glass War – E1 5b – Second
Luke Lively – VS 5a – Lead
Lord Lucan – E2 6a – Second

Of course when ever you approach a crag that is recognised for its sharp thorny things, razor wire grass and nettles you should ensure you don’t cover your legs. In this way you get the maximum amount of pain for your money!

Amazing flower display

In actual fact the walk in to Boscawen is lovely, although coming back out again after a days climbing can feel beyond the cause. Unfortunately it is still just a bit cold for a swim so I had to content myself with three excellent climbs. Not a bad trade.

Upper reaches of Looking Glass war

In keeping with my route back to climbing form, these all gave me a challenge. Joe’s initial E1 was excellent, with a couple of tough moves. Joe is leading very well at the moment and despite some initial anxiety, he cruised through in the end. I wont say I cruised, but I felt OK throughout which was re-assuring.

Stunning Granite

My lead on the day was the fantastic ‘Luke Lively’. A VS which from the ground doesn’t look too bad, but involves some committing crack climbing and lay-backing. Well protected though. Its getting established in the upper crack that is the tough move and of course the undignified exit on slopers and grass.

Stylin on Lord Lukan

Sometimes when you repeat a climb your mind plays games, as does your memory. Joes final lead was a climb he thought he knew the moves on. My own experience has taught me that this is often distorted and sometimes you are better off just putting your pre conceived ideas aside and just reading what you see. In the end Joe managed the very technical and balanced moves, but maybe there’s a lesson learned in thinking you can just repeat everything stored in your memory. Mine particularly isn’t that reliable :-).

Cracking Up

7th October 2016

Sennen

Dolphin Cracks – HVS 5a – Lead
Commando Crack – VS 5a – Second
Six Blade Knife – E2 5b – TR

So my second attempt at Dolphin Cracks ended up roughly the same way as my first. In a fit of angst.

Dolphin Cracks is a committing climb and the top section, even if you sling the convenient chock stone, bodes for a rough ride if you come off. Probably not a decking, but definitely some skin loss.

I struggled on this. Not so much the opening moves where I chose to bridge and stay on the face, but the committing move to layback the top section. I did them on a second, but leading was a bit of a mind game. As it happens the top moves are really positive, so I had nothing to worry about, but its always easier in hindsight. I think the next time I go I will try again as I know I can complete the moves now so it could be a confidence booster.

commando-crack

Dave had an excellent lead on Commando Crack. Situated in Irish Lady Cove its nestled away off the beaten track. Half the fun here is the death defying descent through broken and loose ground, but it all adds to the adventure. But its well worth seeking out. It is not quite an off width, but forces you to climb inventively to make the crux sections. Not easy, but definitely a good if unusual VS with a nicely exposed finish.

We finished on an E2 ‘ Six Blade Knife’ by top roping it from the belay of Commando Crack. It’s a good climb. Hard in the botom half with a very reachy but great move to the large flake. This takes a bit of working out, but once sorted it goes OK. Then its traverse up the line of flakes to a not as easy as it looks finish. Very cool climb.

It was nice to be back on the rock and climbing reasonably well. Sennen always a good venue to make you feel at home.

Butt Cracks and Ball Sacks

16th Sepotember 2016

Pednvounder Beach/Logan Rock

Reach – E2 5c – TR
Charlie’s Chank Seaward Arete – 6a- Lead(Eventually)
Blondie Jams with Sepultura – HVA 5a – Second (Dgd)

As well as being one of the most beautiful beaches in Cornwall on its day, Pednvounder is also well known as a nudist spot. On this day we shared the beach with a number of naturists, but to be honest after the initial ‘oh my god, why are you letting me see that!’ you dont even notice as the climbing is absorbing and great fun. I sometimes wish I had the bottle to get in tune with nature, but I cant see that ever happening. I leave that to Tom :-).

Pednvounder Beach

Pednvounder Beach

It really is a stunning location and with the formation of a lagoon, which cut the beach in half, it had the look and feeling of being abroad. The climbing is disjointed though. The cliff here does not really run to full height with its routes. Most are on the lower, more reliable rock that comes straight off the beach. Reach is to be found in a narrow zawn a few metres after you arrive on the beach. It is easily identified as it is a seriously overhanging piece of rock.

Looks hard and is hard

Looks hard and is hard

Joe advised me that the routes here are sometimes done as highball bouldering problems. That would be a serious fall if you blew it at the top. And given the really pumpy nature of the routes that is a definite possibility. I knew the E2 would be hard, so I ‘warmed up’ on the short overhanging crack at the start of Shady Wall. Of course this was much harder than I anticipated, so I proceeded to dog it for the first few attempts. Eventually after I had enough gear in I cleaned it, but not what I would call a clean ascent! Dave however made it on his first go, just to make me feel entirely inadequate. Git…

Dave giving it the soulful walk  .. "I want to be at one with nature!!!"

Dave giving it the soulful walk .. “I want to be at one with nature!!!”

Meanwhile Joe and Tom were giving it some on an impossibly hard route to the right of Reach. I think the start ended up having the beating of them but no wonder, with small holds and a major overhanging route. Reach has a hard start, but eases as you get higher. But only by degrees. It is all overhanging so even those ‘good holds’ soon feel inadequate. Having made the hard start I just kept going, thinking that I wouldnt be able to get going again so best make the best of this attempt, which eventually turned out OK, although I ached for a while just after.

Joe gets jammin

Joe gets jammin

Joe was determined to get over to Logan Rock for a jamming fest on Blondie jams with Sepultura. He got his wish, as we all gave up some skin for the cause. This was despite being taped up for the job (which is like a wax job when you take it off). The climb is tough, with problematic foot jams and a crack that doesnt quite fit your hands.

Tom gives it a go

Tom gives it a go

Joe made his way up on the lead and the three of us followed with varying degrees of success. What I would say is that it is thoroughly enjoyable, despite the pain. I’d like to try it again now, having tried once. Make a better ‘fist’ of it next time.

Mashed...

Mashed…

So, what a great day out. Fabulous views, great climbing and good friends. What more can you ask for?

My (not so dead) dead chicken has better feet than you do!

19th July 2016

Pentire Point
Black Zawn

Nipped in the Buddha – VS 4c – Second
Little Black Dress – EC 5B – TR
Brother Chris – E3 5c – TR (dgd)

Dave had been wittering on about NITB for ages so it was only fair to let him have his moment (of fear). NITB is one of those VS’s that doesnt look too bad until your trying to find your equilibrium as you move up into the groove. From the ground it is quite steep. From the groove it is overhanging. Either way it’s not easy.

Joe pose....

Joe pose….

After I had dropped the ab rope into the sea we dropped down onto the ledge below NITB. For a change most of the climbs were dry. Unusually.

Before the groove NITB

Before the groove NITB

The Black Zawn never really looks inviting but the truth is that there are a large number of high quality climbs here. The harder varieties suffer from a distinct lack of gear, but the moves and holds are brilliant. Most of the E numbers are on the buttress starting right of The English Way and heading all the way around to the seaward face. A awkward traverse gets you to Merchants of Menace a very good looking E2 which I think I’ll have a go at one day.

Top Groove ofNITB

Top Groove ofNITB

Dave made NITB look relatively easy, which it isnt. A sloping slab leads to difficult moves up into the groove. Then its a case of using the angles to make it easier for an exciting finale.

Dave does E2

Dave does E2

The E2 was an excellent climb, but leading it would have been a different proposition. Very little gear, particularly protecting the crux moves which were fiddly before you arrived at the jugs.

Whooo Whoo!

Whooo Whoo!

The E3 was superb. Beyond me to clean it on this day, but what a climb. It looks so unlikely from below, but as the guidebook says, miraculous holds appear when you need them. Unfortunately for me I didnt see one of the hidden miraculous holds so had to rest about half way. But for the main part it is just excellent move after excellent move. I’d love to say I’d lead this but I’d have to have a closer look at the gear first.

Boy this lad can climb.

Boy this lad can climb.

A tired group of three discussed Joes horrendous feet before a steep walk out on a stunning evening with a huge moon rising over the fields and part noises drifting across from Polzeath. The end of a good day.

Good Moon Rising

Good Moon Rising

And as a final point. How can you not know if a chicken is dead or not. Daves hutch cooked chickens some how rose from the dead – maybe they are Frankenchickens.

Exploding Antipodian

27th May 2016

Coastguard Cliffs – The Lizard

Aboriginal Sin – E3 – Second
Casablanca – E2 – Alt Lead
Rendezous Manque – V Diff – Lead

Sometimes you have a vision of how a climb will be. I imagine myself climbing it and invent the holds, hoping they will be as good in real life. On a beautiful sunny day, Joe and I stood below Aboriginal Sin and I considered whether I was in good enough form to actually get up it.

The guidebook describes a series of juggy flakes leading to ‘the fang’ that sticks up at the end of the steeply rising and overhanging crack. Easy then! Get on it and move quickly until you can get hold of the juggy fang.

Joe below Aboriginal Sin

Joe below Aboriginal Sin

After creating a bomber nest of gear Joe launched out for the fang and as I watched him fight with the crack and eventually grab the fang, I realised that this was going to be really tough. Of course it’s not over at this point and Joe had another sequence to negotiate before it was my turn.

Now in my mind the holds were going to be positive flakes and the main problem pure grunt. No, the main problem is that the jugs are actually rounded and not positive and so my first attempt ended in some air time. The second time I was lucky that Joe kept me on a tight rope as I used my last reserves to gratefully hug the fang, gasping for air and with my poor arms blown. Of course the exploding hold which literally dissolved in my hand didn’t inspire confidence and nearly shrugged me off again. Still, I got up it in the end and what a great feeling. Brilliant lead by Joe, who is going from strength to strength.

Dave on Silent Movie

Dave on Silent Movie

We joined Tom and Dave who were having there own route fest, baggy some of the class VS and HVS of the main cligg. These really are good climbs, if a bit bold at times.

Happy, Happy Joe :-)

Happy, Happy Joe 🙂

My initial suggestion of a VS traverse turned into a two pitch E2 after both me and Joe liked the look of Casablanca. I led the opening 5a pitch which was great fun. Not difficult, but nervy as the gear comes late. Joes lead of the top crack was another stirling effort. My try ended up with me jammed in the crack facing the wrong way. It was only when I extricated myself and faced the right way that the finishing moves became possible. Still a really good route and maybe I’ll try the top crack on the lead next time if I’m feeling brave.

Before the hard move

Before the hard move

Joe and I finished up a V Diff chimney (great…?) with a laughable belay on boulders that were more likely to kill you than save you. And so at the end of a hot, sunny and memorable day it was icecreams/drinks and a contented drive home.

Get a shave

Get a shave

Uhmm. Are you an ‘inny’ or an ‘outy’

Climb Hard with a vengence

19th March 2016

Pelitras Point

Lardus – E2 5c – TR
Red Snapper – E2 5c – TR

Now I will readily admit I dont often Top Rope, but there are some days when it is by far the best choice. This of course was one of them. It was overcast, cold and there was a chill SE blowing.

Pelitras is an amazing piece of rock, but in general the climbs here are hard. The easier variations all looked a bit wet and un-appealing, so Joe kindly set up a top rope. It was nice to sit back and let someone else organise my climbing, although I did my best to try and get the tr in the wrong place.

It was good to really test myself against something harder and both climbs delivered on the front. Red snapper has some hard opening moves to get established and then a perplexing move on the upper arete. This is off balance and the climb forces you to come at the holds from the wrong direction. Still, I got it in the end and was mighty releived.

Lardus is all about the top crack. Joe reckoned harder than 5c and I would agree, not that I’m that familiar with 5c but i can normally haul my arse up 5c. I dont know about 6a. Got it on my second attempt but only just.

I want to return here and bag all the VS’s and maybe something a bit harder, but on a sunny day perhaps.

Old Favorites

19th September 2015
Carn Barra

Super Crack – VS 4c – Alt Lead
Axis – VS 5a – Lead
Fourteen Fathoms – E2 5c – Second

I’ve been to Porthgwarra loads of times but never considered parking up nearer the junction to the l-bend. It is in fact a nicer walk in, if a little bit longer, down blackberry walled lanes and it brings you out in the Carn Les Boels area a bit further south. Ideal for Carn Barra and crags south of here.

Jamming

Jamming

I knew Nick had has eye on one of the E2’s at Carn Barra, but we started on the upper tier, on Super Crack. I remember this being really good the first time around and this time was just as much fun. Pitch 1 is a bit nervy on the top slab, but is good climbing with small holds and neat little moves. The top pitch is great, with more strenuous jamming and laybacking. A really top VS.

And so to Fourteen Fathoms. It has good climbing throughout and the bottom section (with the exception of the bold and bouldery lower face) is reasonably protected. Once onto the upper face, protection possibilities are there (the crux has some good gear) but the climbing becomes harder and the crux move is tough. It took Nick a while to figure it out (how he hangs around for so long I’ll never know) but in the end it is about strength and commitment.

Steep!! And hard....

Steep!! And hard….

On my turn I had just as many issues and probably made the move by the skin of my teeth. My arms by this time were shot so it was with relief that I moved up a bit for a rest before dropping back a few fet to get the remaining gear out. Really pleased to have done this though.

Nick on the crux of Fourteen Fathoms

Nick on the crux of Fourteen Fathoms

We finished on Axis, where Dave joined us. This was so that I could climb it throughout. My previous attemt had just been from the upper ledge. I made the lower moves, but I cant say I made a good fist of them. I grabbed the edge of the lower shelf with relief in the end. After this thought the route went easily for me, so I was pleased with this. The first time I remember it being a real struggle.

A good day at CB and nice to climb with Nick again. Must do this more often. Next ‘American Dream’ 🙂

 

How wide is your gatehole?

17th April 2015

Bosigran Ridge Area

Waltzing Matilda – HVS 5b – Alt Lead (Dogged)
Mandalay – HVS 5a – Second
Anzac Day – E1 5b – Lead
Imphal – E2 5c – Second (Dogged)

… is not a question you should be asking any of your friends!! This was the finale to a superb day at Bosi Ridge Area where I managed to put ticks in a load of climbs I had been eyeing up. Not sure where this conversation was going, but I’m glad Nick didnt know the answer to Toms question. 🙂

Ab

Ab

Joe, Tom, Nick and I were obviously hungry to get on some good routes and as there was nothing there easier than HVS 5a we had to up our game immediately. Joe and Tom went for the tough corner of Imphal and Nick and I ended up on Waltzing Matilda.

Me on P2 Waltzing Matilda

Me on P2 Waltzing Matilda

Wow, what a route. Two amazing pitches. The first with a hard short traverse to the Arete which Nick led with aplomb. Then a long traverse out across the upper wall of Galipolli. I got this one and was shocked at how hard it felt. I was going along great guns when instead of thinking through a section I committed in, and found myself sliding off and ending up down on Kohima. It made for an interesting return to the traverse and I cant say I wasnt disappointed. But more importantly I got to do a fantastic route. I must stop falling off stuff!!

Nick, P2 of Waltzing Matilda

Nick, P2 of Waltzing Matilda

Manadaly was a good ‘get your breath back’ route, although gear is tricky on the crux and its an exposed move on the crux. Nick made short work of it though.

Nick on P2 Anzac Day

Nick on P2 Anzac Day

So I decided on Anzac Day next. A very patient Nick stood silently while I went through the full range of Freudien self doubt, anxiety, bullishness, indecision, euphoria and any number of other mental states you can think of. Reasonably pathetic and not something I’m used to, but in the end I started again and did it in one. Really pleased I did because this was a terrific climb. Akward in the lower section and then great jug hauling through the overhang.

Joe on Imphal

Joe on Imphal

Meanwhile Joe was leading Galipoli, probably the choice of the crag. I knew he and Tom would like this one, and they did. Both making the hard move onto the face.

Joe on Imphal

Joe on Imphal

Nick was right on his game and I knew he wanted Imphal. It is not an easy climb. Lots of jamming and bridging and some precarious positions. Nick, with his ability to make a T shape seemed to be in balance all the way. I on the other hand was not quite so tuned in, although it was only one small slip that cost me the onsite. It was actually encouraging for me and an excellent tic for Nick. Both Joe and Tom who had been on it earlier, were in my category, although of course Joe had the added complications of leading it.

Dolphinarium and start of Waltzing Matilda

Dolphinarium and start of Waltzing Matilda

The walk out from sea-level with full packs is not a pleasant one, but when you are buzzing it doesnt really matter. The is the one remaining issue. Who of us will be the first on Dolphinarium, the E1 on the nose. Looks scary hard!

Com’on Joe, stop arsing about!

13th March 2015

Pedn-Men-An-Mere

Pink Sea Slab – V Diff – Lead
Devils Meridian – E2 5c – TR Dogged
Bermuda Wall – E3 5c – TR

The view over Church Cove

The view over Church Cove

One of the things I always like to believe is that I am cautious and careful when it comes to safety when we’re climbing. On a glorious day at Pedn-Men-An-mere I seemed to have a complete aberation of common sense and forget all my own well established safety protocols.

This would account for why Joe landed on his arse when he slid of Bermuda Wall, despite being on a top rope. 8mm rope (which should have been doubled up to compensate for rope stretch; belayer sat down (not the most attentive position); rope hadnt been stretched out off the anchors, so too much slack in the system. A litany of errors.

It is good that it happened on a top rope in a way. Hopefully Joe was just shaken and not damaged. I know it has shaken me up and I need to get back to good ways. There is always a lot of trust to build with your belayer and I need to re establish that.

BOOM!

BOOM!

However, it was also a great days climbing. Joe sent Devils Meridian (I didnt get anywhere near it dogging my way up) but I will hopefully get it next time. Also we both successfully got up Bermuda Wall, via a really tough series of opening moves.

BOOOOMMMM!!!

BOOOOMMMM!!!

Devils Meridian has a very hard middle section where foot placement and balance (with a bit of strength) are needed. It has a bit of everything- finger jams, laybacks, pinches and jug hauling. On a lead the hard part would be getting gear in. There is lots, but you have to have a free hand….

Well that wasnt easy was it?

Well that wasnt easy was it?

Bermuda Wall is just great, but hard. Joe rekkoned 6a for the lower moves and I wouldnt argue. Tiny crimps and pinches lead to some crazy underclings. Then a massive reach and finally a tough traverse. What more could you ask for.

Exposed on the top of PSS

Exposed on the top of PSS

Pink Sea Slab is not V Diff. I repeat ‘Not V Diff’. Its a great climb with some good slab moves and a wild finish, but pro is insecure and the final haul over a bulge is more in keeping with VS. It also needs good ropework and a careful eye on some decidedly dogey rock. I’m not selling it am I? It is well worthwhile though with loads of exposure and some great positions. Just not V Diff.

View over to Pink Sea Slab. Its the black slabby areas.

View over to Pink Sea Slab. Its the black slabby areas.

The new Nikon performed well though. Lots of good photos to add to the collection. Its so cool living in Cornwall 🙂