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(Mostly) South West News 2008

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Chudleigh Rocks! (20 Decmber 2008)
Chudleigh, the crag everyone loves to hate (apart from those that actually climb there regularly!), has seen quite a bit of maintenance over the last year.

During the summer the majority of peg abseil stations got new tat / karabiners, some tat on pegs was replaced and a bit of de-veging went down.

In November Mark Glaister and Ben Hall organised another BMC funded clean up. This year's clean was a bigger effort than last year with the BMC providing funding for 2 blokes with chainsaws to fell a load of trees (most noticeably around the base of the Gagool buttress and Great Western areas). The main event was well attended and most routes have now been de-veged (although beware of muddy ledges near the bottom). A big thank you to Mark, Ben, Martin Kocsis, Scott Titt, The BMC and everyone who turned up on the day.

Above: Tree surgeons clearing the trees from the area beneath Great Western. This part of the crag had become increasingly overgrown and dank in recent years. photo. Mark Glaister

The underused Black Crag (just over the valley from the main rocks) got a freshen-up and re-gear from Simon Wooster. This is now added to the Chudleigh guide on javu with updated descriptions and sounds worth a visit. Note that there is an alternative, easier approach than direct from the main crag - this is described in new guide.

Fixed Gear

In general, pegs at Chudleigh are in reasonable condition and more often than not can be backed up adequately. Of particular note however, are the ring pegs (Cassin) which may not be entirely trustworthy despite their shiny appearance - as always back up where possible and consider tying them off (it's the ring that's the dodgy bit). Here's an update on the current state of pegs:

Big Bird 2nd peg pretty rusty. Should be backupable to the left.
Dripdry pitch 1 Both threads now replaced.
Dripdry Pitch 2 # Re-climb/grade required!! # The top pitch to Drip Dry probably hasn't been climbed for years and now has a peg missing. About E6 in it's current state unless new good gear is found in place of the peg (looks unlikely). Awaits a re-climb.
Gagool / Logic First ring peg dodgy - good wires just above.
Slyboots McCall Reliant on pegs that look OK but no back-up gear.
Combined Ops First peg looks OK, 2nd is poor. Both can be backed up.
Tendonitis The first peg (with tat on) is a bit rusty but seems ok. Don't forget to back it up with a small wire (about Rock 1) in the Combat flake.
White Edge Pegs on first pitch look a bit dodgy but the route is still probably E1. Some loose blocks on pitch 2 so take care. Note that the White Edge/Concerto link up is well worth doing!
Saturn Five Pegs all a bit rusty but there are 3 close together and other gear to back them up.
Major Tom 1st pegs rusty so traversing at the lower level is advisable. Top peg looks OK but hard to clip (back up gear in the roof).
Loot Very poor peg but big Hex/Friend nearby.
Twang Peg quite old and rusty but back up gear just above.
Mortality Crisis The first and third pegs are shiny Cassin ring pegs (some doubt over the rings so back up and tie off). The second peg in the groove (shared with Penny Lane) looks attrocious and is totally rusty - small wire above and below.
Inkerman Groove Direct. First peg's poor (but easy to back up). Second peg (in roof just below traverse on orginal) looks OK and there's gear nearby)
Black Death/White Life First peg (above niche) is a tied-off Cassin ring. It appears OK but it's worth clipping both the tie-off and ring, and backing up with a small wire just above. The pegs above on White Life all seem to be in OK condition.
Never on a Sunday Leap Year Finish There's no longer a peg after the crux, so it's a little bolder than it probably once was. That said, there are good small nuts in the flake before the crux.

If in doubt assume in-situ gear to be dodgy and back up / retreat if necessary!

Other Bits

Sadly the small pocket on the classic frightener Hot Ice has become much bigger recently. The grade is still E4 but the move that was the crux now feels easier.

The Climbing Academy Opening (4 December 2008)
Bristol's new dedicated bouldering wall will be opening on Tuesday 4th December, 2008.

For further information on the wall have a look at www.theclimbingacademy.com

Barbed Wire, Bolts and Climbers’ Club Controversy (22 November 2008)
A follow up to Barnaby Carver's previous news piece (see 19th September news below) on the controversial plans for fencing around Bosigran's Count House and the West Cornwall HEATH project.. Read the article here.

Free Do! Lundy: Climber’s Magic Island by Dave Pickford. (14 October 2008)
"To mark the publication of the critically acclaimed new Lundy guide, the Climber’s Club in conjunction with the Mill Adventure Centre in North Devon, is presenting an exclusive audio-visual show by one of Lundy's leading activists Dave Pickford on Saturday the 15th November at 7.45pm. The event is being held at the Mill Climbing Centre, South Molton. Dave’s show will include all the hard core trad action from the last few summers featuring the climbs of Neil Dickson, Nic Sellers, Charlie Woodburn and Neil Gresham’s DWS of the Flying Dutchman. The event is free to all climbers – just turn up!"

Date: Saturday 15th November
Venue: The Mill, South Molton. (website)


DartRock Climbing Wall Gets Planning Permission (14 October 2008)
The proposed wall at Buckfastleigh has got planning permission! Keep track on progress at www.dartrock.co.uk

Mike in Lost Watch Shocker 24 September 2008
If anyone's found a nice watch at a quarry near Totnes please giz us a shout and I'll arrange return to Mike.

Bosigran Count House to be fenced in (19 September 2008)

A stone wall and barbed wire fencing could surround the Count House, at Bosigran, West Cornwall, if plans put forward by the Climbers’ Club gain approval. Penwith District Council have received an application for construction of a 1.2 metre high Cornish hedge along the hut’s road frontage. The rest of the perimeter is to be fenced with barbed wire, for which planning permission is not required. Much of the area to be enclosed is mapped as Open Access Land under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act.

Looking across open moorland to the Count House, with the cliffs of Bosigran beyond.
Photograph © Barnaby Carver.

The purpose of the fencing is to keep out cattle that will be grazing the surrounding moorland as part of The HEATH (Heathland, Environment, Agriculture, Tourism, Heritage) Project. This project aims to help landowners, managers and farmers restore neglected heathland, in a sustainable way, to achieve its full potential for wildlife. Financial support for this comes from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the EU Interreg Fund.

There is some concern locally that The HEATH Project threatens the unspoilt nature of Penwith’s moors and that the substantial amount of public money available to those involved is a factor in certain aspects of the scheme. If permission is granted for the Climbers’ Club’s hedge then Natural England will pay for the building work through The HEATH Project.

The Climbers’ Club’s application follows plans by the National Trust to install two cattle grids with signs and roadside fencing on the B3306 coast road close to the Count House. Reports in both of Penwith’s newspapers have indicated ‘some disquiet’ locally about the plans and fears that the landscape impact of the works associated with The HEATH Project could negate its stated conservation benefits.

In an article in this week’s edition (Friday 19th September) of The St. Ives Times & Echo a Climbers’ Club spokesman made it clear that local opinion on such matters would always be taken into account. Club secretary Roy Lemmon said if the grazing scheme went ahead then some kind of livestock-proof barrier would have to be erected but “in this case we’re more than happy to work with all those involved for the best solution.”

The article, by journalist Des Hannigan, stated it had been confirmed that Cornwall County Council’s Historic Environment Service has filed an objection to the Climbers’ Club application on the grounds that the proposed granite hedge would change the open, unenclosed character and appearance of the area.
The planning department of Penwith District Council is considering the application for the hedge and members of the public have until Thursday 25th September to make representations to the Council.

Report by Barnaby Carver.

Photograph © Barnaby Carver.

The St. Ives Times & Echo, Friday 19th September 2008.
Climbers’ Group Applies for Hedge After Plans to Graze Cattle on Land, The Cornishman, Thursday 4th September 2008.

For details about The HEATH Project visit their website: www.theheathproject.org.uk
Information about those opposed to grazing and fencing on Penwith’s moors can be found at: www.savepenwithmoors.com

Also have a look at this article by Alex Pitt in The Guardian for further background.


The Climbing Academy Update (29 August 2008) Construction of Bristol's new dedicated bouldering facility is now well underway and the features are starting to take shape. It's looking very impressive! Keep track of progress and have a look at more photos on The Climbing Academy Blog

Anstey's Parking Problem (18 July 2008) Unfortunately the parking at the budget store (whatever it's called these days!) now has a parking restriction:

"Just a quick warning to anyone visiting Ansteys / Long Quarry Point – I just got a parking notice in the post from a company called ‘Highview Parking’ for £95 (£75 for quick payment) after parking in the usual (empty) DIY car park 10/07/08. Not sure what the score is with this as I didn’t notice any additional signs up and no ticket was left on the car – they have also given very specific times in the notice which makes me think it’s done via CCTV surveillance."

It is possible to park nearby in residental streets but this will probably lead to problems in the future if not done considerately.

New CC Lundy Guide (18 July 2008)

"The 2008 Climbers’ Club guide to Lundy is now out and is circulating in selected stores or direct from the distributor Cordee. An advanced stock was also dispatched to the Island’s store earlier this week so that anyone heading out in the next few days won’t be disappointed. The guide written by Paul Harrison is packed into 432 pages, weighs 460g and has a total of 378 more routes than the last guide published in 1994. In addition there are 13 detailed maps, 54 photo-diagrams in three miles of coastline together with a wealth of inspiring action photographs including a section on deep water soloing by Dave Pickford. The guide also comes with a free specially commissioned 1:15000 weather proof map produced by Harvey Map services in association with the Climbers Club."

Hard Rock Fest / South West Film Festival (2 July 2008) 15th to 17th August 2008, including a beer festival!

"The South West UK annual Climbing Festival is back and better than before! The Hard Rock Fest 2008 is to be held at the Mill Adventure Centre in South Molton, Devon for it's second year.

This year, the Fest will include all the best of last year, as well as the South West Film Festival, the Hard Rock Beer Fest, and improved and expanded accommodation options including the Mill's new Bunkhouse, and a teepee camp! Also present will be the numerous trade stands to show you the latest and innovative outdoor and climbing products as well as local trade attractions.

The Hard Rock Fest was born in 2007 to raise money for the Mountain Rescue Teams of England, Scotland and Wales. This year is no different, and we aim to increase our ongoing fund raising support for the men and women that are saving the lives of us and our friends every day. Come to the event to show your support for them as well."


DartRock Wall Progress (27 June 2008) Thing's are sounding positive for the proposed new wall in Buckfastleigh, South Devon. As reported on the Blog on the website (www.dartrock.co.uk):

"Well we have had a lot of exciting events lately...we can't reveal them just yet!! Suffice to say Dart Rock is shaping up well and it looks like we will have one of the largest and most interesting walls in the South West......

We do however need your help!!

We would like to ask that if anyone interested in the climbing wall could write a letter of support for the wall. You can either email us (climbhigher@ecowall.co.uk) or send it to:

Robbie Warke
Flat 5
Rock House
TQ3 0EE.

We are having a meeting with the planners soon and this will help us a lot!!

Also if you have a letter of concern send it to us to!!

We know that Dart Rock will be a great asset to the South West and you help will speed up the process!!

See you,


Lynmouth Rocks! (10 April 2008) Grant "Granticus" Edwards is arranging a bit of a meet up on the Exmoor Coast to show folk around his until now pretty secret local crags.

"Saturday 26th April - 2pm Onwards. Come, be shown and explore the truly superb bouldering of the Exmoor Coast. For further information contact Grant granticus(at)tiscali.co.uk" (Replace the "at" with @!)

Caedmon Mullin Ticks "Last Great" Dartmoor Line (24 February 2008) Caedmon "homme" Mullin has added a top notch V9 at Hound Tor. Tuppy, as it's named (after his old dog), starts sitting at obvious undercuts on the left side of the Stray Dog boulder and then moves up through slopers to a tricky finish. It's one of the last good lines remaining on the more popular Dartmoor crags (there are probably more hidden away in the woods somewhere). A bit of lank is helpful for the the first move off the undercuts and the grade will be higher if you can't reach... The stand up start from slopers on the lip is about V7/8. Well done Cad.

Simon Yates "Beyond the Void" Lecture in Yeovil (15 February 2008)

Date: WEDNESDAY 26 MARCH 2008 AT 7.30PM
Location: Octagon Theatre, Yeovil, Somerset Box Office: 01935 422884 Book Online: www.octagon-theatre.co.uk

"Simon Yates first became known as the man who cut the rope holding his friend and climbing partner Joe Simpson during their descent from Peru's Siula Grande in 1985, a story immortalised in the book Touching the Void. Twenty years on, Simon is one of the most successful mountaineers of his time, and is touring the UK with his entertaining and inspiring lecture. Simon's dry wit, philosophical approach and stunning images transport his audience to some of the highest and most treacherous peaks in the world, giving a real insight into the mountain environment and the extreme mental and physical challenge of climbing there. FULL PRICE: £13.50 FOOTLIGHTS: £12.50 PARTIES 10+: £12.50 www.speakersfromtheedge.com/yates.htm"

New Bouldering Facility Coming Soon to Bristol (7 February 2008) Paul Twomey has been in touch to report some exciting news for South West Boulderers:

The Climbing Academy Just a quick bulletin to finally let everyone know about The Climbing Academy, a much needed and overdue bouldering facility that we are building in Bristol. After 12 months of constant head-banging, dead ends and other such disappointments, we have recently struck lucky, securing a fine building with the relevant planning, and are now just awaiting the paperwork to be finalised by the lawyers. Baring earthquakes, tidal waves or other such unforeseen disasters, we will be opening the doors for the first time later this summer. From our floorspace of 8400 square foot, 6000 square foot will be dedicated to climbing surfaces, whilst a café, treatment facility and shop will provide services to visiting climbers.

There is ample parking within a two minute walking radius, and easy road access from both the motorway and from the Bath direction. We are on a main cycleway and only a short walk of 15 minutes from both the train and bus/coach stations.

We are committed to being as friendly to our home planet and our fellow human beings as is humanely possible, and the building materials we use will be from sustainable or recycled sources where available. Thinking outside of the plywood box, we will be introducing some novel and interesting features to enhance our customer experience. We will also be fitting a chalk extraction system (no not just an open door on a windy day!) and the company will be carbon neutral.

The exact location will be disclosed shortly, as soon as the men in grey suits have done their crucial bit for Queen, Country and South West's expectant climbing population. (We'll keep you up to date with progress via our blog at http://climbingacademybristol.blogspot.com)

Paul Twomey & Rich Emerson 5th February 2008

Steve McClure in Fat Face Shocker! (5 February 2008)
Steve McClure, Britains most accomplished sport climber, will be visiting the Exeter Fat Face store in new Princesshay development on February 10, at 4pm. The new Phyche DVD is due to be showing as well.

Chris Sharma in South Molton Shocker (1 February 2008) The big man himself, Chris Sharma, will be visiting The Mill Climbing Centre on 18th March as part of his UK tour. In the unlikely event that you haven't heard of him, Chris Sharma is a real bad ass climber famous for schmokin' legendary first ascents of boulder problems, sport routes and deep water solos (such as Realization, Es Pontas, The Mandala). Mr Sharma will be climbing, meeting and greeting from 4pm and giving a lecture/presentation at 7pm. Bar/refreshments available. The Mill's new bunkhouse will be open for stop overs.This is his first event in UK and only venue in Southwest. Tickets available now at £25 (£15 for students and BMC members) to include free climbing after 4pm. Get'em while you can! Contact the Mill on 01769 579600

If you would like to challange Chris Sharma to an arm wrestle or pasty eating contest please send an email and I'll pass on the request to the event organisers!

More about Chris Sharma (Wikipedia

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

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