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HastingsEast Sussex, ENGLAND
Climbs 11 – Rocktype Sandstone (soft) – Altitude ? – Faces S
The safest climbing to be had here is some low level bouldering just below Ecclesbourne Glen. See access notes for more details and how to approach it.
It comprises of routes up to around 3.5m high and the outcrop stretches for a couple of hundred metres. The sandstone is probably the hardest southern sandstone around as it is weathered by the sea when the tide comes in, leaving only the tough rock behind, although it is still very friable and slippy in places. PLEASE BE CAREFUL!
Due to it's unusual weathering it also has a different variety of holds compared to other southern sandstone crags, with much more crimps and less slopers.
The bouldering routes are generally low in grade and most people would probably class them a low in quality, but I find the area quite fun and it's certainly the best thing in the Hastings locality.
Incredible as it may seem, apparently, there is both trad and "winter" (aka soft sandstone) climbing here according to the BMC and the southern sandstone guidebook. Although, I really would not reccommend it, it looks lethal and extremely friable, like climbing on a very high pile of dust. The soft climbing is really on clay. Single- and multi-pitch routes up to 4,100ft (that's 33 pitches) for a clay grade IV. Warthogs and ice screws may work as protection - or not. In my opinion no protection could reliably hold a fall here. Do not underestimate the seriousness here.
WARNING: ALL THESE CLIMBS ARE TIDAL AND THERE IS THE DISTINCT POSSIBILTY OF GETTING CUT OFF BY THE TIDE IF YOU MISS THE TIDAL WINDOW. IT SHOULD ALWAYS BE SAFE TWO HOURS EACH SIDE OF LOW TIDE, ALTHOUGH THIS IS VARIABLE DEPENDING ON WEATHER CONDITIONS AND TIDE HEIGHTS.
At the east end of Hastings is a car park (signposted Rock-a-Nore). About 50 metres down Rock-a-Nore road is a closed tram/railway lift going up the hill. This is the site of the first climb (although climbing it is banned - see description above).
To approach the bouldering area head to the end of the car park (far east) and climb (not really a climb, easy) down to the beach. There are a number of boulders all the way along this beach, although you have to head due east for about 15 minutes to find any routes of a respectable height (up to about 3.5m). This bouldering area is plainly obvious, forming the bottom of the cliff, the outcrop stretches up to the waterfall below Ecclesbourne Glen. It is a couple of hundred metres long with plenty of routes. Most routes can be topped out and have easy ways of getting down.
Call the coastguard before starting any chalk excursions - 01323 20634.
The coastguards at the Dover Maritime Rescue Co-ordinating Centre (MRCC), should also be phoned on (01304) 210008 before and after climbing.
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