BBC - Weather Centre - Forecast for Llandudno, United Kingdom

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Sandstone of the South

I'm currently working down in Kent on a old skool windmill. Tim the boss was keen to get some pics of Southern Sandstone so we went to check it out one afternoon. We walked up to the entrance of High Rocks where we were met by this:

This was followed by lots of laughter from the lads and lots of cursing from Tim as he was paying! Back to the van he said and we headed to Bowles. Luckily it was the hottest day of the year and Bowles was in the sun which was perfect for sandstone. We dicked about a bit doing a bit of soloing and some quite nice boulder problems up to font 6c. Bob Elliot rolling back the years:

It was hot and sweaty but a laugh. We only had one little flat bouldering pad which didn't inspire pascal as he tried to ground up this 6c roof with a potential uncontrolled fall:

The crux involved lunging to some jams at the lip. Must have been tricky as he didn't do it Back to the car our grand leader commanded and we headed back to High Rocks. This time he forked out and in we went. The fun began on a ace 6a arete that would be a highball with decent paddage. Pascal went first, bit hesitant on the top. Pete had let us know how straightforward the top was from the comfort of the ground. Little Bob shot up it only to come unstuck on the top, all of a sudden it looked quite high and the drop off not to appealing! He had to get dragged over the top in the end. Then up steps big daddy bear Peter Hurley, not climbing for 5 months wasn't going to stop this guy and he shoots up it barefoot. He hits the same place as Bob but surprisingly his toes don't work too well on the final smear and he starts to panic. Pete has got a back full of metal after hitting the ground from a long way up in Cheedale a few years and capers like this are not recommended. It seems his legendary stamina of 10 years ago has dried up, funny that! He looks down, the fear in his face is evident as the consequences of a nasty fall flash through all our minds. Bob runs to the top but doesn't hit the ascent path first go. Petes got nothing left and down he comes, collapsing as his 12.5 stone mass hits the ground. He lies there for a while with a worried look on his face but all is ok. Pascal then drops the top of the Honeycomb wall to the left, he's having a shocker. Then we move down the crag and engage in some traditional top roping with waist belays and no harnesses:

A couple of routes are done then its my turn to provide the entertainment. I set off up a 5c hand jamming crack called Coronation Crack. I soon remember that i can't hand jam (memories of climbing The File using the holds on the face flash through my mind). I try to jam but soon realise i can't do it and revert to heel hooks and powerful laybacking. Soon enough i'm off much to the hilarity of everyone. My spirits are soon raised as Pascal drops a damp 6a crack and mauls his hands in the process:

I walk down to look at Chimaera, nice feature, then return just in time to see Pascal dropping the top of the classic Krait Arete,he's flipping boxed and everyone is cracking up. Shocking day!