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PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2013 11:26 am 
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Joined: Mon Aug 16, 2010 11:26 am
Posts: 81
Location: London, United Kingdom
Real Name: Stephen Martindale
I am planning to take a friend up Atlantic Wall, this Saturday. It will be his first trad. climb. I have never climbed the route but someone (also a trad. newbie, like myself) mentioned that one of the pitches is a massive sand-bag for a grade 12 route - it was a while ago but I think they also mentioned that there is a way around the hard stuff.

Is this true? If so, which pitch is it, how do you avoid it and what grade is it in reality?

Fortune favours the prepared.


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PostPosted: Thu May 23, 2013 10:15 pm 
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Hi there,

It may well be the very first pitch your friend spoke of. The description in the book says to climb the right side of the block but this leads up a very tricky off width crack. Climbing up the left side of the block is considerably easier. It was an error that wasn't discovered until after I had signed the final proof for the guide book - my apologies to anyone who's been flummoxed by it.

The rest of the route is pretty spot on for a 12 though quite adventurous. Pitch 3 is particularly entertaining ( it may look a little daunting but isn't so bad). You won't be able to see your partner from the stance at the top of pitch 3, so if your buddy is particularly new to climbing then it may be wise to choose a slightly more direct route (have you done Rainbow Crag before? - it's direct with good visual contact at the stances and as a bonus lands you right near the rap anchors above the lookout corner). Back to Atlantic Wall: Pitch 4's difficulty lies in deciding where to climb up the blocky prow above the incut dassie ledge - don't go too far left - this lands you on some rotten vegetated choss - the best line is straight up the blocky prow on some very airy jugs.

Just another word on Rainbow Crag - the last pitch can be climbed either in the chimney crack or on the wall to the right. The chimney is an interesting option with a wormhole at the top - lots of fun.

Another relatively easy option is Sunset Crag in the Clifton Sector. You can start it from the tea level traverse if you aren't keen for anything too long.

Enjoy - let us know how it goes!

All the best,
David


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PostPosted: Mon May 27, 2013 1:48 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 16, 2010 11:26 am
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Location: London, United Kingdom
Real Name: Stephen Martindale
Christine and I climbed this route with a friend as third, on Saturday, in the fog and low cloud. It was entertaining.

Pitch one: we climbed the left side of the leaning block and found the pitch to be very easy. Perhaps even soft for a 12. The finger crack was great fun.

Pitch two: this was interesting. Christine lead it with no problems. I found it to be rather difficult with a pack on because I was off balance in the fault. Probably harder than pitch 1.

Pitch three: my turn to lead. I managed to get my helmet stuck while placing a cam deep in the horizontal groove below the overhang and had fun trying to free it, all the while with my knees almost up my nose. I was just about to declare the pitch to be one almighty sand-bag when I spotted a tiny chalk smear on the left face of the open-book a little below the stance. This alerted me to the presence of the world's most comfortable jug and a little investigation revealed a second jug about thirty centimetres higher. I had missed them entirely. Knowing that they're there, I definitely agree with the grade. The difficulty seems to come from the "three-dimensional" nature of the pitch - it isn't just a wall with some grips. The cubby-hole at the top is littered with large, square-cut blocks that are too easy to grab - don't, they're loose.

Pitch four: Christine's lead. She sent the bulge/prow with no drama and, as it turns out, that's the only real move on the whole pitch. The rest is a B scramble. When I followed, I was blown away with the ease with which the bulge actually goes - from the stance, it looked impossible.

Over all, this route was much more of a mind-game than anything we've climbed in the past. Perhaps it was the cloud.

While belaying from one of the lower stances, I watched a football sized boulder bounce down the mountain perhaps fifty metres left of our position, looking outwards. Who knocked that down? A helmet wouldn't protect you from that thing and it must, surely, have crossed the tourist path - they wouldn't have been wearing helmets!


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PostPosted: Mon May 27, 2013 9:25 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 01, 2007 12:20 pm
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Nice one Stephen!

Glad you enjoyed it.


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PostPosted: Tue May 28, 2013 8:50 am 
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Joined: Fri Nov 28, 2008 1:21 pm
Posts: 279
Lion's Head is packed with good routes! I have done both of those routes & their aspect is spectacular! Must agree about posting yourself through the slot at the top of the crack on Rainbow...really cool. Also all praise to the RD...it has made all these great climbs really accessible...sometimes we even end up climbing pitches not in the book...

As a trad venue for those pressed for time Lion's Head is unbeatable! :thumright

I think I went right on Atlantic Wall on pitch 1, quite right, not so easy...

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