The 5th Annual Deep Water Soloing Festival at Connor Cove, Dorset, August 20th

© Paul Twomey

Adam Lincoln writes:

Climber on Freeborn Man at the 2005 DWS Festival.
© Paul Twomey

"Mike Weeks (X1 Sports) and Bean Sopworth delivered the goods again. They even ordered the weather, which was looking dubious in the week. People were throwing themselves off the famous Conger jump (45ft) all day, with no casualties this year! The big big jump off the Acapulco ledge (70ft) saw two descents. Tim Emmett and Mike Robertson providing the entertainment. Not to be out done though, Jack Osbourne, yes THE Jack Osbourne (son of Ozzy the mad bat-eating rocker) stepped it up and threw himself from the Conger ledge, with a little encouragement from Tim.

The usual competitions took place, with the enduro competition prize going to Steve McClure and Ruth Taylor who completed most routes in the area. The speed competition up Freeborn Man (6b+) provided the main event for spectators. Steve McClure claiming that prize as well, beating the rest of the pack by a good few seconds.

The party was the highlight for a lot of people, some only venturing over after a hard days surfing in Devon. Just goes to show, this is the social event of the year in terms of partying. Excellent Dj-ing was provided by Mike Weeks and Paul Twomey. Party sponsors Corona did a grand job with the beer supplies, and an even better job was done by Ben Heason and Miles Gibson on the BBQ front by feeding the hungry with burgers, sausages and salad. Didn't hear of any food poisoning cases in the morning.

The aftermath of the night before was always going to slow the morning start at Lulworth Cove. It was pretty obvious who had not been to bed, and there were quite a few of those. Most though had gathered by lunch, and the usual climbs seeing plenty of action. None more so than Horny L'il Devil (7a) the classic traverse over the big arch at Stair Hole East.

It was a top weekend and I am sure fun was had by all. Let's hope the festival is just as good next year. If it is, and you haven't been before, your in for a great time.

Thanks to the sponsors, FatFace, Corona, Snow and Rock, Wild Country/Red chili and Rockfax who help make it all possible."

Adam Lincoln on Freeborn Man at the 2005 DWS Festival.
© Paul Twomey

Thomas 'Sloper' O'Rourke writes:

"Having been unable to attend previous DWS. I was very keen to give this a whirl. I did four routes, Troubled Waters (HVS 5a), the Conger (E2 5c) and an E2 and E4 on the right hand side of Conner cove (something to do with sharks). I only got  wet once, when I jumped off having got bored of waiting for some Scottish bloke, which means I wasn't really trying hard enough. The only thing that made me nervous was falling in from a height with my specs and having to go through medical clearance for my new job again.

Who impressed me? To be honest it wasn't any of the superstars it was the people who were climbing onsight and at their limit.  One lad had never climbed E1 before he did the Conger and that to me is fairly hard core. There were so many cameras you'd have thought there were some celebs' along! The speed climbing thing on Freeborn man summed it up, all that was missing was the kalifornia commentary and shouts of “send it dooood.” All in all, I'm pleased I've tried it and would do it again at a different venue, perhaps with shorter and harder routes."

 The top three speed results for the race up Freeborn Man were:

1. Steve McClure 28.4 seconds

Steve McClure at the 2005 DWS Festival.
© Paul Twomey

2. Adam Lincoln 34 seconds

3. Gav Symmonds 34.6 seconds

An on form Steve McClure also recently repeated Ben Bransby's E9, Chupacabra in Huntsman's Leap, Pembroke.

 Some quotes about Freeborn Man

Dan Constantine on his first DWS, Troubled Waters HVS 5a
© Dan Constantine

“As 'Out of the blue' puts it, soloing Freeborn Man for the first time is a major life event comparable to driving your first car or burning down your first public building.” Tim Monks

“Remember this route was first climbed when E4 was a top grade and before sticky rubber and DWS was even a twinkle in anyones eye. On the first ascent Nick was unable to top rope it, so reasoned that a lead might give him the incentive to hang on. I made an early repeat of this route a long time ago as a roped lead and it was quite epic to fix the gear. I have also soloed it and it is far easier that way. Try leading it and you will find out why its E4.” Chris Flewitt


"That's how I want climbing to be for me, just free." says Chris Sharma after his first experiences deep water soloing inspired by seeing footage of Klem Loskot in Psicobloc (Psicobloc is one of the best climbing shorts around and won the Climbing category at last years Kendal Mountain Film Festival.). Both Sharma and Loskot are featured at the DWS mecca of Mallorca in Josh Lowell's DVD, Dosage Two. If you have broadband, and an increasing number of people do, you can see clips of Dosage Two at Big UP Productions

Mike Weeks has a DWS DVD out that documents an all-climbing celebrity cast including Steve McClure, Chris Sharma, Leo Houlding, Tim Emmet and the reality TV star, Jack Osbourne exploring cliffs on the coast of Croatia.  Depth Charge is available from X1 Sports again be warned, this is a high bandwith website.


The prize is a one-off poster of the Paul Twomey photograph of Adam Lincoln on Freeborn Man shown above. Boys can enter if they so wish. No posting the answer on the forums.

The Question. Who did the first ascent of Freeborn Man (both names) and when? Email your answer to

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