We walked up in great conditions to the crag, the sun was shining and there was a light breeze, the rock was dry and the temperature just right, myself and Franco both had routes we wanted to do.
For me, my first E3 was on the cards, West Sphinx Direct was the main goal of the day whereas Franco, (who had climbed the route before with Luke Hunt) wanted to bag Ali Baba another classic low grade Extreme. We started off however, with me climbing another route i was yet to do, Sesame. It takes an awkward unprotected groove in the Garfit buttress, then traverses right to finish up an awkward wide crack. At E1, this bold climb had put me off but it was the start to Ali Baba so i needed doing and i wanted the tick so i did it, but not without managing to become stuck in the exit crack!
I then wandered off and climbed Jackdaw Wall, another route on my list which was easier than expected but a decent line all the same.
Franco at this point was gearing up for Ali Baba, however the only gear he took was a sling and a quickdraw to sling the Chockstone. He climbed the groove with grace and then found the next section to be 'Jug Hauling' a bit of hold testing and ideas from me belaying resulted in Franco unlocking the Top out Sequence and a 'Woooo' was 'bellowed' around the 'Stones.
Franco came down and declaired the climbing easy, so i geared up and set off. The Intial bulge was easy this time and then the jug hauling excellent, in a great exposed position but with the safety of gear. The topout was awkward but exhilarating, im glad we decided to give this one a go! It is probably a low 5c but i think giving it 5b would be dangerous.
We then sauntered over for a bit of a boulder on 'The Bulge Super Direct'. At E1 5b i decided it would be bold 5b climbing, as i couldn't see any gear. In actual fact it was seriously bold outing, which had me thinking i was definitely off! Luckily my crimp stuck and i was able to finish the route... a route which was more frightening and more difficult than Ali Baba in my opinion! And probably deserves E2 5c?
We then walked to the Sphinx, a towering piece of rock which is of course shaped like a Sphinx! The main line that always grabbed my attention was 'West Sphinx Direct' this was my target for the day and at E3 it would be my first major extreme. I set off, the first moves i knew were bold and awkward but they went ok. I was at the break, time to fill it with gear! This however was not the case. I found the gear was quite poor as i had forgotten to double the rope over i was on a single so gear was placed to one side of me and ignoring Franco's Beta to place a cam in the good hand hold i made my first reach to the Pocket. No chance.
I bimbled around replacing gear and looking for new stuff, but i ended up with a size 3 nut which was badly placed and a bomber micro wire. I got my feet up and made the move. Piss.
I had the jug, i don't know why it felt easy this time but i still shouted a swear word as i knew the gear wouldn't hold!
I topped out on my first E3 and decided my previous faliures no Telli and Acme Wall were worth it, im glad my first E3 was in the Moors and im glad it was on the Sphinx at the Wainstones.
Will i climb it again? I don't think so, unless my opposing wire placements improve!
What a day and i finally feel i've climbed at my best at the Wainstones, i wish days like these lasted for ever.