AT - stories for your amusement

Discussion in 'Sports, Adventure Training and Events' started by onfire, May 26, 2007.

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  1. Ive been sat indoors all day doing naff all while i try to recover from the man-flu (its been 4 weeks suffering now, and as i havent taken a day off i am now trying forced rest!) ... i dont do bored very well and my mind has wandered to some memories that i havent visited in a while ... they make me smile so i thought id share them

    is it possible to delete your own thread if it turns out to be pump?!

    A few years ago a friend and i took the opportunity of climbing down at Three Cliffs on Gower, the day was hot and long and we climbed pretty much from one end of the cliff to the other. Taking in the easier climbs to the left, we progressed rightwards and harder until we reached the edge of our comfort zone at VS grade.

    As the light started to fail my friend decided that we really HAD to tackle Scavenger (a VS 4b climb that is marked as a classic in the guidebook) before we quit for the day.

    Scavenger takes an awkward line up the right hand side of the arch and is now very polished ... classic but not the best rock i have climbed! I started the lead, placing gear as i moved higher, skittering over the highly polished holds. As i moved higher i became aware of the crowds leaving the beach and, more alarmingly, the climbs. Feeling a bit daft at being the only climbers left as the crowds cleared the last pieces of sand and rock i glanced over my shoulder to see the tide getting slickly closer.

    I bottled it - it was a great partnership, my buddy always pushes our abilities while i am far more cautious and so far ensure we survive!

    My mate wasn't so easily put off and determined to take the lead. Ever the gent, i gave in to him. For any non-climbers out there - there is perhaps nothing so tranquil ... or in this case so lonely ... as belaying (holding the rope for) the lead climber. I let the rope move through my fingers, slowly paying it out as he moved steadily higher up the warm rock. Swiftly we could no longer hear each other, and gradually even the tinkling sound of the metal gear on his harness knocking against the rock faded away. As i drifted off into my own little world, gazing out at the light falling behind the sea cliffs i suddenly realised how close the tide had come in - now this is an important point that i have not forgotten since ... the tide comes in FAST on flat, sandy beaches!

    I called up to T$% and tried to tell him to hurry up, but he couldnt hear me. i took coils of rope in my arms and moved from the sand onto a little rock pedestal at the base of the climb - looking across the arch i noted how wise we were to put the rest of our kit (including my car keys and SLR camera) up on a rock ledge 4 feet from the ground.

    The rope continued to snake through my hands as he moved higher, but the tide was now racing it ... and the tide was winning. i shouted up again but my voice was obviously obliterated in the wind as i faintly heard T&* call back 'sweet' ... at this point the tide was swriling around the edge of my rocky perch and my boots were getting wet. Shouting pointlessly upwards i bundled the loose coils of rope over my shoulders and started to climb. This was it - the epic of our climbing career thus far - we were now simultaneously climbing the hardest grade that we were capable of ... our 'fear factor' if you will. Now i would like to think that i had the hardest part, despite following T^& up as he at least did not realise neither of us were protected.

    As i moved higher, weighted down by ropes as i shinned up slippery smooth holds, i became alarmingly conscious of the water reaching cheekily up towards our kit on the ledge ... shouting up to T(* it became apparent that he now realised the situation and he broke off to the side, and finished on a variation to the route. as i followed him through i remember him having the smug cheek to call 'Im safe, you can take me off belay' - i suppose at least one of us had made it!

    Quickly we rigged an abseil and descended to claim our kit before the tide did, which led us to my longest memory ... being sat at the top of the cliff, between two of the three peaks, shaking with adrenaline and relief, watching the tide coming in and (without a word being spoken) both tying back into the rope for the simple traverse of the peaks back onto safe ground.

    I dont think i slept at all that night ... and i certainly had a lesser respect for my friends persuasive bravado!

    Maybe next time I'll tell about getting my Rover stuck while offroad with my REME mate ... or when i sent a student down an abseil to find i'd misjudged the height and stopped the safety rope (not the abseil line) 2 ft short ... or Im happy for the MODs to delete this thread if the only person i have amused is myself!

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  2. Nice story mate. Being relatively new to climbing and still on V Diff with the very occasional S I can fully appreciate getting out of your comfort zone and the adrenaline pumping. Tried my first lead in Jersey last year on Adv Trg - an S!!! The guy said I'd be fine, as I we weren't sure what the grade was. Didn't quite complete it, stickies too small, not that comfident about ability, but hey, we all start somewhere! Good thing I didn't complete it as the tide was coming in and the only way out from the pinnacle was to walk around the coast. No path just massive rocks to scramble over. They do say that time and tide wait for no man!! Saw some phots of me climbing afterwards, and the guy belaying me (who seemed to know what he was doing), was either looking away at some of the rest of the group, or looking at his feet! Also saw that the rope was way slack!!! Slack enough that he was standing 10 feet away from the face and the rope arched down to the deck before going up to my first bit of gear!! Thank f**k i didn't come off. I think I'd have gone splat before the slack was taken up! Now the weathers better?!! Trying to get out more, as long as I can find a partner to climb with. Only problem with this sport - unless your a complete lunatic you need someone else to do it with.
  3. Hi, thanks

    it sounds like you had all the incentives to climb well that day! there are few things more conducive to not falling than a belayer who isnt watching!

    solo is pretty rewarding, when you feel confident in yourself, your ability and the rock ... but i still prefer hard, short solo climbs - im not ready for the deep water solo festival anyway!

  4. Yep - had all the incentives but disco leg doesn't help get up the face. Going to Jersey again for AT and I'm determined to crack that climb! That is of course if I can get someone who will actually watch me as I go up and will anticipate me going splat! It's not the biggest climb but the challenge to crack it is there!

    Soloing is definately not on my agenda! I prefer to be attached to something! I've left it late in life to start climbing anyway (43!), but have every intention to try and go up the grades, as long as I have a climbing buddy, although in saying that, found out on Fri that there is a guy in the unit who actually asked for someone to climb with on the net - if only I'd known! If I can hook up with him and the weather stays good, hopefully the log book will get a hammering. Where do you normally climb? You mentioned that your little escapade was at the Gower - is that local to you?