The Skeleton Ridge

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We headed out to the Old Battery just before 8 the following morning. We used the hour we had before the administrator showed up to test out and very nearly lose Jason’s drone (brief footage here). Once we were let in, things went reasonably quickly. We did a short rap off some fence posts to access the “abseil stake” and then fixed our 100 meter static and rapped down to the (otherwise inaccessible) beach. A short hike along the base of the ridge brought us to the start of the Skeleton Ridge route. The first pitch is probably the crux of the day but nothing to lose sleep over – you’re climbing mostly on flint stones embedded in the chalk with an occasional slabby chalk move thrown in. Rusty peg belay supplemented by my straddling of the ridge. Pitch 2 was mostly an easy walk and pitch 3 had some fun arête climbing including the first of “a cheval” ridge humping. We combined pitches 3 and 4 (to avoid the possibility of falling onto a shitty anchor) and had to gingerly step around two seagull chicks. I was half expecting to be dive bombed by the parents. Pitch 5 offered more easy (if deteriorating) ridge hiking and ended at the base of the famous “soaring arête” pitch. The views are of course excellent throughout the day. This 6th and final pitch was the highlight of the day for us (and probably most climbers): a moderate arête followed by a very exposed a cheval traverse of a 10 inch wide chalk fin with a 100 meters of exposure on either side. From there it was a quick hike back to the Battery and we were cooling ourselves off in their subterranean, cavernous museum by noon. The rest of the day was spent on ice cream, beach time, beer, booze and family.


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