Cornwall Easter 2009

Ian’s account of the Official IMC Easter trip

A brief resume of the IMC trip to Cornwall Easter 2009

….and not a cream tea in sight!!

Christina myself and Monty took the decision to drive down over night to avoid
the bank holiday traffic blues having travelled this way on our foray north of
the border in early March. We left home at 01:30hrs after a few hours of sleep
in our nice comfortable bed and arrived Trevaylor camp site at 08:30hrs just as
the rest of the crew were having breakfast. The others (except Elena of course)
had decided to go to Bosigran, but we had thought we would warm up gently at
Sennen Cove. So, after pitching the tent and partaking of a leisurely breakfast
of toasted hot cross buns (well, it was Good Friday) with copious quantities of
tea, that’s where we went.

A lovely starter with Corner Climb (V Diff) followed by the excellent classic
Demo Route (HS) – which the Royal Marines Commando instructors used to
demonstrate to their new charges in standard issue boots and big packs on! At
this point, the lure of ice cream and a wander along the beautiful Sennen Beach
was all too much so we packed up climbing and did just that. Unfortunately Bilbo
the 14 stone Newfoundland lifedog (no, honestly, google him!) was not on duty.

After dinner it was getting a tad chilly sitting at the camp site so there was
nothing else for it but to repair to the local hostelry to swap tales and make
plans for the next day’s adventures. As the others had all been to Bosigran and
C and me decided we couldn’t tick the much talked of Commando Ridge (no prizes
for guessing who used to use this route as part of their training!) outing as it
wouldn’t be fair on Monty, a mass IMC assault on Chair Ladder was agreed.

Whilst other parties were bagging routes left right and centre, I was having a
bit of an unenthused day. We eventually half scrambled and half abseiled down
main gully and wandered around for ages trying to decide on a route we both
liked the look of! We eventually settled on Mermaid’s Route (3 pitch V Diff)
which turned out to be a fantastic climb with some rather interesting bits for
the grade. Much lazing in the sun followed whilst, once again, the others
bustled about and climbed loads. After some time Christina persuaded me that we
should ‘get on with it’ so we headed for pinnacle gully descent (where I knew
Steve C had installed an abseil rope and reckoned he wouldn’t mind if we used
it) with a mind to tick Terrier’s Tooth – another classic. Of course, having
faffed about for so long, the tide was now on it’s way in with a few of the
larger breakers splashing over the belay ledge. Being a bit of a route purist I
opted for the original line up the initial wall of pitch 1 which follows a
quartz seam that is unprotectable 4b for the first 3m or so and even then you
wouldn’t want to fall on the gear! It’s a fantastic line though. The wall after
the half way ledge on pitch 1 is damn near unprotectable as well, but it’s
amazing what concern for the belayer’s welfare on an incoming tide can do to
ones climbing speed – although Christina did in fact get a little wet at one
point! The next 2 pitches went according to plan and I was able to chat with a
guy on the route next to us and get some beta for getting off the pinnacle.
Well, what a scary descent that proved to be!! First of all you have to make a
down-slide off the belay block into a niche above a wall in the right of the

Bottom of Terrier's Tooth Coastal View from Fox Promontory
Bottom of Terrier’s Tooth Coastal View from Fox Promontory


Once in the niche it’s safest for one person to belay the other who down-climbs
the wall placing gear on the way down to protect the second. All well and good,
but then the second has to down-climb the wall removing all that lovely
protection on the way so, should they slip, the bit of pro that would arrest the
fall is below them!! Once the wall is negotiated it’s a walk off to the side to
a suitable spot in the gully to have a breather and sort the ropes etc. Like
many things in life, this descent is lovely when it’s over!!A quick dinner on
the camp site, wash up and it was back to the pub – hard and thirsty work this
climbing lark! More tale swapping ensued whilst a plan was hatched to descend
upon Fox Promontory – a small cliff of mostly single pitch routes just along the
coast from the main Chair Ladder fleshpots – on Sunday.

Sunday dawned with more blue skies and warm sun (a bit of a theme for the weekend
so far ) and the added bonus of chocolate Easter eggs! So, off we all sped to
Fox Promontory – apart from Steve and Carol who headed for Chair Ladder and
Clare who unfortunately had to return home. C and me watched the others
negotiate the especially horrid looking scramble descent down the sunny south
face, so decided we would set up an alternative abseil rope down the colder
north face – this proved to be a great time saver for the rest of the day’s
activities – but even to get to the abseil point involved scrambling down to and
over the ridge of the promontory. Steve & Joe and Martin & Guy were ticking
routes off like men possessed, but, again, Christina and I adopted a more
leisurely approach! We managed The Whisker – a lovely little VS4c albeit a tad
steep at the top – followed by the fine left slanting black quartz seam of
Reveille (HS4b) before scrambling back out for sustenance in the sun.

Perfect end to a perfect day
Perfect end to a perfect day


Christina had already mooted the idea of driving home over night Sunday as
Metcheck had forecast rain for Monday. From my point of view, it seemed anathema
to pack up after 3 such fantastic days on the basis of, at best, a computer
probability! But, pack up and drive we did and by the content of the texts the
following morning, this turned out to be a cunning plan (a plan so cunning you
could pin a tail on it and call it a fox) by chief strategist Christina!

All in all another excellent Cornish Easter weekend with beautiful scenery,
magnificent climbing on exquisite sea-cliff granite and perfect company. It’s
memories such as these that keep us going through the grim daily grind in our
dingy old offices!

Here’s looking forward to dry summer weekends, more good climbing and even more
good company.

Leave a Reply