Monday, 17 March 2014

Winter Hot Rock Part 3: March Spring Weekends

March arrived, the rain stopped. After what seemed like endless weeks of rain through January and February, the beginning of March bathed the UK in glorious sunshine. We (Dave B, Tom, Tom, Dan, Jenni, Ian) certainly made the most of it, exploring South West Sun Traps.

Brean Down is the 'classic' choice on weekends like this, but sadly it's becoming a victim of it's own success. It's far too crowded on the weekends given the moderate selection of routes - (someone needs to get on and bolt Ocean Wall - a different topic).

Good news is that this allowed us to check out some of the less well known Winter Sun Traps!:

Quieter crags that also get the winter sun.
We started out at Tintern Quarry. The quarry itself is huge, however most of the climbing is - bluntly put - rubbish (very loose). The Red Dust Wall has some great looking routes, gently overhanging on solid rock 6b-7b+ although we avoided it as it doesn't get the winter sun. (kudos to Tom for trying Ashes to Ashes 6c+**).

It is however nicely sheltered, and Thirty Foot Wall (more like 20ft) gets the sun all day and has some worthwhile routes 5-6a+. We had fun:

Tom on ~ Fr5 Thirty Foot Wall
We then moved over to Wyndcliffe Quarry. This place is split in to two teirs, the top having a couple of impressive longer routes, and the lower, although short, has a really good wall of 6c+ test pieces on flowstone. There are also plenty of good routes at around 6a.

Dave on ~ Fr6a Wyndcliffe Quarry Lower Tier
The next weekend came and Jen and I headed up to Tirpentwys. Whilst not huge, it's a great crag, South facing and sheltered, solid sandstone, pleasant spot in local nature reserve, well bolted with some good routes 6a - 7b(+). I went back to finish off some unfishined business, 'Stawberry Jam' which takes a central gently overhanging crack / crimp line at 7b/7b+. Happy to get this, feels like the winter training is paying off!

Finishing off 2013's unfinished business! - Photo Tom Skelhon 2013.

Moving on to Jen's unfinished business we headed up to Cheddar - Pride Evans Cave to get on Sing A Mean Toon, Kid. Which is hard 7b+, perhaps 7c. 20m gently overhanging climbing, no full rest, exposed position, and a stretchy on-off V3 at the end makes this a tricky tick! Jen is looking very close and I am also feeling much closer after a some winter training. Cheddar isn't renowned for it's winter warmth, but this face (and many others) catch the sun. 11:30-3:30pm works here. Thanks for working the camera Ian!

Starting out up Sing a Mean Toon, Kid - 7b+/7c - Photo Ian Cooper

The bottom half is 7a/+ with no real rest - Photo Ian Cooper

Jen setting up for the final tricky, slappy, last move  - Photo Ian Cooper

Hopefully the first couple of many a sunny weekend!


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