Clocking Mileage at Saltdean

With no sign of winter re-emerging I headed to Saltdean again with Julia. We left London at 7am in order to capitalise on the 8am low tide.

There was a decent turn-out of climbers given the perfect weather conditions of clear winter skies and little breeze. I was inspired to witness someone climb Blade Runner (C5/6) for my first time before I set to work on Everyman's Route (C5) in order to swap the screwgate karabiner installed last week for one rarely used. I then top-roped Cathy Come Home (C8) to the right but only to 2/3 height. The pair climbing next door to us had started to lead up the same route directly below me and, despite it being unlikely, I did not want to risk dropping an axe on them. I'll come back soon and work this route properly.

Climber on Blade Runner (C5/6)

Water was beginning to pool beneath the Seaward Face, which I know from bad experience means rapid advancement of the tide here. We abandoned the section of cliff to climb Slab Route/Extension whilst the climber on Cathy Come Home was forced to make a premature abseil, else let his belay be submerged by the sea.

Climber on Cathy Come Home (C8)

Slab Route

Julia climbing Slab Route

We moved to the West side where we climbed the unnamed route between Back Up and St Gerome (C5). The bolts on the slab are now slightly loose and best not tested too much. The initial moves through the low overhang are excellent however nearly all the placements in the upper half of the route are now into soft chalk ledges that require little precision.

We climbed Back Up (C5), The Strangeness and Charm of the Quark (C5), and then finished the day on Back to the Future (C6), which is one of my favourite routes at the crag. The intimidating crux involves committing to a jutting roof in order to gain the steep wall above, which is climbed for three bolts before the gradient eases back. It's the longest bolted route on this side of the crag with the belay a matter of metres from the top of the cliff.

Julia contemplating the crux of Back to the Future (C6)

The cliffs turned ochre coloured as the sun began to set. My forearms were telling me it was time to go home.

Afternoon sun over Saltdean's cliffs

Incredible sunset over Saltdean's coast


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