050820-21 DWS Festival

Overview - Whatever God you (don't) believe in, he/she/it obviously loves climbers. Not only has it provided the bountious boulder playground of Fontainebleau, but has thrown Deep Water Soloing (DWS) in just for added laughs. This has been one of the best weekends ever - bright sun, great rock, and no fear. Conner Cove was the first day's area, with Lulworth's Stair Hole for the day after. Both need to be returned to... The Saturday was a day full of "well I could do this E2 as a warm-up to the E4 over there, but why not just jump on the E4 and see what happens?" ;-)

The Conger (3* E2 5c):

DWS - Got to the top of this, and, apart from thinking it was a terrific one for starting the day on, I thought it was well overgraded. As the day went on, and I started to understand the effects of not having fear, I now agree with the grade... I like the fact that the crux was one move past where everyone thought it was.

A Bridge Too Far (1* E1 5b):

DWS - The single soaking of the weekend was due to starting up A Leap of Faith (E3 5c) without realising it. That's really bad, as LoF is about the single DWS festival climb that had a rock ledge beneath it. I managed to miss it, got straight back on, and did the more sensible starting line around to the right. Although some might say that the Conger bridging move is the diffinative bridge, I would say this one is. A hidden ledge to step off, and a long step across to a flat wall. Excellent. Not much else interesting on it, though. I found it really quite easy - but would I on lead???

The Great Shark Hunt (2* E4 6a):

DWS - Started onto Furious Pig, and thought, heck, why not... Until the guy ahead of me moved around the first arete and out of sight, followed rapidly by him falling off with a loud splash! Oh well - still went for it. Get around the first arete onto decent holds, then haul / bridge / technique your way into the far groove for a thrutched-egyptian hands-off rest. Very strange, but very cool! Getting out of this rest position is even more amusing, as you have to step down and around left again, but you could only know that by getting into the rest first.

Furious Pig (1* E2 5c):

DWS - Not sure whether this was the route, or whether I did Crime Wave (same grade without the star). Traversed over to the arete (passing what I still think is possibly the crux of both routes), then up it. At this point, things were starting to get a little silly - Having made the arete, the first move up involved a sloped glassy smear (i.e. not on your life, IMHO). Fine moves up small holds on the wall to the left, then try to regain the good ledge on the arete - only to realise that the body position required puts you totally off-balance, almost to the point of falling right-wards. Ah, heck. Fall right-wards, and just try and hang on! Utterly daft, and never on lead, but I managed to hold it, and did my monkey impression for a bit.

Freeborn Man (3* E4 6a):

DWS - Made it to the top, but it was so draining to do this one at the end of the day, that I fell it would have been better to leave it for another day when I might enjoy it a little more. Never noticed a crux (apart from getting off the traverse onto the wall), but can't remember any of the moves up to the lip, either. However, at the lip, the 3-move traverse and then the fall over on to the upper slab are life-confirming and awesome. Far better in retrospect than on it, as was too lost in the "just get to the top". Toby made it look so easy, and so enjoyable. A good one either way. Photo at http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=16717.

Captain Bastard got there First (1* E2 5c):

DWS - Never really got going on the Sunday, but had to do at least something, so this was it. Big jugs, big moves, not inspiring, but ruined the hands for the day. Nuf' said.

??? (HVS 5a)

DWS - This doesn't appear in the old guide, but does exist as a traverse all the around the west end of the fin, traversing throught the nearest cave to finish (VDiff up to that point). Was the last stand of a desperate man... Ruined at the end of a weekend of superb climbing.