Starting out in deep water soloing

Starting out in deep water soloing

So you've seen the pictures and read all about deep water soloing; you've got a good basic understanding of rock climbing, and you want to get yourself started. Mike Robertson provides a few guidelines.

  • Wait for the right time of year! Unless you are a hard-assed swimmer who's heavily into arctic water temperatures, you'll find the best time is June - October.
  • Take all the right kit (see Kit) and take the best guidebook for the area.
  • Take your friends! DWS is something to be shared, not endured on your lonesome. Take the sort of folk that you laugh and drink with, and take people who can swim well!
  • Go to a well-known venue, preferably with someone who has DWS'd before. Amongst the best starting areas are Cave Hole (with a good tide) and Stair Hole (Dorset), and Berry Head (Devon) with lots of low-level traversing.
  • Get wet when you get there! This will (hopefully) give you a state of empathy with the water, and prepare you for what may await. Small jumps are the best way to get in, because that's the way you'll be going in if you fall off!
  • Stay within your grade at first, then build up to more difficult things. Exceptions to this rule, especially for boulderers, may well be hard bouldering at sea level.
Amongst the best starting areas are Cave Hole (with a good tide) and Stair Hole (Dorset), and Berry Head (Devon) with lots of low-level traversing
Key points
  • Choose the right time!
  • Take a good team.
  • Select the most suitable venue.

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