The Big Swanage Double

Bristol-based climbers Cailean Harker and Ben West have made ascents of two steep and rarely climbed F8a+ sport climbs in Swanage in the same weekend - Infinite Gravity and Palace of the Brine

Commenting in their UKC logbooks, Ben said:  "What a weekend. Infinite yesterday and Palace today. My body has definitely been put to the test this weekend!" Cailean described the steep prow of Infinite Gravity: "What an amazing route. An absolute battle at the top fighting a mega pump. Not many hard moves but a hell of a lot of them!"

Ben on Palace of the Brine
© Ben West

Ben contacted us with a fuller account of the weekend:

"On the weekend of the 4th/5th October Cailean Harker and myself headed down to Swanage with two routes in mind. The outrageous 40m long, 45 degree overhanging ship's prow of "Infinite Gravity" F8a+ and the big 15m horizontal roof "Palace of the Brine" - also F8a+. Some might say that's quite a tall order to get both of these incredibly steep climbs done in a weekend, but we thought what the hell, let's go for it.

A band of rain was due to sweep across the country on Saturday morning, so we decided to get up early and get in to Blackers hole before it hit.  Just equipping "Infinite Gravity" is a task in itself.  To minimise rope drag on this ridiculously steep route, ideally you need 16 4ft slings or a hell of a lot of quickdraws.  Both of us managed to climb the route first redpoint and by the time Cailean had topped out, the rain had passed and it had turned out to be a beautiful day.

The next day both of us were feeling the effects of fatigue. It became really apparent how hard we both had to try the previous day. Palace of the Brine isn't quite as long as Infinite Gravity, but it does have one of the longest horizontal roofs I've ever attempted to climb.  Like Infinite it's not the easiest to equip and it took a lot of grovelling to stick with it.  I managed it on my first redpoint and after coming up a bit short on the crux move, Cailean managed it on his next go.  We had achieved "The Big Swanage Double"!

These routes have only had a handful of ascents, but are considered to be some of the best of the grade in the country."

Cailean on Infinite Gravity
© Ben West


More detailed information on the routes can be found on Cailean's blog. 


Cailean is sponsored by: La Sportiva, Liquid Grip and Mammut

Ben is sponsored by: Evolv, Metolius and prAna

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