Swanage Strike Out


So I went to Swanage yesterday with the hope that I would be able to climb a route that I hadn’t climbed for a very long time. To say my first attempt at the route was a bit of an epic is an understatement. I won’t share that story here, suffice to say I was fairly nervous about heading down as despite 20 years and several thousands routes climb later Boulder Ruckle at Swanage still held quite strong memories.

That feeling of nervousness didn’t abate when I saw the coastline lit up with froth from a pounding swell bought in by the last storm to pass. Why wasn’t I at the beach surfing? As we sat at the top of the Marmolada Buttress, you could almost feel the waves as they boomed against the Ruckle. As I look over at a particular large set of waves a limited amount of spray atomised over my face.

The decision was made that it would be foolhardy even for me to head down there. It reminded me of a day at Castle Helen where I went down to the girdle ledge as the waves were breaking half way up the cliff. With that we drove to Winspit for some sport climbing.

We went to the East quarry and enjoy a good few routes, most of them seem fairly good sandbags for the grades. You certainly had to pull on most of the F6a’s. There was one route I really wanted to do the Stone Mason. As I remember climbing this with Atholl, nearly 30 years ago.

It is a great route and today I wondered how I got up it as the route is beefy to say the least and whilst not requiring some jamming, it certainly makes it much easier. I think I even gave a little power grunt on one move.

It had been a while since I last climbed, but at least i could still get up most 6a+’s. I didn’t give up on one 6a, but it looked like several holds had come off it and one or two more almost did when I was on it. Although hold break of the day went to Pete on a steep and loose F5+ in the West Quarry. He and the hold exploded off the cliff in spectacular fashion. Pete then attempt a f6a, I declined a try as my ribs had slowly started to hurt again.

Anyway a nice day out considering the weather the previous day which was quite biblical!


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