Winter Training Continues

With still no sign of winter approaching Mike and me returned to Saltdean fore more bolted chalk. We met Steve Melvin and fellow LMC member Rob Marson at the cliffs. It may be warm in Scotland but at least the weather were perfect for chalk.

My confidence was improving with the medium. I onsighted a route with no name (C5) between Back in Time and Day Dreaming. I followed this up with Back to the Future (C6), and The Strangeness and the Charm of the Quark (C5). Having dogged Fulmar (C7) on my last attempt I was happy to second the route behind Mike, who looked pretty gripped on lead. Another productive day.

Steve climbing Back On Back Off (C5)
Back to the Future (C6), left & Strangeness and Charm of the Quark (C5), right
Rob climbing Strangeness and Charm of the Quark (C5),
Rob climbing Fulmar (C6/7)
On a negative note, we watched a group break pretty much every rule in the bolted chalk book today. It's mandatory when climbing the bolted routes at Saltdean to use existing axe placements. Adding new placements will reduce the grade and undermine the original sequence of moves intended by the first ascensionist. It's also important not to swing axes too aggressively. The chalk at Saltdean is hard, by chalk standards, which makes it ideal for bolts (relatively speaking) however aggressively swinging will lead to fractures. The one exception is when a large horizontal surface is encountered. Rain will soften these horizontal breaks leading creating a softer gooey consistency which requires a little force in order for the axes to safely bite. Needless to say it is also not advisable to hook both axes over the lower-off rope and heave hard as this pair did.

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