I've had a fantastic few weeks of outdoor climbing and have done loads of training in preperation for the BLCC's early in October. My training has consisted of mainly endurance and lots of core training ready for the overhanging EICA competition wall.
Saturday 15th; it was an early start for a full day at Anstey's Cove in Torquay, the main aim... 'The Cider Soak' (F8a). Getting there just after 9:00, I thought the conditions were fairly good so decided to do a quick warm up and get on the route but soon realised that it was way too warm to have much of a chance, so decided to get on some easier routes and slabs and wait until around 17:00 for the route to become shaded. I happily belayed my friend on some routes on Ferocity Wall ('Rawhide' (F7a) and 'The Lynch' (F7b+)), then we headed down to Cocytus area where lies some beautiful slabs and some very spaced bolts. I decided to give 'Cocytus' (E2 6a/F7a?) a try and managed onsight the amazing, polished, technical, scary groove in very hot conditions- In my opinion it is the best slab that I have done so far!
After this I went to rest with some strong climbers from London working on 'Just Revenge' (F7c+) on Empire Wall. They also managed to retro flash the crag classic 'Empire of the Sun (Direct)' (F7b+), which looked like a fantastic line; this encouraged me to give the route a try and I look forward to having a flash attempt on the route in the weeks to come. I'm also very keen to try many more routes on this wall which I have always overlooked in previous visits to the crag.
As the time got closer to 17:00, I started to warm up again and was soon back on the route where I fell of around mid way. After 15 minutes rest I was told a new way to do the middle move which was always 50/50 to whether I'd manage to do when attempting the route. This change made a huge difference and I hit the pocket better than ever, I was then approaching the final section of the route and climbed through the part that I'd found most difficult and was ready to take on the final couple of movements which are possibly the easiest 2 moves on the entire route... As I went for the good edge I felt myself fly further away from the hold and realised that I was no longer fighting to top the route. I'd fell 1 move from finishing 'The Cider Soak'! As reality hit me, I realised how close I came to success and how easy it is to blow the last moves on a hard route when your head isn't completly in the right focus zone.
Lots of rest and darkness fell upon us, the day was over and my goal of ticking 'The Cider Soak' was over, only for the remainder of that day.
Sunday 16th; Deep Water Soloing at Berry Head. I'd arranged to meet the people whom I had met at Anstey's for a long day of soling at the DWS mecca; Berry Head. We'd decided to do many routes along the Rainbow Bridge wall and spent 6/7 hours climbing along, up and down the quality rock. After coming very close to falling on several occasions due to no chalk in the chalk bag and I'd managed the 3 star 'Rainbow Bridge' (F7a+), then up another F7a+, down a really scary F6b+ and into another S2/3 F7a along the lip of a roof with a potentially nasty fall with just a slip of the foot or any little mistake would be extremely hazardous.
Then into the spectacular climbing of 'The Cauldron' (F7a+) around the back of the cave onto a scary technical slab and onto the rope bridge. This then led us onto 'The Wave' (F6c) which was definatly the coolest F6 traverse I've ever set eyes on, with amazing jugs and heal hooking sequence all along with a really nice move off of slopers to a jug which forced me to cut loose, it was a really nice line which I'd really love to do again. Then after nearly 6 hours of climbing we went onto 'Gluteas Maximus' (F7a) which is supposed to be done at low tide for very obvious reasons, the water was at knee height and then I took my first DWS fall which was actually quite enjoyable. All but one of us fell of this pitch and this bought the day to a close as daylight diminished.
I would love to give some the tougher of the routes a try now, maybe 'Cutlass' (F8a+) or 'The Barrel Traverse' (F7c). After going in once, I am alot more confident about taking the plunge.
I've had a very enjoyable weekends climbing with nearly 20 hours spent at the crags, thanks to all the people involved: Adam, Stan and everybody from London for the great tour of Berry Head.
Thanks for reading,