Monday, 13 June 2011

Brean Down

I spent the last two weekends at Brean Down - a tourist spot on the west coast near Weston-Super-Mare. It's a small crag, but (fingery "warmups" aside) some awesome climbs and a gorgeous location. There's a bunch of hard lines to work on, from 7b+ right up to 8b, and it's also got to be one of the friendliest crags I've ever climbed at - right down to an offer of a crash pad for future visits. It's going to be a great project venue, and at only two hours from London it's practically my local crag.

First weekend we had a really nice sunny day Saturday, I on-sighted a few easier lines, then had a couple of goes at Tide Rising (7b+). This route was totally not my style - a short, hard, bouldery, power-endurance climb. On the first go, I ended up having to pull on the draws past a couple of moves that I just couldn't figure out and came down wondering if this was way beyond me. Second go however, things started to come together. I found a heel hook that got me through the lower boulder problem to a decent shake-out, and worked out the beginnings of a sequence for the second crux. Now I knew the route could go, I just had to put it all together, but I thought it was going to be a bit of an epic.... and I was right!

Sunday morning we awoke to the sound of gentle, but persistent rain. This continued right through breakfast at a nice B&B, and didn't stop till after elevenses at the cafe. Fearing the rock would be unclimbable for most of the day, we were just about to head for Anstey's to try and get an afternoon in, when we saw a bright yellow jacket on the wall. Amazingly, within an hour of the rain stopping, all the routes were back in play. Of course, I had one thing on my mind, and spent the afternoon on my new project. By the end of the day, I had actually got through the second crux, but was so pumped I fell off the slightly easier ground above - two moves before the final shake-out and easy last couple of metres. So I worked out a new sequence for this last section, and headed home - satisfied with a great weekend's climbing and confident that a return trip the next weekend would see a fairly quick send. Haha.

This weekend we knew we were going to get rained off on Sunday, so I gave it my all for the redpoint on saturday, from 10am till it finally went about 6 in the evening. In total, it took something like 16 attempts over the two weekends, so it felt like I had had pushed pretty close to my limit. With what little was left in the tank, I also managed a hard fought send of Root of Inequity (7a+), before heading to the pub for a well earned pint.

Me on Tide Rising - photo by Tom Ball

However, sitting in the pub, a thought started to form... it may have taken a lot of attempts, but I did get the send at the end of a long, hard day's climbing - so whilst it may have felt close to my limit, it surely wasn't. So, how do we work out what our real limits are?

1 comment:

  1. I feel we just started to understand the art or redpointing. As long as you enjoy the process, you can can get very far, it just means that it will take long. Nice blog BTW for a scotsman!