Monthly Archives: November 2019

In a bit of a jam!

29th November 2019

Porthguarnon Cove

Iron Bells – HS 4b – Lead (rpt)
Seik Shaker – HVS 5a – Second
The Fixit – VS 5a – Lead (dgd)

So we’re currently up to our eyes in ‘Electioneering’ as Corbyn goes head to head with Johnson. Its so depressing. If I’m honest I cant see anything good coming from this and then we’ve got the dying breathes of Brexit to deal with. God help us!

Porthguarnon Cove in all its glory

So any day climbing is a good brain cleaner. Leave all the nonsense behind and focus on important issues, such as ‘how strong am I today?’ or ‘Will the sun shine?’. And the answers were ‘reasonably’ and ‘yes’.

In fact we were all down to T Shirts by time we arrived, which made the days routes seem all the better. I was with Joe and Dave and Tom teamed up for a go at Fences, a tricky HS that I did last time out.

Dave on Fences

We kicked off with a classic, ‘Iron Bell’. Such a nice route. A bit of lay backing into the slab, some small holds and an overhang. Has it all. I like the small indents and bulges for your feet on what would otherwise be a steep slab.

Joe’s pick was Seik Shaker. An innocuous looking arete which has a real bite. Its straight forward until it comes to moving onto the upper head wall which is bounded on the right by a thick blade of rock. The crack looks fine and there seems to be foot placements but as soon as you move onto the slab it all gets a lot more difficult. I tried to Jam but I’m shit at it so I kept right and used the arete to layoff. OK on the second but it might have made placing gear more difficult on the lead.

View down to the main face

I was trying to avoid another session of going up and down but I still managed it on our final VS. As usual the jamming let me down, although once I’d worked out I could lay off the opening moves it all unlocked. Lack of confidence and fitness cost me this one, but on a more optimistic note I felt good climbing it, so it’s just going to cost me some training in the long term.

Still not sure what the best way is to get into Porthguarnon. We met a couple of other climbers who parked at the campsite which I think is a lot shorter. I think you just have to ask the owners which is fair enough. Mind you, you lose out on the stunning walk in if you do that. Wellw orth the effort 🙂

Right! This time I’m going… no this time… no now…

16th November 2019

Vicarage Cliff

Pandora – VS 4b – Second
Wellingtons Stand – VS 4b – Lead
Atom Head – E1 5c – Second

Oh how your head plays tricks with you. The ugly head of indecision rears itself and then you’re up and down trying to persuade yourself that the terrifying move you want to make is fine… it wont hurt you. Even if you fall.

Back towards the waterfall

Alas, it’s not so simple. Having bottled Wellingtons Stand on my last outing here I had unfinished business. So finding myself trying to make the same tenuous move on two small crimps with a crap foot placement was no different. Except in the end I forced myself up by shear force of will. And lo and behold, it wasn’t that bad. Which is easy to say after you’ve done it without falling off.

Joe checks out Atom Head

So I thought that was going to be my epic for the day, but Joe had other ideas. Atom Head is one of the best climbs I’ve done recently. Tiny holds and foot placements. Run outs, padding, gorse, rusted pegs. You name it, its got it! What a fantastic lead by Joe. There is pro but you need to keep it together to place it and it must feel awfully lonely up there on the lead. What an end to the day. Abbing off as it started to darken gave a sense of having eked out every available bit of light and dryness available.

It was also really good to be out with Joe. Like old times 🙂 Except now he’s miles better than me. But thats an advantage, because he can get me on routes I would dream of leading myself. Cracking and Slabtastic!!

Beginners Luck

15th November 2019

Predannack Head

The Beginners Area
Sexygenarians – V Diff – Lead
Moonlight – VS 4c – Lead
Zig Zag _Mod – Alt Lead

Weeks of rain and shit weather led to this. A fleeting chance to get out for a climb in a weather window predicted by BBC weather. My poll on Facebook suggested Porthguarnon which was t’the peoples’ choice. But what do they know! I over-ruled them as any good dictator would and so we headed for the Lizard, the one area predicted to be dry.

Pete on Sexygenarians

And yes it was. The doom and gloom ‘its too cold to be outside’ mob off the telly f@#ked up good and proper. We had sunshine almost all day and a totally chilled session in an area only 10 mins from the car. Bliss.

The Beginners Area is easy to find as long as you pick up your bearings on The Diamond Wall. Also it helps to know that North (as per the guidebook) is down the coast to the right facing out to sea. Very disorientating when its not strictly ‘North’.

Sunshine after so many days of rain!

I paired up with Pete (his first climb of the year! no less). So we started on a nice crack climb, Sexygenarians which is straight forward but nice climbing. Its amazing when you haven’t been on the rock for a while how alien everything seems until you get back into your rhythm. By time we moved onto Moonlight, a technical VS I still wasnt quite on it, hence the mad attack of disco leg which Pete could even feel through the ropes. Anyway, it went well after a nervy start. And it made me feel better getting a more difficult route under my belt.

Zig Zag, looking harder than it is. The crashing waves made it feel epic.

Our final routre was Zig Zag, as sets thundered into the cove below. Very atmospheric and warranting a quick belay station about 5 metres up to avoid Pete getting swept away by a rogue set. Its basically a easy ramp, but with great exposure and even a waterfall at the end. What more could you want.

Days like this are precious. Sun, great mates and great climbing. Take your packed lineups and stuff them up your arse. We had this to ourselves. Viva the outdoors and viva Cornish Rock!