Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Scratching the itch


What's this? A Monday off instead of the normal Saturday or Sunday? Feels strange, I'll tell you what it actually feels like, a mini holiday. I'm sure it won't last and very soon it'll become just part of the routine. However yesterday, as the kids and the lovely Mrs W are on summer holiday we went off to scratch daddy's itch i.e. a bit of outdoor climbing, due to work and time commitments I haven't been outdoors since the groin strain. 

Stone Farm is a cracking little spot a couple of miles southwest of East Grinstead in Sussex, south facing with some tree cover so our own peculiar local brand of friable sandstone dries nice and quickly and there's shade for when you get a little too warm. When we got there there was one other car in the little parking area and four lads playing on the Inaccessible Boulder.
Me on The Inaccessible Boulder earlier last year.
We basically had the place to ourselves, I had my mind set on two routes Remote and Pine Buttress. Remote was first, set the anchor up around the convenient tree some kind soul had placed at the top, then off with Mrs W on the belay. The first few moves were relatively easy, but the crux comes about three quarters of the way up where a thin vertical crack goes to the top. So I jam the fingers of both hands into the crack and walk my feet up the wall before jamming the toes of my right foot into the bottom of the crack and stand up too reach the top - unfortunately this is where I ran out of holds and spent a little time slapping ineffectually at the rock before hauling myself inelegantly over the top on my belly.

The kids then decided they wanted to do Slab Direct, a 4a with some reachy moves - well, reachy if you're a 4'4" 8 year old. It took them both a while to get off the ground but they both did really well and topped out, then both decided on Pine Crack, lots of jamming of feet into the crack ensued and bearing mind I'm too tight to buy them proper stickies due to the rate at which kids feet grow, they both did really well on what is quite a technical route.

Then onto Pine Buttress for me, standing back and looking, it seemed to have a number of nice juggy holds. However these holds turned out to be uniformly shallow, I'm talking first and second joint shallow, which for me is verging on unclimbable, in fact, even two months ago I wouldn't have even considered trying it. It took me a couple of goes to get off the ground, but I wasn't going to be beaten and I managed to thug my way up - cue an enormous sense of achievement.

All through this sunny, warm, nay hot morning Mrs W. had patiently belayed all three of us, never moaning always encouraging, she'd even packed a cool bag full of snacks and cold drinks....and she's not even particularly keen on climbing.


1 comment:

  1. Great stuff! Whenever you're around and free we should hook up. Unfortunately it'll be next year unless you fancy some ice climbing at Harrisons? :-)