/ A Dream of White Horses

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Double Knee Bar - on 22 Jul 2013
I finally got round to climbing it yesterday.

What an amazing, unlikely looking line. Every pitch was fantastic, and the last one was pretty damn scary with sweaty hands from the direct sun on the last pitch.

I must say, even though I've done routes that were technically harder, I think that's the most scared I've been on a route without falling off! (Wilkie will vouch for that, he had to watch me get up it like a gibbering wreck)

Amazing climbing in a fantastic position.

Go to it!

stupot2 - on 22 Jul 2013
In reply to ouble Knee Bar: hi, i want to climb this, what grade do you usualy climb?
Im leading vs comfortably.
Owen W-G - on 22 Jul 2013
In reply to stupot2:

VS leaders with a good head for heights will cruise DOWH
E1 leaders who get spooked by a 60m of air beneath their feet will struggle
That final pitch is one of the most exposed I've done at any grade.
A competent second, loads of slings and extendable QDs, and a pair of prussiks each (just in case) all required.
tmawer - on 22 Jul 2013
In reply to Double Knee Bar:

I did it last weekend and was blown away by imagining Ed Ward-Drummond, with that high sea running, setting off on that last pitch not knowing how hard/easy it was going to be....I had every bit of gear known to man, a still warm day, a friend on the promontary shouting instructions and still found it very intimidating....max' respect to Ward-Drummond!
Double Knee Bar - on 22 Jul 2013
In reply to stupot2: I climb HVS consistently lately, super comfy on VS, climbed the odd bold E1.

The climb really tested me. You may cruise it if you're a comfy VS climber, but I must admit, I was scared on the last pitch.

You've got to be pretty certain you can do it or you'll be in a bit of a pickle if you get stuck. You're a long way from your ab rope on that last pitch and the easiest way out is Dream.
Hardonicus - on 22 Jul 2013
In reply to Double Knee Bar: I found it was impending approach of the last pitch that was scary. Looking straight on to teh arch from the slab, it looks desperate. As soon as I had set off and turned the corner however, it all seemed suddenly quite doable albeit exposed.
wilkie14c - on 22 Jul 2013
In reply to Double Knee Bar:

> I must say, even though I've done routes that were technically harder, I think that's the most scared I've been on a route without falling off! (Wilkie will vouch for that, he had to watch me get up it like a gibbering wreck)

Yep, plus it started building in my own head after watching you on it, The concrete chimney belay is really uncomfortable but I didn't want to leave it when it was my turn.
Very unique route, both leader and second have to be solid and able to climb at the same standard, both get the exposure of a fall and swing, you can't have a tight rope from above on this route. The last pitch is magnificent and extended runners is the key. Solid VS climbing, HVS++ exposure, 4 star route. Unforgetable.

2 other teams on it before us, got photos of both you you, email me and I'll sent them. 2 guys and a guy/girl team.
wilkie14c - on 22 Jul 2013
In reply to Double Knee Bar:
Your first ever sea cliff route too, I'm pleased for you that you'll never forget it, competent display mate, great effort :-D
Pursued by a bear - on 22 Jul 2013
In reply to Double Knee Bar: It is a classic route and rightly so. The third pitch is outrageous; I couldn't see how I would do it before I did it, and couldn't see how I did it after I had.

There are some pics here if you're interested. Scanned from slides and taken on a dull day so quality ain't the greatest, but I like them nevertheless.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/8411024@N08/sets/72157631951864538/

T.
Double Knee Bar - on 23 Jul 2013
In reply to Pursued by a bear: Nice pics, thanks for sharing. You uploading any you took on Sunday Wilkie?
Pursued by a bear - on 23 Jul 2013
In reply to Double Knee Bar: Glad you enjoyed them. It is a great day out!

T.
Skyfall - on 23 Jul 2013
In reply to Double Knee Bar:

Funnily enough we did Haste Not at White Ghyll a couple of days ago which, if you don't know it, has a 15m 4c traverse pitch with lots of air beneath your feet. My 2nd found it quite exciting and I explained that Dream was quite similar but with the added excitement of a huge arch and the sea pounding away beneath your feet. Anyway, well done and, yes, it is an amazing route isn't it.
donrobson - on 23 Jul 2013
In reply to Double Knee Bar: Well done
great route years since I did it - memory says part of final groove looked as if it could fall off but from pics still there!
If you enjoyed that have a look at where Puffins daren't- easier but great exposure too
Al Evans on 23 Jul 2013
In reply to tmawer:
> (In reply to Double Knee Bar)
>
> I did it last weekend and was blown away by imagining Ed Ward-Drummond, with that high sea running, setting off on that last pitch not knowing how hard/easy it was going to be....I had every bit of gear known to man, a still warm day, a friend on the promontary shouting instructions and still found it very intimidating....max' respect to Ward-Drummond!

I agree, as somebody who climbed often with ED, I still have huge respect for his first ascent of DOWH.
wilkie14c - on 23 Jul 2013
In reply to Double Knee Bar:
> (In reply to Pursued by a bear) Nice pics, thanks for sharing. You uploading any you took on Sunday Wilkie?

I'll try and get them up to the dropbox tonight mate, having a mare at the moment due to lightning having blown up half the railway
Al Evans on 23 Jul 2013
In reply to donrobson:
> (In reply to Double Knee Bar) Well done
> great route years since I did it - memory says part of final groove looked as if it could fall off but from pics still there!
> If you enjoyed that have a look at where Puffins daren't- easier but great exposure too

Hey, 'Where Puffins Daren't' is one of mine, glad you enjoyed it, we wondered if anybody would ever repeat it :-)
wilkie14c - on 23 Jul 2013
In reply to Al Evans:
> (In reply to tmawer)
> [...]
>
> I agree, as somebody who climbed often with ED, I still have huge respect for his first ascent of DOWH.

Respect indeed Al. This was my first route in years where the outcome was unknown for me. I suffered a growing sense of doom from the moment I arrived at the first stance, staring across at that headwall of the final pitch. It got even worse when hanging in concrete chimney as you are closer to it but still can't fathom out the way across it. Sunday was red hot and flat seas and one can only imagine how damp conditions, a bit of wind and a big sea would change the atmosphere. Magnificent route, up there with the very best I've done and I've been round the block.

As the classic rock book describes the Tower Ridge 'rule book' perhaps hard rock should should have a 'rule book' for DOWH -
Both climbers should be solid, comfortable with exposure and have plenty of HVS routes under their belts. Both should be competant at abbing and prussiking and at least one of the climbers should be experienced on sea cliffs. Good ropework is vital, IIRC we used 6 sling draws on that last pitch, rope drag would be unthinkable when pulling into that final groove. Helmets go without saying and both should be armed with a mobile phone. Make sure someone knows where you are and what route you are planning, it was only a few weeks ago since the bodies of a team were tragically recovered from the sea at Gogarth. Gear up and leave your sacks at the end of the route and walk round to the abb point, the approach from the prom to the abb point is extremely precarious and involves down climbing a rocky gully bit plus you'll be glad of a drink too as you finish rather than having to walk back to the start for your gear <like we had to!>

You fancy a look at Puffin when I'm back from the USA then knee bar?
Double Knee Bar - on 23 Jul 2013
In reply to wilkie14c: maybe, but apparantly the last pitch has fallen down. Will have to have a gander.
Ann S on 23 Jul 2013
In reply to wilkie14c:

It's worth reinforcing how hot this route can be in warm weather. Three of us did it about three years ago about late Juy and everything went perfectly well, rope work, stance management etc. The only thing I would have done differently was for one of us to carry a small sack with enough water for three. When we abbed into Wen ledge it was fairly cool but the sun soon came round fully onto the wall and we baked like three little langoustines. A small sack would have allowed us to strip off unwanted layers as conditions changed etc. Obviously it took slightly longer as a three but we were a competent slick party. Thought it worth mentioning this.
Al Randall on 24 Jul 2013
In reply to Double Knee Bar: EWD wrote the description of DOWH, literally on the back of a fag packet, for me and a couple of mates when we were chatting to him and DP in the Padarn shortly after they had just climbed it. We went down to do what would have probably been the second ascent but bottled out when we looked across at the last pitch, convinced that we had got it wrong. Some mates of ours went down shortly after and later confirmed that it was in fact OK. It's amazing how the intimidation factor is lessened significantly once one of your peers "breaks the ice" so it got many ascents shortly after this by our group. At that time and for some time after it was considered to be an Extreme I seem to recall.
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gd303uk - on 24 Jul 2013
In reply to wilkie14c: I take it this was knee bars first route at Gogarth? Ipressive, I have been there with a climber who has done a fair bit on Gogarth and is level 3 irata , with the intention of doing Dream( it has been on my hit list for years) , when we thought it would be a good idea to check out the route from the prow, bad idea, my mate who shall remain nameless had a major panic attack , got gripped just looking at it and decided it would be a better idea to ab down and do Britamartis instead, that is another story.
Well done fellas the fear makes the climbing more fun, sounds like a great day out.
Wink - on 24 Jul 2013
In reply to tmawer: Did it with Smiler, the year after Ed Ward Drummond put it up. It's fantastic that all these years on it creates such excitement, I remember it as if it was yesterday (44 years later)!
malk - on 24 Jul 2013
In reply to wilkie14c:
> (In reply to Al Evans)
>
> Both climbers should be solid, comfortable with exposure and have plenty of HVS routes under their belts. Both should be competant at abbing and prussiking and at least one of the climbers should be experienced on sea cliffs. Good ropework is vital, IIRC we used 6 sling draws on that last pitch, rope drag would be unthinkable when pulling into that final groove. Helmets go without saying and both should be armed with a mobile phone. Make sure someone knows where you are and what route you are planning, it was only a few weeks ago since the bodies of a team were tragically recovered from the sea at Gogarth. Gear up and leave your sacks at the end of the route and walk round to the abb point, the approach from the prom to the abb point is extremely precarious and involves down climbing a rocky gully bit plus you'll be glad of a drink too as you finish rather than having to walk back to the start for your gear

glad we didn't take your advice, although a few issues:
http://tinyurl.com/lhx7vem


Double Knee Bar - on 24 Jul 2013
In reply to gd303uk: we checked it out from the prow first too. I must admit, it put a little doubt in my mind! That last pitch looks so unlikely to go at HVS.
Cant wait to get back to Gogarth again and get scared silly!
Skyfall - on 24 Jul 2013
All those mentioning how off putting it looks from the opposite side reminds me of the description in Ashton's little blue guide to the classics in N Wales. And how spot on it was!
dave657 on 24 Jul 2013
In reply to Double Knee Bar:

Am I the only one who thinks this route wasn't that special? I mean it was still very good, but very much overhyped in my opinion. Maybe I would have enjoyed it more if my expectations weren't quite so high! But I also think there are a lot of better routes on sea cliffs than this one.
Skyfall - on 24 Jul 2013
In reply to dave657:

Maybe it depends how good/experienced you are when you do it? I did it when HVS was pretty much my limit and was suitably impressed and terrified at appropriate points in the venture...
dave657 on 24 Jul 2013
In reply to Skyfall:

I was starting to push into E1 at the time and done plenty on sea cliffs, although this was my first route on gogarth (I've done two in total!). Maybe we all have a moral duty not to build peoples expectations up too high and let them discover things for themselves...
Al Randall on 24 Jul 2013
In reply to dave657: For me the essence of DOWH is the last pitch and I can't think of many other routes in the UK which offer such easy technical climbing in such an outrageous position. It is this which makes the route so special if not unique.

Skyfall - on 24 Jul 2013
In reply to Al Randall:

As I mentioned above, a similar outing though not above the sea (clearly a major factor with DOWH) is arguably Haste Not at White Ghyll. A 15m 4c traverse below overhangs with huge exposure beneath your feet. Looking up at it, you'd be hard pushed to believe a VS could cover the ground.
Pursued by a bear - on 24 Jul 2013
In reply to Al Randall: I think each of the pitches have their own distinct character. The first pitch, done from the notch, continually looks like you're going to run out of holds when you've done the next two or three all the way along (this is described rather well in the Hard Rock essay about the route). The second follows an obvious handrail into some unlikely country; and the third is, as you say, outrageous.

Long time since I did it but it doesn't half stick in the mind!

T.
Calder - on 24 Jul 2013
In reply to wilkie14c:
> (In reply to Al Evans)
> [...]
>
> ...
>
> As the classic rock book describes the Tower Ridge 'rule book' perhaps hard rock should should have a 'rule book' for DOWH -
> Both climbers should be solid, comfortable with exposure and have plenty of HVS routes under their belts. Both should be competant at abbing and prussiking and at least one of the climbers should be experienced on sea cliffs. Good ropework is vital, IIRC we used 6 sling draws on that last pitch, rope drag would be unthinkable when pulling into that final groove. Helmets go without saying and both should be armed with a mobile phone. Make sure someone knows where you are and what route you are planning, it was only a few weeks ago since the bodies of a team were tragically recovered from the sea at Gogarth. Gear up and leave your sacks at the end of the route and walk round to the abb point, the approach from the prom to the abb point is extremely precarious and involves down climbing a rocky gully bit plus you'll be glad of a drink too as you finish rather than having to walk back to the start for your gear <like we had to!>
>
> ...

Broke at least three of your suggested rules. That's what rules are for isn't it?

I think much easier to just suggest a bit of common sense be applied.
Pursued by a bear - on 24 Jul 2013
In reply to Skyfall:
> ...you'd be hard pushed to believe a VS could cover the ground.

The routes that my mind ranks it against are harder and steeper, but similar in feel. Both Galactic Co-ordinator and Pigs on the Wing on Triple Overhang Buttress in Pembroke take you into positions you'd think unlikely even at the admittedly harder grades they're given.

T.
dave657 on 24 Jul 2013
In reply to Al Randall:

The problem for me is it is overhyped. This was the first route I did at Gogarth, but I had heard so much about this route, people saying things like "outrageous position", "incredible exposure". It was built up to be something much bigger in my head, so by the time I got there and somebody pointed out the route to me , I went "is that it?".
Calder - on 24 Jul 2013
In reply to dave657:
> (In reply to Al Randall)
>
> The problem for me is it is overhyped. This was the first route I did at Gogarth, but I had heard so much about this route, people saying things like "outrageous position", "incredible exposure". It was built up to be something much bigger in my head, so by the time I got there and somebody pointed out the route to me , I went "is that it?".

Did you forget to look down on the last pitch or something?! ;)
dave657 on 24 Jul 2013
In reply to Calder:

Haha nope :) I'm not saying it isn't an great position or exposed, more that just that when read so many superlatives about a route it's easy to build it up to be something unrealistically good in your head!
Al Randall on 24 Jul 2013
In reply to dave657: This may kick off one of those heated, controversial debates and my memory may be fading after so many years but apart from a move down, early on the last pitch, my recollection is of climbing that was no more than Severe. The preceding pitches were much harder, the traverse in particular. I did a very early ascent, perhaps 4th or 5th so I have probably contributed to the hype but seriously I can't think of any other route that offers "severe" climbing in an "Extreme" position. The contrast between the easy physical and difficult mental aspects are more significant than any othe climb I can think of. Having said that it's reputation has diminished over the years so my opinion may be skewed.
Skyfall - on 24 Jul 2013
In reply to Al Randall:

I would agree with your take on it. I was actually quite shaken up by the preceding traverse (we went off line we think) but then thought the final pitch a bit of a path (as you say, only one step down). The atmosphere is the arch and the sea, and of course simply traversing which means the whole team is on edge and no one has an easy ride.

We actually followed a team of three across where one of the seconds was a complete novice, 1st weekend outside (I kid you not). He cruised it, the other more experienced second didn't.
MJ - on 24 Jul 2013
In reply to Al Randall:

This may kick off one of those heated, controversial debates and my memory may be fading after so many years but apart from a move down, early on the last pitch, my recollection is of climbing that was no more than Severe.

Can't remember anything particularly hard on the last pitch. Exposed maybe, but the climbing is quite straight forward, so you can enjoy it as opposed to being freaked out by it.
Ann S on 24 Jul 2013
In reply to Al Randall:

My recollection as third man is of a couple of thin 4c moves on the early traverse pitch then most of the rest felt like 4a/4b. The great thing about doing it as a three is someone can always take piccies. Wonderful experience for a climber operating in my grade.
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MaranaF - on 24 Jul 2013
I want to come back and climb this before the summers out.

Hard, steep and committing always scares me, doesn't stop me loving it though.
malk - on 24 Jul 2013
In reply to Double Knee Bar: of course you can't strictly tick the route unless you started on the first pitch;)
MJ - on 24 Jul 2013
In reply to malk:

of course you can't strictly tick the route unless you started on the first pitch;)

Sssssh, less of that sort of talk please!!!
Bobling - on 24 Jul 2013
In reply to malk:
> (In reply to wilkie14c)
> [...]
>
> glad we didn't take your advice, although a few issues:
> http://tinyurl.com/lhx7vem

I enjoyed that, took me a while to realise the different coloured fonts were different people, I was starting to wonder how many pitches Dream had!
Luci - on 24 Jul 2013
In reply to Double Knee Bar:

Ohhhh I want to climb this route SO MUCH - though I wouldn't be able to lead it. Anyone out there willing to lead climb it for a stranger from the internet? Let me know (I'm only *half* joking).
Skip - on 24 Jul 2013
In reply to Al Randall:
> (In reply to dave657) I can't think of any other route that offers "severe" climbing in an "Extreme" position. The contrast between the easy physical and difficult mental aspects are more significant than any othe climb I can think of. >

I hope so as it is on my "wish list". In my limited climbing experience i have done two climbs which may be comparable re how they were graded: Wreckers Slab (VS 4b)

"The huge, slim slab rising from the beach on the far right-hand side of the cliff has very little in the way of technical difficulty but should not be underestimated as the rock is poor, protection spaced and the situations very serious."

and Right Angle (HS 4b)

"A true classic of its grade, which follows an almost unbelievable path into, and out of territory that looks as though it should be reserved for far more extreme climbs."

The climbing is not difficult in either case, "severe"?, except for 2 or 3 moves at the end of the second pitch of Right Angle, presuming i got the lone right.

Martin Hore - on 25 Jul 2013
In reply to malk:
> (In reply to Double Knee Bar) of course you can't strictly tick the route unless you started on the first pitch;)

Over 30 years, I've done it both ways - once from the bottom, and 5 or 6 times from the notch (different partners each time). IMO the two starts give quite different experiences, both valid. From the notch, there's the sudden exposure, and the feeling (as expressed above) that it's leading you out into more and more unlikely ground. Also the scramble down to the notch is rather exciting, and the whole thing seems somehow more consistent (traverse all the way). The abseil to the "true" start seemed more conventional. Either way of course, it's the last pitch that really makes the experience.
In reply to Skip: Wrecker's is more serious protection/rock quality wise (tho not bad in the scheme of things), but DoWH is a lot more in-yer-face for exposure, and there's plenty more at-the-grade climbing on it. Can't comment on RA
keith sanders - on 31 Jul 2013
In reply to Al Randall:
Nobdy as mentioned the last move to finish it of up the little groove when I have seen people quickly reverse back from eh
Al Randall on 31 Jul 2013
In reply to keith sanders: Oh yes, I remember. Wasn't it Les Bonnington trying to wind me up, which he managed by telling me it got a LOT harder just as I moved upwards. Mind you he had already done that when he threw a rock from the headland and hit me on the foot half way across the traverse.
malk - on 31 Jul 2013
In reply to Double Knee Bar: something is missing in this thread..
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0MzENqrxt6M
Skip - on 31 Jul 2013
In reply to malk:

state of those trousers!
Dervish - on 31 Jul 2013
In reply to malk:

I too have climbed that pitch same way as Al. It is about 20 ft too high and I can confirm that it is utterly desperate. Nae runners and nae grips. Beware.

D.
malk - on 31 Jul 2013
In reply to Skip: surprised he could see where his feet were going with those flares;)
malk - on 31 Jul 2013
In reply to Dervish: someone also tried to go too high to get to the concrete chimney when i did it..
Dervish - on 31 Jul 2013
In reply to malk:

It's one of those things that kind of lures you in until you realise that you have gone too far to even contemplate reversing it. Like Al, I think I found one dodgy runner, but by then a fall would be truly horrendous.

It is still fresh in my mind 35 years later. Bloody terrifying and I couldn't even begin to give it a grade. Done it since the 'normal' way and it is totally straight forward with loads of gear!

D.
gd303uk - on 31 Jul 2013
In reply to Skip: those trousers are brilliant. Seriously I would love a pair of orange flares to climb in, a change from the crap drab uniform I see at a lot of crags, and that I wear myself.
E9 are doing some very nice colours at the moment.
http://www.urbanrock.com/rondo
Dervish - on 31 Jul 2013
In reply to gd303uk:
Agreed. I think I was sporting a pair of 'Lionels' and EBs when I climbed it the wrong way...

D.
stonemaster - on 31 Jul 2013
In reply to malk:
> (In reply to Double Knee Bar) something is missing in this thread..
> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0MzENqrxt6M

<clenches buttocks>
Jon Stewart - on 31 Jul 2013
In reply to malk:
> (In reply to Double Knee Bar) something is missing in this thread..
> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0MzENqrxt6M

Great link!
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w.pettet-smith - on 01 Aug 2013
In reply to malk: brilliant report!(though a tad concerning at times...)
so much more interesting and entertaining than a list of numbers that some sponsored wad has ammassed(see recent 'ukc news' items). love the fellas unwillingness to climb away from the ab rope! i've been there.
Al Randall on 07 Aug 2013
In reply to w.pettet-smith: The fella! That was Al Harris he was a legend.

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