21st – 23rd May 2010
Harmony – HVS 5b – Lead (Dnf)
Monochrome Men – E1 5b – Belay
St Levans Wall
Phenocryst – HVS 5a – Lead
Gentlemans Relish – Severe 4a – Second
The Scorpion – E1 5b (provisional) – Second
The decision to camp at Treen on this weekend could not have been a better one. Probably the best weather of the year and perfect conditions for climbing and camping. Joe, Nick, Kath and I met up in the evening and after setting up spent a relaxing evening down at the The Logan Rock Inn.
It was probably here that Joe and I made a questionable decision to climb at St Loy the following day. Probably the hotest crag in Cornwall on the hotest day of the year so far. We should have foreseen a few problems.
Still, its a great venue and we had two climbs in mind (Harmony and Monochrome Men). The former was mine to lead and wasting no time I set off up the first corner/niche before the sun came around onto the face. Well, Harmony proved to be a bit much for me in the end… an opening difficult corner leading into an even harder one. It was the second that stopped me in my tracks. I was just not strong enough or lacked the technique. On reflection I have considered a different approach which I will try next time which will hopefully be shortly.
So then it was on to Monochrome Men, an E1 with a strenuous start. Joe made good work of the opening moves, moving up onto the slab with relative ease. MM is fairly well protected, but Joe’s decision to stay left meant he eventually ran out of holds and pro only a metre or so from the top. Two falls later and well pumped Joe retired to give it a go another time. Meanwhile, I was wilting in the sun and after an brief foray up to the starting ledge I decided discretion was the better part of valour. That and the fact I was kna…d.
So a frustrating day, one which knocked my confidence a bit and made me a tadge grumpy. A BBQ on Pendvounder Beach with our gang and LECC cheered me and Joe up. Stunning views and a sense of isolation make this a perfect spot to end the day with lots of new food to try courtesy of Nick and Kath. I will have to be more inventive when we have BBQ’s.
A chance to explore St Levans Wall area or Pedn-men-an-mere. Parking up in the church car park down a quiet lane (with a lovely lady security guard making sure we were all honest) we made our way down to the wall via a series of grasy steps and boulders.
The wall is very impressive with a series of crack running up and across, all of which looked difficult. The E1, Midnight Express, looked unlikely at the grade, but at a later point we were assured its OK. Having just missed Redfish because of the tide, I went for Phenocryst, described as ‘cheese grater granite’. I soon found out why with the rock being crumbly and not giving me the feeling of maximum reliability.
Still, I enjoyed the climbing and reached the top virtually on empty, but very happy with myself. With my breath back I belayed Joe up, who in keeping with his exploits on this weekend snapped a hold and fell off. He was not happy. Nick joined us at the top making me wonder what all the fuss was about… how come I make it look so difficult?
Instead of dropping back down we moved off to the Marconi Slab area and Nick tackled a Severe which led us nicely onto the middle tier. The rock in the Marconi Slab area (lower tier) is not brilliant, but it improves as you move towards the centre recessed cliffs. We found a number of lines here, but finally settled on twin cracks on the headwall of a descent slope. Both Joe and Nick had spotted these and Joe, determined to redeem himself led them.
Later we decided they were around E1 5b, but were not named in the guide. We named it The Scorpion (it may well already have a name) because the climb, which is strenuous from the off leads you to believe that having nailed the final large black chicken head its over. Oh no… the sting in the tail is the final move which is hard, as Joe found out and took his fourth fall of the weekend. Nick took over the lead and finished the route, acknowledging the final tricky move. We’re not sure what the route is, but as Nick remarked just seeing a climb and getting on it is climbing at its purist.
We packed up in pristine weather, with views over Hella Point and the Seagul’s feeling relieved that we were leaving their nesting grounds, walking back to the car park and stopping at the Logan Rock for a beer and a bit of reflection on the weekends events.
For me it was mixed, for Nick his highlight had been Boysens Groove a tough E2 at Cribbar Head and for Joe it had been a weekend of pushing his grades, culminating in a few falls. At least it is a sign of progression that we are tackling climbs of these grades and stature.
Rest of the photos here