The big soaking

By Ramon Marin

Surrendering to the allure of hot springs, soaking in nature's healing embrace.

Returning home last Sunday, I was determined to go back to Antsey's Cove really soon. Feeling that I'm going well, I knew if Cider Soak was going to go down I had to put the effort now and go in for a proper attack. Cider Soak was my goal for this year, hopefully getting it done before it got too hot, but giving myself the Autumn in case I didn't get it in Spring.

I recruited youth psyche in the shape of Jerome and Andre, knowing that both would be getting down to business too and putting the effort in. And also together are a right laugh too. On Saturday I had to drive Jerome's van as he had a late night shift and so he piled up at the back of the van and I gingerly got us to Torquay. Before the guys knew, I was tied in, shoes on, and ready to get a belay.A quick warm up on a 6c and then I got straight onto Cider Soak to put the clips in. I knew I still hadn't done two moves on the route, so I set myself on doing that. On my first go putting the clips I nailed the first move I was struggling. I pulled up on the draws to the top and also nailed the top section. Cool, I thought, the game is on, I can start redpointing now. I went and belayed Jerome and Andre, and then I had my first redpoint attempt, which I linked to the jug rest. But I got there out of juice and couldn't hold on to the jugs. Things didn't look up. I thought it would take a long time to build the power-endurance to link the two sections.

Jerome on Cider Soak

Our friend Gavin Symonds arrived at the crag and I snatched a belay off him to have my second redpoint attempt, see how fresh I could get to the jugs rest. I got on it, and felt a bit sketchy from the start, but I sticked all the moves to the rest. From there to the top I only managed once in its entirety, so I still didn't have the foot sequence iron out. Regardless, I just went for it and tried really hard at not letting go. I pulled, and pulled, got to the crux move, and somehow I was still on, then, totally footless because of my lack of beta for my feet, I launched myself for the finishing jug. I only managed to catch it with the first joint of three fingers, but I was still on, so decided to slap for some crap edge, and re-adjust my right hand. I managed that, but by now it was desperate, terrible footwork that made my forearms feel like they were bleeding inside. But I was still on, so pulled in some rope, and tried to clip the anchors. Almost fumbled that because the sun was straight into my eyes and I couldn't see the anchors. I let go and to my surprise, I had just clipped the anchors, I had just done Cider Soak.

As I came down I couldn't believe what just happened. Gav was also in disbelieve, he said I should have come off way earlier, many times, and that I practically campused the top. But hey, I was just glad that I finally have done a proper 8a.

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