Blog Archive: 2015

FALL 2015: BAIL UPWARDS.

“Bail upwards!” Alex Honnold

Its fickle how different climbing venues come in and out of fashion. This fall in Bermuda, Hogfish Bay was the place to be. This venue is probably the second most frequented DWS location in Bermuda but is usually neglected in favour of the neighbouring Clarence Cove which is shorter and with better rock. The access traverse for Hogfish also weighs in at 5.11c which means you have to be operating at a reasonable standard before you can get on any of the up routes which range from 11c to 12c.

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Timothy Claude living High on the Hog

Earlier in the summer I completed Hogwash, the traverse around the eastern part of Hogfish Bay which opens up a massive link up of Ambergris in Clarence Cove and The X Man Finish/ Death by Bongo Bongo in Hogfish Bay to give a 150m sea-level traverse at 5.11+. A number of other high level and mid-level traverses were completed including High on the Hog, Hogging the High, Bonsai Hotline and Bonsai Nightline.

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Leeroy Beeby sends Terminal Velocity

Sometime in September, Timothy and I were standing on top of the arch at the western end of Hogfish Bay. What goes up that little headwall over there? He said. Nothing dude, I replied go for it! The line soon fell to give Terminal Velocity, a micro gem of a route with a very blind finish completed by Timothy, myself, Leeroy Beeby and Sam Mir.

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Sam Mir sends Terminal Velocity

The up routes at Hogfish are all in the upper 5.11 range with Tortura Del Agua probably the hardest and one of the best of the bunch. This route received much attention this fall before the second ascent fell to Timothy Claude with further ascents from Leeroy and Sam.

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Timothy Claude on Tortura Del Agua

Fungus Rock became yet another 5.11d on this wall and combines a start discovered by Leeroy, avoids some fungus and then takes an alternative way into the finish of Tortura Del Agua.

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Lee Scratch Perry Fungus Rock

Fifty Shades of Pink is a superb 5.12c on immaculate pink limestone that has been under my nose for the last 7 years. It took Dave Pickford’s very impressive on-sight flash first ascent earlier this year to galvanise my interest. I had always thought this line looked much harder than 5.12 but I was wrong! I managed to repeat it second go on my second day of trying the route. I arrived at the crag after work as everybody else was leaving. After climbing a warm up, I didn’t feel optimistic but I knew I should attempt it. I almost didn’t go for it due to the prevailing conditions which constituted on-shore wind, big sea and low tide. On the initial sea level traverse a big wave came through and sprayed up my shorts completely soaking one rock shoe and my left testicle. No point in giving up now, I can only get wetter and my balls are wet but still there. The start flowed easily enough. The three finger pocket felt better this time and I got a slightly better crimp to the left of the one I had been using previously. Right hand into poor gaston then crucial left foot move to go again with the right hand into a crimp. Tricky, easy to blow, slopers on the traverse right then up to top which looks like a sloping pile of sh!te from above but feels like a jug en route. Make sure not to blow it on the top out. Woo Hoo!

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Dave Pickford on the crucial mauve of Fifty Shades of Pink

I followed up my ascent of Fifty Shades with a variation start, Rococo (5.12c) and incorporated the crucial section of Fifty Shades into Boss Hog (5.12d) which seeks out the hardest possible right to left traverse line of most resistance across the wall.

Once again the ever explorative Timothy Claude discovered a new cliff on the north shore of Bermuda. Mind you, his house is perched on a cliff on the north shore and this venue is about 100yds from his front door so he did not have to venture far! Burton’s Bay has a fairly tall approx 45 feet slightly overhanging wall with a capping roof. Snorkelling underneath revealed a snag. The reef underneath shelves out from the base of the crag from a depth of waist deep at high tide to just overhead depth about 15 feet out from the base. Falling off on the first section of the wall would not be an option but the roof section should be safe. The atmospheric conditions were not perfect with rain all morning and then clearing slightly in the afternoon but it was a 1.1m high tide at 2pm so I whatsapped Timothy and headed over. Sea level traversing lead to a no-hands ledge/cave underneath the wall proper. Hands over the roof revealed wafer thin biscuity rock. I decided to turn the roof on the left. Lots of slow Gogarth South Stack ledge shuffling took me on through fragile overhanging rock above waist deep water over reef to the break before the final overhang. Its probably OK to fall from here. The overhang looked quite tricky with no convenient massive jugs to pull on. I’m pumping now and its going to be safer to continue than reverse. Time to bail upwards! A cramped rock over to the right and a crimp at the back of the roof allowed me to gain the lip which was flat but wet. No time to hang around, feet up, step left, top.

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Cream Crackered 5.10d R/X lies on Burton’s Bay Wall, reef visible below

SUMMER 2015: CLIMBING MAGAZINE VISITS BERMUDA.

Jeff Achey and Andrew Burr on assignment from Climbing magazine visited Bermuda from Thursday 23rd July to Tuesday 28th July. Unfortunately the weather was un-seasonally bad with lots of showers, thunderstorms and one day of continuous rain.

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Jeff Achey takes on Bermuda beach bouldering in bare feet.

Thursday 23rd July. DWS at Clarence Cove area. It rained all day but brightened up in the evening. I picked Andrew up at the Rosedon Hotel and we headed to Clarence Cove. After a quick recce, Andrew spotted a scene he wanted to photograph on the east side of Deep Bay. “Swim over there and get on those routes under those houses dude” he directed. As I was climbing, Jazmyne and Simon showed up and we all then climbed a load of routes on the Full Fathom Five Ten buttress. Simon fell off one of the routes and was then dubbed “splash guy” by Andrew for the rest of the weekend. As the light was fading Andrew wanted to shoot a load of routes in Clarence Cove as his “insurance” against the weather remaining bad for the rest of the trip. As it turns out, this was a wise move.

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Andrew prepares to shoot Jeff and myself on a route at The Great Head. Photo Ian Bridges. This photo was taken from a jet ski.

Friday 24th July. Sports climbing in very bad conditions at The Great Head and The Pump Room in the morning followed by lunch at the Swizzle Inn. Jeff narrowly missed the on-sight of Crackhouse which is 11c in good conditions but more like 5.12 something in the sauna-like conditions. I obediantly dogged my way up Bogeyman for some pictures before climbing a couple of routes on Nereids wall. Andrew had spotted another scene he wanted to photograph which is the Pump Room crag with the St David’s lighthouse in the background. Ahab is only 11b but feels like 12b if it is humid which it definitely was! I slimed off on the lead with Jeff making an impressive flash when cleaning the route. Lunch and welcome rehydration was fish sandwiches at the Swizzle. I was trying to organise Stand Up Paddle Boards to be available for the boat trip scheduled for the next day but my predictive text insisited on Stand Up Paddle Broads. This became a standing joke for the rest of the trip. In the afternoon we met a psyched local crew for DWS at Clarence Cove area. Jeff on-sighted Atlantis, Night Dive and Ordering Enema Trauma. Xavier received much attention with multiple spectacular attempts that were tantalisingly close to success. Leeroy Beeby tried so hard he pulled a hold off but this has not changed the grade of the route. Evening activity was dinner at The Pickled Onion.
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Jazmyne Watson attempting Xavier, 5.12c
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Jazmyne Watson attempting Xavier, 5.12c
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Jazmyne Watson attempting Xavier, 5.12c

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Jazmyne Watson attempting Xavier, 5.12c
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Jazmyne Watson attempting Xavier, 5.12c
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Saturday 25th July. Unfortunately it rained all day. Days like this are unusual in Bermuda, especially in July. I had scheduled an all day boat trip in the itineray taking in Harrington Sound in the morning followed by Great Sound in the afternoon. This would have been the highlight of the trip but alas not to be. After a morning spent fruitlessly waiting for the weather to change, Andrew, Jeff and I went looking (unsuccessfully) for sea horses, looked at some wet crags, checked the surf and drank beer. We had a climbing dinner/ slideshow at my house in the evening. The high point of this was Burr’s amazing inspiring climbing slideshow pieces that are set to music. After everybody left I watched them back to back about 5 times before going to bed.

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Andrew and Jeff amusing themselves on a rainy day in Bermuda.

Sunday 26th July. East end bouldering in the morning followed by lunch at the Swizzle Inn and a very last minute boat trip to The Great Sound. In defiance of the weather forecast, sunday dawned and remained sunny blue skies all day. We checked John Smith’s Bay first which was dripping wet after the rain so we immediately bailed to Trespasser’s Cove. Access to this spot is tide dependent and involves a 5 min walk down an immaculate deserted pink sand beach followed by a shallow wade at low tide to a cove where the best bouldering area in Bermuda lies. On this day, low tide in the morning was a by Cinema-Plus 1.1″ href=”http://climbderock.wikifoundry.com/page/#99196940″ target=”_self” rel=”noopener noreferrer”> high low, and coupled with a small swell produced head high waves which meant a bit of a drenching on the way in and a very tight window at the crag before we had to bail. During lunch at the Swizzle Inn we tried and exhausted numerous boat leads before Devin sourced a boat hire from Somerset Bridge. A very psyched crew congregated at Robinson’s Marina and then hit Scaur Wall. Jazmyne made the second ascent of Biggus Dickus, Josh found a new route and Leila flashed a 5.10b after not climbing for 2 years. We then moved to Echo Beach where the highlight was Jazmyne’s hard bouldery new route; Caught between a Hard Rock and a Hard C0ck. The name has something to do with an unorthodox looking no hands rest discovered by Leeroy earlier in the day. Leeroy was the only other climber to succeed on this line despite numerous attempts.

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Climbing paperazzi shoot Jazmyne Watson at Trespasser’s Cove.

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Josh Hill on a first ascent at Scaur Wall.

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Jazmyne Watson on the second ascent of Biggus Dickus.

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Andrew Burr shooting Leila Wadson on Craic Heads. Having not climbed for 2 years Leila flashed this 5.10b easily off the couch.

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A very psyched DWS crew at Scaur Wall in The Great Sound. Left to right; Josh Stephenson, Leeroy Beeby, Dr Sam Mir, Simon Arthur, Leila Wadson, Jeff Achey and Jill.

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Burr abseiling in for a boat pick up.

Monday 27th July. Jeff left at 6am but Andrew went to The Great Head in the morning with Jazmyne and myself to climb a couple of 5.10s in the rain followed by a short bouldering session at John Smith’s Bay. As Jazmyne was climbing Save Your Breath she attracted a crowd of tourists who seemed to think she was an “American Ninja”.

Thank you to Bermuda Tourism Authority especially Ms Jill Dill, Jeff Achey, Andrew Burr, Climbing magazine and the Bermuda climbing crew including Jazmyne Watson, Simon Arthur, Dr Sam Mir, Leeroy Beeby, Josh Stephenson, Josh Hill, Devin Page, Leila Wadson and Eloise Pitts Crick.

EASTER 2015: CLIMB MAGAZINE VISITS BERMUDA.

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Dave Pickford on-sighting Poopenshooten.

Dave Pickford, Editor in Chief of Climb magazine visited Bermuda around Easter 2015 and pretty much crushed all the hardest routes. Bermuda is a 5.11 climbers paradise but Dave climbs 5.14 so he quickly ran out of routes. Here is a link to a short movie of his trip and below is his ticklist for the week.

DAVE’S BERMUDA TICKLIST

Thursday 26th March The Great Head

Crackhouse 5.11c
Power Junky 5.12a
Dave took a look at (One Shoe Over) The Cuckoo’s Nest but after recent rain this was seeping and having not been climbed since the first ascent was also dirty.
Ectoplasm 5.12d. Redpoint first ascent
Bogeyman 5.12c. Dave slipped off due to wetness at the second clip but then lowered off and flashed the route.

Friday 27th March North Shore

Atlantis 5.11b
Lara Croft 5.11a
Dave took a look at Spicy Times but there was a tree in the landing zone courtesy of Hurricane Gonzalo which renders the route a bit too spicy!
Full Fathom Five Ten 5.10a
Poopenshooten 5.12d on-sight flash
Bullet in the Chest 5.12d on-sight flash

Saturday

Rest
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Dave Pickford on-sight flashing the first ascent of Fifty Shades of Pink.

Sunday 29th March North Shore

Shoot to Kill 5.13b flash first ascent
Rocket to the Head 5.13b flash first ascent

Monday 30th March The Pump Room

Ahab 5.11b

Tuesday 31st March North Shore

Night Dive 5.11c
Fifty Shades of Pink 5.12c on-sight flash first ascent
Rocketeer 5.13a flash first ascent

Wednesday 1st April North Shore

Tried project at Ladies Chambers
Poopenshooten 5.12d

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Dave Pickford attempting a project at Ladies Chambers.