Tag Archives: magneticwall

Bosun’s crucible delivers white gold

Showing the way through the roof [Photo: Zane]

Anton made his way through the Double Direct roof as if it was a jungle gym… starting the day with an immediate crux that is certain to leave you warmed up and inspiring Julie to do the same!

As I clung onto the undercling (as if my life depended on it alone) and prepared for the high foot above the roof… Julie gently reminded me that inevitably, I’d have to move my arms up too.

Kate’s Touch and Go [Photo: Anton]

Kate was keen to be training again. Incredible that there were two thirds female climbers on this wall! The women who were there with me, all had this sovereign clarity that announces itself without introductions.

Survived the ‘warm-up’ [Photo: Anton]

What bliss to pull up onto that ledge and know that the roof was behind me… little did I know that I would spend ages unsuccessfully trying to dislodge a cam from Magnetic Wall. That too was surmountable for Anton… after having lead Magnetic, without so much as a ‘watch me’; Anton patiently and without resentment returned on top-rope to clean up what I could not!

Unfortunately as Anton made his way up a very sketchy Quake the toprope got caught on a few too many horns, one of which was out of sight.  Eventually, Anton had to climb past in order to unhook from above! My heart was in my mouth calculating the drop and not being able to visualise the trajectory of the swing.

Brian was on Farewell to Arms and showed what is possible with determination and perserverance. What a styling ascent of that roof designed for leaders with unwavering belief in self!

Brian on Farewell to Arms [Photo: Anton]

Next up was Margo and her peaceful way of dancing through what could’ve been a curse-a-minute climb!

Margo in her element [Photo: Anton]

It was a happy reunion when Margo topped out!

Magical Moment [Photo: Anton]

Would I make it through another climb? Claire was leading the whole of Jacob’s, determined to achieve this beautiful goal she had set for herself. She was also blessed with Hugh in the wings, a patient and extremely observant climber, who does not miss a beat! So, I was needed for the second climb.

Mercifully, Cable Way crag was most convenient and yet I found that traverse difficult to hang onto with straight arms! Anton had sailed along, jamming and relying on good legs… while I was determined to squeeze the rock and stay as close as possible to solidity.

Turning out towards the exposed view from Bosun’s chair was inevitable and my emotions went full circle… recovering as I sat still and focussed enough to spot a white feather catching an updraft. Next, I heard the familiar clink of Anton’s cams above the roof and the Swifts cutting through air like they wanted to rip up my fear.

Anton had coiled the rope over chicken heads, like only a master rope manager could and I simply had to work from right to left… beautiful predictability with a turquoise view of beaches; rivalled only by Seychelles (because of its warm welcome).

Alchemy approaching [Photo: Anton]

The monster crocodile rock formation to the right of the crag, dwarfed Lion’s Head. Our rope-code comms (due to limited audio because of the cavity within which I was perched) was foolproof and I knew exactly what was being signalled. ‘Climbing’ I called and everything started to flow… even the chimney was possible without beta, despite the fact that I did it the hard way and not by stemming the way Anton had.

Mindset is everything; as well as reminding one’s self that you are safe – instead of continuously anticipating all sorts of unlikely and imaginary pain.

Can you be consistently persistent and rest, when necessary, instead of quit? Can you focus on the next step that you know you can and must take?

The day ended with unexpected and hugely appreciated clarity… once again Bosun’s chair highlights what really matters!

Magnetic Ideas

‘Difficulties can be overcome. It’s the imaginary ones that are the problem.’


Bypassing the Double Direct route doesn’t avoid the necessity to mantel. My climbing partners did it very stylishly and in record breaking time because there were others waiting for the route. They smeared and matched on the horn, without a grunt or even heavy breathing. I managed to overheat before I even got there, while cleaning on the traverse. As I cursed my stifling wind breaker, I managed to get my heel up to my ear in order to avoid (what would have been) a much easier smear and as a result, I ended up perpendicular to the crag. After all that unnecessary exertion, I practically pulled my jacket off with my teeth before I even reached a comfortable spot!

Anton traversing beyond the horizon

Anton had visions of me leading Magnetic wall and went to the trouble of setting up all the gear, so that all I needed to do was clip in. There are few ledges with such awe-inspiring views and a Falcon even graced us with its presence.

I followed, imagining what it would be like to lead this route. Well let’s just say that that really blew my mind! Before I’d even given leading a chance, I was over-analysing what it would feel like being in front of the rope while pulling up on these two-finger sized pebbles!

I started worrying about what was next, instead of just paying attention to the rock I was on. By the time I finished I’d already tired out my fingers because of not being very present and conjured up a third rope, imagining that I’d be leading with a back-up top rope! Anton started explaining how things would work if he lowered me: I’d pull myself along the traverse, in reverse using the slings he’d set up for that purpose, so that I could anchor myself on the ledge and belay him down. At that point my brain short-circuited. I realised that there’d be no safety of the top rope and I imagined myself swinging in space on that traverse. I could feel the wind picking up and imagined us having trouble understanding each other in a difficult situation.

Fear definitely gets in the way of listening! It’s not a bad thing to plan for what can go wrong but excelling in only that, is debilitating.

Eventually we settled on us both being lowered from the abseil point. Anton did all the cleaning, while I followed on the face of Magnetic wall… avoiding the traverse completely!

It was a good experience because this time I really had to pay attention to where I was following on this gearless route. I noticed the natural cracks that were the obvious path to lead me home. I found the moves easier, as I’d done them a few moments ago and I was no longer anxious.















Anton did Quake and it was good to see him pushing himself.

I vowed to play with leading on easy routes in my spare time and practice my new skills: such as lowering a climber; climbing a rope; setting up bomb proof balanced anchors that avoid the potential for shock loading; rope management and getting myself out of the system on belay.

Magnetic Foreboding… ‘you mean there won’t be a top rope? [Photo: Anton]
When you’re given the opportunity to set great goals then you realise where you must grow! Goals have a way of really, showing up one’s limitations, focusing one’s attention on so many more levels and making learning exponential!

Another mind blowing day on the mountain!