Pembroke Rucksack Club Meet – Part I

Jack’s official meet started on the Thursday before the Bank Holiday weekend, so Paul, Jake and I took advantage of the extended window to beat the inevitable traffic and get down in time to bag a couple of routes on Thursday evening. Tempest, E2 5c, and Eight Gauge, HVS, providing the perfect limb-stretch after the long drive.

Back to Mother Carey’s the next day (limited options with the Range closed) and we bumped into Will and Katie (doing Fireball XL5, E6 6b!). Paul led the stupendous The Straight Gate, E2 5b

… and I did the atmospheric Deep Space E2 5b, before Jake racked up for Mother Night, E5 6a, on The Space Face. This is STEEEEP territory as you appreciate when you solo the 5a entry pitch to get to the foot of the route.

Here’s Jake on the crux pitch – you only need to see where the ab rope touches down in the sea to gauge the angle…

Photo credit Paul
Photo credit Paul

Even the top pitch is wickedly steep…

Photo credit Will

Here’s Jake’s logbook entry: Great route with some hard sequences on the first pitch, both burly and technical through the diagonal overlaps. Less of a clip-up than Klingon but the gear is good. E5 seems reasonable to me – Littlejohn must’ve been having a good day when he graded this E3!

Top tip for Pembroke firing days – the Range is usually open from 4:30pm on Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings, so with the day still young we thought we’d enjoy some Range East tranquility before the hoardes arrived for the weekend. Paul led the uber-classic Lucky Strike, E2 5b above a millpond sea, and I did Solidarity, E1

… and just to wring the last drops of daylight from the day, we moved over to The Castle where Jake led Under The Influence, E4 6a (and one of the few gaps in my Rockfax Pembroke Top 50). Not a bad haul for the day, including 4 “Top 50s” and an unfeasibly large number of E points. Time for some beer!

Sunset over The Castle

Here’s a shot of Laura and Martyn on Under The Influence taken a few days later:

The next day Paul and I lost our Rope Gun, as Jake joined up with the A Team, so we were left to fend for ourselves. Actually, it was the “T Team”, as Will, Katie and Jake kindly signed up to get some photos of the prototype Rucksack Club “Get Out There!” / Climbers Against Cancer T-Shirt (available for order soon – all profits to CAC – Watch this space!)

We headed for Space Buttress, an impressive but less-visited crag about halfway along Range East:

Here’s Paul rapping in, with the eponymous Space on the left.

We did Space, E1 5a, Air Space Factor, E2 5b and PlayStation E3 5c – a nice progression from left to right, with fairly generous grades perhaps reflecting the exposure. Here’s Paul on the central E2

We stopped off to tick Strike Lucky on Rusty Walls, before checking on the T-Team in Box Zawn. This is an impressive hidden gem:

You can just about make out Jake halfway up the overhanging finishing corner of Jabberwocky, E5 6a, which looked to be a wild adventure having quested all the way across the right hand wall to get there. More pics below:

Stunning shot of Jake on the traverse, Kate on belay duty (she led it afterwards too) and Will behind the lens. Top T-Shirt promo shot – cheers Will!
Top Get Out There! / CAC T pic from Will
… and here’s a shot of Will in the Prototype T on Grezelda, Grezelda  E6 6a (I know what you’re thinking – I must get one of those T-shirts so I can climb E5s and 6s – like I say: Watch this space for ordering details 😉)

After a brief respite on photo duty, Paul and I headed over to Misty Walls for a last couple of routes (with rain forecasted for the following day it made sense to make the most of the evening). Master Blaster and Bon Voyage, both E2s but in contrasting styles, made for a fine end to the day.

Paul following Master Blaster
… and in the cave on Bon Voyage
Katie on T-Shirt duty on Master Blaster earlier in the day for the T-Team warmup

The forecasted rain kicked in late on Saturday evening and continued right through to Sunday afternoon. Opinions were divided amongst the various weather apps but Jake and I were banking on the most optimistic, which had it slacking off to a drizzle by 4pm. Fortune favours the brave (or daft) and it was only spitting as we were soloing down to the start of Riders on the Storm. Not that the skies were the chief concern in terms of wetness – our weather window coincided with high tide and it was all a bit sploshy…

Nothing like giving the crag a fighting chance, and the conditions certainly made for a memorable trip across this Top 50 HVS – can’t believe that I hadn’t done it before.

With the rain finally stopping Jake was keen for a final route (I must be getting old as I was pretty happy to celebrate our unlikely YECTOYD). St Govans was at least non-tidal and nearer the pub, so we rapped down the Arrow to see what might be dry.

Not much, was the answer, but undeterred Jake uncoiled the ropes beneath Poison Arrow, E4 6a and pulled off a really impressive lead in absolutely gopping conditions…

Definitely beer o’clock!

Bank Holiday Monday dawned grey and chilly, but dry, though the monsoon had left its mark with all of the cracks in a soggy state. Jake picked one of the soggiest with Deranged, E2 5b, feeling more like E4 on the day!

We finally managed to catch up with Jack, Molly, Harry and Alfie, who had also found some damp crack-fests. Here’s Molly and Harry prevailing despite the conditions:

A hint of blue and an inkling that Chapel Point might be a sanctuary of dryness saw us squeeze a final route from the day before Jake’s lift north departed. Green Peace, E2 5b, was a complete contrast to Deranged and a couple of grades easier on the day!

That concludes Part One of the Bumper Pembroke Blog Post, as we wave goodbye to Paul, Jake, Jack, Molly, Harry, Alfie, Will and Katie. Stay tuned for Part Two as the late shift of Helen, Jim, Claire, Martin and Dave arrive to keep the momentum going in the post Bank Holiday calm.

4 responses to “Pembroke Rucksack Club Meet – Part I

  1. Great write up. I remember having a right paddy on Mother Night. Also Goodge st is even harder now that Paul Tanton has pulled the big jug off!

  2. Brilliant post Dom. I screeched all the way through it. Deranged was certainly an appropriate route to be on the list! And what an impressive haul of some truly audacious climbs given the conditions.

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