Blood on the Car Seat

I pulled the plug on plans for Scotland this weekend at about 7pm on Friday. The Northern Coires were full of wind slab and category 4 avalanche risk. The situation was the same on Ben Nevis. I considered Lochnagar for a bit as it sounded as though less snow had fallen there. Snow and wind was forecast throughout the night so maybe Lochnagar would also be a problem by the morning? Then there were the road conditions to consider. Would we reach the car park? If I lived in Scotland I would "take a look". Travelling from London to "take a look" seemed unjustifiable.

I would have to make do with chalk although nobody was available for climbing. Low-level traversing is always good for strength and stamina though. Low tide on Sunday was the ghastly time of 7am. I managed to park the car at Saltdean for 8am. A record early start for me on chalk. Some of the regulars had been at the cliffs since 6am and so put my efforts to shame.

Eastern end of the cliffs
I traversed the cliffs East of the Thunder Dome. The sequences of moves were excellent and often sustained. A hold broke off after only 30 minutes... I was fully committed to an overhung section at the time with both hands gripping the same axe. I fell off from only a meter above the ground but landed with a thump on my back. Fortunately there were no blocks of chalk beneath me. My left forearm, which had taken some of the impact, was left with a deep hole that bled for the rest of the day. I managed to traverse for a while longer until the blood running down my arm suggested I go home. I had at least worked the arms sufficiently to justify the visit. I drove home trying not to get blood on my trousers and the passenger car seat. I would make sure to always carry some sort of first aid kit in the car for future. And to make sure I have a spotter next time...


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