I Heard The Roar of a Wave That Could Drown The Whole World

Well done if you registered the title as lifted from a Bob Dylan lyric - that means you're of a certain age or you just have good taste in music, either or, well done. The sea around Pembrokeshire has been fairly calm of late, disguising the political waves that are rolling over the UK with force.

I guess I should put politics aside and post some recent Pembrokeshire sea cliff action - as the mind has no other option than to put dilemmas to one side and focus on the task in hand while perched on the rock above the sea... Thanks to everyone I've had the pleasure to take out climbing and not talk politics. 

Work and Play


Climbing in Pembroke and Snowdonia 

What I really like about working as a guide and instructor, as well as managing my own business is the variety of work. There is of course the slightly less interesting side of the job - invoicing, tax returns and the endless sorting of kit but it’s a price I’m happy to pay for such a life in the great outdoors. 

Mid May I took the Guardian’s Adventure Travel writer, Kevin Rushby out for a couple of day’s taste of sea cliff climbing and exploration. He’s a top fellow and had some existing climbing experience, so adventure was on the cards. Here’s an article he wrote in the Saturday travel supplement.

The day after Kevin left it was straight into a large block of private guiding and courses run for the Army. There were a few after work “snatch and grab” climbs with local mates, as well as a great afternoon climbing at an obscure area near Saddle Head with Alun Richardson, climbing two established routes and a first ascent of a quality E2 worth a couple of stars. 

There was also time to make a flying visit to Snowdonia to hook up with Pat Littlejohn to climb on and amazing inland crag on the North Lleyn Peninsular, first developed by the Legend Joe Brown in the 70’s. Pat explained to me on the drive that the multi pitch routes we were going to try were graded HVS in the guide - “But Joe graded all his routes HVS in the 70’s…” Pat also explained that these routes most likely haven’t had second ascents… The crag looked unremarkable from a distance but soon became large, impressive and foreboding up close. We climbed two routes; A two pitch “HVS” that turned out to be E2 5b, 5c and another three pitch “HVS”  that also turned out to be E2. The rock was the kind that you had to take care with but the climbing was amazing and I was out with one of my heroes - what more could I ask for?

Three Subterranean Sea Cliff Adventures and Major Rescues...

Range West Climbing and a Weekend of Training. 

On Friday I met up with Jake and Pablo at 4:30 at the Castle Martin army base, to get our passes and head in the Range in search of some fun. Abseiling down the approach hole it soon became clear that the routes that we wanted to get on were becoming cut off by the tide. Jake had mentioned climbing Chute To Kill if we couldn't get on them, so back we went up the slimy E1 that ascends back up the abseil hole! With few further options due to rising tides, bird bans and lack of time, I decided to climb another "through route" - this time Bullet, a one star VS that also manages to incorporate a caving section, to an incredibly exposed pop out onto the face above to the top. Having climbed two of the three caving routes that basically all start from the same start, we thought it only right to complete the "Triple Crown" and I was pointed up Lost in Space another bizarre 3D route taking in another Indiana Jones style tunnel, which again piped out into a spot of space walking to finish a long way above the crashing sea. All routes were wet, slimy, dark, awkward but amazing fun after you get into that sort of thing! 

The following morning I was at St. Govan's car park where a motley crew of experienced trad climbers and friends from Bristol turned up for a weekend of Improvised Rescue training. It was great to catch up with them all and hopefully give them two days of practicing what to do if things go wrong while in committing trad' climbing situations. We covered all sorts of skills starting with the basics at the start to going through options for full blown serious situations towards the end. Good effort all and thanks for a great saturday night in the pub!  

New Routes in Pembroke and a NICAS Moderation

New Rock Climbs on the Pembrokeshire Sea Cliffs

Last week I was out doing the first NICAS moderation of the season in South Wales for Rock Uk, The Summit Centre. A very large indoor climbing centre, well worth a look if you're in the area. Today I was out with with Paul and decided to head to the non bird banned right hand section of Ripper Cliff, with eyes on new routes. I kicked off with a great looking line that took in a chimney, a crux wall and excellent hanging corner at E1 5b, worth a star and given the name "Put it on the Bill". Paul then took a line to it's left, snaking up grooves to an overhang and nice head wall above at HVS 5a and also deserving of a star. After abseiling down again, I headed up a line to the right of PIOTB, following a slab, rib then steeper tricky slab, into a corner and exiting up left. This was called "Rip Off" and went at HVS 5a. Paul finished by climbing another new line right of RO, again at HVS 5a. Not a bad day of new routing on great rock on a great cliff. Still plenty of potential on the fantastic Pembrokeshire sea cliffs!