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South West Climbing News 2013

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Exeter Deep Water Soloing Competition 26 November 2013

The Quay Climbing Centre are planning a deep water soloing competion next August. Here's the press release:

"Exeter will play host to the UK's first artificial Deep Water Solo Climbing Competition which will be held in the heart of the city on the 30th and 31st August 2014. The competition wall will be erected in the city's canal basin. Climbers will attempt to navigate routes upwards and across the feature without the aid of ropes, using the water beneath them as their drop point when they can no longer climb. The event will be managed by Exeter's Quay Climbing Centre, with support from some of the largest names in the climbing industry. "We are in a unique position at the Quay of being the only indoor climbing wall in the UK that is situated next to a body of water suitable for this type of outdoor climbing event – the canal basin provides the perfect water space and the large open area of the Piazza Terracina offers a great arena for spectators to view the competition up close" said Paul Russell, Centre Manager for the Quay Climbing Centre.

Exter Quay Deep Water Solo Concept

The event will bring the elite of the international climbing community to the city to participate in one of the fastest growing and most visually exciting areas of the sport. Neil Gresham, one of the UK's leading climbers, said: "this event is one of the most exciting things to happen on the UK climbing scene in years. Deep Water Solo climbing is one of the most visual and free forms of climbing you can experience. This will not only be fantastic for the sport of climbing in general but will do wonders to promote it locally in a region that has a lot to offer those looking for a Deep Water Solo adventure. I can't wait for my chance to go to head to head with Britain's best climbers!" Qualifying rounds will be held on the 30th with finals on the 31st. The event will have categories for elite competitors (invitation based) and recreational climbers (150 places) to ensure that it is open and inclusive to the wider climbing community as well as being a showcase event on the national and international competition calendar.

Exeter Quay Deep Water Solo Concept

Entre-Prises (UK) are delighted to announce that they are to design and build the Climbing Wall for the Deep Water Solo Competition; they will also be sponsoring the event along with climbing equipment manufacturers, La Sportiva, DMM and the other lead sponsors. Hundreds of spectators are expected to attend the competition, which will also attract national and international sports media coverage. The world's first artificial Deep Water Solo competition was staged in Spain in 2010 and attracted over 4,000 spectators as well as the elite of the climbing community. Chris Sharma, widely recognised as the world's top climber, commented at the time: "this new form of competition will surely blow the minds of any non-climber and I believe will be a key element in climbing becoming a more mainstream sport."

This is a great coup for Exeter. The city council has provided strong backing for the event since it's conception, recognising the huge boost it could bring to the city's tourism economy . Councillor Rosie Denham, Portfolio Holder for Economy, said: "It is really exciting to have the UK's first Deep Water Solo Climbing competition in Exeter bringing top international climbers of all ages to our city. The event is set to become a major event in the city's cultural calendar."

So there you go - time to get training!

Ellis Butler Barker in Hardcore Brean Shocker 25 October 2013

Devon youth Ellis Butler Barker has recently made an impressive repeat of Steve McClure's Brean Down test-piece, Brean Topping 8b. It took Ellis 5-6 redpoints and a good bit of work on the crux sequence but he was really pleased to tick it as just over a year ago he thought it'd never be possible. For the full story have a look at Ellis's Blog

Ellis BB on Brean Topping 8b

Sweet New Culm Coast Bouldering Guide 17 September 2013

Dave Westlake has produced a really good pdf guide to the Southern Culm Coast bouldering. Including areas such as Northcott, Sandymouth and Compass Point this finally documents the wealth of quality bouldering to be found on the beaches. Visit the Guides section of javu for a link to it (and the other existing North Coast bouldering guides).

Hendo's Wall, Northcott Mouth

Tom Newberry attempting Hendo's Wall at Northcott Mouth - this problem recently saw a repeat by Mike Adams (the northern one).

Torbryan Parking 17 September 2013

Note: Please DO NOT PARK IN THE TURNING CIRCLE JUST DOWN THE ROAD FROM THE CRAG (i.e. opposite the junction). If there is no space to park safely on the road then use the car park - this is found on the left up the hill, heading towards Ipplepen, and only a 5 minute walk from the crag.

Torbryan Links 27 July 2013

Tom Newberry reports a few link-ups of existing routes at Torbyran, the hardest of which being Bob at a proposed 8a+ which takes in cruxes of most of the routes at the crag!. Full details can be found on the news routes page

Here's a video of Ellis Butler Barker climbing Bob.

More Hard North Coast Bouldering
13 June 2013

Tom Newberry reports on recent North Coast bouldering developments: "At Lynmouth I have added a full right to left traverse of the Bum Cheeks boulder. ‘Behind Enemy Lines’ 7C+ was an obvious challenge but took me a couple sessions to figure out a line and sequence. I started on the right hand side, at the easy crack, and traverse leftwards on head high crimps to the central crack, a foot jam rest gives you enough back to tackle the crux section, again staying on head high holds until you can rockover up to the finishing holds for Face Off on the left arête. Bad feet and poor friction make it a proper fight against the pump (I dropped the very last rock over move too many times!). This has opened up potential for loads of links for bored locals.

Mike Adams Behind Enemy Lines

Mike Adams on the starting moves of Behind Enemy Lines 7C+, Lynmouth

Down the coast at Hartland, I added two new problems. ‘The End is Nigh’ at Spekes Mill now has a new companion. I noticed this project after completing ‘The end is Nigh’ but had always put it off due to the ½ mile walk in and fact you need 6+ pads. I have Dan Turner to thank for enthusing me to put the effort in again after a session down there working the line with him. The new line tackles the roof direct starting matched on an undercut 1meter left of the End is Nigh. The problem is slightly longer, scarier but equally brilliant and requires a creative approach to suss the beta. The Revolution is Coming 8A is a 3 star problem and another North Coast classic. As with the other problems here 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. Yet, conditions are better on an incoming tide to give it chance to dry out fully.

Also at Hartland I climbed a new roof line, Ballin' 7C, in the Ache Ball cave. This starts in the break above the start of Ache Ball and climbs out towards the sea at right angles to the original North Coast testpiece. Although not the best problem around, it has some funky moves climbing out the roof on big pinches to top out on jugs around the lip.

Hard bouldering on the North Coast of Devon and Cornwall (from St Ives to Lynmouth) is growing... there are now ~22 7Cs, 15 7C+s, 7 8As and 1 8A+."

Woman and Child In Hardcore Anstey's Action
30 May 2013

Anstey's Cove has finally dried out and I'm pleased to report that a woman and child have been showing the local menfolk how it's done. First off, child prodigy Alex Waterhouse redpointed Tuppence 8b. Alex tells us a bit more about his ascent:

"I had a look at it a few times before I got down to trying it. Redpointing-wise, it took a couple of sessions to suss all the moves down and get some good links.

Then I was into purely trying redpoints, but with the powerful nature of the route and the short evenings I was only able to have a go or 2 in a session before I was boxed or couldn't see the feet! I had it consistently in 2 parts, but getting through the crux was a matter of conditions, memory and a bit of luck! Last Thursday (16th May) I was the closest I'd been, and I was sure with a few days rest I could do it.

After training at the Quay on Friday it was almost my last chance to get on the route, and after a couple of false starts I was though the crux and just scraped through the upper section. The route is amazing, my anti-style, but the moves are incredible!"

Alex Waterhouse on Tuppence 8b

Alex has recently returned from a trip to France where he managed an 8b redpoint (which he said was definitely soft 8b compared to Tuppence) and an 8a flash.

For those who don't know, Alex is 16, started climbing when he was 11 and is now in the GB team. This year he'll be competing in the European comps as well as the World Youth Championships in Canada in August but before that he's got to 'send' his GCSEs and then a 5 week road trip around Europe.

Kids these days eh...

About a week after Alex ticked Tuppence, Devon's top lady climber Cherry Bedford succeeded on Pet Cemetery 8a+. The route was first climbed in 1996 by talented local Mark Campbell and despite only being a short link from the top of The Lynch to the finish of The Cider Soak, has proved surprisingly popular of late.

Cherry Bedford on Pet Cemetery

Cherry's just about to get a new van and is keen for some sea cliff action so no doubt I'll be reporting more impressive climbing from her this year.

Whilst on the subject of sport climbing in Devon, a quick mention must go to Devon's new sport climbing destination that is the Exile Buttress (only 5 mins from Anstey's). Most of the existing routes have now been retroed and the crag's been transformed from a totally neglected, vegetated bit of rock with some manky in-situ gear to a popular (by Devon standards) mid-grade venue.

Veteran Devon Ex-Climber Fixes His Van Shocker
30 May 2013

Devon veteran ex-climber Dave Henderson has fixed his 2007 Renault Trafic 2.0 Diesel van. He takes up the story: "After a week or so of the gear box feeling really stiff - like stirring really thick porridge - I popped it down to the garage for them to have a gander. They reckoned it must be something inside the box and thought it would likely require replacing. Obviously I wasn't very happy at that prospect of a £1000+ bill so did a bit of Googling and found a top tip. Open the bonnet, get someone to wiggle the gear stick around so you can locate the gear box. Spray a load of WD40 on the moving bits (where a lever goes into the top of the box and also another one of the side). Keep wiggling the gear stick to work the lube in. And hey presto, it's back like new."

Just thought I'd share that with you in case anyone else has the same problem!!

Esoteric Bouldering Action in Far Flung West Kernow
25 April 2013

Bouldering devotee Andy Whall has been exploring the potential at Zennor Head.

There are quite a few problems, but with generally very bad landings which require lots of mats. Andy reckons it's as good as Clodgy Point although with much more difficult access. Of particular note is The Zennor Fool at a proposed Font 7B+. Andy commented "not sure about the grade, it felt harder, but that might be because I was generally working it on my own and its a bit scary down there!"

If you're feeling adventurous the venue can be found at Pendour Cove, Grid Ref x(144625.000) y(38965.000).

The Zennor Fool 7b+ from andy whall on Vimeo.


Ken Palmer in Rubber Action!
22 April 2013

Although not new news, Kendal Palmer has climbed a quality line down on Longship's Wall at Land's End. Rubber Dinghy Rapids E7 6c climbs the really obvious stepped corner on the left side of the wall before finishing up the easier arete above (see topo below). Ken actually climbed this last year but has been keeping it quiet.

Unfortunately the corner is often damp and several visits were required before finding it dry enough to climb - on one occasion a freak wave soaked the whole route just as Ken finished drying the last of the holds. If you're lucky enough to get it in good nick you will also need to be suitably skilled in technical bridging up a smooth corner!

Also worth reporting is Lord of the Prawns E7 6b, another of Ken's routes not really written up before. It's found down at Gammon Head in the delightful South Hams area of Devon and takes the impressive wall right of Andy Grieve's 1989 route Mental Block. The route features technical, sustained climbing with a few pegs and other dodgy gear (oh, and a sort of deep water solo start). A fair bit of top roping was required to get rid of snappy holds, a task for which Ken enlisted the help of several more 'solidly built' local climbers!

Ken Palmer on Rubber Dinghy Rapid E7

Above. Ken Palmer posing on Rubber Dinghy Rapids. Note the 80's retro style use of a 2 krab extender and 2 ropes clipped through the gear. Photo Pete Saunders

Ken Palmer on Rubber Dinghy Rapids

Ken Palmer demonstrating his flexibility on the first ascent of Rubber Dinghy Rapids. Photo Pete Saunders

Rubber Dinghy Topo

Devon Woman in Hard Chudleigh Repeat Shocker!
17 April 2013

Cherry Bedford has recently made what is likely to be the third ascent of Ossuary E7 6c. The route, first climbed by an old local punter in the vintage 2009 year, has also been repeated by nerdy research chemist Alexis 'Didier' Perry. As with previous ascents Cherry top roped the line prior to a lead. She also managed to find a sneaky extra wire to protect the difficult and sequency crux. Having said that, it would be hard to guarantee the gear would hold given the slightly dusty nature of the placements.

This isn't Cherry's first E7 - last year she repeated Off the Mark down in far flung Kernow (see javu news piece Alexis 'Didier' Perry and Cherry Bedford Fire It Up In Kernow (23 April 2012). Cherry works part time at the Quay Climbing Centre, goes rock climbing and has a blog which she hasn't updated recently.

Long Quarry Point Climbing Restriction
12 April 2013

Those pesky protected birds have taken up residence in the quarry again. The restriction is smaller than in 2011 so this year the Black Ice/Renegade slab is OK but not the Shadow Beast Wall or Grey Tower (not that anyone really climbs on that anyway). Here are the details:

To the left of the Black Ice Slab is a large grassy section that runs from the bottom to the top of the crag - no climbing between this and The Ridge. Please be aware it is likely that climbers will be monitored whilst climbing at Long Quarry Point and may risk prosecution and damaging future access if the nesting peregrines are disturbed. If the birds show any signs of being disturbed please retreat from your route and move further away from the nest. Any problems should be reported to the BMC. At present the restriction will run until the end of July but this may be updated if the birds leave early.

There is more information on peregrines here if you're interested.

Bouldering Updates: Exmoor Coast, Culm Coast, Dartmoor and Bodmin Moor
12 April 2013

There have been various recent developments around the South West - so many in fact that I've now put them on a new page. South West Bouldering Updates 2013 - contributed by Tom Bunn, Tom Newberry, Tom Thorpe and Grant Edwards.

If anyone has anything further to add please stick it on the Facebook page or send it in.

Chudleigh Action
6 March 2013

Keen local Justin Timms has added a couple of new lines to Chudleigh - an E6 at the far left end and an E3 just right of Scar. Both lines were spotted by another keen local Nick Baron and headpointed after aborted onight attempts. Further details can be found on the South Devon and Dartmoor new routes page.

Cheesewring & South East Cornwall Guidebook
5 March 2013

The popular and inspiring new guide is now available online from St. Ives Publishing.

Black Crag Updated Guide
20 February 2013

Crag guardian Simon Wooster has updated his Black Crag guide, including the addition of a new E2/3 in 2012. The crag is a very worthwhile venue just over the valley from Chudleigh Rocks.

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

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