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Daring Deeds - real stories, expeditions, road trips and adventure

Red Bull White Cliffs

By Anna Wells
22, Oct, 2015

An invite for some chalk cliff climbing on the Isle of Wight

This month, the Red Bull White Cliffs event took place on the Isle of Wight. It involved scaling 90 metre high overhanging chalk cliffs using axes and crampons, lead climbing on pre-placed "warthogs" (an old-school type of winter climbing protection!). I was honoured to be one of the sixteen athletes invited to participate, and felt a little in awe to be on a list that included Tim Emmett, Will Gadd, and several winners of ice climbing world cups! 


It was an unforgettable weekend in every way! We had three days of climbing on the chalk cliffs, culminating in the "Finals" where we were given an hour to scale the full length of the cliff. Although the men's route had been climbed during "practice day", none of the females had made it to the top yet. As the slowest female from qualifiers, I had the job of climbing first in the finals. My arms were burning with pump by the time I reached the 25m mark, and the task ahead (another 65m!) seemed almost inconceivable. But i dug deep, and beyond my greatest expectation managed to top out, and rung the bell in the nick of time: 59 minutes and 58 seconds! I have never in my life been so exhausted as the final minute; scrambling up a crumbly chalk slab, dragging 180m of rope, phenomenal exposure and best of all, everyone shouting encouragement to me through my walkie-talkie! And so cool to have acheived the "first ascent"!
What next? Getting back on my axes and catching up with athletes from the world cup circuit has got me really really psyched! I have decided to do the entire world cup series this year, and have just booked my flights for the first round in December: Bozeman USA!

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