I've posted a fair amount on chalk climbing on my blog. Filtered posts here:
Yes, it is very good for winter training. Nothing soft about it though.
I saw photos on BigLee's blog and it is bolted/pegs but thought I had read somewhere you should only top rope/solo as they aren't solid?
That depends on where on the coast you are
> I saw photos on BigLee's blog and it is bolted/pegs but thought I had read somewhere you should only top rope/solo as they aren't solid?
You're getting mixed up with Southern Sandstone, which can only be top-roped/solo'ed. There is excellent low level traversing at Saltdean if you are flying solo though.
The routes at Saltdean and Newhaven have a range of in-situ protection ranging from commercial SS bolts, home-made bolts, warthogs, even some bulldogs. There are lower-offs that can be top-roped. You can't access the top ropes without someone leading in the first place though.
The likes of Dover and other venues are trad style so you need a rack of warthogs and a lump hammer.
> There is excellent low level traversing at Saltdean if you are flying solo though.
Enough to warrant a trip down from London, in the absence of a partner?
What's it like with weather - like sandstone, should it be avoided after rain?
Definitely enough traversing to warrant a trip. I actually find the traversing better strength training, although going upwards is more fun.
Another tip: There is some good traversing on the Eastern side but the tide moves in very quickly in the Seaward Face area. Make sure you are West of this section when the water reaches 50m from the cliff as the sea quickly pools and fills up. We got caught out last winter and had to wade back though thigh deep water.
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