Thursday, 24 March 2011

Spring climbing


photos courtesy of Rhys Jones

What a glorious weekend for the nation's climbers, hill walkers and mountaineers- blessed high pressure meant brilliant blue skies, bright sunshine and not a cloud in the sky.

Taking full advantage of this mid-march anomoly Rhys Jones, Becky Bellworthy and myself headed down to the south coast for two days with high hopes of ticking some good routes and maybe even getting a tan.

Saturday saw us and what seemed like the world and his wife head down to Portland (sportland) to clip some bolts. Our threesome scrambled down past the cliffs of Blacknor Central to the jumble of slabs and boulders that seemed to be constantly battered by the swells.

We climbed pretty much every route on three of these slabs- including the diamond slab and ticked classics elsewhere such as The Bolt Factory. Good fun, but easy climbing. The waves crashed below, we played some tunes from Rhys' speakers and had many proud moments as Becky had her first experience of climbing and leading outdoors.

Photos courtesy of rhys jones

I found a huge, loose fossil which could be a 100million years old- i have no idea. I wandered whether i should take it home but instead hid it well under a boulder- if it has been there for millions of years without being taken then i suppose its not really my place to remove such a beautiful piece of history from the shoreline.

Day two Rhys persuaded us girls to head to Swanage for some trad climbing. Another great day and it was also nice to chat to Dave Pegler over sandwiches- he has provided all these of us with our kit for our Everest expeditions so it was nice to thank him in person.

I lead my first Severe climb- Inspiration S 4a. I had a long run out at the end after placing a sold nut and cam half way up the route. I knew i wasn't going to fall. That was a nice feeling- getting to the top with a smile. It's gotten me psyched for future trad days, Rhys you'll be pleased to know!

We watched the sunset from the top of the Agglestone in Studland- this great fiery orb sinking before our eyes behind the horizon. In the twilight we messed around on the sandstone and eeked out the final few moments of a wonderful weekend.

As we said goodbye to Becky, Rhys had to remind her- climbing in the UK is NOT normally like this! We've experienced gales in Scotland, frozen toes in the Lakes, cold hands pretty much everywhere else and not forgetting drizzle and wet, slippery rock.

But that's why weekends like that are so unforgettable- maybe they only come around once or twice a year, and to have been able to make the most of every moment is really what it is to feel alive.

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