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(Mostly) South West News 2007

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St. Ives Bouldering Guide (16 December 2007)
Barnaby Carver has produced a guide to the bouldering around St. Ives, Cornwall and what's more it's free to download from javu!!

Dodgy Devon Bolts (16 December 2007)
Over the summer several local climbers made a start at replacing dangerous old bolts at the Shire's sport climbing venues of Anstey's Cove and Torbryan Quarry. This work including replacing lower-offs (all of which were highly suspect!) and re-bolting The Lynch. At around the same time a bolt testing device was hired and a couple of the old-style small staple bolts were tested. Unfortunately the results were not confidence inspiring with bolts moving at distressingly low loads; one came out with less than 2kn of axial loading (the EN standard requires a minimum of 15kn!!). Routes with these old style staple include almost all at Torbryan and about 50% at Anstey's; in most instances the failure of one bolt on any of these routes could lead to a ground fall.

On the bright side no Devon bolts have actually failed in use YET (in normal climbing use the load tends to be predominatly shear so the bolt is not submitted to too much axial loading). However, the extremely low axial strength (due to very weak adhesion between glue/smooth stainless steel) is unacceptable.

The BMC were unable to supply any funding for immediate replacement of bolts; fortunately Lyon Equipment were kind enough to donate 50 Petzl Stainless steel anchors (many of which have ended up replacing lower-offs). There is still a lot of work to do although hopefully, over the next year, local volunteers will find enough time to replace all crucial bolts.

If you are considering replacing any bolts please get in touch and we'll advise on which are most urgent and what anchors might be most appropriate. Also, if anyone has any spare time and would like to set up a bolt fund the BMC may provide financial support for replacement of bolts next year.

... and remember: take care when dogging in the Shire and make you don't fall outwards too much!!

Sidewalk Slopers (16 December 2007)
Devon climber Caedmon Mullin ended up living London for a year or two; to keep himself amused he went buildering around the capital with other rock starved Londoners. Sidewalk Slopers documents these urban climbing antics and also includes footage of the "2007 British Buildering Championships"!.The DVD is available to purchase here

(click for a larger view and to buy the DVD).

New West Penwithian Bouldering website (16 December 2007)
Andy Whall, keen Cornish boulderer, has put together a new site detailing bouldering action in West Cornwall. Some may be familiar with Andy's old site (http://blocspenwith.blogspot.com/); the new one expands on that and provides useful info and some videos. http://www.blocspenwith.co.uk/

Chudleigh Clean-up (November 2007)
Thanks to a BMC instigated operation and hard organisational work by Mark Glaister / Ben Hall Chudleigh has been attacked by a range of gardening and pruning tools. The crag, which had been becoming increasingly vegetated over recent years, is now in a much more user-friendly state with most of the ivy, brambles and prickly bushes being removed from routes and the base of the cliff. It could probably do a little more vegetation removal from some routes so next time you go take your secateurs.


Simon Cardy reports:

Neil Dickson, whose new route Penitent Man on Two-Legged Zawn last year caused a few jaws to drop, repeated Hey Gringo on Black Crag renaming it Quetzacoatl E9,6b. Prior to his ascent to his ascent Neil removed the 5 bolts placed by Gary Gibson in 1988. After a steady start in the lower section (E6,6b territory) the route turns hardcore with a whole heap of run out 6b moves stacked on top of each other with only three skyhooks and an PR Zero at the last gear.

Unlike most routes at this level Neil was at pains not to head-point or rehearse any of the moves on a top-rope. He made no secret of the fact however that he inspected the line by abseil several times and gave it a good brush up to remove the sea grass. Commenting on his ascent Neil said “I think the grade maybe E9 6b but I don't really have much experience of these kind of routes. This is what Charlie Woodburn and Dave Pickford thought and it did seem kinda tricky”. Time will tell if this is now Lundy’s hardest route and one of the few routes at this grade in the country that has not been head-pointed.

Lundy’s viral infection which struck visitors and staff on the Island had little effect on climbing activity and a considerable number of new routes were added over the period that ended on the 21st September with the Island being closed. Chief amongst these were Charlie Woodburn’s Aerial Song left of The Tempest which weighed in at E8,6c (8a+).

click for larger view  click for larger view

left to right:

- Neil Dickson on Quetzacoatl E9,6b
- One of the Bolts removed from Hey Gringo. Still in good nick after 19 years
- Dave Pickford and Charlie Woodburn on Tempest Groove E4 6b. The chalk on their right marks charlies route Aeriel Song E8, 6c.

All photos Simon Cardy

Hard Rock Fest 18/19th August at The Mill South Molton (16 August 2007)
"Takes place on 18/19 August at Devon's biggest dedicated indoor climbing wall, The Mill, South Molton with sponsorship from Cotswold Outdoor. James Pearson, Mike Robertson and Steve McClure, three of the most exciting and active climbers ever to emerge on the British scene, will be giving Master Classes during the weekend and other tutors will be on hand to offer help and advice to climbers of all ages and abilities. There will also be demonstrations by climbing professionals, illustrating different techniques and equipment, lectures, competitions, slideshows and opportunities to buy new kit. We have some great sponsors for the event and therefore some great prizes to give away over the weekend. The event is to raise money for the Mountain Rescue association through the "Hard Rock Challenge" which is due to be completed on Friday. You can check out the progress at www.hardrockchallenge.org.uk. For more details on the fest please have a look at www.hardrockfest.co.uk"

CULM COAST OPEN MEET POSTPONED Iain Peters updates: "Due to an exceptionally bad forecast, the fact that this meet is a camping non-hut based meet, and that I have already received notification from people saying that they would not be coming due to the weather, I have reluctantly decided to postpone this meet until September. There is little point in travelling all the way down to the westcountry to sit in the rain in a muddy field. I will keep those of you who have booked informed on the change of date, and will also post details on the CC website and in the Newsletter. It's a shame, but at least we now know that over 60 climbers were planning to get together and climb on the Culm. Watch this space. PS. Even the surf forecast is lousy!"

Moor Bouldering Action (18 June 2007) At Bonehill, the mega long link-up traversing the whole of The Wave has now been completed at a tentative V11/12. It's called The Green Room and more details can be found in the Bonehill guide.

Barnaby Carver sends Clodgy Highball (14 June 2007) Barbaby Carver of "St. Ives Publishing" dynasty has finally succeeded on his long term highball project at Clodgy Point. The Groove, as it is called goes at about V8. It climbs a groove... and was climbed without resorting to any sneaky top rope practice; a good effort indeed considering it's about 20 feet high. Barnaby has been trying the line for a few years now and found the hardest bit was finding enough mats to pad the rock landing.

Helen Pardoe spotting Barney Carver on a successful ascent of 'The Groove' V8 6c at Clodgy Point.
Copyright: Tobi Carver/UE Images


Bonehill Problem (30 May 2007) The obvious high traverse line on The Wave at Bonehill was dispatched last month. It's quite long and has a section of poor landing, making what is probably the scariest hard problem on the moor (spotters would take some of the sting out of it). It's called Floater (after the surfin' trick... not toilet humour!) and goes at about V9. For further details see the guide.

Culm Coast Climbing Meet (7 May 2007)

"It is 50 years since the first Culm Coast routes to be named and accurately described were climbed by Keith Lawder and Ted Pyatt, and 20 years since Steve Monks made the first ascent of Coronary Country, Culm’s first E6, but hell, who needs excuses like anniversaries to throw a party?

Certainly not the Climbers’ Club, who invite all climbers, from the most hardened Culm veterans to first timers to a Celebration of The Culm Open Meet from 29 June – 1 July. There’ll be a Hog Roast and Zider BBQ with Live Music on the Saturday evening, and a number of past and present local enthusiasts on hand to help (or sandbag!) newcomers discover the superb climbing on God’s own rock.

The tides are friendly for this weekend, and even if the weather doesn’t play ball, there'll be the wet weather alternative of surfing - we hope to arrange discount board and wetsuit hire with a local surfing outfit.

The Venue. Will be a friendly campsite near the coast, to be confirmed this week.

The Cost: The CC are picking up the tab for the BBQ (At least, until the cider runs out!), you’ll just pay for the camping if you stay over, but bring a few pennies along for the bands. We’ll probably also have a whip round with proceeds going to Air Ambulance and other local charities."

For further info or to book, please contact Iain Peters on 01837 810172 or better by e-mail to:

Highball Action on the Moor (4 May 2007) Limestone Cowboy's, an excellent route in Foggintor Quarry, has now seen a solo ascent. The very well protected route (which gets E4 6b in the guide but may be worth E5 6a) is Dartmoor's answer to London Wall (although not as long or as hard it is about the same angle, has a crack and some pegged out slots...).

Ache Ball Repeats (4 May 2007) Ache Ball, Funky Simon Young's hardest problem on the north coast, has now seen a number of repeats:
Stu Littlefair, Rob Sutton, James Pearson, and more recently Dave Westlake, Tom Newbury (the youngest ascentionist) and Grant Edwards have all been succesful (and maybe more besides...). The consensus for this powerful problem now seems to be Fontainbleau 7c+ (even though James Pearson reckoned only 7c).

New Climbing Wall Near Launceston (3 May 2007)

ALTUS The new version of The Barn Climbing wall opens on 12 MAY 07. There'll be a bouldering comp and party so it should be a good do.

On the Launceston - Tavistock road (B3362),
1/2 mile or so, past a church on the right at Dunterton Village,
Take a right hand turning for Eastacott Barton Farm, before Milton Abbot.

"Seeing is believing... but you will also have to hold this and climb it, to really believe it. As arcane as ever, Simon performs his sculptural magic with wood, ply and screw ons" Lee Bartrop.

Barn Launch Do ... featuring Mr Smith! (2 May 2007) There's a launch party for Simon Young's new climbing wall on 12 May. There'll be a barbeque, party and a bouldering competition. I've forgotten how much it is to enter (I think it was less than a tenner) and it sounds like fun could be had. Oh, and someone called Malcolm Smith's supposed to be there along with ex-exeter climber Rob Sutton (so don't expect to win the bouldering comp!!). I haven't found out the precise location yet but it's somewhere near Launceston (not too far from plenty of crags). Simon can be contacted on 07944 002 563 for more details. http://www.barn-climbing.co.uk/

The Barn Climbing Wall Closes (23 April 2007) Bude's popular climbing wall, The Barn, is closing down and moving to a new venue near Launceston somewhere. I'll keep you posted on events and the new location - please check back soon as a launch party/competition/bbq is being planned.

New Hound Tor Traverse (23 April 2007) The obvious (to those who notice it!) head-height traverse of the Shark's Fin boulder has now been climbed. It's called Mako and a grade of roughly V11/12 has been tentatively suggested. For those interested a desription is now in the guide. Featuring some quite poor holds it might represent a new level of difficulty of Dartmoor bouldering...




Please send in any climbing news - South West or further afield.

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