I thought I would do a short write up a bit about some routes Chris put up at Swanage last year.
New routing requires you to be either very knowledgeable about a climbing area or, to be a bad-ass climber and climb the hard, more obviously unclimbed lines. Chris Weedon has the advantage of being both – and his latest routes put up on the South Coast show-case this fact.
Chris put up several new routes – but ones that stand out for me are the routes at New Dawn Wall at Fishermans Ledge; ‘Slide Show’ (E7 6c), StuckOn (E5 6a) and in Boulder Ruckle; Bert and Ernie (E2 5b).
Slide show – E7 6c
An epic line with an easy start to a mid-point gear point but from there to the top there is no gear, the climbing is thin and deserving of the grade. I tried this on top-rope a couple of times – and unless you have very good flexibility in your hips you are going to struggle to remain balanced on this route.
The top is very bold and the moves are tenuous and committing. Maybe once my A4 pulley is healed I will get down and work the route a little more – it is an inspiring line and simply an awesome route.
StuckOn – E5 6a
Another cool route – and the first I have climbed with pretty much only Sky-Hooks for protection. I climbed this straight after seconding Chris on the first ascent picking up the ‘second ascent’ for the route. It has a tenuous and awkward start and from there you move up in to a flowstone holes with very little in the way of gear. The gear mainly consists of sky-hooks – which, for dynamic falls, is way down the list of things I would trust to save my ass in a fall.
When I climbed it I had an ingenious plan for weighting the most critical sky-hook; to have the skyhook attached to a sling – half way down the sling hang a full water bottle and let the other half go to the rope. When the rope moves – the water bottle keeps the skyhook in place.
For all intents and purposes it worked as a concept – however when manovering a knee around the bottle I knocked it sending the bottle, and my sky-hook pro down the route.
Bert and Ernie – E2 5b
Bert and Ernie is an easier route – but takes a really sweet line away from ‘The Tool’, airily traverses across to the left, and up a fantastic lay-back crack. The route was named for a close friend of mine (Alex Johnson) who got married at a similar time to the route being put up.
The name derives from a very funny event from a climbing trip we made from a trip to the winter alps in our early 20s – sorry – a bit of an in-joke – but a cool name either way.
The route was climbed on-sight and took a while as it was important to be wary of potential loose blocks.
You can see these routes in the new Dorset Rockfax guide book
Photos by Oli Lyon