Deep Water Solo Fest Report

Last weekend, the Dorset deep water soloing scene played host to the annual Deep Water soloing festival, and a strong contingent of climbers from all over the country made their way to the south coast, with a few extra chalkbags and pairs of climbing shoes than normal. The event was organised by Mike Weeks, in conjunction with Red Bull. On the saturday the venue was Conner Cove, where just about every route was soloed by someone. Later in the afternoon a deep water solo speed competition was held on Freeborn Man, which involved climbing the route, then jumping from just below the top. It looked like Steve McClure was on for a win until Neil Gresham trimmed the time back to around 27 seconds (!) and a whopping £300 first prize. Saturday night featured a BBQ courtesy of Red Chilli, and a Red Bull party at an undisclosed location. After the rockfall accident in the previous week, it was uncertain whether it would be sensible to climb at Lulworth Cove on the Sunday, but in the end there were no difficulties, and event better weather was had, and more great climbing, which featured a few long falls from the last move of Mark of the Beast (7c) (Adrian Baxter and Martin Atkinson). Steve McClure made an impressive onsight of The Gates of Greyskull (7b+), which he descibed as ´desperate´, which rather makes you think. Many thanks to Mike Weeks, Mike Robertson, Red Bull, Red Chill, and everyone else who made it such a great weekend. The Photos…

Britney puts in an inspiring high level battle onsighting Tsunami (E4 6b) Joe Lasarge uses his airbrake shorts to slow down the descent from Freeborn Man in the Deep Water Soloing Competition
Johnny Dawes on Freeborn Man – in the Deepwater Soloing Competition Not the usual Conner Cove crowd level.
Neil Gresham jumping from the top of Freeborn Man to win the Deepwater Solo Speed Competition. And at the end of the day… Gavin Slade gets a few moves further on a long mission to solo Freeborn Man, a few moves later and it was an airborne retreat – there´s always a next time!