Matt, Robbie, Tim, Hannah, Michael, Paul and I arrived at Bosherston Camp Site late on Thursday 6th April with Kate and Joe opting for the nearby National Trust campsite at Gupton due to them having hot showers! After setting up camp and having a few beers, we retired to our tents early to be fresh for the 9am Range West briefing then next day.
The next morning we all met at Castlemartin Camp at 9am – along with over 230 other climbers, surfers and anglers. Apparently this years Easter briefing beat the record by nearly double! Due to the 60min walk-in for the crag we wanted to visit in Range West and the later start because to the briefing, all nine of us decided to head to Stennis and Saddle Heads in Range East.
Tim, Hannah and Simon were lucky enough to be the first climbers on Riders on the Storm – HVS 5a which was an epic route! Nice easy moves get you settled into the traverse until you reach the pumpy crux moves, just before heading directly up the corner to finish. After this they headed to Saddle Head where Tim led Sunset Boulevard HVS 5a on the slab next to it. When they topped out they then headed over to Blue Sky VS 4b. Due to the incoming tide, they abseiled to the end of P1 and then Simon led the final pitch.
Matt and Robbie queued for over an hour so Matt could lead Cool for Cats E1 5b. After a bit of Elvis legs from the run out and then managing the pump the route definitely lived up to the hype! They then considered queuing again for Manzuko but decided to head over to Stennis Arête VS 4c. Matt fluffed the first traverse by going to high and by the time he’d got back on line the waves were lapping at their feet! They then bailed on that and Robbie led Limbo VS 4c which gets its name from the limboing required to get round the final roof to exit!
Paul and Michael started the day on the single pitch section of Stennis Head with Paul warming up on Quickstep VS 4b before heading over to (successfully!) lead Stennis Arête VS 4c although Michael did nearly drop his belay plate in the sea!
They then had a sketchy scramble down to the start of Riders on the Storm HVS 5a which Paul started off on before realising the swell was much more than anticipated after getting wet feet! They retreated on something that felt around Hard Severe. Michael then had the last lead of the day finishing on Highland Fling HS 4b. A highlight for most of us that day was witnessing Jesse Dutton (of climbing blind fame) climb some routes at Stennis Head – mind blowing stuff to see!
After a great first day we all headed back to our respective camps and with temperatures dropping the Bosherston lot huddling round Simon’s Hot Mayonnaise (BBQ paraffin) fuelled fire with a few beers until we finally ran out of wood and got too cold!
Day 2 and all nine of us met at Gupton Gate around 9am for the 60min walk in to get to South Zawn on Strata walls with three main objectives – Mercedes HS 4a, Bird on a wire VS 4b and Night Riders HVS 5a. Kate and Joe were the first on the 3 star VS, Bird on a Wire, although they did have to wait 45mins before abbing as the sea was still pummelling the belay ledge!
Tim, Hannah and Simon were the first on Mercedes HS 4a, opting for a hanging belay to get started a bit earlier. Tim and Simon abseiled in first and unfortunately Hannah was hit by a loose rock dislodged by the abseil rope and sustained a pretty nasty cut to the leg. Luckily they had the support of the seven other members at the top and we had just invested in some radios so we could communicate with each other easily. Fortunately Hannah didn’t require any emergency evacuation and also the RSPB ranger from the briefing was passing by in her truck so Hannah, Tim and Simon hitched a lift back to the campsite, avoiding a long slog back along the beach.
Paul and Michael were the next team on Mercedes HS 4a, probably worth more than 1 star due to the incredible setting and the embedded missile at half height – as a group we thought Projectile Dysfunction would be a more suitable name for the route!
Matt and Robbie were next to tackle Bird on a Wire – Matt’s route of the trip – before it was Paul and Michaels turn to romp up the same route, an absolute jugfest!
After safely returning to Bosherston, Hannah decided to rest for the afternoon while Tim and Simon climbed on Bow Shaped Slab in Flimston bay. The 3* HS’s Bow Shaped Corner and Bow Shaped Slab were a nice end to the day before heading to St Govan’s Inn to meet up with everyone for some well earned food and beers. We then said our goodbyes to Matt and Robbie as they set off back to Bristol.
Tim and Simon opted for a short walk-in heading to St Govan’s. The aim was to climb Army Dreamers HSV 5a and The Arrow E1 5b. Unfortunately they abseiled into the wrong section for The Arrow so instead climbed the pumpy, greasy corner crack of Tactician HVS 5a. The main crag at St Govan’s was very busy but an opportunity to jump on Army Dreamers came up – plenty of air underneath your feet after the initial balancey traverse!
Paul and Michael drove over to Mother Carey’s to climb the adventurous Threadneedle Street HS. According to them the first pitch was damp and absolutely terrifying before pitches 2 and 3 gave way to some amazing climbing with great gear and a flake what you have to mount and ride like a bull!
Kate and Joe were aiming to climb Bell Ringer S on Western Walls in Range West, but upon arriving at the top of the cliff they soon realised this was not an area to climb in during larger swell so sensibly opted for fish and chips in Tenby before en-route back to Bristol
All in all, despite the unfortunate injury for Hannah the trip was a great success, and now that we’ve all attended the briefing we all can’t wait to get back to South West Wales later in the year! The club has another Pembroke trip planned for August, although some of us might opt for a camp site with hot showers next time…