/ Falling at Swanage

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.
seankenny - on 07 Feb 2013
The trad bits of Swanage always put the fear into me. They just seem so... insecure. Even when runners plop in every few feet, I don't really trust them that much.

Am I being a wuss? Or should I steam on up pumpy ground, happy in the knowledge that runners which look good are actually good, and that the placements won't blow right out?

Regale me with your stories, reassuring or otherwise.
dale1968 - on 07 Feb 2013
GrahamD - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to seankenny:

There are plenty of absolute bomber big wire and Hex placements on most of the lower grade trade routes. In between those there may be a few less perfect but you would be very, very unlucky to Desmond.
LukeyG - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to dale1968: so I am! I think some areas you may have to be cautious but most well travelled routes are fine, plus most of the time your placing mid-big wires so not much chance of pulling through unlike smaller ones where you may want to be more careful on the softer rock areas
Monkey_Alan - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to seankenny:
Julian fell most of the height of the Ruckle on Nutcracker Exit II (Just *after* I put my camera away, of course).
Gear held fine, some bruises from bouncing off the half-height ledge, otherwise unscathed.
http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/c.php?i=144341

Conversely, had to drop a rope down The Ramp to help out a climber who had bust his wrist falling off Wall of the Worlds.

Not done much in the way of falling off myself, but it's generally obvious if you're in a deep crack or just between blocks.
nniff - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to seankenny:

Swanage is where I learnt to lead. It still scares the heck out of me - more than anywhere else. Loose on an unpredictable scale and the only place where i have pulled a block off that was bigger then me just by touching it. It was above my head when it went......
The Ivanator - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to seankenny: Had a few slumps on gear, knocked a shoebox sized chunk of rock onto my belayer at the mid height belay in the Ruckle (just a glancing blow thankfully), took a proper fall at Subluminal, gear looked good and held fine, but lighter belayer took off and I stopped about 18 inches off the deck. Subluminal may feel one of the least threatening parts of Swanage, but I've seen people choppered out from there before. The starting ledges are pretty unforgiving and some of the routes are not generously protected.
If gear looks good I'd generally trust it, most of the rock is not dangerously friable, but there are exceptions of course. It's all part of the Swanage experience!
Lankyman - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to seankenny:
I used to absolutely love Swanage - preferred it to Pembroke in fact (once I'd rationalised the 45 degree soil finishes!). I think the style used to suit me better where thugging rather than thinking gets results. I'm much weaker these days and would probably not do very well there at all! All part of the ageing process.
tom84 - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to dale1968:
> (In reply to seankenny)he's still alive :) http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=210889

Probably because you can place (pick a number between one and a million) bomber cams/hexes/large nuts before the crux.
seankenny - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to dale1968:

I bet that was exciting.

Thanks guys.
gcandlin - on 08 Feb 2013
In reply to seankenny: I took a lob onto a wire by my ankle on a vs (can't remember the name) was a blue wall nut, just above an old peg, it held fine but when I checked the placement before trying again I noticed a large chip of rock had been dislodged where the but was seated. Everything feels scary at Swan age. Think it was on that trip you me and rich went on
Ciderslider - on 08 Feb 2013
In reply to seankenny: For what it's worth I think you are absolutely right to be a bit scared when you climb at Swanage. It's definitely an experience (I think most people describe it as 'adventurous").
I've spent most of my short trad apprenticeship down there.
It's true that there is alot of loose choss on quite alot of the routes (but then you climb with that in mind), there is also alot of crumbly rock near the fault line as well. And of course there are the hideous loose ruckle top outs (if it gets really bad take two nut keys and use them like ice axes ;-)
But all that said you always come away feeling a) greatful that you are still alive b) you've had a real adventure.
The other thing that I've found is that Subluminal although a 'beginner area' really packs it in (i.e. some of the harder routes have unprotected starts with difficult moves and a real chance of a desmond (decker).
As for rock quality as has been said before good large (and medium small) gear is good if it's well placed - granted some cam placements (and indeed smaller wires ) don't feel quite as bomber as they do on grit (but then what does).
As for stories - Slip road at Subluminal - my first VS lead- got up onto the pumpy one move crux having faffed about and placed most of my gear in the break, fell off (about 10ft onto a horizontal no2 walnut ) ended up about 5-6 foot off the deck.
Flashed it about a week later knowing that the gear was bomber.
Also routes like Ledgend Direct and Finale Groove (and even Transcript Direct at Sub) will swallow all the gear you can carry (and it's all bomber)
SWANAGE = HAPPY DAYS (and some spicy times).
Ciderslider - on 08 Feb 2013
In reply to seankenny: And as for LukeyG what can I say, top bloke - he's only flying coz he's really trying ;-)
Ciderslider - on 08 Feb 2013
In reply to seankenny: After all my ramblings I've just taken the time to look at your profile - I'll get my coat.
DDDD - on 08 Feb 2013
In reply to seankenny:

I did a VS route called The Cleft back around 1986/7 - I think it was at Guillemot. Came back a month later and the whole buttress had disappeared.
In general stick to routes with stars for more stable routes.
Ciderslider - on 08 Feb 2013
In reply to dale1968: Trainee legend ;-)
MikeTS - on 08 Feb 2013
In reply to seankenny:

In my day (1962) we didn't use runners or fixed pro at Swanage. Cos they hadn't been invented.
JamButty - on 08 Feb 2013
In reply to seankenny: I've had plenty of lobs off at Swanage with no problems. Had someone almost deck from the top of Stroof as well - none of his gear came out its just he didn't put any in the crack

So yes you're being a wuss.
steve taylor - on 08 Feb 2013
In reply to MikeTS:

1962! Got any stories - Swanage History is a little patchy around then!
AlanLittle - on 08 Feb 2013
In reply to seankenny:

I took my first ever leader fall at Swanage, on a Baby MOAC placed sideways. I had placed it because it was about a quarter of my entire rack at the time, and the last piece I had left. I was surprised when it held.
ads.ukclimbing.com
phantom whistler - on 08 Feb 2013
In reply to DDDD:

Exit Chimney was a lovely 2 star V Diff at Guillemot - 50% of it fell down rather suddenly in the 80's - it seems that star quality is not neccessarily a guarantee of stability.

The other 50% is still there - the whole of the former chimney's right wall.
nniff - on 09 Feb 2013
In reply to phantom whistler:

Crack of Doom, a classic severe, fell down in the 70's. When I went to look for it all we could find was an arete with unusual rubber markings - the entire right side disappeared.
MikeTS - on 09 Feb 2013
In reply to steve taylor:
> (In reply to MikeTS)
>
> 1962! Got any stories - Swanage History is a little patchy around then!

There weren't many of us. The Wessex MC had a sketchy guide to the climbs. The Southampton Uni Club did the more serious stuff. VSs were rare, and many areas not developed because a ground fall was a sea fall, and could be fatal cos of the undercut ledges.

Truth is, most of our climbing was on top ropes. We had skinny nylon ropes, tied in with bowlines round the waist, and threaded runners was the best and only pro.
MikeTS - on 09 Feb 2013
In reply to steve taylor:
> (In reply to MikeTS)
>
> 1962! Got any stories - Swanage History is a little patchy around then!

I was a schoolboy then. I'd hitch from home (Southampton), meet my mates at the Wimpy cafe in Swanage, sleep in the Subluminal caves.


This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.