Preparation for deep water soloing
Preparation for Deep Water Soloing
Before you arrive at the venue:
- Make sure access is permitted
- Check out the weather, including a swell height calculation
- Get a tide timetable and plan ahead (sounds poncy, but everyone who DWSs does this regularly!)
- Read all you can before you arrive, especially regarding route heights, crux heights, rock quality, water depth, and even water temperature (above about 16°C is good!)
- Take all the necessary gear (see Kit).
- Note access points, both top and bottom. It sounds obvious, but make sure you know how to get out!
- It's always a good idea to have one or two practise jumps - or maybe a swim, to check out the seabed detail (take a mask - especially for cloudy water, after storms).
- Be aware of possible rip tides
- If you swim, look at where you're likely to come off, and how deep it is there!
- Submerged boulders are particularly common - look out for the telltale seaweed attached to them.
- Consider having a spotter, or maybe somebody in the water or ready to get swiftly in, if you're concerned about what you're getting into.
- If you don't want to on sight your chosen route, and you're not sure about where it goes or the quality of the rock, then abseil down it, check it thoroughly, chalk it up, and discover the nature of the moves, especially on the harder or higher sections.
- If you're missing out on the on sight, you might as well get the full benefit!
During climbing - go for it!
- Take plenty of chalk, and wear enough clothing to give you a little security for that potential splashdown
- Climb something easy first to get a feel for the venue
- Watch for loose or greasy rock, moves that take you above or close to boulders, angry sea birds, jeering friends and skulking spider crabs.
Once you've got yourself familiar with the venue, chill out and enjoy the experience!
Mike has been climbing for over 20 years and has worked for several big-names in the climbing world including Rockfax climbing guides and Mountain Hardwear. He has written extensively on deep water soloing in areas of the UK including Dorset and Pembrokeshire and has used his professional photography
skills to record his achievements.
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