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  • Writer's pictureGrant Edwards

First Ascents at Crock Pits (Woody Bay)

Ryan Blackmore @rockraslingroy and Ollie Jerrett @beastinthewest sampling the Neil Blom classic Into Wishing 7b/+ with a lovely sandy landing.

Crock Pits is a great little venue, I have written about it and sung it's praises before. Like much of the Exmoor Coast it flies under the radar and is frequented by only a small number of bouldering specialists. Development down there has been going on for well over a decade, with very little recording of ascents and most problems being passed on by word of mouth by those in the know.

It's a fickle spot, some years the sand fills in the bay as spring arrives and it stays for the summer until the winter storms arrive. Arriving down there in the spring to find sand under all the rocks is a delight. Arriving down there in spring to find no sand, high boulders with poor rocky landings is a disappointment. It tends to stay wet in the winter because the sun doesn't make it up over the north facing cliff tops. It is tidal, so a visit must be timed around low tide and the rocks will need sun/breeze to help to dry them off. When the tide comes back in, you'll need to leave or risk being cut off.

It's a summer venue, May to September tends to provide the best conditions here. From experience, the best timing would be a low neap tide from midday onwards on a breezy day when there is not much swell in the ocean. Long summer evenings are a good shout for this venue. A topo is in the pipeline.. (Those of you in the know, if you did something new I would be grateful if you could send me a name, a grade, a claim and a description)

Kyle Whitehand sent this little beauty last year, unfortunately last season there was very little sand on the beach, this is on the big wall that faces you on approach along the beach. The Last Decade 7b+.

Ollie Jerrett did the FA of this highball arete the previous year when the sand was good!

Several years ago, the legend, the former indoor British Climbing Champion and all round top bloke Chris Cubitt came up for a visit to sample the delights of Crock Pits. This is one of the things he put up on that day. Cubitt's Arete 7c (ish) wouldn't be out of place in Fontainebleau (the main difference would be the lack of friction of the Devonian era sandstone), getting established on the perfect sloper and into a crimpy undercut requires power, subtle movement and precise body positioning. Beyond a long reach to some tiny holds may see you attempting to top out.

Cubbit's Arete 7c.

There are lots more problems down there and it's all very good quality provided the fickle conditions are good. A topo is being worked on and is on the way in due course. I know that the likes of Mike Adams, Chris Goddard, Pete and Luke Dawson, James and Ed Mabon, Mikey Cleverdon and various other wads have done ascents down here. If you did something back in the day send your names, grades, claims and descriptions this way!

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