Monday, 13 April 2015

Sport Climbing Spring - Smashing the Gower

Spring is here. Amidst the wind and rain this glorious high pressure system had stuck itself over the south west and seems to be here to stay. Jenni, Moosey Pattinson and I head to the Gower to check out some of the new and old sports routes which have made this place one of the best (and under rated) sports spots in the UK.

We spent 2 days at Fox Hole, a steep athletic crag on sideways jugs which often require clever body balance to use them wisely.

Panorama & a topo of weekend sends for the incredible Fox Hole
Starting on some of the original lines we warmed up on The Day the Sky Fell In, a brilliant 6b+ reach fest between jugs, amazing, just a shame it's not longer! Following that we moved on to Ducky Lucky, again a short route at 7a+ / V3, but quality steep moves that would hold their quality anywhere.

Long and Powerful moves on Ducky Lucky 7a+*
Patty then made short work the aptly named Power Struggle 7b+**, an original sports line at the Gower, followed by a Simon Rawlinson - recommended 7c link up. Woodie training paid off obviously!

We finished it off with an ascent of the crag classic Joy de Vive 7a***, which tackles a highly improbable 20 degree overhanging wall through the centre of the crag. Well named.

Making the most of the good holds on Joy de Vive, before it gets really steep! 7a***
Tackling the headwall of Joy de Vive
After some beer and a rest at the Llangennith campsite, we fought our way back through the wind and down to the sheltered crag. A quick morning ascent of the deceptively steep Foxy Chicken 7a+**, Joy de Vive 7a*** for Jen, and another 7b link-up for Patty was followed by a run on the very different Marmalade Skies, a tricky but pleasant wall problem at 7a*.

Reachy moves on Joy de Vive

Not all powerful, sometimes technique helps!
Given the glorious weather on Saturday, and near perfect conditions at this sunny and sheltered crag, it does make me wonder why it's not packed this time of year. In fact the only 2 groups we bumped in to were those who are active bolters in the area. With Brean so busy, the quality and quantity of the near-deserted Gower is outstanding. For now it's a secret best kept, and I'm sure planning on making the most of it before the masses move in. See you there.

Spain? Greece? Nope, South Wales. The unlikely looking, steep lines of the Gower leave me wanting more...
This weekend's tick list...
Name Grade Style
Crag name
Marmalade Skies 7a Lead rpt Foxhole Cove
Chicken Licken 6c+ Lead rpt Foxhole Cove
Foxy Chicken 7a+ ** Lead rpt Foxhole Cove
Joy de Viva 7a *** Lead rpt Foxhole Cove
Ducky Lucky 7a+ ** Lead rpt Foxhole Cove
The Day The Sky Fell In 6b+ * Lead O/S Foxhole Cove

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