Water Tower (Abseil) - July 2016

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SlimJim

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Visited with Konrad.

The backstory is we'd climbed this a couple of times over winter and spring. At least once at night and once in the day. Last autumn, I got a little bit of basic abseil and SRT (Single Rope Technique) tuition down at one of Kent's sandstone crags. This gave me the opportunity to ask a crap load of questions and get some practice while being supervised by a professional. For the next 9 months or so I amassed kit, did a lot of reading and did some low stuff here and there to get used to the hardware, but found it difficult finding somewhere with excellent anchors and that wasn't too high for a n00b. Then I had an idea - to descend and ascend some of the many dry ditches around Dover. These were the catalysts that allowed me to build up some confidence and experiment with different setups and eventually move on to more daring stuff.

...Shortly after I'd popped my rope cheery a bit more, Konrad steps foot on UK soil again. Konrad is bang up for chucking himself over the edge of some stuff, so we continue building up our mojo and progressively going higher and higher, as well as trying different configurations of anchors and equipment. Soon enough I suggest the water tower and we just go for it!...The inside seems perfect - tons of anchor points and no RF radiation emitting crap to scramble our brains. It must be around 50ft to the bottom. The first attempt is rather experimental. I got the tuition and I've been banging on about rope stuff for months, so I have to put my money where my mouth is and sling myself over the railing first. Ironically, I'm the crew's rope guy and I'm terrified of heights! I'm totally shitting myself and it takes a good 10-15 minutes and a blast on Konrad's vape to compose myself, get over the edge and sit into the harness. I play it safe and rig a twin rope and hook into it with the high friction side of my abseil device...big mistake because it makes for an incredibly slow, jittery journey down! Then my 'third hand' (a friction knot on the tail end of the rope to stop me blazing down the rope if I let go) twists up the twin rope and makes it even slower! I get to the bottom, but by now it's getting rather late, so we decide to go home and rappel next time on a single rope setup instead. This works much better and the ride down is very smooth, steady and controlled. Success!

Now onto the building...It's a grand old water tower, nicest one I've ever seen in fact. It dates back to the early 1900s and is Italianate Revival in style. It's more isolated than most other water towers, but that hasn't stopped kids from scrawling on it here and there.

External.
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Konrad climbing down the ladder.
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Some older pics...
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Konrad taking shots over the edge.
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Odd one from the top at night. Thank god for head torches!
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Video. The first attempt (gammy slow abseil) is the one in POV. Might be a little slow in places, but I've sped a lot of the footage up to make it more watchable. It's a digestible 3 minutes long, as always :p


Twas a bloody swag climb and abseil! I think we're on the verge of perfecting technique and setup now. There was some kosher anchor building and even a backup belay for extra protection. Safety is always paramount! More of this stuff on the way...

Thanks for looking!
 
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Conrad

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Cheers for the help and instruction on that Jim, as traumatising as it was to go over the edge I look forward to improving
technique on some more high stuff :), as you've said the tower itself is impressive.
 

SlimJim

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Well done boys, nice to see something a bit different being done on here.
Nice bit of proper exploring!

Cheers! :D Yeah it took a lot of prep and cojones to get over the edge. Could easily introduce you to it and get you used to the kit. Maybe get some small SRT access under your belt!
 

jsp77

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looks like you're having fun learning the ropes, i always enjoy you vids slim, thanks for sharing
 

SlimJim

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Wow, that was nearly 5 months ago now! How life puts a halt on things :( Remindeds me it's been wayyy too long since we've done any rope stuff. I suppose I'm rather rusty with it all. Will hopefully be getting more done over the Christmas period, we have plans...:p
 

5t3tcv743

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Wow! I see you enjoy your climing! Nice
Enjoyed the pucs and vid slim keep it up 😁
 

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