Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Sun, slabs and suspicious placements..

Workworkworkworkwork blah blah defiantly need a day off and I wish I was a dirtbag student still!

A very quiet Compass Point with a big swell running

So after a reasonably extended stint selling t-shirt and other middle class garments I finally got a day off from work.. To celebrate such a rare occasion me and Rob Steer headed in search of a quick trad fix and some sunshine on the North Cornish coast. The plan was to head for Bude, a place thought to be twinned with Barrow-In-Furness and looks like it hasn't seen a new building since the 1960s. Compass Point however lies just south of the town and is a south facing swath of carboniferous culm that juts out into the Sea.

So after a long drive from South Devon chasing a far off strip of blue sky on the horizon, we arrived at Bude with the sun being still covered by the clouds. Not to worry though, as it wasn't raining here so that's enough boxes ticked to go and at least check out the crag! As with most places on the Culm, the top is a crumbling mess of detached blocks precariously balanced on strata of soft biscuit like coal layers which you have to abseil off before you can even look at the routes, all of which adds to the excitement!

Sugar Magnolia (HVS 5a) just before committing to thin section
With numb fingers and dry(ish) rock we cracked on and did the first route of the day which was Sugar Magnolia (HVS 5a). Not overly strenuous but with an action packed and surprisingly burly crux right at the end of a traverse along a thing crack above an overhang, spicy! Worth seeking out but is one of the closest lines to the ocean so make sure you do that one first!

Rob pulling some shapes on Crimtphon (E2 5b)
So after that warm up the next route was the classic of the crag, Crimtphon (E2 5b). This route works its way up a compact slab using a few runners and 4 spaced pegs (the FA climber must have been a bit strapped for cash presumably!) past some odd in-cut dishes. If you like crimping the shit out of creaky holds and smearing like hell this is the route for you! Not bad for a slab!

Me leading the upper section of the weirdly pocked wall of Tydomin (HVS 4c)
Since the tide was coming in which was bring the 6 foot breaking waves uncomfortably close we decided to call it a day and escaped out up another equally classic line, Tydomin (HVS 4c). This starts up an oddly pocked and indented lower sections which leads to the steep upper section protected mostly by very small wires.. Yet another spicy finish!

Looking up the ridge of Compass Point, see what I mean?