|The cliffs at Newhaven|
|Rick leading Fly Catcher (C6), Newhaven|
|Rick above the roof on Fly Catcher (C6), Newhaven|
Both the C7/8 routes looked to have suffered missing sections and the remaining C9/10 routes looked improbable for mere mortals. We opted to head to Saltdean for the remainder of the afternoon.
With a number of visits to Saltdean already this winter, and with full confidence back in my shoulder (previously a rotator cuff injury), I was keen to start knocking off the routes on the Six of the Best wall. I had studied a route called Get into the Groove (C6) on a number of occasions but never attempted. It was time to man-up and have a go.
With shingle at its lowest the difficulties through the overhung start were exacerbated. I reached the corner groove for which the route is named after. To its left the groove was buffered by a narrow hanging steep slab. A sequence of vertical linear axe placements up the slab with nothing right of the groove to allow bridging made footwork tricky business. My body weight inevitably shifted left of the groove as I followed the axe placements on the slab and my feet battled with the empty space beneath the slab as I struggled to mount it. The pump was building but once my feet were properly mounted it eased back. A narrow crack in the upper part of the groove allowed for some rare torquing on chalk. I gained the upper slab, which was void of hooks to the lower-off lower and so needed a couple to be added. Although not as steep as some of the C7 routes that I have done in this vicinity the sequences of moves proved more testing.
Rick made an attempt to lead but struggled with the moves at the base of the slab and needed some rests before eventually reaching the lower-off. We had both sufficiently worked the forearms though, which was the primary goal for today. Stripping the route proved strenuous given the lower-off was positioned a number of meters left of the line of the quickdraws. With the tide almost upon us the rope chose to jam with Rick still perched 4 meters above the ground. With some encouragement we freed it and visions of epic coast guard rescues subsided.