Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Dovedale Developments...

Around 8 years ago my Dad came home from one of his treks around Derbyshire, raving about a brand new, untouched bouldering cave he'd come across buried in the heart of Dovedale. Not long after he took me down and sure enough it seemed quite impressive and we shortly returned with pads and a scrubbing brush in hand.
There was obviously a bunch of various lines to be had, but one in particular stood out from the rest. Starting virtually at the back end of the cave, a line of weakness ran out through the roof that eventually lead you into a big juggy hole at the center of the cave. This seemed like a good a place as any to finish but there was clearly an opportunity to carry on from here and take the line even further.

I decided to share the place with a couple of friends, Matt Fry and Mark Evans. Together we spent a number of sessions working out some of the various problems and things started to come together little by little. It was clear however I was no where near strong enough for this place and a combination of that and the audious walk-in lead to it being put on the back burner for a long while.
Mark however ended up making the first ascent of the main line, calling it Future Proof and confirmed it to be somewhere around the V10 region.

Fast forward to the start of the limestone season this year and I vowed to really make an effort to get back down and get the place sorted out, before spreading the word. Over the years rumours had started to circulate of this hidden secret venue somewhere in Dovedale and I figured it was about time to put some effort in and open the place up.

My first session back we were surprised to find the place dry and after brushing up the main line I set about piecing it all together, trying to remember the intricate beta we had previously figured out. By the end of the afternoon however it was done and I could not have been happier!
Immediately afterward my mind started to think about the original plan of extending it all the way out around the lip of the cave....

Yesterday I headed back and managed to realise this idea, giving a really fun boulder problem, which packs in a lot of cool climbing and that actually feels more like a route!
I've dubbed the thing 'Bury My Heart' and figured it could well be around the 8A region as the extra moves around the lip definitely add a little on, but only time will tell I guess...
Regardless of this I feel it is a great addition to the dale and hopefully people will get psyched to check the place out for themselves and let us know what they think!


Like previously mentioned, this place is seriously hidden away so listen closely...

Approaching from Milldale the venue is around a 30 minute walk down the dale. Walk past Ilam Rock and carry on along the main path until reaching the wooden 'boardwalks' that skirt alongside the river. Immediately after the second boardwalk a small scree slope on the left appears with one of those 'money trees' lying at the bottom. Head up here and follow the small sheep track up and round until you see a large fir tree up on the left. The cave is situated directly behind this tree, but not visible until you are virtually stood on top of it!


Apologies for the quality but below is a super quick topo I've thrown together showing just three of the main lines. I'll do my best to get a better one sorted at some point that shows more of the other established problems but for now...

Future Proof, 7C+...

The main line of weakness from the back of the cave. Using a funky sequence of techy and 3D climbing work your way out to finish at the big jug in the middle.

Red: Bury My Heart, 8A

The full line of the cave, start as for Future Proof to its finish at the main central jug. From here bust on out to the block in the roof and make a big move up around the lip to better holds. Finish on a big flatty. Take care of the loose blocks!

Green: Black Heels, 7B+C

Start from a square cutout piece of rock and fire out to the big block. Use cunning/trickery to match before finishing up Bury My Heart.

Blue: 6C+ ish

The original problem. A standard lip traverse that finishes halfway along the mouth of the cave. Start low down on the left from the good juggy ledges.