Lundy Island

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Lundy Lights

The Southwest, a fabled area of Cornish granite sea cliffs, North Devonian adventure climbing and Lundy. An area that every year has been on the list of ‘must go climbing there’ places but every year had eluded me…until this year.

Walking down to Pentire Head I looked up in fascination at the lines of Eroica, Darkinbad the Brightdayler and Black Magic…we did them all. Black Magic is probably one of the most engaging and sustained routes of its grade I’ve climbed. The runout upper section felt lonely and pumpy, superb!

Lee questing up Darkinbad the Brightdayler.

Lee questing up Darkinbad the Brightdayler.

Pentire Head

Pentire Head

Standing on the pier at Ilfracombe waiting for the ferry, arms and shoulders felt tired from the day before and I hoped I hadn’t peaked before I had even got to Lundy! The island sits 12 miles off the North Devon coast in the Bristol Channel. Having extensive bird bans, late August onwards is the best time to arrive for climbing although the MV Oldenburgh is full to capacity nearly every day with day trippers and bird watchers throughout the summer. As a result island climbing life feels quite different to being on Pabbay or any other Scottish or Irish island though when you get on to the cliffs it feels every bit as remote.

Five days of good weather meant we were able to get on quite a few classics and came away sampling probably the best of Lundy. The granite on the whole is immaculate, though varies in makeup along the length of the Island. Highlights of the routes had to be Antiworlds, The Promised Land and A Widespread Ocean of Fear, each memorable in different ways!

Lee following up the first pitch of both Venus Flytrap and Wolfman Jack. THe granite here is almost flowstone like!

Lee following up the first pitch of both Venus Flytrap and Wolfman Jack. The granite here is almost flowstone like!

Dan McManus on the utterly superb Supernova in Deep Zawn.

Dan McManus on the utterly superb Supernova in Deep Zawn.

Atlantic view from the Battery.

Atlantic view from the Battery.

Quatermass, a gentle introduction to Deep Zawn.

Quatermass, a gentle introduction to Deep Zawn.

Lee setting off up the wild Antiworlds in Deep Zawn. A Littlejohn tour de force up an incredible systen of grooves and corners.

Lee setting off up the wild Antiworlds in Deep Zawn. A Littlejohn tour de force up an incredible system of grooves and corners.

Lee coming out of the dark into the light on the 2nd pitch of Antiworlds

Lee coming out of the dark into the light on the 2nd pitch of Antiworlds.

Lee pulling out from under the roof on The Promised Land. Another Litteljohn classic, this was probably the most adventurous route of the week and its E3!

Lee pulling out from under the roof on The Promised Land. Another Litteljohn classic, this was probably the most adventurous route of the week and its E3!

The Diamond. Home to scary slabs and mariners lichen. Wes Hunter on the first pitch of Widespread Ocean of Fear.

The Diamond. Home to scary slabs and mariners lichen. Wes Hunter on the first pitch of A Widespread Ocean of Fear.

The Old Light

The Old Light. A familiar view on the walk back to the campsite at the end of the day.

 

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Alpine Summer

Lying in the warm sunshine at the top of Craig yr Ysfa looking out over Wales one could be mistaken for thinking its the middle of summer…warm, sweaty walk ins, shady crags and bone dry mountain rock…not what you expect on October 1st! The last time I remember it being this dry and warm in the mountains was back at the end of June, hopes of a third great summer in a row were high…I don’t think it ever happened, however the stunning and beautiful Indian summer we are currently enjoying is more than making up for it!

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After work cragging in the Pass at the end of June. Lee on Nectarine Run, tricky! No success that evening but we did manage the superb Noahs Ark in Cwm Glas Bach and Big Boys at Rhoscolyn that same week.

I was fortunate this summer to have five weeks out in the Alps over two trips working with a fantastic bunch of people and enjoying some fantastic weather in July and some more mixed weather in August. The area around Andermatt hosts some of the finest granite climbing in the Alps and so with stellar weather there was little reason to venture far from the surrounding valleys and passes in the first couple of weeks.

August arrived and the heat wave started to subside somewhat with more unsettled weather. A great couple of days at the Moiry Hut and then the Wiwannihut were had before the first snow of the summer arrived which coincided with the end of our time and so it was back to the UK.

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Sunrise approach on the Gwatchenhorn

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Beautiful morning light approaching the Gwatchenhorn.

A quick day hit to climb the classic Steuri route on the NE Face of the Kingsptiz.

A quick day hit to climb the classic Steuri route on the NE Face of the Kingsptiz with Ben and Dave.

Kings of the Kingspitz!

Kings of the Kingspitz!

Turbo scrambling on the Klein Bielenhorn

Turbo scrambling on the Chlj Schijen Ridge above Andermatt.

Lee following us up the superb Alpentraum on Teufelswand. Immacualte granite climbing in the scorching heat...almost perfect!

Lee following us up the superb Alpentraum on Teufelswand. Immacualte granite climbing in the scorching heat…almost perfect!

Hochschijen Sudgrat above the Bergsee hut.

Hochschijen Sudgrat above the Bergsee hut.

Morning light at the start of the classic Weismeis traverse from the Almageller hut.

Morning light at the start of the classic Weissmies traverse from the Almageller hut.

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A quiet morning on the Moiry Glacier approaching the Pointes de Mourti.

The stunning cirque of the Wiwannihorn.

The stunning cirque of the Wiwannihorn.