Friday, 22 November 2013

The English Riviera. Well a slightly colder version..

So over the last few weeks I have discovered Torquay as a climbing venue. If you have no idea where i'm talking about try this video, actually if you do you might enjoy it more! . To sum it up briefly its AWESOME! Turquoise oceans and crumbling limestone, what more could a North Wales loving west country climber want?! Its like climbing on the Lleyn Peninsula but there is a cafe serving cream teas at the top of the cliff instead of an angry welshman waving a gun and shouting things you don't understand!

So the first place I tried out was Daddyhole Main cliff. 65m of soaring cracks, steep faces and hanging slabs rising straight out of the ocean. After an arduous approach consisting of steep slopes of mud and aggressive plant species topped with a boulder hop across large blocks which are surprisingly mobile we reached the base of the classic Torbay classic Gates of Eden (HVS 5a).

Gates of Eden (HVS 5a) It climbs halfway up the obvious soaring corner
then breaks left across the slab and up the corner on the left. The main corner line through the
final overhangs is Last Exit to Torquay (HVS 5b).
The route climbs up from a pinnacle followed by a short-sharp burl up through an overhang to a ledge. This pitch used to be easy until it fell down. However the rock is actually still quite solid, especially for limestone! After leading the first pitch Rob then followed initially with a massive bag but quickly decided to jettison it in favour of a more lightweight attempt.. The next pitch climbs a hanging slab via the main crack and then a delicate traverse and is unbelievably only 4a (which is pretty easy if you don't know!!!!). It is however, incredibly run out with no meaningful gear after you leave the crack, however its a HVS so its not too surprising.. or if it is to you then you should probably stick to HS's in future or maybe even bouldering?

The second belay is under a small roof at the top of a groove which overhangs, great view of the beach between your legs! Bad time to drop your belay plate! After this its a wild stride round the corner and up a crumbling crack to the top. Simples! Airy, burley and crumbling.. Fantastic!

Rob Steer on the crux wall of Pinaccle Traverse Continuation (S2)
just before the splashdown!
Pat nearing the end of the Pinnacle Traverse (S1)

If you're more into slabs (hey nobodies perfect..) Torquay has that as well! There are some pretty good slab routes over in Parsons Hole. The best way to get there is from Daddyhole is via the Pinnacle Traverse and Pinnacle Traverse Continuation (which go at HVS and E1 or S1 and S2 depending on the state of the tides..). These again are fantastic and great fun, plenty of 5a and 5b moves which are (most of the time) above deepish water.

Me on Midas Touch (HVS 5a) at Parsons Hole

Rob Teetering up Criniod (E2 5b)
Its a brilliant place and everywhere seems pretty quiet. If you're in the area its worth a visit! There is also some great climbing over by Berry Head near Brixham. The red walls area is a total suntrap. I managed to get burnt and we were only there a few hours! Although, that's not too surprising considering I got burnt in the rain in Snowdonia the other week.

Red Walls Area at the Old Redoubt at Berry Head

1 comment:

  1. Great to see that you have discovered Torbay. It's interesting to note that after mid-afternoon, most of the climbs are in the shade so not too hot in the summer. The climbs to the left of Crinoid are brilliant but require a steady head as the pegs are ancient. Berry Head can be a real adventure especially on the Main have been warned. Enjoyed the Blog. Keep up the good work.