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North Coast Bouldering - Summer 2012 Round-up

by Tom Newberry

First up, at Pentire I climbed a further new line on the Cowboy Block; Psycho Cows 7C starts at the middle undercut in the centre of the roof and climbs as for Psycho Cowboy where it breaks off early to tackle the tricky mantel (rocking on to the good hold on Psycho Cowboys) about 2 meters in from the right arête.  This block now has 7 problems from 7C to 8A on it and being quick drying, with a great landing and not too tidal, is one of the best boulders for hard climbing on the North Coast.

Tom Newberry on Psycho Cowboys, Pentire

Tom Newberry on Psycho Cowboys, Pentire. Photo. Mike Cleverdon

Down at Strangles Beach (halfway between Boscastle and Crackington Haven), I climbed a few new problems towards the southern end of the beach to create a small but worthwhile circuit in the large cave and giant archway. The most significant being the super steep crack-line in the centre of the first cave you get to. On Stranger Tides 7B+/C, starts sitting and follows the crack to a highball top out. This is rarely in condition but when it is, it’s a classic of the genre. Also of note the beach height varies quite a bit here.  At t’other end of the beach Dave Westlake climbed a few good problems, the best of which is a good looking arête. This beach could be a nice little venue on the north coast with a good variety of stuff on compact wave washed rock, shame it’s a bit of a slog to get there! It is also tidal, so best to aim to climb three hours either side of low.

Jake Surman working The Non-Conformist 7c, Lucky Hole

Jake Surman working The Non-Conformist 7c

Moving up to the Culm Coast, at Lucky Hole, I climbed two new problems.  The first is on the steep north wall of the fin; an excellent highball ‘Araki’ 7A climbed from a sitter which takes the line of least resistance about 2 or 3 meters to the left of the arête. However, the main event here is the archway which offers an awesomely steep compression problem. This starts from sitting and tops out in the v groove. ‘The Non-conformist’ requires a creative approach and some power endurance and is around the 7C mark. WARNING the approach is pretty epic with pads and very tidal (climbing for only 90 mins either side of low MAX) and therefore won't suit everyone’s idea of a nice day out bouldering, but the climbing is top notch and I reckon definitely worth the hassle. Thanks to Jake Surman for discovering this stunning feature and telling me about it.

The End is Nigh

The End is Nigh Photo. Dave Westlake

Finally, the main event…. at Hartland the ‘Spekes Mill Roof Project’ finally went down. This was first tried by Mike Adams and Co. back in 2009 and the inspiring photos that floated around sparked interest among many. Yet, the intimidating nature of the huge roof with a slightly dubious landing seemed to put all would be ascentionists off. That was until several teams of people were convinced to lug numerous pads the half mile walk down the coast path to attempt the line this summer.  After deliberating where to finish the line, snapping a couple of crucial holds and changing beta a number of times I finally managed to complete the project, which left the crux matter of offering a name and number … The End is Nigh 8A? Maybe! For those interested in repeating it, the problem can be found on the huge roof that comes out of Dave Westlake’s problem Contortion, about 400m south of the Rhino Block on the mini headland.  The End is Nigh starts on the lowest undercut at the bottom of the wall and follows the obvious line of holds diagonally rightwards to finish 12 moves later at the good jug just below the lip. I would recommend at least 6 pads and a spotter. The problem is climbable 4 to 5 hours either side of low depending on swell etc.

The End is Nigh 8a

The End is Nigh Photo. Dave Westlake


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