Saturday, 18 October 2014


What with being job-less all year, I’d said to Ross that we should get together to catch up and do some climbing finally. Ross is frequently visiting the Peak from boring Oxford, but when this happens I am usually so disorganised and unreliable that I end up changing plans ten times and ending up on the other side of the peak, or forgetting that I won’t even be around at the time. Ross is very keen on Deep Water Soloing and I am keen on the idea of DWS, so it seemed sensible that we should come up with plans that include some climbing above the sea. We vaguely agreed on the month of September and then once we decided we weren’t taking a yacht to Croatia (a trip for the future), a plan involving a week in Mallorca gradually evolved.

I don’t know many folks keen for DWS scenes, so it looked like it might just be the two of us, then with a few weeks to go I was approached by Jacob who wanted to borrow a portaledge. Keen to get a bigger team together for DWS-ing I agreed, on one condition, that he comes to Mallorca. He gave in which happily meant we would be joined by the ultra-motivated, unhinged, unbelievably messy and world-class lie-iners Jacob, Bron, Ian and Jenny. Ross then told me to imagine a height that I think I could safely DWS and then double it, and that’s how high Ian and Jacob will go!

I was relieved to have a good team to be going away with, as having seen terrifying photos of Cova del Diablo I thought I would need a good team to get me psyched enough to climb even the warm ups. My previous encounters with DWS have been somewhat mixed, memorable moments include on-sighting a new route underneath Electric Blue at Rhoscolyn because I was too scared to fall in and getting stuck half-way up Funky Wall at Swanage, telling Ross that I couldn’t go up, was too scared to jump and couldn’t climb down – I eventually realised I could climb down. Ross was unimpressed.

The soloing in Mallorca was amazing and I could see myself making regular return visits. I also think I finally got my head around the whole DWS thing, becoming quite relaxed about taking moderately large falls into the choppy sea below Diablo. However, I didn’t quite summon up the balls to give Loskott a proper attempt after climbing to the dyno about 8 times. Ejector Seat at Diablo was truly amazing. We had a few great days at Barques climbing Bandito and to the last hard move on Smash It In. At another area on the last day I climbed a tufa line not shown in the guide, when pressed for a route name, a managed “In the mid-afternoon every cocker spaniel is light beige”, undoubtebly an instant classic.

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