8th April 2011
Central Groove – HS 4B – Alt Lead
Leviathon – VS 4C – Lead
Climbers Club Direct – HVS 5Aa – Second
According to something I read on the net (not always the most reliable source of ‘true’ information), “The Dewerstone, on the southern edge of Dartmoor is supposedly a favourite haunt of the Devil. With his pack of wisht hounds he would drive sinners to the edge of the cliff, never once touching them, where they would then fall onto the jagged rocks below.”
Well, from my perspective the woods would be better described as stunning and mythical. A beautiful stream flowing through and sunlight beaming through the gaps in the trees does not make them threatening at all. And the climbing is amazing. This must go down as one of my favorite days. Three contrasting climbs, gradually building in intensity.
Bart, Chris and I turned up early and set about Central Groove straight away. This is an amazing line following the main groove and then breaking right for a final finish up an amazing corner. Unfortunately I forgot that the 1st belay point would be in the full sun and so I paid the price with a thorough ‘cooking’ on an exposed ledge. The views though made up for it, with a vista across the tops of the trees across and up the valley.
The climb itself is slightly polished, but not so that you notice. It is so compelling with good gear throughout. Just complete fun climbing and one of the best routes I’ve done. Bart enjoyed himself as well – his first multi pitch route for a while, but he breezed up it as did Chris, who led the second pitch and the final corner/crack, which is the icing on the cake.
Leviathon is a bit more committing. A tough Groove which I found best to bridge. More powerful and needs more thought, but fine at the grade with adequate pro. I loved it and I can understand why it makes it onto the list of top VS’s in the country. A little slip got my heart going and the final pull over on slopers made me nervous.
OK. Now Climbers Club Direct is a different kettle of fish. Many of the climbs at Dewerstone need jamming, but CCD needs lots of it. Nick did a brilliant job of leading it and made the initial crack look straight forward. Which it is, until you actually try to climb it. Chris joined my ‘keep trying’ club from the previous week. I struggled to work out the way to move up, but it boiled down to a small foothold and plenty of faith.
For me though the suprise was the second pitch which turned ut to be exceptional. Given 4c in the book this is better thought of as 5b territory and very bold in places for the leader. A series of amazing jams and bridges got me up and a pitch I will not forget any time soon.
So ended an exceptional day and all I want to do now is get back on the rock. Role on next FRiday.
This links to all the photos