Guiding, Teaching, Climbing, Learning

Pembroke, Wales

The weather has been, at the very least, consistent. After love, loss, heartache, close calls and luck beyond all belief I’m in Wales, waiting out the weather after a few fitful days of exploring the sea cliffs of Pembroke and even doing a bit of climbing. Strangely, we started the climbing of this trip in the Bristol Climbing Academy, Quite the sweet, modern, clean, visionary bouldering gym. This gym, and it’s simple idea, could give new life to a place on the West Coast of Canada…anyhow, as I was saying, it was good! March 11th Tim and I escaped Bristol for the whipping winds, grassy glades and sculpted limestone sea cliffs of Pembroke, a traditional climbing bastion with 6000 odd routes! I maybe have never heard of an area with such a number. We had a short day, warm enough and wind blown dry. The Arrow E1 gave me my first taste of double ropes, cams in pockets and a solid 40 meters of vertical exploring.

Tim, in his ever opTIMistic way (we should learn from him…) suggested The Pleasure Dome E3. It looked incredible but quite…uhh..wet. I stepped across the foaming gap of sea water and climbed up about 10 meter, only to come slowly back with liquid hands and a shake of the head. Wet limestone feels like climbing on soap to me. We hummed and hawed and finally beat a hasty retreat as the shafts of rain came closer and the sky dimmed dusk. Damn, maybe my decision was too hasty?

March 12th we aimed to climb the Impossible Journey E2 in the rain, just because it is a 4 pitch subterranean journey along the base of a sea cliff, into a hole, through a tunnel chimney and up and out a blow hole onto the green grass above. I was skeptical as it had been raining on and off all night and part of the day. Lucky for me it was dripping so we toured the one half of the Pembroke coastline gaping and pointing at all the jaw dropping lines that had been or were yet to be climbed. Painful to be out there and not get to experience some of those lines. To salvage the day Tim introduced me to Mrs. Weston, the 91 year old owner of Ye Olde  Worlde Cafe, the only tea house near the cliffs in Pembroke. She was a gracious host and we drank tea, ate scones with jam and cream. Thank you Mrs. Weston! Let’s hope for dry weather tomorrow…


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