Sunday, 12 July 2009

North Devon / Cornwall Trip Report

Blackchurch Rock

In what is now becoming a yearly pilgrimage I made the journey to North Devon and Cornwall onceagain...

Over the past month I've been pretty much exclusively sports climbing. The Orme currently has a vibrant scene and its been educational to see just how far I could push my strength and stamina - HOWEVER...

The concept behind this visit was to breakaway from the bolted limestone as I could. North Devon/ Cornwall is a wild place, at times the rock quality leaves a lot to be desired. Bring into the equasion a huge tidal range, gnarly long abseils, irrepressable Atlantic wind, guano, lichen etc... and you've got something a wee bit different from your average clip up. The question I wanted answering was how transferrable was all this sports strength and fitness going to transfer?

Venue No. 1 - The Smoothlands

Inspired by the guidebook photo of Andy Grieve on 'Hellbound' E6 we thought it would be an apt place to start off our trip. This has to be one of the most impressive slabs in the country (think Rainbow Slab by the sea) and we chose to get on Ken Palmer's 'Creeping Flesh' E5 on the basis that it looked incredible and, according to the description, was well protected.

The climbing was very slate-esqe: small holds, large rock-overs, and the necessetity for many RP's, IMPS, Offsets etc... The rock, although of a high quality, was a little more fractured than North Wales Slate but realistically this added to the whole adventurous sea cliff experience.

Rather unfortunatley (I've got to confess) I didn't successfully climb Creeping Flesh after taking a few falls from 100ft up - think my brain got overloaded with the intensity of the pitch! However, the experience was thoroughly worthwhile and kicked the 'holiday' nicely.


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