Brean Topping (8b)

On Saturday 19th me and Charlotte headed up to Brean Down were I wanted to try and tick Brean Topping; a three star 8b which is also the hardest route of the crag put up by Steve McClure in 2002. Most people use a very different sequence to the one I used. Most people do the crux by using two tiny crimps but when I first tried the route it was very warm and I couldn’t hold the crimps at all so had to come up with a new sequence which missed out the crimps if I was to have a couple of redpoints on that day. So I found a set of moves which used a few fairly small pinches and one of the crux crimps (the better of the two) but only to use as an intermediate before I go to another pinch.

The route can be broken into two main sections; the first is around a F7b+/c route to a break where you get an okay rest on slopers (where I spend quite a lot of time) then into the main section. The main (and crux) section for me consisted of around 7 moves at around V8/9 before hitting a huge flat hold and then probably F6a+ to the top from there.

On my first redpoint I made it to the last move before you throw to the big flat hold. Pleased with my effort I had a few more attempts that day. On my last attempt of the session I fell whilst holding onto the large flat hold… a hold that nobody should be dropping! I didn’t manage to get back to back on Brean Topping over the summer months so could barely remember my sequence when I returned a couple of weeks ago so had a short session of refreshing the moves…

I then returned on Saturday where the draws were already in so I warmed up on El Chocco to put the draws in for Charlotte, quickly dogged Brean Topping again where the moves felt pretty easy now although the whole crux section was greasy and I had some doubt to whether the route would go today. I rested for a while and went for my first redpoint of the day but still feeling a little cold and not ready for the attempt but pushed on anyway. I arrived at the break and took a while to think through the next few moves. I pulled onto the crux section and hit most of the holds wrong but before I knew it I was eyeing up the big flatty, I went for it and latched it just right! I screamed a little and struggled through the upper wall (and almost dropped one of the moves) before I arrived at the chains. I came back down feeling pretty happy about ticking the route which just over a year ago I believed I would never do! I think the route went on my 5th/6th redpoint overall but I spent a lot of time going through the crux section and trying those moves in isolation.

Two minutes after I got back to the ground it started to pour down but I was psyched and wanted to do some training, so I the onsighted Clashing Socks (F7b), Roof of Inequity (F7a+/b) and then repeated a couple of 7c’s (El Chocco and Bullworker) I have previously done once they had dried. I have now also done Snakes ‘n’ Wa*kers (F8a+/b) and Global Solutions (F7c). Overall it was a great day and got me really psyched for some projects which I have been saving for the better conditions, so I’m just hoping now that the rain will stop shortly and I can get ticking some more routes. Charlotte also came very close to doing El Chocco although the rain soaked the top section meaning only a couple of attempts were made throughout the day.

Thanks to Cailean Harker for the photos and some beta, Jack Macloghlin for your patience when I first got on the route and Charlotte Warner for belaying me on the send!

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