Tag Archives: The Dewerstone

Squirrel!!!!! Again….

4th August 2017

The Dewerstone

FruitFlanCase – E1 5a – Lead

God Dammit! Those bloody squirrels were at it again. I cleverly put all my food in an old harness bag and left it out of my rucksack. So Mr Squirrel decides to take the whole bag and drag it off into the trees (having already eaten my box of raisins). A kindly passer by helped out as I perched on the belay ledge of Fruitflancase. However he was a bit too nice and put it back in my rucksack. Nooooooooooo…..!!!!!!

Squirrel!!

Not again. Visions of another big hole in my rucksack and clothing started to haunt me and despite lobbing rocks of many different sizes down on him he scampered all over the bag. Fortunately he must have got bored because he wandered off. Finally I could put my attention back on Dave who was having an epic fight with the jamming cracks of the route.

Daft thing is that after I got back down there, I shared my cashew nuts with the squirrel who sat on a rock nearby eating my handouts. There will though be a day of reckoning with the critter… its him or me and I dont intend on losing again.

Relief…. What a struggle

So back to the climb, which was awesome. My first attempt led to a slow motion peel out of the crack as my not so good jamming technique was exposed to its fullest. Thought I’d done the crux but a stupid error saw me dangling. So I returned to the ground, composed myself after a bit of cheese, and set off again. This time it all went well, but its a fight. It never lets up. The first section up the ramp is fine, protection where you need it and just a bit delicate.

But once you commit to the crack via a lay back around the overhang lip its sustained. Jams to start, but you need to get your feet right as well. Then a mixture of jams, crimps and slopers gets you to the belay ledge. I nearly came off a few times, but hung in there. Really pleased to do this one. Its been on my ticklist for a while.

Dave had an epic. But not surprising as he cant feel his fingers properly. I think it was at the top end for both of us, so please we both made it.

Dave tops out up Central Groove

The top pitch has one awkward section to start and then with rain starting I chose to finish up Central Grooves top slab. As it happens I’ve already done the top crack/groove of FFC when I climbed CG before, so I know its not hard. Just very vegetated. Both 4b, but CG’s slab is a better climb.

Dave and I had been talking about how just wandering the woods is a privelege at the Dewerstone. Its such a beautiful place. Having been driven off by some heavy rain, we explored a less well known section called The Tooth Area. There could be a few routes here, but its uninspiring when compared with the main crag. We’ll see.

In the rain and dark light Dewerstone has that ancient feel to it. You could almost imagine druids walking the woods and old miners trying to eke out a living through the old quarries. Must remember to come walking here again. Tap up Viv who’s always up for a walk and swim in the river.

Squirrel!

16th March 2012
Dewerstone Woods – Main Face

Climbers Club Ordinary – VS 4b – Lead
Central Groove – HS 4b – Lead

The wind pushed us into choosing The Dewerstone over The Cheesewring. It turned out to be a top decision. With both Chris and myself there, we split into two pairs, Tom teaming up with Chris.

The Dewerstone wove its magic on the walk in, putting us all in a good mood. So when we reached the main face we were ready to go. My original intention was to climb on Raven buttress, but I had a look at CCO and thought it looked OK. So Dave and I geared up and I set off upand across the traverse. CCO is bold in it’s early stages. There is some gear, but you have to look for it and be inventive.

Dave on CCO

Dave on the second overhang on Climbers Club Ordinary

The flakes which at first seem to be a godsend, turned out to be more scary than safe. I got the feeling that if you managed to dislodge one of them, you’d bring down half the cliff face. So I used my feet and tried not to think about the flakes too much.

Chris going directly through the overhang on Climbers Club Ordinary

The overhang below the first belay ledge also adds some excitment. I went straight up it, strictly part of Climbers Club Direct, but wild and fun. Gets the adrenaline flowing.  When Chris led CCO later on he too went direct so we all made the most of it.

The spooky traverse at the top of Pitch 2 CCO

Pitch two we all agreed had another unnerving traverse, different from the first, in that there was pro, but  probably a bit more exposed. By this time you are high up on the face with the woods stretching out below. It’s quite surreal and very beautiful.

Tom concentrating on the second pitch of CCO

The only spoiler for me was the pesky woodland critter (Squirrel) that ate through my pack, then my fleece and managed to steal my crisps and sandwich. Even my strategically lobbed Krab missed it, hit a rock and bounced into the river. There’s no justice. (Tom did retrieve it for me though)

Squirrel!!!!

Our second climb on Central Groove was equally as good and finished up the same top groove meaning that all of us ended up meeting at the end of a brilliant day.

Dave on the upper slab of Central Groove Pitch 1

Two top climbs.

 

It’s all about timing

7th October 2011

The Dewerstone – Main Buttress

Vala – HVS 5a – Lead

The plan was good, but the weather was not going to play the game. Nick, myself and Pete had hoped to meet up at The Dewerstone for an afternoon climbing and the forecast was good all week. However, and unusually BBC got this one wrong.

At the base of Vala

The Dewerstone in the rain is how I always imagine the woods. Damp and full of mystery and shadows. In reality its not really like that at all. The Dewerstone is beautiful and exciting and rather than forebidding, the woods seem bright and alive. Its probably because of the river Dart which runs right through it and provides a constant centrepiece.

Everywhere seemed soaked when we arrived, but a few bursts of sunshine miraculously dried off the buttress face and by time I geared up and started climbing the conditions were fine on Vala. It didnt last though, with a few showers falling during my ascent to make it that bit more challenging.

Spot the crag

Vla doesnt really need to be more cahallenging though. Straight forward to begin with, it grows in intensity. As you move left through the overlaps using a series of undercuts and side pulls, you find yourself with a final exposed move up through the top overhang. This is what everything leads up to and I managed to scare Pete half to death when I plucked up courage and just went for it.

For Pete this was a step up in intensity. By far the toughest climb he has seconded with me. The heavy rain shower that greeted him half way up did little to settle his nerves, but to give credit where it’s due Pete battled on and went for the crux with gusto.

By time we abbed off the weather had decided enough was enough and killed any more chance of climbing. Walking out watching the climbing club fighting the elements we could only pat ourselves on the back for finding a little window to bag a cracking climb.

You and who’s arm’ees

24th September 2010
The Dewerstone

Silken Thread/Imperialist – HVS 5a, 5a – Second
Gideon – E1 5b – Second

The trip up to Devon was not an auspicious start. Numerous traffic jams and road blockages started me thinking that maybe climbing wasnt on today. This was all put firmly behing me once I ‘d met up with Nick and trekked into the Dewerstone. What a beautifull place, especially when the sun shines through exposing the tall buttresses which poke up elusively through the tree tops.

I’d been here before both walking and on a climbing trip with Bart a long time back, and we ended up on a vegetated crag which was entertaining but not a proper route. This was different. I got a chance to view the main face which has a number of cracking climbs on it.

Dewerstone_Sept10-003

As it happened we started off on Raven Buttress on a tricky HVS. The first pitch is balancy and not well protected at first. The move around the corner is great though, but not designed for taller people. I must have banged my helmet a dozen times on the way around. The second pitch is a steep chimney followed by some grunt work past a overhang and up onto the slab above. A great varied climb which reminded me what arms are for in climbing.

Gideon just built on this. The first pitch is amazing, although it proved a bit too much for me. Lots of mental and physical battles up to the crux. As it says in the book, “He who hesitates is lost”. So I lost! A shame really because I actually made the move to the first juggy hold but ran out of gas with my arms turning to stone. A brief rest and I was back on it. All credit to Nick for a top lead in drizzle no less. I need to improve my stamina if I am serious about getting on E numbers. Still, what an amazing afternoon.

Dewerstone_Sept10-005

The walk out in the dark capped a great outing and left a satisfying feeling of using up the whole day. Not a minute of wasted daylight. Oh yes, and the new rockfax guide is brilliant. So if you get one, keep it close….