“Brean Topping”

I first tried Brean topping back at the start of the summer of 2010.  For some strange reason I thought it would be a good idea to try a route that has a couple of the smallest crimps I’ve ever pulled on in the blazing sunshine. As you would expect I didn’t gain much from this attempt. I could barely pull the start let alone thinking about trying the crux, so with the aid of the a clip stick I dogged to the top and lowered off. A year and a half later and it being one of the only local mid to low F8’s I haven’t done, I finally decided it was time to get it done. A couple of weekends ago after getting rained off at Split Rock we headed to Brean.

The boys checking out the crag

The boys checking out the crag

I was still feeling fairly warmed up from Split Rock so I got straight down to business and got the draws in it. All the moves seemed to go quick, I got to the top and felt like I had a pretty good chance of doing it. After a bit of  a rest I went for my first red-point. This went really well, I got through crux and dropped the last hard move. I think I’m starting to develop a thing for dropping last moves now. Anyway I was pretty happy with that, although my skin wasn’t. The crux involves doing a reasonably big move to a really small, sharp left hand crimp. Which then you have to bring your right hand in to a slightly better and less sharp crimp, then move on in to a couple of pinches. After a couple goes putting the draws in and one red-point attempted the skin on my left index finger was already looking really thin, I shouted down after falling off my red-point, “I’ve only got one more go in me before it spits”. What a surprise….. I was right. The next go I got through the crux but my foot popped going from pinch to pinch and low and behold, I had split my tip.  It was getting late in the day and I had written off pulling on that small crimp with a tapped finger so I striped it out and we headed home.

Sun setting over Brean

Sun setting over Brean

After a week of not climbing and stuffing Climb On (Skin healing balm) in to my split finger, it was Friday. Heather had taken the day off with the plan of heading back to Brean, although heavy rain on Thursday night and rubbish tides didn’t fill us with confidence. We headed out anyway just getting to the crag before the tide cut us off. I warmed up putting the draws in for Heath on “The Root of Inequity” F7a+. Just as I set off It started raining luckily it wasn’t too heavy so the top of the route was still doable. After doing that and getting the draws in Brean Topping, Heather had a go on the F7a+. She climbed really well but got shut down pulling the lip of the roof at the top. the holds had got too wet to hold. Things weren’t looking too good, fortunately the crux of Brean Topping stays dry as the majority of the route is over hanging. It was just the top I had to worry about. The first red-point I had that day seemed to be very reminiscent of last weekend, falling off the last hard move but this time opening up my split on the first go. It’s safe to say I wasn’t best pleased, instead of just wasting the day I though I would have another go with tape.  After a bit of a rest and belaying Heath on another go on the F7a+ I taped up and pulled on. Theres a bit of a hard move at the start that involves pulling on a small left hand crimp. I felt the split open up more on that move, the move after my foot popped and when I finally made it to the half height break I was sort of over it, laughing with Heather. I had a look at my finger and blood was coming through the tape. This time I had managed to find two hand jams in the break where as before I was trying to recover on a pair of slopers. This was actually a really good rest, after a minute or two I shouted down to Heath, “I might as well give it a go”. I pushed on and got to the crux, as I got my finger tips on that small hold I locked my thumb over the top and brought my right hand in really statically, during the move I felt my finger split again but I was psyched. The next few moves I felt solid, everything came together and the moves felt easy, I got my foot up and made that last hard move. Get In!!! All I had to do was to keep it together on the last wet few moves to the chains. These weren’t hard just a bit tentative due to the holds being wet. I made it!

It just shows, when your really relaxed and not stressing, “I need to send this route”. It all comes together.

Realising I had split another tip.

Heather had one last top rope on The Root of Inequity in which she managed to link it from the start, up until the crux at the top. After a little rest she managed to pull the lip and go to the chains. She was pretty happy with that. A good day all round.

On Sunday we managed to get out again to settle Matt’s long-standing battle with “Smashing the Amps”.

Find out about how the day went and check out some of the photos we got here,



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