/ Exposure Explosion - Ogmore
Not looking for beta as such, but is it as epic as it looks? Have heard of some tales about this climb and have thought about trying it out. Is it better to wait for some sustained good weather?
> Not looking for beta as such, but is it as epic as it looks? Have heard of some tales about this climb and have thought about trying it out. Is it better to wait for some sustained good weather?
A confident approach will reap awards.
It's never too difficult, but there are one or two punchy moves which seem 'out there' before hand but are OK once you commit to them.
The Wet Look Cave (end of pitch 2) which contains some of those punchy moves can remain wet outside of dry weather and/or high seas - The holds are quite positive though, so if you've got a bit in hand you'll be alright. However, If you're already pushing your grade, I would wait for a spell of dry weather and calm seas.
Bit of useful Beta: If you're leading the first pitch which is a down climb, then place some gear. It might be a top rope to you, but it will potentially be a totally off putting experience for the person following!
There isn't much noteworthy beta that will be of any use. Only thing I can think of is make sure you have at least a full set of cams as the gear tends to be in the broken horizontal seams. Doubling up on some sizes (medium?) will definitely help. Nuts were not so useful from memory.
Otherwise it's just a matter of down-climbing, traversing on good holds whilst getting scared, then climbing back up. The wet cave was somewhat sketchy due to being wet but a bit less exposed than the initial 4b traverse pitch.
I imagine the cave is always wet. The rock was a little greasy when I climbed the route. I'm no expert when it comes to predicting greasy rock conditions, but there's plenty of comparable info on this website about predicting greasy rock for Swanage in particular.
It's been on my list for a long time but I haven't had opportunity. I can't find anyone in the Birmingham area who'll commit to the 2 hr journey for climbing what they see as "low grade" or "heap o' choss".
I'd commit to the drive from Derby for an adventure like that!
Yes it is. Particularly if you're not used to sea cliff climbing.
Wait for sustained good weather otherwise a large portion of the climb will be wet, including the tougher move out of the cave which, if you fall on, you will need to ascend the rope. I remember I waited all winter last year until April/may to give it a go.
I think I placed 3-4 nuts on the whole route, cam city there! My partner probably placed similar.
Thanks for the info folks. I can climb harder or at least used to and I’m no stranger to sea cliffs. Just wanted to know if the grading and the reputation were as reported. I think it’ll be something to look forward to for next year when the weather improves and I’m back amongst the E grades.
Take lots of cams and have a couple of grades in hand would be my advice. It's never too hard, but pretty gripping, especially in and out of the cave when it's wet, which I suspect it pretty much always is. Cracking route though
The stories of epics are in part true. At least one local has lowered into the sea and had to swim for it. A mate almost drowned in the wet look cave; choose a calm day, you have been warned!
I've done it twice (and would happily repeat the experience) - both times in good weather so maybe my experience is a bit different from others - I wouldn't say you have to be climbing a lot harder than HVS to enjoy it (but do carry prussik loops!). The pitch grades in the SE Wales guidebook seemed about right to me, though p2 is pretty pumpy even if it's only 4b. If it's all dry, the last pitch (which is avoidable if time is pressing but it would be a shame to miss it as it's really good) is the only bit that would definitely get HVS in it's own right (quite hard HVS to be fair), though the traverse into the Wet Look cave (p3) is also quite tough (depending on slime levels) - that pitch is probably more serious to second so place plenty of gear if you're leading.
One thing that isn't totally obvious is the first pitch - you go down to some ledges above an overhang with an obvious wide break heading right - that's not the route! instead, you need to step left to find the top of a slightly improbable-looking chimney which you descend to stance below it - the breaks heading horizontally right from here are the line of the traverse. It's also possible to go too high on p3 and end up above the cave - after you go round the arete it's a slightly descending traverse.
One thing it's not is a "heap o' choss" - it's pretty good rock the whole way - enjoy! And take a camera - it's very photogenic.
Agree with all above, it's a fantastic experience. Makes sense to be careful with your rope on pitch five like me, otherwise you'll have an incredible amount of drag around the corner, leaving your partner with a similarly huge amount of slack (he still hasn't let it go and I don't blame him..).
I did all the big HVS girdles down that way; Dry Riser, Fall Bay, Angels Girdle, Che Guevara, Burning Giraffe, Awopbamboolabop and Maltraverse routes but Exposure Explosion got left till last, probably because it's the most intimidating, only to fail on the 4a pitch. It was a dry day in winter but the holds were wet and soapy, the climbing overhanging from the start and the grey, gloopy sea crawling along the cliff foot was the stuff of nightmares. The route looks amazing and I would love to go back.
I remember it being a great experience but not significantly hard climbing for HVS.
We did an 'approach ' pitch by combining it with Pinnochio.
It's a tremendous climb, but make sure both members of your team are equally competent, and carry prussiks: p1, p2 (first traversing pitch) and the cave pitch are possibly more serious for the 2nd than the leader because the leader has a top rope for some of the harder moves.
The cave pitch was very wet and greasy when we did it. I seconded it, slipped off, and fell beneath the overhang: it was reasonably hard work getting back onto the route.
The guidebook we used pretty much summed the place up when it says that "if you think Pembroke grades are 'real', be prepared for a surpise at Ogmore" (I (mis)quote from memory). Overall, EE is a brilliant and unforgettable adventure, full of character, and what trad climbing is all about.
For comparison, I'd say it's "harder" than Dream oWH, and than Heart of Darkness.
An interesting Exposure Explosion anecdote; I met a fellow former Cardiff University Student at camp 4 at our pitch, and one of the first things he asked me was "Have you done Exposure Explosion? I tried it in the 70s, broke my legs on that", it was the first route that came to mind thinking of South Wales climbing..
Think he went back with fixed up legs and did it though, fair play!
Lake District-based runner Kim Collison has set a new speed record on the Bob Graham Round in winter. Kim completed the round in just 15 hours 47 minutes, knocking a big chunk from the previous fastest winter time of 18:18 set by Jim Mann in 2013.