Saturday, 10 November 2012

Saltdean: Something Less Dramatic

After last weekend's late night climbing antics at Dover I was keen for something less dramatic this weekend. Jack and me headed to the bolted routes at Saltdean.

We warmed up of Slab Route/Slab Extension. The start to Slab Route continues to get slightly harder each season as chalk falls away beneath it. A small cave has now formed beneath the slab. The undercut chalk at the base of the slab is plagued with extensive cracks that suggest the slab may begin higher up in the near future. The short wall to gain the slab offered good value and needed composure to clip to the first bolt, after which the climbing became easy.

Jack gaining the Slab on Slab Route
Having climbed Slab Route we set up a top-rope on the lower-off further right, which I believe to be Christmas Cracker (C6). I think this was the route that Hugh Dennis climbed on the BBC program 'The Great British Countryside', which was broadcast earlier this year. Therefore surely a push-over? This section of cliff has since a lot of change in recent years. We top-roped the route as a precautionary measure in order to check the route's viability. It proved the right decision as after some acrobatic moves through the lower third the holds abruptly disappeared with no sign of continuation higher up. I lowered off. I'll leave it to the first ascensionists to chop new holds as they choose. Then maybe I'll come back and see if I can go one better than Hugh Dennis.

Hung at Dawn (on Christmas Cracker, C6)
We moved around to the Seaward Face and climbed Everyman's Route (C5). This is maybe the best route at Saltdean for the grade in my opinion with some steep, exposed climbing in the upper half and a delicate finish. The mallion installed last November has already rusted so we were forced to leave a screwgate karabiner at the lower-off. I may climb this route a couple more times this winter to get it's worth.

Jack climbing Everyman's Route
We spent the remainder of the afternoon low-level traversing the cliffs east of the 4x4 cave. My main objective for the day was to work on strength and endurance post-shoulder injury. The relentlessly steep nature of some sections of the cliff at Saltdean means traversing is an ideal way to achieve this. We traversed along the overhanging Six of the Best wall, along the more gentle Seaward Face, before my arms finally gave up a short distance into the massively overhung Pleasure Dome. After a short rest we then traversed back along the Seaward Face. Job done.

Traversing the Six of the Best wall
Traversing the Six of the Best wall
Jack traversing the Seaward Face
Traversing the Pleasure Dome

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