Is this Zeke's business as good as rapping through a tangle of wet saplings to scarify the rock and bombs-away adjust the rope to the height of the outcrop?
Oh it's much better. Much better. The saplings are bigger and wetter, there are more of them, and they're much harder to get to, the scarification is on a whole new level, the bombs are bigger, and they fall from much greater heights.
I love climbing on sea-cliffs. One of several joys is the contrast between the light-hearted holiday atmosphere of many of the locations and the adventure to be had close by. The approach to Moonraker is a fine example. One moment you're in a car park in south Devon with tourists licking ice-cream, a couple of minutes later you're blindly down-soloing vertical 5.4, 90' above the water. Assuming you've got the tide times correct and the swell is minimal, you traverse horizontally just above the waterline for a few hundred feet around the back of a large, black, dripping sea-cave. It's all very atmospheric.
Moonraker is in 'Hard Rock' a Brit. equivalent of 50 classic climbs, so it’s not a surprise to find another team on the route. The first pitch diagonals up to the crack-line, climbs this for a way, before heading back left again following an archetypal line of least resistance.
The rock is limestone, it looks a little weird but is pretty solid. The cave has a bunch of hard-ish climbs that weave through the overhangs and a classic 5.10+ that starts up Moonraker, traverses right on the flutings just above the lip, before heading on up. The gentleman in the photos has written a great tale about his ascent of this route here.
The climbing is 5.8 for a few moves, mostly easier, but is steep and feels committing: it's the easiest way out and if you can't get up the route it might be an eight hour wait for the tide to go back down, hoping the sea stays calm, or you could swim…
You step blind round a corner of sheer rock and move carefully down into the vast, dank mouth of the cave. It seems as big as a cathedral: a black, thundering dome, like a lunatic's skull, water boiling along its floor, birds flitting in the dark air.
Duncan's Moonraker photos, followed by MH2 quoting Alvarez, reminded me about Hard Rock, which is one of my all-time favorite armchair mountaineering books.
Armchair because I've not done a single one of the climbs, and yet read it cover to cover.
Highly recommended, for any of you armchair mountaineers who don't have this.
I'll let you know of some hopefully unintended consequences,
just because I've been affected for, what, a week and a half
Every time my eye falls on the thread title, my mind launches
"By the Sea, by the Sea, by the beautiful Sea..."
which proves to be quite the catchy tune (as in, Can't Get It
Out of My Head)
But I also can't help thinking, "Wine-dark Sea" and that is
Some of Andy's shots were taken at a little-known cliff near Vancouver, which provides an entertaining traverse. Probably easy 5.10, and at high tide one to five metres above water. Maybe 100 m long. Very good swimming, lovely spot.
It's in a municipal park, but the authorities don't seem very keen on climbing there, or indeed public use. Quite a wealthy neighbourhood, with all that goes with it. So a very low profile and limited use are good ideas. Luckily the nature of the traverse, and limited parking, discourage many.
The "surf" shots were from the West Vancouver seawall - the traverse would also have been getting a good pounding that day.
Thanks! It's hard not to take a beautiful photo with landscape like that. I only had my little Fuji F30 along. Really wish I'd had my Nikon then.
Access was via hiking/down-climbing/rapping. Most places on the cliff I was scared shitless to get close to the sloping grass edge. That's probably why there isn't more climbing along there. If one had 2 - 60m ropes you could probably set up an anchor with some long heavy duty steel stakes driven in the ground substantially back from the edge, then running webbing from it to the edge.
So, my introduction to British seacliff climbing was to belay Pete Debbage leading
the first pitch of Vortices (E2/5c). Damp, sandy holds, small pro arranged carefully
behind fragile features, gale-force winds howling and waves thumping around me,
it felt more atmospheric than your average belay.
It was kind of what I'd imagined British seacliffs must be like.
I had anchored my belay, in hopes of not getting washed out to sea if a rogue wave hit.
Which seemed very possible. The huge boulder I was leaning against vibrated with
each strike, and occasionally larger waves came surging around both sides to soak my
So I was very relieved when Pete completed his lead and I could start climbing to get
away from the sea.
That rock looks friable, maybe even diseased, but definitely a different color than I am used to.
Going back to early Mountain issues, before the U.S. had a monthly climbing mag, I have long had a large imagined landscape of British sea cliffs, with whirling screaming sea birds, gaping caverns, and expletive non-deleting hardmen trying to out-sandbag each other.
At our secret beguilingly moody place we don't often get into that territory. With a little help from February, though, and from an ex-Scot and an ex-Brit:
So Andy, did you leave Robert on that little rock in the midst of the ocean? How did he get off it?
And here's a few related shots:
This one's from the same place as many of Andy's, but much earlier. The area was first explored in the mid-1980s, by climbers who swam there, and later figured out land access.
You can tell this one's from Squamish - note the log booms. Held together, as it happens, by a boom stick - there's a climb at Squamish called Boomstick Crack. I've often thought it would be nice to do a series of climbs at Squamish and name them for logging terms - Whistle Punk, Steam Donkey, etc.
The sloping cave-stance between pitches of Vortices is one of those places I
think about whenever someone writes or says (as they often do), "I always place
at least two bombproof anchors!"
The guidebook promised a fixed peg here but that had fallen out of the wet, flared
sandy crack; Pete expertly arranged a spiderweb of other stuff instead, which
looked like it had no intention of holding the F2 fall that would certainly result
if a leader happened to go airborne while pulling the next roof.
"Uh, maybe you should lead this one too," I said unbravely.
As we topped out, the sky darkened and the wind wound up. Pete understood that his
American visitor really had to lead something, so he pointed out an easier classic, Finale Groove (HVS/4c).
Fortunately, this one wasn't scary. It even had a few fixed pegs behind wobbly blocks.
I clipped them all. When Pete came up he commented that he wouldn't have trusted
those, would have placed his own protection, but I sure didn't see where.
Meanwhile, back at the ra...ouch! There is a seriously past-it phrase. Though Werner Herzog did resurrect the era in Encounters at the End of the World, in the course of suggesting that memory of humans will soon, say 10,000 years, exist mainly under the ice at the South Pole. Check out the frozen sturgeon.
Anyway, back on the Pacific side: sea stack bouldering on the Olympic Peninsula. Don't lose track of the tide, here.
...a sense of wilderness and isolation persists; the sea is moody, the moorlands mysteriously conceal a wealth of prehistoric relics, the farms are remote, and the place names - Mousehole, Chair Ladder, Woon Gumpus, Brandy's Zawn and Ding Dong - are those of an enchanted, make-believe world. The moors are covered by gorse, the headlands by thrift, honeysuckle and blackberry; the beaches are sandy and pleasant, and over all hangs the aura of the ending of the land.
Speaking of all this, when was the first sea cliff climb? Would it have been the things that Crowley and Eckenstein did on the chalk cliffs at Dover in the 1890s? That is, Alesteir Crowley, and Oscar Eckenstein - the latter the father of bouldering, the crampon, etc? We might have to wrangle about what makes something a sea cliff climb, but I'd say starting at sea level, within spitting distance of the sea, would be a good start. Large rivers and lakes perhaps also acceptable.
Mick Fowler's stories of climbing at on the chalk cliffs in the 1980s and 1990s are classic.
I see that Peter Biven calls A. W. Andrews, "the father of sea-cliff climbing", and Frank Cannings refers to him as, "the originator of Cornish climbing."
A. W. Andrews wrote: "The sea forms unique climbing surroundings and the weather is good. There are no long walks to the crags and there is no necessity to be miserable in order to feel that the sport is being suitably indulged."
This formation is called the Parson. It’s part of a pair of sea stacks called the Parson and Clerk, off the south coast of Devon. Most of the other tower, the Clerk, fell into the sea a few decades ago, so now it’s just the Parson, preaching to the waves.
This sea stack is near Teignmouth, a popular seaside resort, bustling with tourists, children and ice creams. To get close to the spire involves a long walk along a sandy beach crowded with dogs, frisbees and sunbathers. Right behind the beach is a railway line, the main line from London to the southwest of England, and every few minutes a train thunders by. At the far end of the beach, if the tide is low, and the sea is in a friendly mood, you can scramble around wave-blasted black rocks crusted with limpets, and find yourself in a different world.
The beach vanishes. Below, the fidgety sea burbles and sighs, slapping against the rocks. Above, unstable cliffs seep. The normal sounds—dogs, cell phones, cars, children, the background hum of civilization—are gone. Instead, there is a cacophony of screams, trills and squawks; sea gulls, cormorants, ancient birds, at home. They don’t like intruders.
The Parson was first climbed back in 1971 by Keith Darbyshire and Pete Biven. Darbyshire died a few years later, after slipping from the top of a sea cliff, from wet grassy slopes. He was a thatcher, a person who made the straw roofs on those cute picture postcard cottages.
The approach to actually get to the base of the Parson is through a sooty tunnel which carries those same express trains that have been rattling by every minute or so. Once inside the tunnel you run to a hole. To get to down the sea itself, there are some shenanigans involving lassoing a spike, a rusty old chain or some such. The climb, if you actually get on it, has three pitches. The middle pitch utilizes a feature referred to as the “Brown Spider.” Rumor has it that the last pitch, which ascends cobbles up the final spire, was protected on the first ascent by the judicious use of a kitchen knife stabbbed into the rock. The belay under this pitch has no anchor. The “descent” is a wild leap to the wet grassy slopes of the mainland.
Anyway, this is as close I have been. Anyone out there in Topoland been any closer?
This year, since I work at night, I’ve been on the traverse more often than usual because it makes such an excellent evening destination. The setting sun blazes a path across the Strait of Georgia. The waves turn green and gold where the sun comes through them. The cliff and the water distance you from the residential neighborhood nearby. The only sounds are water and birds. The sky slowly loses its color.
There are some worries. I might get stung by a wasp. In some places a fall would probably break an ankle, at the least. Falling into the water could wash my glasses off despite the retainer. A fall into the water might not be good for the camera.
I’ve been trying to get some characteristic but unmistakably amateur pics of this traverse. After all, it’s low-key. No photo is too humble.
So there I am happily going by a tricky section when I reach out to a hold and notice that it’s occupied. My eyes open wider and the optics of this somehow magnify the already large enough spider sitting there. The color of the thing is a tick fever dream orange/yellow. That’s on the abdomen. The thorax, head, and legs are a stealth black so that even though I look real hard for movement I can’t see any reassuring fixity of outline in the shadow.
I know the spider doesn’t want to do anything to me but that is only the weak voice of reason. Nearness to spider overcomes reason. I have an irrational aversion to spiders near my face. I recognize this beast as a jumping spider and they have a disconcerting way of seeming to teleport from one location to another.
Then I notice that this cute furry predator has in its fangs another sort of spider, about the same size as itself. Thank goodness supper has stopped wriggling or I would have been truly freaked. There is something about spiders and their legs and the way they move that gives me the willies. I’m glad I didn’t arrive for the death throes.
Well, now, I’ve always wondered about spider-on-spider predation. I’ve heard that there are no vegetarian spiders, and I think that the young sometimes eat each other, and that black widow thing, but I don’t think too many spiders specialize in eating other spiders. Anyway, I had to capture the moment, and I had my camera with me.
My brain is usually taxed to capacity just trying to climb the rock, but here is what I had to do, now: make sure my feet were at the proper angle (holds were sloping), use the only handhold outside the spider-affected radius as either jam or layback (alternately so as not to overtire the muscles), get the camera out, get the lens cap off then back on, push the right buttons and try to get enough distance so that focus would work, keep enough attention on the spider so as to notice any threatening moves (a digital camera viewfinder has poor resolution).
Like Mark Twight recommends, I put everything I had and everything I am into the effort.
Oh yeah, I truly didn’t want to fall off. I didn’t have brainpower left over at the time to analyze the possibilities of the situation. With hindsight I see myself get stung, pitch off, smash an ankle, plunge into the water, $300 bifocals sinking, and a trail of blood attracting the nearest shark. On the plus side would be losing the camera.
The crack under the spiders is finger size, about 1-1.5 cm.
Finally measured it out - the cliff featured in many of Andy's photos (the "traverse") is about 11 km as the ladybug flies from where I live. Assuming that ladybugs are OK flying that distance over salt water, that is.
Larry, would you be willing to ID the Newfie location re: neighboring town/park/whatnot? (God, it is bleak around here, isn't it? I bouldered a Farnsworth stone outbuilding in the sleet this morning - desperation, me thinks. Edit - does intown Rockland still count as by the sea?)
I just visited for one day; I'm sure Newfoundland climbers could fill you in on
the routes. The last of my photos is below. I think this is on what the EECC
page calls the "Big Wall" section of the cliff.
Petch, is that Mickey's Beach? How do the newer Cali seaside areas compare?
Crunch's last picture, in which I can't make out the alleged climbers, reminds me
of a definition I read somewhere that said true seacliff climbing had to take
account of conditions on the sea. The British cliffs really exemplify that idea
(no doubt it was a British definition).
Life by the sea is one of the themes in a tentative queue I had in mind before starting, so yes there is life in this theme, and that theme within the other theme has been greenlit by what could have been an eagle over the Parson and the whales surfacing at Flatrock. And the mention of spider.
As long as there is potentially shining water under the cliff I don't think it matters whether the water is sea or not. The body of water I climb near is either a strait or an inlet depending on which direction you are looking in.
There is an account of the first ascent by Mick Fowler in Alpinist 25.
Getting on the route involves abseiling 250’ or so down the grassy slope to the beach you can see in the top photo in post 139, to the right of the ridge as you look at it. Then it’s a sea-level traverse to the tip of the ridge, assuming you got the tides right and the waves are not that big. Some dampness is inevitable. Once you’re on the ridge there are five or six pitches of mostly very straight-forward Alpine 5.4-5.6. There are a couple of harder sections and, satisfyingly, the final tower is the crux. Or it was when we did it five years ago, the nature of the route is that large chunks fall off from time-to-time so it could all be different now!
Another seaside theme is the people who go there. A large gallery of eminent persons may eventually appear but for now consider this mild-mannered architect (foreground) who is at present between 82 and 83 degrees S on route to visit the frozen sturgeon at Amundsen Scott.
Meanwhile, back at the forest primeval,
Another non-climber user. These are rare.
Then there is the swimmer. He visits quite often. I’ve spoken to him and he has a job and all, he just likes the quiet and solitude.
I've never done a sea cliff climb, what about all the bird sh#t?
Thanks for the surf picture - soothing yet energizing, too. It is a cousin of a family of pictures I really like, where there is some everyday ordinary peaceful scene in the foreground, in this case the boat, and something a little crazy in the distance, in this case the wave.
As to bird sh#t, there is a little on the traverse I do. If I find or get a good picture, it will show up here, don't worry.
To get sea cliffs covered in bird sh#t, which do exist, you need sea birds that nest on the cliffs, lots of them. The British sea cliff afficionados also tell us about the gannet, a bird that defends its nest by up-chucking mackerel eye-ball soup on anything approaching from below.
I haven't been on scene for that or for a "sea-bird defecating from the top-most pinnacle", another British sea cliff thing, but I have had a grebe launch explosively into flight from a dark crevice over my head, and it put the pigeon experience to shame.
Also, on the traverse I like so much, or maybe its just the convenience, I was once innocently zooming along across territory intimately familiar, when my hand came down on something icky. On closer look it seemed to be something a sea gull had tried to digest and failed. Perhaps a starfish stomach. It had the lowest coefficient of friction I've ever encountered, waaay below teflon, ice, and snot. Combined. Just getting it on my fingers would make me fall down, even in the middle of Nebraska.
We should start a thread about nonplussed gym counter people... no one ever asks "You're from California? what are you doing here?"
Maybe it's just very common. It was fun pulling on plastic and meeting some of the Vancouver afficionados, MH2 being one. But we didn't encounter any Ladybugs, as far as I know. But it does give me an idea...
^^^^^^ a rosy cheerful picture with not much chance for the subject to look self-conscious
Around this time of year, I think more about oceans. But not the British or Canadian ones.
A while ago I was googling for "frozen seas" to find who had said that writing breaks the frozen seas within (Kafka, not Dostoevsky (or vice versa)), and Mars showed up. I'd scavenged a bunch of Mars photos for a project and one of them had looked a lot like pack ice with a dirt coating.
So what oceans do you think more about, this time of year?
Tami, it is a Grouse raven. Thanks for mentioning the guy on the stairs. I saw him at the gym this afternoon and my first thought was, "Do I know him?" Until I remembered taking the picture.
I'd scavenged a bunch of Mars photos for a project
What project had you scavenging Mars photos?
I know someone who filled all the floors and table space in his basement with the
highest-quality large prints of Magellan radar imagery from Venus. And this had
to do with oceans.
His theory was that current orthodoxy is wrong. Venusian scientists conventionally
interpret thousands of roughly circular depressions covering the surface of Venus
as being signs of endogenous processes -- mantle upwellings or downwellings, of a
type seen nowhere else in the known universe. They argue thus because some of
those circular depressions don't have the same form as impact craters, which do
account for the circular depressions found on other planets and moons.
Here's where the shining sea comes in. My friend's theory is that the Venusian
landforms that don't look exactly like craters really are craters after all -- but
ones from meteorites striking the seas of an earlier Venus.
Back to planet earth, the ladybug detector is twitching and trembling. What creature is it in the upper right hand corner of the photo that MH2 posted on January 25th? Is it the elusive, shy West Vancouver winter ladybug?
Is it the elusive, shy West Vancouver winter ladybug?
Alas, no. By the miracle of photography it is a brassy summer leftover, recorded in the log as Ladybug #3.
Back to outer space.
Is there a more proper term than 'Venusian scientists', like selenogist for those who study Lunar geology?
I took a geology class taught by Tim Mutch. He wrote a book about the Moon, then transferred his attention to Mars. He also climbed at the Gunks in the 50s and has a first ascent or two with Jim McCarthy. He told me that Mars had a kind of terrain, called chaotic, that had no close counterpart elsewhere. That was back in 70/71.
Tim Mutch was director of the team that designed and built the first camera that was landed on Mars.
My Mars project was just a brief re-surfacing of youthful fascination with the Red Planet, but with updated images, in two parts: The Best of Times/My Luv is like a Red Red Rose/Nicky Spence and The Worst of Times/The Eternal/Joy Division.
Much better really to think about the deep blue oceans with
life in them.
Is there a more proper term than 'Venusian scientists', like selenogist for those
who study Lunar geology?
A word exists, cytherology, but it hasn't gained any traction. "Planetary geology"
might seem like a wrong term, but it's widely understood.
Or "Venusian plumology" is a vaguely pejorative term for the orthodox school of thought
on this topic.
Whatever you call it, the field sits in darkness without much new data, compared with
sexier Mars or the Jupiter/Saturn moons.
I was reading an article today about which would be more exciting (deserves the next
space probe), Jupiter's Europa or Saturn's Titan. And in keeping with this thread
topic, the attractions of both are their seas.
Thanks for that. A nicely mysterious view of them, too.
I had a roomie in Chicago who moved to Anchorage. Or wanted to. I think he had to get through law school in Florida, first. He planned on doing Law of the Sea, a big issue back in the 70s and perhaps still.
I visited Lundy for the first time this summer and it's a magical place. I deliberately didn't do the Devil's Slide itself as I want to have an excuse to come back. It's about 5.5 and I'm leaving it 'til I'm 75 (goats have been seen to solo the crux, a friction traverse, a 400' slide if they get it wrong). We did do Albion (the corner with the black streaks coming out of it), a fine 5.7 and The Shark 5.9, left again,overlooking the slab. There is a very fine-looking 5.7X right up the middle called Satan's Slip which I didn't get round to doing. Not many photos as it was overcast and grey most of the time, but here is one of a little new line we did. There are not many places in the UK you can still climb quality new 5.7s.
The biology of the ocean is very rapidly changing state from complex to simple, from 3-dimemnsional
to 2-dimensional, from heterogeneous to homogeneous, from food chains capped by large vertebrates
to those capped by small invertebrates, and by explosive increases in microbial biomass. The
human drivers are overfishing, pollution, introduced species, aquaculture, and climate change --
probably in that order of importance historically if not actually. Rates of change are accelerating
and may be difficult to reverse. The rise of jellyfish and bacteria and demise of animals
effectively erase half a billion years of Phanerozoic evolution, taking us back to the
latest Precambrian before the explosion of metazoan life. What kinds of species will dominate
the ocean? What are the most likely future scenarios, and what are the implications for our use of
the oceans and our way of life? Fishers have found good markets for the jellyfish, but not yet for
the bacteria. Do we even want to try?
A Dare by the Sea,Otter Cliff,Acadia National Park,Maine.1985 Photos by Geoff Ohland.
There is another photo upthread taken from above by our friend Karen.
I got these today after being contacted through Supertopo by my old friend Geoff.
MH2, as for jellyfish, including giant poisonous ones so numerous they kill all the fish
and smother the beach ... I heard a lot about them last fall at a meeting of the North Pacific
Marine Science Organization. One phrase that stuck in my mind:
"The current era of jellyfish ascendancy"
No one mentioned Jackson's "Brave New Ocean" thesis, but in data-rich paper after paper,
there it was.
I've lived in the Vancouver area all my life and spent quite a bit of time on or in the water. My whole family love to swim in the sea.
The big pelagic jellyfish ( in the pic above ) are new to our waters. I have no memory of them before they started to appear about five years ago.
I back up what Randy says anecdotaly about sea life. ( like me Randy is a dyed-in-the-wool west coaster - my mum climbed Shuksan with his dad in 1947 ) Beach critters & local fish ( rock fish, salmon ) have also become scarce . Turning over beach rocks used to reveal plenty of little crabs & other little intertidal creatures. Now there are very few shore crabs and none of the other little guys.
One thing that seems relatively unaffected is the starfish. Those echinoderms seem to know how to survive. Not sure about their cousins the sea-urchins or sea cucumbers however.....
Today those pictures happen to recall what I felt like as an 8-year old heading out the door in the early morning.
To look beyond the houses.
To find ponds, turtles, snakes, or a new mystery like the clear-wing moth.
Let me sail, let me sail, let the Orinoco flow,
Let me reach, let me beach on the shores of Tripoli.
Let me sail, let me sail, let me crash upon your shore,
Let me reach, let me beach far beyond the Yellow Sea.
From Bissau to Palau - in the shade of Avalon,
From Fiji to Tiree and the Isles of Ebony,
From Peru to Cebu hear the power of Babylon,
From Bali to Cali - far beneath the Coral Sea.
From the North to the South, Ebudae into Khartoum,
From the deep sea of Clouds to the island of the moon,
Carry me on the waves to the lands I've never been,
Carry me on the waves to the lands I've never seen.
Loose-fitting woolen headgear.
Not sleek or fashionable and not often seen in the sex sells type of ad campaign,
but has its place in damp cool climates.
Loose woolen headgear showed me a dark side a few days ago.
I was out over the water strung between crimps when my cap slipped down over one eye.
I couldn't see where to place the all-important next foot
and I couldn't take a hand off to undo the sabotage.
A balaclava on the first ascent of Mousetrap - from The Hard Years (Joe Brown)
me just before the malfunction
my audience/ spotter
the same location as illustrated in Squamish Bouldering by Marc Bourdon and Scott Tasaka
Christian H heading up a section of the traverse in warm weather
same location, this Feb 8, looking down from where Christian is seen above
Did you ever read his book about the
Reed people (Tigris/Euphrates marsh)?
No but I'm gonna get it from the Library.
I can't tell about your audience: river otter? Mink?
Also, the audience in the water?
The critter under the rock looked a lot like one Dick Cilley and I saw on the way in to the Upper Town Wall of Index one day, as he was telling me about Tobacco Road. First I thought weasel or mink. However, after a lengthy behind-cover assessment of me the fur coat suddenly appeared down at the water's edge, and even though my camera is fast all I got was a thin streak of bubbles rising to the surface in the wake of the torpedo.
Eric Newby's classic tale "A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush" tells of meeting the formidable Thesiger in Nuristan, in east Afghanistan, after a month-long expedition there in 1956. They camped together one night, and Newby and his partner blew up their air mattresses. Thesiger's comment? "God, you must be a couple of pansies." The very end of the book.
There are some other good books about the Marsh Arabs, who were badly affected by the tyranny of Saddam Hussein, and the aftermath of the first Gulf War.
Anders, the Thesiger Marsh Arabs book was on the shelf near to Gavin Maxwell's A Reed Shaken by the Wind but having already read Thesiger's Arabian Sands I passed it up for now. Wilfred "If I never see another date in my life it will be too soon." Thesiger. One of the less expected hardships of crossing the Empty Quarter on camel. Thesiger introduced Gavin Maxwell to the reed-dwellers, I see.
A brief book digression in relation to Chiloe's second picture above. I am running only on memory, here, so the actual passage may differ from what follows. I think that the attitude illustrated has been adopted by pretty good climbers I've known.
Gavin Maxwell is on the ferry or whatever boat takes him to the island 'in a remote corner of the British Isles' where he and his otter friend live. He has been working on his nautical skills, such as navigation. He believes he knows where on the chart the ship is at the moment and where it is headed. He brings his finding to the attention of the captain. The captain looks at the chart, considers the situation and says, "Well if those are what I think they are, which is fly-specks, then we're right as rain, but if they're rocks we're pluggered for sure."
As that image came down over dial-up, I knew that Gratton would follow Super as night follows day. Once when living in Chicago I mail-ordered EBs from Britain for less, all charges included, than they cost in the local climbing shop (Erewhon).
But why the Hell did they include that kelp or seaweed that give the wrong friction message?
Enough with the decadent sun-splashed beaches! All I can think of are all the things beneath the waves which can do me harm and all the trouble I can into above the sea level.
Here's some proper beach shots: mid-November, balmy mid-40's. Alas it was sunny, you can't have it all. Sorry I don't have any shots of the scarier routes on Gogarth and the Red Wall. They were too scary to lug a Nikon up.
If I had a ship,
I'd sail my ship,
I'd sail my ship
Through Eastern seas;
Down to a beach where the slow waves thunder-
The green curls over and the white falls under-
Boom! Boom! Boom!
On the sun-bright sand.
Then I'd leave my ship and I'd land,
And climb the steep white sand.
Face to the cliff as the stones patter down,
Up, up, up, staggering and stumbling,
Round the corner where the rock is crumbling,
Round this shoulder,
Over this boulder,
Excerpts from an A.A.Milne poem
Reilly, even your pictures tell good stories.
I got a feeling I know what this guy is thinking.
And this one says a lot about time and place. The rock seems to be mirroring reflective caustics from the sea. (Using my new vocabulary word in a sentence.)
Please translate: "The rock seems to be mirroring reflective caustics from the sea."
You must be some kind of anthropologist or something of that ilk that uses coded messages to throw off the enemy.
I'd swear that in that last photo, the person was IN the sea, not just BY the sea. But then it may be part of the territory. I've seen some good plunges off the traverse, and tides and waves are always a concern.
A friend living near Trondheim, Norway, wrote recently to ask whether I thought that
these fjord cliffs might hold any attraction for climbers. The apparent potential for
deep-water traversing reminds me of the traverse we've seen so much of, upthread.
It looks worth looking into. I think I would do a dive, first. I'm wondering if a flying saucer DUI bounced off that wall into the water. Or maybe Anders has a story about a Norse God battle-axe, though the gash has a recent feel to it.
So I referred MH2's speculation to Oddmund, and he accounts for the white section as follows:
"I believe the white spot is either some calsium leaking out from the cliff or the excrements
from large birds, or a combination.. Perhaps the overhang is attractive for birds. We went
quite close and the white stuff was hard as a rock. And we saw no cliffs sticking out for the
next ten meters under the surface. Ebb-tide difference is about 3 meters."
My “Hail Mary” for contributing to a political thread.
Shining sea, slight return...trip to the north Cornish and Devon coast.
Port Quin. Chocolate box cuteness.
Approach to Doyden Castle, "Built about 1830 by local bon-viveur Samuel Symons to entertain friends to nights of feasting, drinking and gambling." You can now rent it for short breaks (feasting, drinking and gambling not compulsory, as far as I’m aware).
Doyden Point climbing, Mun on a pleasant VS (5.7).
After a day's sea-cliff climbing there is only one possible diner
The parish church of St Nectan, Stoke. “The cathedral of north Devon”.
Approaching Lower Sharpnose Point. The British Government is listening but the cows don't seem too bothered. This site does not appear on any official UK maps, a ludicrous charade that continues despite it showing beautifully on Google...
The crags in this area are made of Culm, a soft sedimentary rock that forms striking cliff architecture. Some of the crags are tottering death choss (which doesn't stop people climbing them of course) but Lower Sharpnose is as solid as Culm gets. The cliff is formed of three disconcertingly slender vertical fins of harder rock that have resisted erosion … so far. A unique feature that also has very fine climbing in the 5.8-5.12 range.
Andy on 'Last Laugh' E2 (about 5.10).
Fi on 'Last Laugh' E2.
Andy on 'Pacemaker' E5 (about 5.12a).
This coast has a large tidal range (picture taken from a similar point to that of Andy on Last Laugh).
At least 2 people are missing, and others injured (including broken bones) after a wave
spawned by Hurricane Bill broke over a crowd watching the show at Thunder Hole (a natural
feature that amplifies waves) in Acadia National Park today. Most NE climbers know the
place, I think.
Two friends of mine - we'll call them Dave and Dave - were the first to discover the seaside traverse featured in this thread, in the later 1970s. It is in a municipal park in a wealthy suburb, so access is a concern - parking is quite limited, which helps a lot. D & D saw the cliff from nearby, swam over, and after some effort figured out the line, which is perhaps 100 m long, from 1 to 5 m above the water at high tide. (Timing is, as they say, important.) Maybe easy 5.10. It took a long time for information about the traverse to trickle out, which was probably just as well.
For many years the three of us - we all started climbing at Squamish in 1973 or so - have gotten together on the Friday nearest midsummer's day to do the traverse, drink beer, and read poetry aloud. The last couple years we've missed out - this year one of the Ds was away, last year it rained and so we went hiking. So we went a few days ago. Here are the two Ds, en route. (We also picked up a bit of garbage.)
An early version of deep water soloing, not yet prettified as 'psicobloc'.
I was at the north end of the traverse. The picture below has some relevant details. Usually people cross low. A key large blocky chalked hold can be seen left of the kayakers. Or its shadow at any rate.
Once Guy Edwards and I had a try at returning by a higher line that occupies the upper part of the picture. We didn't do it that day, but I suspect he may have previously, but let me figure it out myself.
The video is from a few years ago when the evening light was getting to the problem shown above. After the first session it was obvious that the indended audience, workmates, would be bored by the climbing stuff, and additional interest was needed. Going back a second evening I staged a fall, then realized additional takes should be had, but all 3 came out unexciting, really, because I dropped off instead of falling. The effort is redeemed only by the fortuitous appearance of the small boat and the guy asking, "Would you do it again, for us, please?"
And the Eddie referred to is the one who whisked up Pigeon Spire in the Bugaboos in 19 minutes.
MH2 your lighthouse park traverse and plunge Utube video has only 9 views including mine tonight. Versus my Utube mega hit, "Triple UFO sighting 2008" video now at almost 51,893 views. Or my legendary classic, "A Midnight Bigfoot Encounter - Coastal BC" now at 23,894 views
May I suggest you do a Lighthouse traverse X-files clip to boost your viewership ? Place some CCH offset cams as you climb and put "Hybrid Aliens 2010 Vancouver" in your clip title .... yer looking at 10,000 views no problem
ha! are you guys sure that that is lighthouse park? I don't think so....
thats my old neighborhood. we were getting stoned and drunk and jumping those cliffs well before i discovered climbing. I'm not sure who did the traverse first . Dean, Randy and the Splat Brothers? were you there Bmac?
There's always a chance it might have been the Gandy brothers or rick clemmens as thats also their old neighborhood. Maybe eric boyum and chris millar.
Sunshine is great when you can't take it for granted. And maybe when you can; I wouldn't know.
clouds moving in again
Thanks to Ed H for pointing the way to vimeo. Maybe this this file should have been compressed more, so that downloading could stay ahead of playing, but otherwise this is an improvement over the previous one.
You step blind round a corner of sheer rock and move carefully down into the vast, dank mouth of the cave. It seems as big as a cathedral: a black, thundering dome, like a lunatic's skull, water boiling along its floor, birds flitting in the dark air.
Al Alvarez in Hard Rock
Of course in a cave it may be bats instead of birds flitting in the dark air.
“The Bats of Remorse hang upside down in the Cave of Grief.” Discuss.
Model Answer : It is a fact of nature that bats, sometimes many hundreds of them, hang upside down in caves. The author is making use of this image to comment upon human frailty, specifically the emotionally disruptive lacerations of remorse and grief. Bats are linked with remorse, the cave with grief. As we read and digest the phrase, tears well up in our eyes, and we begin to sob. Our past griefs may come tumbling back inside our heads, the inside of the head very much like a cave, if we think of the skull as stone, with crags and dents. The flutterings we feel inside it, synapses snapping as we are racked by remorse, can be thought of as bats swooping in to the cave to take up their perches. Once in place, they hang there twitching occasionally, just as the lashings of remorse twitch within the porale of grief. Crucially, the writer is implying that when we stop blubbing like girlies, and dry our eyes, and grasp our Alpenstock in readiness for a healthy hike in the mountains to wash all this mawkish drivel out of our heads, the bats remain hanging there, upside down within. They do not go away. The lesson is self-evident, and is imprinted upon our consciousness, even when we are atop the mountain, panting, buffeted by a high freezing wind.
Note : Extra points will be awarded to those who correctly identify the text as a line from Dennis Beerpint’s magisterial piece Versified Outpourings From The Batcave, recently reissued by Twee Threnodies Ltd.
I'm not the one to ask, but if you blow the jump, you will most surely be injured. I do know that the landing platform is somewhat smaller than it once was due to rockfall. Combined with a poorly-sloped take-off, it's a scary jump.
This is a fantastic thread. Thanks all. I'm heading down to the southern Oregon coast next week and have a couple new boulders to hop on that I spotted on my last trip. Hopefully I can get a good shot or two to post up.
hey there say, all.... i sure love the sea.... was always by it, whether in calif, or south texas... loved the time there with my mom ... and with my kids...
a sad note, though, as december aproaches... i remeber the tital wave, that christmas season.... each year, there is that reminder, before the new year, now, to be thankful for having family with us, still...
we always loved santa cruz, calif, in our family...
and for me and the kids, it was the south texas gulf...
though, i know for others, the sea is vast in its rich beauty, the world over...
well, just praying for all to have a thankful new year, as the winter presses on...
Andy I think Foodeater & Mr Down are not outta bounds..............yet....... in that shot. Methinx it's taken atop Black over to skier's left where that plateau is. Now, FROM THERE? You can get so outta bounds as to go for a swim. Ha.
My brother did grade one with Mike Down. Sick !!!!!!!!!!!
Actually mike had dragged fellow ST poster Jim Brennan and I up the west side of holyburn, down the north then up the south side of strachan in the forest to the east of the downhill area -shot taken on top as we prepared to ski ridge to col before n peak and thence down the w gulley to join the howe sound crest trail and tour out -at this stage i was knackered and panting, WISHING we had taken the lift to the top of black!
National Day in Taiwan dictated time off from a biz trip; travelling light with 3 shirts and changes of boxers, I was introduced to climbing guide Matt Robertson pictured on right, who also took all shots
Skippy the dog kept a watchful eye as we headed along the immaculate sandstone slabs to the longdong sea cliffs
There are nice slabs well above the tide line for booting up and hanging out
The belay views are spectacular
The crags are spread out allowing folks to have their own "base camp" with a range of climbs spread out in front of them
There is an active local scene with welcoming locals. All in all a great place to climb by the shining sea
By the way, for connoisuers of rock over water.... there is a spectacular traverse above the checkamus river.... at bottom of the north bound hill, park at the pull out then walk a bit south. Its a calm pool below some serious rapids. good cliff jumping if you don't want to climb. Needless to say it only really happens on the hottest days of the year - then its awersome!
Thanks Jim, generally when I head south I just hit the 5 & hang a left @ shasta. Haven't really got to see the Oregon coastline, cheers. Definitely one of the best threads on this site. Did I hear MH2 say that shots from climbing near rivers or lakes would be acceptable?? Or only from briny water?
Outrageous, karodrinker, and nice green seas of home, Mike.
Here is a report from a far place:
...pictures of the beautiful island of Skye...And the rain and the mist and the mountains and the cliffs and the ocean and the green, green hills..
Left on Friday night for 3 days on Skye, with a weather forecast of "showerlets on the breeze followed by shafts of sunlight..." Of course, you are no longer sped "on a bonnie boat like a bird on the wing, over the sea to Skye"" but cross on the new utilitarian bridge, unlike my last visit 30 years ago. Three JMCS parties set out for Sron na Ciche on Saturday and had the entire face almost to ourselves; John Porter and I climbed West Cioch and the Nose where lunch time rain stopping us going on to the Crack of Double Doom as planned(I shall return). John added to the Mountain ambiance with his indescribable grunts and groans that would surely have worried the sheep, and he even looked a little concerned when our rope stuck on abseil and I had to climb back up and move the anchor. Back to the hut for fine food, beer and chat after a wonderful day on the hill. (Of note here was Dee's wonderful home grown gooseberries and strawberries and Jeremy's outstanding baking).
On Sunday we climbed some good short, clean sea cliffs at Neist and on Sunday headed North to Flodigary. These fine sea cliffs live up to the lilt in their name and are a delight to climb on, though I did pause at my first ever abseil off "turf stakes". Mark Morin and I climbed the spectacular Spantastic (get it while you can, it creaks) and the excellent crack beside it to the sounds of sea birds, rushing waves and swirling water.
A fabulous weekend with a great group tainted only slightly by just missing dinner at Morrisons in Fort William, closes at 700pm (apparently Simon and Mark do this consistently) and visiting a Chinese fish and chip shop that didn't sell Chinese food - only in the Highlands.
Crunch:- Bit optomistic trying to claim that as a new route! Those cracks where climbed as aid routes and then freed even before I started climbing at Swanage in 1967.
Well, I did write "prospecting" for new routes; sorry if it sounded like I was trying to claim anything more than that. That day, we were just toproping, didn't know what had been done around that area. It was sort of closed at the time, due to rockfall nearby. I think maybe the guy belaying in the photo (whose name I've forgotten) came back later and led the thing. A nice photo, anyway.
Care to share more of the earlier history?
Here's some pics of another route, Dogwatch. It had been climbed on aid. We were trying for a first free ascent: