Anyone who has climbed on Ferocity wall at Ansteys cove will know that this crag lives up to its name incredibly well. The routes consistently feel very hard for the given grades and are characterised by hard and powerful climbing with very few rests. Respect has to go to Ken Palmer for his foresight in climbing the majority of the routes on the wall. He must have been an absolute beast.
I had been trying Tuppence 8b for too long . My first session on Tuppence went really well, I did all of the moves first try, fell off the top jump move first redpoint and this is where every go has ended since. I must have had 10 sessions or more on the route and every session I would fall on the top move. It was becoming a real mental barrier for me. I would climb easily to the last move, fall, pull straight back on and do the route to the top, every time. I think there were a few elements to my failure on this route, firstly every time I reached the last move I expected to fall secondly I had this feeling in the back of my mind that I should have already climbed the route. This thought added extra unwanted pressure. Finally, I just did not visit the wall regularly enough to really find my flow through the lower section. I decided I did not like the experience I was having on this route, climbing is supposed to be fun after all.
I moved my attention right to Poppy, the hardest “up” route on the wall. I had belayed Gav Symonds on it a few years back on his successful redpoint and he had made it look like a path. I wanted a new challenge and decided to give it a try. On my first session I put the clips in, did all of the moves, just, then gave it one redpoint burn. There is a move where you match your heel above your hand on the same hold. Whilst doing this my heel slipped trapping my finger between the rubber of my boot and the rock as I fell, the result of this was a “circumcision” of my index finger and the end of a very short session.
Six months later and I was back. Poppy 8b+ breaks down into three boulder problems which link together with no real rests, to me it feels like V4 into V9 into V7. I chalk twice on the route, right hand once mid crux and left hand once before the top move, it hardly felt worth carrying a chalk bag. Basically this route is hard and continuous. I felt like I had a good chance of getting through the hard crux from the ground but the final moves involving an uncomfortable front two pocket were feeling difficult.
There are several other easier routes which climb through the last crux sequence of Poppy so I decided to do some of these first to get the top crux wired. First up was Postman Pat 8a+. Postman Pat starts on the left hand side of the wall and follows an obvious break line rightwards across many of the other routes on the wall before finishing up the top crux of Poppy. I have some phone footage of my ascent thanks to Lisa
After Postman Pat I climbed Cyberdog 8b. This route climbs the cruxy start of Tuppence, through an amazing sequence involving a super thin tufa before joining the top of Poppy.
After doing these routes I felt confident that if I got through the hard crux on Poppy I could be able to fight my way to the top.
I had one session on a Monday to reacquaint myself with the moves. They went surprisingly smoothly which got me psyched. I drove back on Wednesday With Mr Pickford to dispatch but it was not to be. I just couldn’t quite stick the last move in the hard middle sequence, my core was just too “saggy” from not enough rest days. I drove home empty handed but really confident that I had what it took to climb the route.
After two rest days I returned,placed the clips and dispatched the route first go of the day. I was overjoyed and so psyched that I swung the clips into Fishermans Tale 8b, tried the moves and climbed it first go from the ground.
We celebrated with the South Wests best fish and chips on the cliff top overlooking a lovely sunset. A great way to end my best weeks climbing ever. In seven days I climbed:
Postman Pat 8a+,Cyberdog 8b, Poppy 8b+ and Fishermans Tale 8b.