2 new routes in Avon? surely not possible…

Come on then who has climbed these before?…

Myself and Dave T squeezed in another couple of climbing routes at Avon recently before work

Abseiling of the large few tree from a top rope session on Edgemaster we noticed a peg behind a large detached looking bloc looking at the guide showed no routes so we were intrigued…new Routes? surely not.

Still with time left before work at 12 Dave jumped on what looked like a hard groove leading up to Nightmare and I was keen for the line with ( even coming from a sport climber ) a pointless peg in a perfectly protect-able crack.

They climbed well, one was hard, short but hard. Well worth a play. Good gear and bouldery ( which is rare for sea walls ) and one that was a nice alternative direct and more technical start to Nightmare.

Update:

Sarah-Jane has lead Super Direct Nightmare and Dean Russell has jumped on Before Bloc agreeing with their grades and also wondering how they have never done or noticed the lines before.

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Route 1 – Lead by Dave

Named ( if no ascent claimed ) : Super Direct Nightmare

A line that takes the direct climbing line through to Nightmare, cutting of the curve of the line in the Avon Climbing Guide, The route climbs direct up to the first tree at half height of nightmare, staying in the groove left of the large balanced bloc.

A steady VS with good gear and no polish, climbs much easier than it looks and too me is a much nicer and more technical climbing line for Nightmare.

 

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Route 2 – Led by Steve

Name ( if no ascent claimed):  Before Bloc E1 5c

Possible E1 5c, Bomber gear but some good technical, tough moves, if you can read ( and reach ) the first couple of wires the start leads to some good bouldery moves, even sneaking in a solid knee bar to place a higher wires. Good cams in the break follow after that, before mount the small shelf and laying of the arete before reach a good jug and moving into the break of Nightmare.

Essentially the route stays right and mounts the large detached looking bloc, staying right until large flat hold is found.

 

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Climbing Easy Route a Avon, this time with Mum

Another great day out climbing at Avon Gorge, this time with mum!

It was Mums first time out on rock, first time climbing trad, first multi pitch, first belaying experience and a beautiful day out, one which led her the full height of the gorge!

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Climbing Easy Route at Avon Gorge just does not seem to get boring, its a great route with plenty of places to place gear take a belay and is loads of fun, all the while having probably the best top out in the world! its so good I even made mum lead the last 3 metres.

A quick blast before work led to hopefully a great adventure that mum will remember for a long time – Next its dad!

 

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Emily and I head to Avon Gorge to Climb “Easy Route”

Getting back into climbing with a steady route and some sun

Myself and Emily have not been climbing together for a while, partly due to friction most couples face while climbing together and also due to the new job I have at Bloc. This weekend I had off though and the forecast was for sun on Sunday, Em to my surprise had brought up the topic of climbing, with no more encouragement needed, the bags were packed and by the door with the route chosen.

It was suggested by Dave Talbot that this was the perfect route for someone who was anxious of Trad climbing or needed a boost in confidence, with plenty of nice little sections and ample belays to choose from.

Dave has taken many groups climbing up the route even with large groups and due to fact that you can pretty much set up a belay anywhere due to amount of trees along with a possible harder last pitch and some good view it seemed to be the perfect route for a sunny day

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Climbing the Easy Route in the Sun

A good relaxed morning, with me packing the car and fixing breakfast outside was important to settle Emilys nerves, any pushing from me to hurry up would surely end in a argument fumed by nerves and could as often before led to the end of route before starting, however with lessons learned from previous outings we were on track, the knowledge to alternate our days as belayers was priceless, this was Emily’s day climbing, so it her pace, if  I didnt make it onto rock, the oh well, my day is next.

Hardly put off but the inner city traffic we made it to the crag to meet the crowds already climbing at Avong and gear up in the sun

 

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The Gear

Not really needing much, I ditched the Cams, kept a set of Nuts and plenty of Slings, I kept the Nuts because I also wanted emily to practice taking out gear on belays and while climbing, while not loads of placements still more than enough for a new climber to get to grips with the idea.

 

Pitch 1

Soloed!

 

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True to Daves word the route so far was a gentle stroll up hill with good holds, solid and grippy rock with plenty of ledges to stop on and rest, still though I was surprised when we arrived at around the starting ledge for Emily to declare she was more than happy to carry on without the ropes but would like her climbing boots on “if that was ok”

 

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We split pitch 1 in half and soloed it, with me closely behind, with occasional help, Emilys natural climbing talent came shining through. The route eventually involved a bit of ‘proper’ bit of climbing slightly steeper so we tied on to the 60m half rope double up I had ( making it 30m ) and wandered up the line, to be constantly surprised by the quality of the rock and the fun I was having.

I set up a little belay and brought emily up, already smiling.

 

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Pitch 2

Meeting us on the comfy belay was another climber getting back into it after a bad fall last year, Rosemary seemed more than happy to share a belay while also having her photo taken by me along with Em.

Heading off for pitch 2 involved a couple of metres of vertical climbing into a lovely slab to get the feet and mind working before another huge selection of tree belays and a path cutting through onto the next pitch. I brought Emily up with another couple of photos.

 

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Pitch 3

Heading up the final slab I was not sure if the 3om rope would make it, I had eyed up a undercut flake around 15m away which would make a perfect semi hanging belay ( although most of you wait would be on your feet ) in which to practice taking apart a belay based on Nuts and Cams, I sensed Em’s uninterest in this and not wanting the ruin the lovely day I pushed on thinking I might make it if not climbing back down would prolong the enjoyment or I could just keep climbing while Em took apart the belay giving me a few more metres.

No need though as the the pitch was perfect and just as the rope went tight I made it to the tree, a quick sling belay and setting the plate in Guide Mode so I could take yet more photos and Em was on her way up the excellent final slab to probably the best finishing belay in the world!

 

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The Happy Team

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The Way down and a quick picnic before the rain

Following the “Easy Route” is possibly an even easier way down, a tarmaced path!

At the top of the route after the perfect tree belay is a Tarmaced path, we followed this path all the way down to the Portway and walked back to the car, smiles all round.

In the car and heading to sea walls to meet the other teams, get the blanket out and grab some lunch on the grass.

What could make this better? An ice cream of course, we headed up to downs to find one, as quickly as we have got there the weather had change and now was pouring with rain and the entire Downs emptying.

Feeling bad for Rob and Will who we had left half way up the pitch of Floggs Folly, but not bad enough to go and check on them we retreated to the Miners for a celebratory pint and a pickled egg.

A great day out and a Route I will certainly be taking more people on over the summer.

Thanks Em.

 

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Adventures of Nervous Boy, E1 5b. My First First Ascent, hopefully…

New routing before noon

After another late night with Dave Talbot he had convinced once again that Trad climbing was the way forward. He described a crag that was steep, stays dry, where no ones goes or has heard of and that he and Henry had cleaned over a year ago but had never climbed.

How could i refuse a little tuesday morning mission before work into the woods of the wye valley for a little climb and adventure.

Expectations

Not really expecting to get any climbing done except possibly a bit of top roping on some loose rock we were both pretty relaxed about the morning, well I thought we were both relaxed day had not fared as well from the night before as I, so much so that I have never seen dave so nervous of rock,spiders,ropes,edges and even, in my opinion the ground itself, which dave was convinced we were destined to fall off of at any minute.

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The Crag

After arriving at the bottom of the crag a few abseils in the wrong location we were in.

Abseiling into the crag, the first thing to notice, was the steepness. At the end of the rope I think i was around 5 metres from the bottom of the crag! Its steep and dry with a large ledge at the bottom.

The crag is around 10m wide and could sustain a few routes, perhaps around 6 if we stay keen!

We had a good session of ripping off  a few holds and ivy and a small session top roping the possible E4 only to have too many holds rip and hit me in the face to be called fun anymore. I had spotted a line I prefered anyway, to the left of the main wall was a trending line leftwards.

To me the trending line looked like the line of the crag and the one that possibly would see the most traffic and it dissected the easier part of the wall. I was keen to stop cleaning and get climbing, Dave was not keen for either.

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The Climbing

After returning to the base of the crag and forgetting all the middle sized cames, declaring not to worry so much ” nervous boy ” ( Dave ) I placed a Jumar as my first bit of gear to Dave amusement and set off, while dave checking the thread belay in case I fell early on, I was excited, so set off.

Quickly after setting off I ripped a hold and smashed into the floor, luckily not falling of the ledge.

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Adventures of Nervous boy – E1 5b

Unhurt and not put out, more excited by Daves fear i jumped back on to send the route.

Dave followed me up, chopping small trees and cleaning off ivy that stood in his way, he followed the line up the crag system of the E4 looking line and then split left to a large hold, swung a leg left and up and into the learning flake system, from them another high left foot to mantel on to the ledge system and a nice bimble to the of the crag. The finished being complicated by having to climbing a small tree to gain the height to reach the ledge and fence to safety.

Thoughts of names for the route were centred around my total lack of preparation and lack of cams, later to be named to due to Daves fear of the entire morning ” Nervous Boy, Later Adventures of Nervous boy.

A great little route through a very natural little line, a little bit more cleaning and I hoped to give a star

The follow up

We should be heading back Tuesday, having a good clean and being a bit more prepared with tools this time, I would love to get the crag into a good condition so the adventurous trad climbers can enjoy it and perhaps even for the adventurous sport climbers about us sneak in a bolted route too, looking at first glance around 7b+ ish.

 

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New Routing in Chepstow-Were we allowed? Who’s cares…

Let the frenzy of comments commence.

Before you do though, I don’t want to hear, he said she said, i heard this once from a farmers cousin who has a friend who’s a friend of a perigean, who knows a guy that once had a go at this route and then got told off by a bloke in the pub…I just don’t care, the guide book says its in, so its in.

So heres the story.

Myself, Dave talbot and Andy Torbot fancied ourselves as explorers for the day. On the strong persuasion of Dave Talbot I hung up the sport draws and put away the boulder mat and picked up a ice axe, set of skis, water bottle, secateurs, boat, some cams and various other items i have never heard of, never want to know the name and or have never used before in any fashion and met up with Andy Torbot and headed to Chepstow.

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Obvious kit list for Trad

Dave had somehow convince us of the importance of skis while new routing in the lower wye valley as often quick sinking mud of sorts is found on the bank of the rock and routes we are attempting, I can not tell a lie it seemed to make perfect sense at the time and who was I to question the Talbot, as it turns out the skis were not needed, shame, however the ice axe was essential to mounting the banks and if anything we could have done with 1 each.

Arriving at the bank on the other side on the river, with everything prepared and strong words of encouragement from the locals in the pub we left the shore at the local jetty.

Nothing better than swinging a axe getting muddy and not getting a route done

IMG_3627After 1 recce trip by myself I dropped Andy off on the bank and left him to trudge through the mud in his perfectly selected footwear, nike running trainers, he immediately sank but did a fine job to dragging the kit up piece by piece while wielding a ice axe. I went back to retrieve the excited dave.

2 other trips to get the kit across minus the water and secretors ( that we obviously on purpose left in the car ) in a boat that could only be described as the a floating parcel shelf, we had made it finally made it to the other side vowing to get a proper dingy next time.

All three on one side we quickly turned into hunters/children and smashed every living plant to pieces on the way to our goal, the small pinnacle on the right hand side with the bushes.

After a what seemed like minutes of fun which turned out to be a lot longer, mainly, without pointing the blame, the lack of secretors, we managed onto the pedestal.

Constructing ” not the best belay i have ever seen…”  dave set off, shortly after declaring that ” oh its not that bad after all, it looks fairly stabbbbllllllleeee” he ripped a block off to put a fridge to shame and swung under the belay into silence…

unhurt but losing a few bravery points he carried on, after many of blocks, swear words, anger towards Andy Torbot the belayer dave he found himself almost out of gear, and power. I decided it best to head back to the boat, now quickly looking like the safety boat

IMG_3644Lessons from a boat

In the boat I found 2 things, one i could live blog daves ascent, as in the river had more 3g reception than in my house and perhaps i could save a friend for dying, as he surely would if he fell. ripping the suspect gear and hitting the water would not be a nice way to go.

Dave as always positive though had encouraging words for Andy ” if this gear rips mate and i hit the stream, just hold me tight ok, I’m gunna have to climb these ropes” . These did not fill me or Andy with confidence. I decided to stay in the boat.

Climb then swear, Swear the climb

After some fine climbers followed by more swearing a blocks coming off eventually Dave had ran out of steam, gear to climb the route he asked the one last question left “Go on steve be honest how far have i got left mate ” my response being ” I’m sorry bud, you’r not even half way ” left Dave demoralised and Andy bored.

Dave wisely decided to live another day, he traversed 5 meters and lowered of to a boat anchor to bring Torbot along for the second. Surprisingly hes was keen.IMG_3655

It turned out to be just as hard for Andy and perhaps just as dangerous due to Andy having to lower on one sling in a “ not the best position but it’ll do” into the awaiting safety boat.

Trad Ethics and completion Values

The name was suggested shortly after that ” Anchor to Anchor ” would do to represent the seemingly failure of the route, yet I was corrected and happy to learn that in fact this is what traditional climbing is about and that infact this was what could be classified as a momentous day. ” we had lived and escaped with all but one sling and a snap gate “IMG_3661

We hit the pub and as they say, the rest is history.

We are due to head back this coming tuesday under the proviso that we go at high tide and I am allowed to go first with, a proper boat, a couple of pairs of shoes and chalk bags and a high tide. Im just going to DWS the thing, seems a lot safer to me!

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