I have over the past few years kept tally on the number of routes I have climbed from the 1986 CC Gogarth Guide Graded List. I had been in the 90’s for a while as I ran out of easier routes to do. I then recounted early this year and realised I was on 99. I had planned on making the 100th a special occasion, unfortunately I accidentally made it to the 100 Club a couple of weeks ago when I agreed to follow Dave Evans up Television Route on Red Walls.
I had completely forgotten about the 100 club until last night when someone asked how I was going on the the challenge that has spanned the last 17 years. I said I was on 99, but then remember I hadn’t added Television route to the total. So there you have it, I am now a Gogarth Centurion.
There were no fanfares, no fireworks just another day on the Big G. What have I got to look forward to now? Maybe another 100 before I retire, but like everything in life it has been more about the Journey than the destination and the fact that I walked over the finish line without realising illustrates that perfectly.
My first route at Gogarth was either Light House Arete or Britomartis. Both I have climbed probably nearly one hundred times since. The hardest route I have climbed was Angel Dust in Blacksmith Zawn. The most amazing route is hard to pin down but the E2/3 are my favourite grade and amoungst them my favourites are The Moon, Wendigo, Mousetrap, Red Walls, T Rex and Flytrap. The hardest route I lead was probably the second ptich of Positron. The most emotionally draining was Cannibal or Outside the Asylum/Pagan. The most wildly overhanging was following a good friend Will up the first pitch of The Cow or alternative following Dave up Free Stone Henge. My favourite route though is a total cliche as its The Concrete Dream, the combination of the main pitch of Concrete Chimney and the last amazing pitch of Dream of White Horses. One of the most under rated routes is Cordon Bleau. The most strenuous was the Winking Crack Off-width.
More important than all those routes are the freindships that have been forged on those cliffs. From my first climbing partner at university Tom Luddington through to Llion and Katie who have accompanied me on many of the more recent routes. Right through to Pete Robins, Baby Dave and Caff who have essentially guided my up some of the hardest routes, the type of experience that money simply can’t buy. There are simply too many people to remember at once, but as I look through the list I can just about remember those first trips here with Charlie, Craig and Tom, my Red Wall adventures with Dave and Ug and other experiences that span the last 17 years.
My advice for anyone trying to get into climbing at gogarth is get a 100 metre abseil rope, it will be your best friend on some of teh approaches and your worst enemy on the walk ins or outs. Get a big rack and consider doubling up on everything. If you like more advice then i also run sea cliff climbing courses.