As I passed Bayside today on the Dart it started pelting rain, by the time I got to Sutton Cross the situation had worsened and it was hammering down.
John kindly met me in the carpark and as he drove out to the parking spot we both admitted to be not so psyched about the weather!
We decided to sit it out in the car and as has been the case over the last week of weather, the shower passed.
We walked in through sludgy muddy ground and ducked through hedges that spattered out the remains of the shower that had just passed, leaving our boulder pads damp by the time we got to the cave...
No matter though - because by the time we got to the Cave the sun was splitting the skies and rock was dry.
Warmed up as per, and John played around on a few holds he'd spotted between Caroline's Traverse and Deep Throat.
Again, I made the sequence that makes up the Solstice part of Solstice and hopped on the Loco extension. I can't remember if it was my first or second attempt on it, but I caught the crux and felt pretty damn solid on the holds. I moved my left foot out the jam it was in and went to throw my right leg out the rib that runs through Maneater.
I missed my right foot hold and was so solid with my hands, that I had another attempt at hitting it, but by the time my right foot even came close to making contact with the rock, my right hand had slipped sufficiently from the crimp for it to be too late.
I had another two attempts and came nowhere near as close.
The hurry to do it has past now. I really enjoyed the session today. Once I fell on the attempt where I was close to completing it, the urgency to get it done 'now!' passed. It's a nice feeling to now be relaxed about it and just to enjoy climbing it and when ever it gets done, it gets done.
I was happy to walk away, and walk away we did - from the darkness of the cave into a beautiful little sun trap that John has discovered. The 2 lines there are brilliant. The line I tried is called 'Feral' (6c+) and is far more bouldery than anything in the Cave.
Little crimps and technical foot work make up the line and after so much time on the rather more generous holds of the Cave, my fingers didn't know what hit them! The sun was beating down on us as I tried the crimpy arete and John projected a new line just to the left.
As I watched John working out the moves, it became clear that the problem is a beauty! As he worked the sequence out on the higher part of the line, I was looking at the hold he was thinking of throwing for and just spotted a thin little crack line all the way around it. I mentioned the fact that I thought it might come away, but one can never tell until one goes for the move.
In fine style, John made it through a perfect little cross through sequence and threw out for the dodgy hold.
He flew off the line as the hold exploded away from the face!
I've never projected anything brand new before, so it was interesting to see John working out the moves and though (understandably) it was disappointing to see what would have been a perfect hold, rip from the line, John said these things happen with new projects, and it was a case of... time to work out a new sequence.
John and I had a look at a couple of different holds, and John tried a few different things but with only a couple of pads (one of them being my rubbish pad),a super dodgy landing and just me spotting - it was too much of a commitment to throw at holds that could end up breaking too.
After John had wired some of the opening moves, and with my skin and energy spent from two days on, we decided to call it a day.
I'm always saying that the climb out the Cave leaves my nerves rattled - I always do it and it's an easy scramble, I'm just a wuss - and like to vocalise the fact!
John demoed the climb up and out from the two problems, saying it was trickier than it looked. I followed and thought it wasn't half as bad as the Cave exit. It's definitely heights I'm uneasy about... I'm rarely scared of climbing. The scramble out from the two new lines is definitely trickier, but nowhere near as high or as exposed as the exit from the Cave.
Nice to have had a beautiful day's climbing in the sun. In bits now.