Christine 8a Deep Water Solo

After returning from Long Quarry point last week I had only one thing on my mind.

Christine!

I just had to go back to her.

An unsuccessful attempt on Christine
Photo Hannah Brading

Christine and I came excruciatingly close last week but I fell on my last go, from the final move of the crux. Unfortunately I was already running late as I had to be back in Gloucester to run a coaching session in 2 hours so did not have time to finish her off.

On Monday I drove back down for my second date with Christine. This time I was sure something would happen.

On my first go of the day I climbed clinically through to my previous high point, reached for the next hold but could not hold the wild cut loose. Christine spat me off once again. This time I took a wild fall landing fully side on, and got a real ear full. A few minutes spent drying of and shaking sea water from my ears and I was ready to go again.

A creating waves

The route breaks down into 3 distinct sections, first up is a board style boulder problem to a no hands back and foot rest, next you have amazingly steep 3D climbing which culminates in this wild cut loose right at the lip, you then join and climb the crux of Blue Planet 7b+ and follow this route to the top.

The lower wall
Photo Hannah Brading

I climbed the now dialled lower wall to the rest. The rest on this route is special, hard climbing to it and hard climbing after it, but while resting you are on your own in this hanging full body bridge above the sea. The sound of crashing waves are in your ears and you can see small fishes darting around in the sea below, all very restful until you anticipate the climbing that you cannot see but is still to come. After the rest you lower yourself down, around and through bulges and ceilings, toe hooks are de rigueur. The final hard moves revolve around the afore mentioned cut loose on small crimps. This time I released one leg first to reduce the swing, dropped my final toe hook and engage the core. I stayed on. Whipping my feet back to the wall I made the final move before joining Blue Planet and enjoying this route to the top.

Finally holding the crux swing on Christine 8a
Photo Ben Norman

Relief after the crux

Climbing the top wall of Christine and Blue Planet
Photo Ben Norman

Overall this is one of my most satisfying climbing experiences as when climbing ground up on every go you are climbing into the unknown right up until you unlock the finishing sequence.

Christine, you are mine.

Deep water soloing never ceases to amazing me and give me joy. I think the main reason I love it so much is that even if you do not climb your desired route you still have a massive amount of fun trying. Falling into the warm blue sea is nothing but pure pleasure (most of the time).

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