Wednesday, 9 November 2011

"Tuppence" & "Brean Topping" by Ben West

Hi guys I haven't posted in a while so I've joined two posts together, there is a link in which both routes I had to top out in the rain.


Back at the start of July a small team of us headed down to Anstey's Cove for the weekend. Matt had his eye on "The Cider Soak" F8a and I was going to have a look at "Tuppence" F8B. We got down there and the conditions were far from perfect, being that we were in the month of July I suppose you could kind expect it to be slightly warm! But that didn't faze us. After warming up I set off putting the draws in Tuppence, which surprisingly went quite well. All the moves went really quick and I felt pretty confident that it could go this weekend. "I couldn't have been so wrong". After having about 14 red-points that weekend of which 12 of them I dropped the last move, I walked away very tired and empty-handed. I made a promise to myself that I would come back later in the year as soon as we got some better conditions.

Saturday, the day of the "Climbing Festival" was finally here. After a heavy weekend in Northumberland for Matt's stag do and a full weeks worth of route setting the day had come, finally I could relax. The weather was amazing, cold and sunny, but surprisingly the it was a rather good turn out all things considering. The comp went well with the usual suspects taking the gold. Gav Symonds was down and mentioned that he was heading down to Anstey's cove for a day on Tuesday, my day off'. "Perfect I'm in".

After a couple of days rest I was feeling recovered, We got down to Anstey's about 11:30am. After warming up on the classic arĂȘte "Might and Main" F6c I went bolt to bolt putting the draws in and reminding myself of the moves on Tuppence. With it being a bit later in the year the sun is a lot lower in the sky, this proved to be a bit of an issue putting the draws in. As my skin was quite thin anyway due a full weeks worth of route setting and the sun was directly on the route I could barely pull the crux. I pushed on and got the rest of the draws in, It wasn't looking so hopeful. After belaying Max on Avenged and a quick jog back to the van to grab some liquid chalk, conditions had got better. The sun had gone and the wind had picked up. I tied on for my first red-point of the day. I climbed well, pulled through the crux where I started to feel a good flash pump coming on and then dropped it on the red-point crux. That final last move, I kind of expected to fall on that 1st go.

After belaying Max on a red-point of Avenged which he managed to link in two. I was still trying to recover from the flash pump I got on my first red-point attempt when it started to rain. I left it a couple of minutes hopping it would pass, It didn't. Instead it got heavier and heavier. The majority of the route stays dry but the sloppey top out at the top was getting soaked. The time had come, I was still pumped from my last go but if I didn't go now the top would be unclimbable. The start felt fine and a got through the crux feeling pretty strong, I pushed on and latched the move that I had fallen off about 15 times previously. Theres a couple of good holds just after that which I used to try and recover a bit, I didn't want to blow the top. After a minute or so I tried to pull the lip, the hold I had been previously using was unholdable, my hand just slipt straight off of it. I had to rethink, there was a "crosslely" kind of hold back from the lip I ended up using. I pulled on that to gain a crimp that I had ticked but hadn't used before that was sheltered from the rain, from there I could reach the chains. Get in!!! After getting wet stripping the draws out we rushed back to Empire wall for Max to do battle with Avenged. We walked around the corner to find that the run off was half way down the wall, but Max was still psyched. He climbed solidly up until the crux where he came up short on a big move, following that he had 6 or 7 goes trying to do the move before he succumbed to using a clip stick for the first time.

While Max and I had been busy getting wet Charlie and Gav had been making good progress on Poppy and they were staying dry. But it didn't last much longer, after a while the run off had limited them to only climbing about 5 moves half way up the route.

"Brean Topping"

I first tried Brean topping back at the start of the summer of 2010. For some strange reason I thought it would be a good idea to try a route that has a couple of the smallest crimps I've ever pulled on in the blazing sunshine. As you would expect I didn't gain much from this attempt. I could barely pull the start let alone thinking about trying the crux, so with the aid of the a clip stick I dogged to the top and lowered off. A year and a half later and it being one of the only local mid to low F8's I haven't done, I finally decided it was time to get it done. A couple of weekends ago after getting rained off at Split Rock we headed to Brean.

I was still feeling fairly warmed up from Split Rock so I got straight down to business and got the draws in
it. All the moves seemed to go quick, I got to the top and felt like I had a pretty good chance of doing it. After a bit of a rest I went for my first red-point. This went really well, I got through crux and dropped the last hard move. I think I'm starting to develop a thing for dropping last moves now. Anyway I was pretty happy with that, although my skin wasn't. The crux involves doing a reasonably big move to a really small, sharp left hand crimp. Which then you have to bring your right hand in to a slightly better and less sharp crimp, then move on in to a couple of pinches. After a couple goes putting the draws in and one red-point attempted the skin on my left index finger was already looking really thin, I shouted down after falling off my red-point, "I've only got one more go in me before it spits". What a surprise..... I was right. The next go I got through the crux but my foot popped going from pinch to pinch and low and behold, I had split my tip. It was getting late in the day and I had written off pulling on that small crimp with a tapped finger so I striped it out and we headed home.

After a week of not climbing and stuffing Climb On (Skin healing balm) in to my split finger, it was Friday. Heather had taken the day off with the plan of heading back to Brean, although heavy rain on Thursday night and rubbish tides didn't fill us with confidence. We headed out anyway just getting to the crag before the tide cut us off. I warmed up putting the draws in for Heath on "The Root of Inequity" F7a+. Just as I set off It started raining luckily it wasn't too heavy so the top of the route was still doable. After doing that and getting the draws in Brean Topping, Heather had a go on the F7a+. She climbed really well but got shut down pulling the lip of the roof at the top. the holds had got too wet to hold. Things weren't looking too good, fortunately the crux of Brean Topping stays dry as the majority of the route is over hanging. It was just the top I had to worry about. The first red-point I had that day seemed to be very reminiscent of last weekend, falling off the last hard move but this time opening up my split on the first go. It's safe to say I wasn't best pleased, instead of just wasting the day I though I would have another go with tape. After a bit of a rest and belaying Heath on another go on the F7a+ I taped up and pulled on. Theres a bit of a hard move at the start that involves pulling on a small left hand crimp. I felt the split open up more on that move, the move after my foot popped and when I finally made it to the half height break I was sort of over it, laughing with Heather. I had a look at my finger and blood was coming through the tape. This time I had managed to find two hand jams in the break where as before I was trying to recover on a pair of slopers. This was actually a really good rest, after a minute or two I shouted down to Heath, "I might as well give it a go". I pushed on and got to the crux, as I got my finger tips on that small hold I locked my thumb over the top and brought my right hand in really statically, during the move I felt my finger split again but I was psyched. The next few moves I felt solid, everything came together and the moves felt easy, I got my foot up and made that last hard move. Get In!!! All I had to do was to keep it together on the last wet few moves to the chains. These weren't hard just a bit tentative due to the holds being wet. I made it!

It just shows, when your really relaxed and not stressing, "I need to send this route". It all comes together.

Heather had one last top rope on The Root of Inequity in which she managed to link it from the start, up until the crux at the top. After a little rest she managed to pull the lip and go to the chains. She was pretty happy with that. A good day all round.

On Sunday we managed to get out again to settle Matt's long-standing battle with "Smashing the Amps".

Find out about how the day went and check out some of the photos we got here,


  1. Anstey's Cove. Is there a topo of that place?
    Looks like a nice spot, is it worth visiting?

  2. It's in the old Dorset guide and there are selected climbs in the new South West Climbs Guide. It's well worth a visit.