Monday, 24 January 2011

Normal Service Is Resumed

After all climbing efforts last weekend were thwarted by terrible weather, I found myself in Bristol this weekend enjoying the hospitality of the Doctors Gray and hatching silly trad climbing plans. Accordingly, Oli and I set off on Saturday morning for Three Cliffs on the Gower, which it turns out, is quite far away from Bristol. When we eventually got there the walk to the crag featured a worrying about of ice and frozen mud, but on walking through the natural arch to the crag we found rather balmy conditions. It was my lead, so after spending a few minutes reminding myself how my harness and all this jangly metal was supposed to work, I started up a pleasant little HS slab. I got to the top without any near-death incidents, and followed Oli up the adjacent route, before soloing another HS which looked entertaining.

Scavenger (thanks to Yorkshire Dave for the photo)

Suitably warmed up I cast my eye over to Scavenger, reputedly one of the best VSs in the area, and certainly an eye catching line up a slabby corner arcing over the natural arch. The climbing turned out to be excellent and well protected. The top crack was a little wet, but that didn't detract from things. Not a bad route for my 800th on the ticklist.

Next on the agenda was the nearby Pobbles East, a shy and retiring cove with an appealing little wall containing a two-star VS called Smalt. After wrestling with the unreasonably barnacley start, Oli made short work of the upper crack, and, after soloing the adjacent VS, we retreated from the rapidly approaching tide towards Pobbles West. We spent a pleasant half-hour or so here soloing everything in sight, before finishing off the day with a fun mountaineering traverse of the crag's eponymous three cliffs, which is definitely to be recommended.

Pobbles East

The evening was spent playing poker badly into the wee small hours, so an early start was off the cards on Sunday. Eventually we ventured Southwards to Fairy Cave Quarry, which turned out to be impressively large and possessing of some inspiring lines for a limestone quarry, but sadly was rather damp. So we drove over to Goblin Combe, which was also damp, and thence the Avon Gorge, which was seeping badly. Having run out of worthwhile crags to wander around the bottom of looking sulky, we snuck off to the local bouldering wall (I did need a bouldering fix after all this trad action...).

Oli and a whole lot of limestone in Fairy Cave Quarry

So, trad psyche has been restored. I'm still keen for bouldering, but I'm at least as keen for it to stop being wet, and start being sunny.

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