Sunny days in Jersey.
Well, how lucky were we? Touchdown on Jersey was just I’d hoped, sunny and warm. We were picked up by John and Pat Horscroft in their big red love bus (brlb) and whisked away via the beach. They’d already been there a week and unfortunately had both picked up random injuries. John was incapacitated with a bad back and Pat was struggling with what she thought were bruised ribs but turned out to be whiplash from a fall on a path. What a pair!
We met up with the locals on their Tuesday evening climbing club night at ‘La Prison’. A good little crag that is unaffected by tides. I climbed with Ali and Nick, they took me up ‘The Heist’ E2 then I led ‘Bloodstone’ an absorbing E3. Then it was off to the pub for a bit of banter with the rest of them.
The days panned out very congenially. It seems that nobody gets to the crag before midday, as most of them face west and need a bit of sun for good conditions. So we mixed up the mornings with lazing around the campsite, pottering to the shops on bikes and body boarding.
We weren’t so lucky with the waves, the swell had died but there was just about enough to make it worth going in. And it was fun. I really enjoyed the fact that because the island is so small you can easily combine your day between different activities. I was pretty intent on hiring a surfboard to flail around on but unfortunately the day I had time for this there was absolutely no surf. It would have been a good day for a swim but that was about it. Oh well, one day I will have a go.
Local climber Richie kindly took some time off work and showed us the crags and we were joined by James (who recently put up the hardest route on Jersey) and Jo who were the keen youths. Young Nick came out and joined us after school too.
So there was a good group of us and we were able to sample the delights with some local knowledge. After 3 days, I was getting to grips with the rock and the gear. Having not climbed on granite for years, it took a bit of getting used to but I was certainly enjoying what was on offer.
James and I did a great multi pitch three star E4 called ‘Phantom at the races’ on The Pinnacle. It was a fun outing with a not particularly nice last pitch, which I was happy to be seconding. What also helped was my shiny new lightweight rack from DMM. Full of phantom krabs and light cams (which you use a lot on the granite) the difference to the weight I was carrying was immense. My rack has always been a bit heavy (Petzl spirits are good krabs but better suited to sport routes) I felt like I was hardly carrying anything, it was great! Anyway, this is an impressive piece of rock, which I would’ve liked to do more routes on, next time.
Another highlight for me was a (possible) second ascent of a fantastic E5 roof crack called ‘Little lat of the big men’. Another three star route that made me smile. One of those features that looks desperate but for some reason I had to climb it, James seconded me on it and it put a smile on his face too.
I did lots of easier classics too with the guys and a stand out one would have to be ‘Perihelion’, a three star HVS. A fantastic soaring ar