After yet another summer of injuries (see previous posts) I finally found my way back on to some trad climbs last weekend.
I headed down to Swanage with Daniel and we met Rob and Pete down there. We wondered down to Guillemont as there is a good selection of climbs.
Why Swanage, it is limestone. Last two times I have climbed on limestone I have a) had a massive fall and landed on a slab, walked away, and b) been run over by a rock the size of a flagstone when topping out in the Ruckle. I have never got on with the limestone gear placement and it really is crap for trad compared to so many other rock types.........oh, its close that's right.
Anyway, Swanage Trad is all sea cliffs with mainly abseil approaches, so it is pretty fun and committing, but the locations are great.
We arrived and soon abseiled in and I elected to climb the first route, Daniel belaying. It didn't go accordingly plan. A couple of sits (resting on the rope) to sort my head out and then a couple of falls and my head was sorted and completed the first pitch, bypassed the dodgy belay for a better option and Dan, soon followed. Then he lead the second pitch and the route was done.
Next Dan lead Spook a great E1 5b, he lead this easily and I followed with surprising easy for the amount of climbing I have done on rock this year.
Next route I had much more success on a Mistaken Identity, VS 4c, which from the ground look a bit loose, but turned out to be a very nice climb. Trad head restored I had a good play with gear and I am more comfortable now with limestone placements than ever before. The top out (finish of the climb) and belay were somewhat interesting though.
Whilst Dan followed, Pete and Rob uttered those three very bad words "One more Climb", it was 16:45.
The chosen climbs didn't go well for Pete or Dan. Pete and Rob opted for another route, next to the one Dan was on, then thought it a bit boring and were interested in the route Dan was on. After several goes Daniel back off and I had a go, a couple of rest later and two nice falls I backed off completely knackered.
We switched routes with Pete and Rob, Pete lead our route easily (he was the right height ;-) ) and I lead the rout Pete was on, and HS I think and managed to run this out from about half height as it also proved to be interesting for route finding and only had large gear placements, I had no large gear.
After these routes, we quickly sorted gear and walked out, it was about 20:00 by now, The one more climb jinx had bitten us. Will we know better next time? no, Did we have a great day? Absolutely!!!
It was great to be back on trad, even on "slimstone" and the day had turned out better than expected and it has done my trad head a world of good. Just maybe I can push up through the grades again and get on the 3 routes I really want to climb this year. Time will tell.
I'm a happy trad rat again!