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.
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
After 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
Lessons 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.
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 “
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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