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News 2006

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"The man with the Golden Axe" to lecture in Exeter (27 September 2006)

New hard problem on the moor! (3 September 2006)


Vixen Tor do on Sunday 30th July (22 July 2006)

Dave Pickford does it again! (21 July 2006)

Font 8a hits West Cornwall (21 July 2006)

South Molton Wall Opening Do (13 May 2006)

Vixen Tor - Dartmoor National Park don't show Mrs. Alford the Money!! (4 March 2006)

Vixen Tor latest - show me the money!! (28 February 2006)

New Wall at South Molton (23 February 2006)

Gwynver developers make a welcome return (6 January 2006)

Moor Vixen Tor Stuff (6 January 2006)


Don't forget to also check the New Routes Pages for latest news.

"The man with the Golden Axe" to lecture in Exeter (27 September 2006) International man of mystery Mick Fowler will be visiting Exeter for a lecture:

"Widely regarded as one of Britain’s leading rock climbers and voted “The Mountaineer’s Mountaineer” by national newspaper The Observer. Mick has achieved an outstanding range of climbs during his career, including being the first climber to ascend both the Chalk cliffs at Beachy Head and the White Cliffs of Dover (using axes and crampons). The presentation will cover Mick’s exploratory climbing ventures and exploits throughout Europe and Asia, so don’t miss out on this opportunity to hear a Piolet D’Or winner’s tales of everything from grappling with unclimbed Himalayan faces to being apprehended by gendarmes on the chalk cliffs of North France!"

Date: 29th November 2006 Time: 7.30pm Venue: Newman A Lecture Theatre, Peter Chalk Centre, Exeter University

Tickets are available direct from Taunton Leisure (Exeter Fore Street) or from their website

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New hard problem on the moor! (3 September 2006) James Pearson seems to be making a habit of visiting south west crags and dispatching hard boulder problems. After recently repeating Dave Biggs' "Providence" at Godrevy, and also adding a hard problem of his own, he paid a visit to Dartmoor last week and climbed the flying arete project at Honeybag Tor. James hasn't offered a grade (V"quite tricky not too bad"!) but the problem is called Flying Visit and takes the project marked as number 27 on the javu guide with a bum start from the low jug.

Note: Probably weighs in about V9 / Font 7c.

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Update: The line has been abseiled and remaining loose rock removed. Climbers are advised to approach with caution but the worst of the loose rock is thought to have gone now.

DANGEROUS LOOSE ROCK AT DEWERSTONE (16 August 2006) Iain Peters (and others) have reported a serious area of loose rock at the Dewerstone. The routes affected are those in the Climbers Club area (specifically Climbers Club Ordinary) but there is also an serious risk to any climbers/walkers below.

"I was today (11 August) helping Leo Dickinson with a photo shoot of climbers on the CC Ordinary Route. Leo was seconding the crux move right at the roofs that block the main groove, just after the initial traverse across the wall, when he felt his hold move. I subsequently abseiled down the route and discovered that the entire right arete of the corner that leads to the 'bollard' stance had become detached and kicked off a section about 7ftx3ft. You will see the remains at the base of the route. This has left an open dirty niche ,but more importantly, the whole area of these block overhangs - including the stance - sounds hollow and appears to be unsupported. Given that the CC routes are extremely popular (just look at the chalk on the fragments!) and, more importantly, that the whole area below this part of the crag is often heaving with climbers, spectators and family groups, I would consider it unjustifiable to attempt to climb these routes, until a full assessment of the state of the remaining rock has been made and, if necessary, remedial work undertaken. Having spent a greater part of my climbing career putting up new routes on some of the loosest areas of the Culm and Atlantic Coast, I recognize loose rock when I see it!"

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Vixen Tor do on Sunday 30th July (22 July 2006) As a result of a Channel 5 television programme called "The Negotiator", the current owner of Vixen Tor, Mary Alford, has agreed to open Vixen Tor to the public for one day on Sunday 30 July 2006. Vixen Tor Access Group (V-TAG) sees this as an important step forward in the process of negotiation to regain unrestricted public access to Vixen Tor and would encourage all interested parties to support us by attending this event.

The Vixen Tor Access Group (V-TAG) is a Dartmoor-based community group formed to highlight the importance of regaining public access to this local beauty spot. V-TAG is committed to publicising the importance of Vixen Tor - its history, folklore and archaeology through creative expression drawn from the surrounding Dartmoor community. As the highest rock outcrop on Dartmoor, Vixen Tor has been an important focal point for walkers, climbers, local families and tourists for decades. Since April 2003, public access has been denied by its current owners

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Dave Pickford does it again! (21 July 2006) Dave Pickford, a regular visitor to the North Coast, has climbed a rather impressive route at Cow and Calf (nr Hartland). The line in question starts up Martin Crockers Kalahari Black (itself reckoned to be E7 not the E6 it gets in the guide) before moving left to climb the wall above. Featuring French 7c climbing and with hard-to-place gear, Dave has suggested E8 for the onsight. A full description can be found in the new routes section. Oh, it's called Okavango Crocodile Hunter.

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Font 8a hits West Cornwall (21 July 2006)

The "notorious" Dave Biggs has succeeded in pushing the limits of bouldering in West Cornwall with his recent addition to Godrevy. Providence V10/11 (Font 8A) and "takes an incredibly steep line up a short arete from a sit-start well below it. It's only about 3-4 moves but has an evil dyno at the end".

Further info on West Penwithian bouldering can be found at http://blocspenwith.blogspot.com/

More photos of Dave B.I.G.G's in action can be found at http://www.dbcs.org.uk/




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South Molton Wall Opening Do (13 May 2006) "Come to The Mill Climbing Festival, North Devon's latest exhilarating attraction. Try out the awesome 11 metre climbing walls. Free competitions for all standards, fun events, taster sessions or watch the action from Summit Café."

Date Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th June 2006
Time 10 am - 10 pm
Admission price Special reduced entry fee of £5 pp (child/adult/senior citizen/student). No competition entry fee. Spectators free of charge.

There will also be lectures by Johnny Dawes and Tim Emmet on the sunday (4th June).

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Vixen Tor - Dartmoor National Park don't show Mrs. Alford the Money!! (4 March 2006) The Dartmoor National Park Authority have decided not to increase their offer of £1500 + cost of insurance to Mary Alford for access to Vixen Tor. Their offer stands but as it doesn't meet the amount requested by Mrs Alford (see following news piece) they will now be looking into other ways of re-gaining access. So it would now seem that the negotiations between the National Park and the landowner have come to an unsuccessful end and the future of access to Vixen Tor will rest on whether or not the National Park can force the landowner to re-open the tor.

Mrs Alford paid £31,000 for the land in 2002.

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Vixen Tor latest - show me the money!! (28 February 2006) Mary Alford, the infamous owner of Vixen Tor is asking the Dartmoor National Park (and presumably other interested parties) to pay a load of money to restore access to the tor.

She wants a one-off payment of £30,000 followed by annual payments of £35,000 + insurance costs. It is not known whether this would be inclusive of VAT or whether she accepts credit cards.

Dartmoor National Park is currently offering £1,500 a year - in line with their usual access payments. The National Park authority are due to make a decision this week whether or not to increase their offer or to cease negotiations with Mrs Alford.

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New Wall at South Molton (23 February 2006)

"The wall is being put up by King Kong (nice of him to lend a hand!!DH) in conjunction with Walltopia - a Bulgarian climbing wall manufacturer that make large competition walls!. It will feature an 11m overhanging lead wall, top ropes etc and will be the first of its kind in UK! There'll also be a cafe and gear shop with great membership deals for regular users. The wall is due to open in May 2006 and will be having a 2 day climbing festival on 3rd/4th June to launch the centre."

Further information on "... the largest dedicated facility south of bristol" can be found at www.milladventure.co.uk - well worth a look.

For those of you who don't know, South Molton is found just of the North Devon Link Road (A361) and probably less than 30 minutes from junction 27 (Tiverton) on the M5.

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Gwynver developers make a welcome return (6 January 2006) Barnaby Carver reports from West Penwith:

Gwynver bouldering"Sven Scholz and Heike Arnold - the East German couple responsible for popularising the bouldering at Gwynver beach, West Cornwall - recently returned to spend two weeks further exploring the area’s potential. This time they were joined by Sven’s brother Michael, who repeated a number of the harder lines.

The group are believed to have added lots more problems to the 40 or so they climbed and documented on their last visit in 2003. (This featured in a BlocSport article by Egbert Dozekal in High Mountain magazine, number 258, May 2004.) Anyone eager to go bouldering at Gwynver would be well advised to borrow all their mates’ pads (and get them to carry the mats back up the hill again!) and also have a look at the guide.

Left: Heike Arnold, being spotted by Michael Scholz, on ‘Last Try’ (Font. 7a+), an excellent problem near Gwynver beach that she established in September 2003. Photograph © Barnaby Carver.

animation thing (by Barnaby Carver) (1meg - better for broadband folk!)


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Moor Vixen Tor Stuff (6 January 2006) From the BMC:

"The access situation at Vixen Tor remains unresolved. Dartmoor National Park Authority is in discussion with the landowner but there is no progress to report as yet. The BMC has written to the Chairman of National Park Authority twice highlighting the importance of Vixen Tor to climbers and walkers and urging the Authority to take action to secure access. The issue is due to be discussed again at the Authority Meeting (the main committee of the National Park Authority) on 3 March.

To help raise awareness of the importance of Vixen Tor it would be useful if people could put their views in writing to the National Park Authority. Climbers and walkers should write to the Chairman with copies to the Chief Executive (and the BMC) at the following addresses:

Mr N Hoskin
Dartmoor National Park Authority
PL20 6NN

Dr Nick Atkinson
Chief Executive
Dartmoor National Park Authority
Bovey Tracy
Newton Abbot
TQ13 9JG

Key points worth stressing in any correspondence include:

1. The significance of Vixen Tor for climbers and walkers; its regional / national importance etc.

2. The fact that climbers and walkers are generally responsible people who respect the natural environment and reasonable access restrictions.

3. Given the importance of Vixen Tor and the fact that it had previously had unrestricted access for 30+ years - the Authority should take any necessary steps to resolve the situation and regain access. The ball is in their court."

Dave Turnbull
Chief Executive

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