After a long winter converting my van I finally got around to using the bloody thing, and a weekend stop over in Southern sandstone was the first test, and well, it went well! Nice to use what I’ve spent so much time building!
We first went to one of the minor outcrops, Happy Valley Rocks, and after a quick recon to make sure we were in the right place we got our matts and started climbing. All the climbing here was bouldering, no top rope, and the first problem, a modest 4c was a tough reminder of how different climbing sandstone is to climbing other rock types, that said i struggled up it and then bagged the 4c next to it, although they were both pretty stiff! This was on the boulder closest to the hotel, so we moved to the main part of the crag.
I did a fair few problems here, I completed a 5a that worked its way up a slab past AYLA etched in the rock? I also tried another 4c which was marked with a skull etching, this I could not get started and pumped out a little on it! There was a grade 3 climb in the corner next to this and I sent that. feeling good about working a grade 3 climb…maybe i need to improve or maybe i hate sandstone!
That night we drove into Ashdown forrest and spent the night with a fantastic view, it was a great to us the van for what will be its ultimate purpose! A sausage sandwich was fuel for the next days climbs.
Although we made an early start, we didn’t get a climb in until the afternoon, as we spent the morning driving and looking around stone farm rocks before deciding that we would be better off climbing elsewhere. After speaking to some friends we decided on Harrisons rocks and given the weather it would be busy there, and it was!
Once we walked into the crag we had some lunch and then finally decided to get a climb in, on sunshine crack! I can’t remember the description in the guidebook, but it should have read something like… Sunshine Crack (More like ‘some shit crack’), I literally scrapped my way up bit by bit, even wedged my leg at one point. Hated it and all for another 4c? what the fuck? I felt like climbing a higher grade again! Jess tried and gave up the climb for the crap that it is!
we then moved to the final end of the crag as there was less traffic there and met up with friends there. It was about 3 by this time, and since 10am, had only managed one crappy climb! The afternoon faired a lot better, and managed to log another 4 climbs, eventually enjoying a 5c route called left or something, really nice moves all the way up. The whole day had been an extension of the previous days learning curve in how to climb sandstone and trust in holds and slopers. We climbed till late and it was starting to darken when we left.
All in all it was a good weekend, and although I would prefer to go to other crags/areas than sandstone, while I am staying in the south I think I will go up again before the Europe trip and take advantage of the close by climbing and hopefully improve by climbing on rock that I don’t like!