Deep Water Chalk Climbing

Rick, Noah and me headed to Saltdean for more winter training. We met Rob Marson and Steve Melvin at the crag. In contrast to Scotland last week, the fine weather was out in force today.

The tide was still relatively low so we headed to the Eastern end of the cliffs. A new route called Cold Front (C5+) had recently been put up near to the Pleasure Dome, which we were keen to try. Rick went first but by the time he had traversed left onto the steep finishing wall the pools of water below the cliffs had quickly risen to an alarming level. Rick bailed off a quickdraw runner, we packed our stuck, some of which was now submerged and made for dry land further West. The tide was already hitting the Seaward Face but with our crampons still donned we were able to traverse above the waterline. 1/3 of the way along the face the line of low-level traverse holds dipped down beneath the water line and we were forced to remove boots and socks and start wading. The water was only knee deep to begin with but as we approached the Six of the Best Area the water rose to thigh high. We learnt a lesson today to be weary of the tide in this part of the cliff.

Rick climbing Cold Front (C5+)
We watched a couple of climbers chop intermittent holds in the short route that I think is Claus for Chalk in the centre of the 4x4 Wall this morning. The leader then proceeded to hook his axe over the lower-off ropes in an attempt to climb the last couple moves. My major regret is not giving them some stern words about ethics at the cliff. We tried the route ourselves a short time after. It's not ruined but feels much easier now versus when I climbed it a month ago. At least the lower-off looks to still be intact.

We moved to the Western end of the cliffs to avoid the tide. I finally got around to leading Fulmar, Fulmar (C6/7), followed by repeat ascents of Back Up (C5), and Back Off Back On (C5).

(L) Rob top-roping an unbolted line directly beneath the Quark lower-off. (R) Rick leading Back Off (C5)


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