With the south side of Cheddar still closed and having done most of the sport routes that I want to do on the north side I felt it was time for a little change. I have always vowed never to do trad in Cheddar just because I know how many holds come off on any one route but I thought I would make an exception this time. On Wednesday 10th I headed out to Cheddar after work with Al. We abseiled down the line checked the gear then set up a top rope. I worked out the bottom section really quick but it took a couple tries on the crux section to work that out. After both of us had had a go Al went back to try and figure out the crux. 20 minutes later he still hadn’t really worked out a sequence that worked for him so he lowered off declaring him self too short. I tied in with the intention of doing it clean. I climbed the start well and arrived the crux feeling pretty fresh, as I started through the crux my foot popped at that was me off. I lowered down, had a bit of a rest, and tried again. This time I got to the crux feeling tired and dropped it part the way through. As I hadn’t done it clean and I was feeling pretty tired I didn’t go for the lead and excepted defeat. So we pack up and headed to the Crown.
I was researching HDR (high dynamic range) photography this morning and decided to give it a go. So I took my camera out with me when I took the dogs for a walk and this is what I came back with.
After having a rest day on Sunday Al and I headed to Cheddar on Monday after I finished work. We went back up to Unknown bay for Will Stanton. I Stick clipped up to the 3rd bolt then went bolt to bolt to the top to warm up. I lowered down and felt pretty fresh so I decided to go for a burn. I felt good at the start and got in to the roof at half height with no trouble. After a bit of a rest I pushed on through the crux, that went really well up until I got to the final hold where I felt pretty pumped. After a bit of a power scream to get my foot up I hit the Jug. “Thank God for that.” I really like when things just come together. I guess having a big day on friday paid off with felling fit today. Al had a good couple of burns and managed to link it in two sections so he’s fairly keen to head back up. When he does Il try to go back and get some photos.
With Alan not working at the moment he always seems to be badgering me to go climbing during the week. So Thursday night we made a plan to climb on Friday. with both of us wanting to sport climb and the hot weather making it rather difficult to climb hard, we had to make some sacrifices. Like getting out early and arriving at the crag before 9am. The plan was to climb a route called Academic F8a. It’s a short bolted route tucked away in the Sea Walls section of the Avon Gorge. Due to it’s short, bouldery nature you need quite good conditions to climb it, hence getting on it early before the sun comes onto it. I had one go on the route about a month ago. I was working down the gorge one evening and I had ask my wife Heather to come and meet after work so I could try it, hoping for good conditions. It showered a couple of times during work but it didn’t really come to anything. At 8:30pm when the session had finished I was talking down the top ropes and it started to rain again. By the time I got down to the car it was still raining, I grabbed my stuff and proceeded to drag Heather up the wet grassy slope to the Academic. Most of the route is fairly overhanging and stays dry in the wet. I racked up and pulled on. I got through the start ok but fell off towards the end of the crux sequence. I pulled back on did one move then attempted to pull round the lip. This was incredibly difficult as the hold on the lip was soaked and it was still raining. So I threaded the bolt just below the lip and stripped my gear out and packed up and went home.
We arrived at Avon at 8:45am and the conditions seemed good. I remembered most of the moves so dogged up putting the draws in, checked a couple of moves, brushed a few of the holds then climbed to the peg just over the lip and lowered off. I asked Al if it was ok to go for a burn while I was half warmed up, he said go for it. Theres a tricky traverse just after the start, that seemed to go ok. I pulled onto the steep and started through the crux, this felt a little tricky mainly due to the fact I wasn’t really warmed up. I got through the crux and pulled the lip. Brilliant now all I’ve got to do is to finish up an E2. This in true Avon style is about double the height of what I have just climbed with no gear. The climbing was fairly easy but just a tad run out. After getting down I talked Al through the sequence so he could go for the flash. Unfortunately he dropped it on the tricky traverse near the start. He carried on and got to the crux. He had a little trouble figuring out the moves and ended up using a slightly different sequence to me through the crux but didn’t quite get one of the moves so he lowered off at the peg and had a bit of a rest. While he was resting I noticed the reason why he was having a bit of difficulty pulling through the crux. He had no skin, his finger tips were just weeping sweat. No wonder he was struggling. After a bit of a rest he pulled back up the rope to crux, applied some liquid chalk and waited for that to dry. Once it had dried he pulled on and did the move first go. After playing around on some of the other moves he concluded that it was starting to get warm and he didn’t have enough skin. So he sacked it off and pushed on up the E2 to finish and stripped the gear out.
You always find around this time of year it can be quite difficult to get out and do what you want to do. It’s either really hot or wet and most of the time it’s both of those things put together. With half of cheddar closed and it being a bit too warm for most local sport venues, a bit of local trad seemed like the right thing to do. About 6 months ago Matt had gone on a little mission with Tom Harrison to clean up and try one of Tom’s dad’s routes A38, E6 6b. They abseiled down the line and gave it a bit of a clean as it hadn’t seen any action in a good few years. After a bit of a top rope session they had figured out a sequence and a few of the gear placements. Matt had got it clean on a top rope but wasn’t quite ready to lead it. I met both of them later that day in the pub. They were both covered in mud and there was a strange smell of fox poo lingering around them. They were both pretty psyched to go back soon. 6 months have passed and they still havent been back. Going on how much they had raved about it that night in the pub and knowing they hadn’t been back I mentioned it to Matt yesterday. He seemed keen so we met in the morning and headed over there. Goram’s chair is bassed in Trym Vally Gorge, in the past has been notoriously hard to find. If I remember rightly It took 3 visits to just to find the crag. This time it was fine, once you know where it is it’s actually quite easy. After a quick abseil inspection we set up a top rope. Matt headed up first to try a remember a sequence. After a bit of huffing a puffing and flash pump of doom he made it to the top. As he lowered down he check out the gear and left it in place for me. I tied on started my way up. I got through the bottom section ok, at about half way there’s a couple of crux moves. I managed to get through them and get to a bomber hand jam. After that there’s a few sustained moves that lead to better holds at the top. I was a bit pumped when I got to the top but it definitely felt doable. On the way down I striped the gear out so we could have a second go on top rope placing the gear. That seemed to go ok for both of us. When I got down Matt asked me what do I want to do? I told him I was ready. So after a nervous wee Matt pulled the rope and racked up. Matt climbed the bottom section well, you could tell he was a little bit nervous but he kept his composure. He got to the crux and went through it with ease. After getting a bomber rock 5 in he knew all he had to do was keep his cool, and that he did. He toped out with a relieved “Wahooo”. After a little celebration he lowered down and striped the gear out. Once he was down I pulled the rope and he handed me the gear. I was feeling a little apprehensive just because I havent done any trad recently, but I knew the gear was good and the climbing felt ok. The lower section seemed to fly by and before I knew I was through the crux and at the rest. I had a little trouble fiddling in a wire just after the crux but I was on good holds. I pushed on, sank the bomber rock 5 and toped out.
I always used to hear people talking about these fantastic 40m dripping tufa lines and raving about how good the climbing is, but it wasn’t until I set foot on the island that I realised they weren’t joking.
This trip came about when my best man (Matt Cox) and I got together to organise my stag do. I didn’t fancy doing the usual going out on the town, getting pissed all weekend and either ending up tied to a lamp post naked or swimming in the Bristol docks. So we decided to get a small team together and head out to Kalymnos.
Getting there couldn’t have been easier. We took a flight from Gatwick to Koz £100 rtn, from Koz you get a 10 minute taxi ride from the Airport to Mastichari port €16. From the port you can get a passenger ferry to Kalymnos €6 per person, once you arrive in Pothia you can then take another taxi to your accommodation. It cost €15 from Porthia to Masouri where we stayed.