Posted on September 11, 2012 02:35 PM
We travel the world in search of beauty only to miss what is right in front of our nose.
I’m guilty of this. There is so much to do in the UK. Yesterday I arrived back from working in Exeter to find a new copy of CLIMB had landed and in it an article selling me the climbing around the Berry Head area. The DWS traverse Rainbow Bridge was the recommended choice, but as with most climbing, the salesman’s pitch is never enough to do justice to a route unless you have already done it! Luckily I had!
Working with Gav Symonds setting comp routes at the Quay Climbing Centre in Exeter for their Year Anniversary we got ahead of ourselves with an early start, and figuring we could pack in 14 hours to finish the job the following day we decided to bail at half 4 into the blazing sunshine and over to Berry Head. Asking Gav what he would climb there was only one answer “Rainbow Bridge”
I’ve never heard of it. I know of the Magical Mystery Tour, a super famous sea level traverse near Berry Head, but I’ve never done that either. As it turns out Rainbow Bridge is at exactly the same area, but a better and harder version, proper DWS, with a minimum grade of F7a and variations of all possibilities.
I’ve always got a list in my head of the best routes in the UK, the ones that climbers really must do and the places that they really have to visit. This one goes straight to the top! There is no where else to continuously climb for well over an hour and a half with sustained interest. Never that high, never that easy, and never that hard. An awesome F7c section can be avoided from above. The rock is amazing, varying from orange Spanish style to Pembroke at its best. It just goes on and on, culminating in a mind blowing F7a DWS route up a 45 degree overhanging face on massive dinner-plate holds. Gav was the perfect tour guide as we zipped along, though you don’t need one, just set off and follow your nose.
The article in CLIMB reckons its one of the best routes anywhere. For sure it is. Don’t miss thus one!