Haven't blogged for a while, so I thought I would catch up with my most recent activities. As a quick catch up, I have recently been single-man dinghy sailing out at Brixham with Grenville House
Outdoor Education Centre with the rest of my Degree Course. Having not sailed for nearly 2 years, it was a shock to the system to jump back into a boat in poor weather and high winds - but it was great fun! More recently, I have also been doing some night navigation on Dartmoor, again with my degree course, in preparation for our upcoming Journey in the Mountains Module trip to North Wales to gain some more mountain experience.
Today, Me and my friend Derwood took advantage of the good weather to go rock climbing at Sheeps Tor on Dartmoor. Sheeps Tor's routes are described in Nick White's guidebook as being greasy in all but the driest conditions, fortunately the routes which we climbed today were in great condition and were very nice to climb.
My plans for the day were to help Derwood with his set-ups and to get him trad climbing, and to get myself back into climbing, having not climbed extensively for a while on traditional gear. It was great to get back on some familiar routes which I have done before. After practicing some simple anchor set-ups close to the ground, Derwood focused his eye on a route called Omega Crack (see the picture above), a route which is 30' and graded at VD (very difficult). It is a very nice and easy route to climb, and also very safe as you can lace the crack with tonnes of gear. The route is very short (as are all of the routes on Sheeps Tor) and follows a wide crack next to a rounded arete.
After Derwood climbed his route, I decided to climb Slanting Crack (SC), a slightly shorter route at 25', but graded at S (severe). This route has a strong start where you have to lay-back the crack on good handholds, but placing gear can be strenuous as you have to lean into the crack and lock off with one of your arms to place the gear. The top section of the route was very easy. (unfortunately no pictures of this route).
Derwood then bagged his first Severe trad climb, Crack & Chimney - a slightly higher climb at 35'. The route starts below a curving flake and crack with some good bits of gear, then moves up a short layback to the fissure above. He was very happy with this climb, and decided to up the game later on by climbing the classic Mushroom Wall (MW).
|Derwood on the Flake beneath the Fissure of Crack and Chimney|
|Selfie on Crack and Chimney|
After this, Derwood managed to climb his first VS (Very Severe) climb, Mushroom Wall - with a technical grade of 4c. A classic climb and one of my favorites on the wall, it climbs a steep face on thin holds with small pieces of gear. (see the picture below).
Due to cold weather and cold fingers, we then decided to call it a day and head back to Plymouth. But I am excited to get back to Sheeps Tor to have a go at Wind Wall, a classic climb graded at HVS (Hard Very Severe) 5a, a route that has been on my tick list for some time.