Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Cornwall Photos.

Cue 3 hours of fighting with blogger as it relentlessly tries to fuck up the order, spacing, text and every other damn thing it can with photo uploads....

 Wiki Wiki Wheels @ Aire Point, after trying Spitfire for a while and realising it was more like E3 6b and utterly horrible. This was a much nicer route with some cool moves into and out of this crack and onto funky jug veins. Great location for a crag although a bit crystally.

 Crucial Rock 5 (actually a Wallnut 5, what sort of neanderthal do you think I am?) on Finesse @ St Loy. Had to carefully move this wee bugger to get the wire in, and again on abbing down to get it out - got some really dirty looks each time. Finesse was one of the best experiences of the trip, it all went super-smoothly despite a muggy day, and despite a "do I really want to do this?" moment on the psychological crux (Pedriza 5+ move with the only gear in the last 10m being the infamous "wire loop over a crystal"), I felt the sort of wonderful confidence I've missed this year.

  Dogs Befriend The Inventor Of The Sausage Lottery @ The Lizard. Any guesses why I wanted to do this route?? I like dogs and I like sausages (and obviously I like sausage dogs). It turns out the route is even better than the name, being particularly exciting and dramatic for it's size - a continuous battle of insecure jams, laybacks and small feet. Really nice to do such a sparkling hidden gem.

 Hostile Witness @ Bench Tor. Stanage-like trade route, but bloody great for all that.

All smiles at Levan's Wall :)

Midnight Express @ Levan's Wall. Good line, good route, quite pokey at the grade though, with fiddly gear and spaced holds.

 Devil's Meridian @ Levan's Wall. A real classic this, better overall than Bermuda Wall, with a good line and continuously interesting and thoughful crack climbing.

 Bermuda Wall @ Levan's Wall. Not quite as balanced as DM - it's a bit of a sketchy E3 5c with thin gear to start into a classic E0 for most of it - but I can't argue with 3 stars for the line alone. Went for a great pub meal in the Old Success @ Sennen Cove after this.

 Silver Shadow @ Carn Vellan. Nope Carn Vellan is not just about bolt controversies and E10s etc etc. It's got a load of great E2-3s on an impressive but pretty amenable face, with a great chill-out area beneath the cave. You do need to get the tides and sun right though, low tide to access most routes and afternoon sun to dry the rock. This had plenty of both especially the sun and I reached the top with my eyes stinging from sweat!

 Hot Rubber @ Carn Vellan, timed to get the shade but it turns out to be almost a grade easier than Silver Shadow rather than harder, so it wasn't needed, but at least reduced the heatstroke a bit... I'm really pleased with the light on the first photo, and the last photo shows the face well. I've got a few things to go back for, I really like the Killas :). This was after a morning at Pedn Kei, a great day out overall.

Monday, 13 July 2015


It's an absolute delight to revisit old haunts with a new perspective, especially an area such as Cornwall with it's delightfully all-pervasive sea-cliff atmosphere. This distant peninsula is one of the best areas to immerse oneself in the coastline and feel the power of the sea and the contrast of the rocks, and I've enjoyed visiting and climbing there regularly but sporadically over the last two decades. The 9 (or 11 with the bollox traffic between Stoke and Somerset) hour drive is a slog, but a return visit was very welcome, despite various false starts with tides, approaches, failed recces and fractured radiators. In the end I got some pleasant climbing done, with a particular emphasis on avoiding Rockfax honeypots (ensuring that when I head back down with anyone keen for the usual Sennen / Bosi bollox, I still have plenty to do there). Nothing particularly progressive, but I felt I was climbing slightly better on the granite and killas than before, and certainly with more inspiration than recent months.

Cornwall Ticklist:

Brownspear Point:

Parallel Flow E1 5b * - a bit awkward and flakey.
Tetrapod E3 6a ** - hard and sketchy, good though.
Madam Sixtoes E2 5c * - quite hard but cool climbing.

The Flame:

Crazy from the Heat E1 5b ** - well-named, boiling in the evening sun, good value, committing.
The Wick E1 5b * - done after backing off the E3 (scary E4), not bad.
Local Hero E2 5c * - good stuff, nicely balanced.

Pedn Kei West:
Linda's Choice E2 5b ** (***) - excellent, rambly line but great adventure, climbing, and positions.
Flying Finish E3 5c * (E3 6a **) - hard, shredded my ribs on the crux, rewarding tho.

Carn Vellan:
The Blimp E2 5b * (**)  - good value, quite continuous and a great finish.
Silver Shadow E3 5c ** (***) - really good, fine line and positions, boiling in the sun so hard crux.
Hot Rubber E4 5c ** (E3 5c *) - easy, nice, not as continuous as other routes here.

Aire Point:
Biggles Flies Undone Direct E2 5b * (E1 5a*) - quite nice, main flake was the best bit
Dick Dastardly E2 5b (E2 5c *) - pretty stiff, hard roof, interesting arete above.
Wiki Wiki Wheels E3 6a (E3 6a **) - steady but really nice, well balanced and cool rock features.

Levan's Wall:
Bermuda Wall E3 5c *** - great line, pokey start and steady after, good voyage
Devil's Meridian E2 5c ** (***) - better climbing than above, strong line and good crack climbing.
Midnight Express E1 5b ** (E1 5c **) - quite hard, good value.

Cribba Head:

Kerynack E1 5b (E1 5b *) - thin start, nice above, worthwhile.
Boysen's Crack E2 5c (E1 5b *) - steep, steady, good fun.
Boysen's Groove E2 5c ** (E3 6a **) - desperate, Curbar 5c at least, satisfying battle.

St Loy:
Finesse E4 5c ** - absolutely delight, two good pitches, bold but felt easy, could have done more.
Monochrome Men E1 5b ** - very good, continuous quality.
Scarlet Women Direct  E2 5c * (E2 5c **) - ditto!

The Lizard:

Seagulls Draw The Line E1 5c (E2 5c *) - fierce committing start, nice finish.
Dogs Befriend The Inventor of The Sausage Lottery E3 5c ** (E3 6a ***) - excellent, as good as short routes get, fine line and a fine battle.
Aboriginal Sin E3 5c ** (E2 5b **) - easy but great fun on good holds.

Bench Tor:
Hostile Witness E2 5c *** - proper classic, really cool.
Hotshot E3 6a * (E2 5c *) - steady, neat, worthwhile.

Helman Tor:
Hell's Tooth E1 5b (E1 5c*) - good value with plenty of interest.