Rock Climbing Dartmoor Dewerstone
Rock Climbing Dartmoor Dewerstone …”Fly On The Wall/Valhalla Wall”
Zoe shares her experience rock climbing in the middle of summer in Dartmoor, Devon where she challenges herself by pushing her grade in hot and humid conditions. A break in the typical British weather meant that there was a chance to get back outdoors, trad climbing on Dartmoor in Devon again. Despite the weather being rather hot and humid, Charlie and I decided we would head to the Dewerstone on Dartmoor to grab a route each. We each had our own challenges. Mine was to finish a multi-pitch rock climb that I had led one pitch of previously and wanted to complete by leading the first pitch. For Charlie, she had picked an equally challenging rock climb, pushing her comfort zone at the top end of her grade. The routes linked up, as many outdoor trad climbs do. I would start by climbing the first pitch of Fly on the Wall (HS 4b), set up an anchor to belay Charlie up where she would then go on to climb Valhalla Wall (HVS 5a) to the top of the crag.
Approaching the climb…
On our walk from the car park to the bottom of the climbs, we had several discussions about the plan we had made: what if the rock was super sweaty? Would we climb regardless or back off and come back a different day with better conditions? This was an important question because we had both picked climbing routes at the top end of our ability. We wanted to stack the odds in our favour for a good outcome. It was a long walk, with a bag full of trad climbing gear and climbing ropes. If we were to decide when we got to the crag that the conditions weren’t optimal, we would have to carry all our climbing gear back down again. If we did back off, what would we then do? An easier climb at a different section of Dewerstone or just go for a swim in the river? Would we then feel as if it was a wasted opportunity and regret it?
Preparing the mind for rock climbing…
For me feeling positive and capable before a climb is very important, making sure that I’m ready to face the challenge. That I’m feeling strong as well as having someone belay me who I trust and feel safe with are all important factors too. Once we got to the bottom of the crag, we had a feel of the rock (which was toasty warm and a little sweaty), and a final discussion about if we should go for it.
Success while rock climbing…
After the calming routine of getting my trad climbing rack on my harness, I was ready. A good luck from Charlie and a rather large amount of chalk on my hands and I was off. The beginning was as I remembered but then came the tricky bridge move with hands that I wanted to be just that little bit better and bigger as well as less sweaty!! A calming word from Charlie and I made the move, it wasn’t as hard as I was making it in my head!! A couple more moves and I was at the belay ledge, this was the hardest part! Making sure I had a safe belay without using all of the gear as Charlie was going to need it on the next pitch. Now it was Charlie’s turn to climb and after some hesitation on the crux move, Charlie was at the top in no time at all. She then built her belay and was ready for me to follow her up while removing gear on my way. After a congratulatory hug at the top, we headed back to the bottom of the crag, where Skye the Adventure Dog was waiting to also congratulate us with lots of kisses. As we had done so well and we were boiling hot from climbing in the heat we decided that we would go for a swim in the river after all! After the heat of climbing the river felt refreshing if not a little cold! Charlie was in and had dunked under in no time, it took me a few more minutes to get the nerve to duck my shoulders under.
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