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Monday, 30 May 2011


LPT was mint tonight, it is chilly at the moment though. Should be climbing in a T-Shirt this time of year, too cold for me. Caff having a bash of Wild Understatement

Emma Twyford made a flying visit the other day and pulled off a very impressive flash of Statement. I can't think of many people managing this first go in the last 10 years and that includes some very strong climbers. It is a sustained and complex route and is possible to blow it in a number of places. Definitely an impressive flash. Most locals regard it as the 2nd hardest 8a down there. Interestingly she still fell victim to the last move of Bad Boy on her first go, maybe this needs upgrading to 8a+ now!

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Cave, Bock and Pigeon's

The bumpy boys have continued to beaver away in the Cave. Dyer ticked Bonnie Extension, vid of a attempt below:

Dyer has never owned a decent pair of boots in his life, he's currently climbing in some knackered old 5.10s. Doesn't seem to stop him though!

Pete found a new bit of climbing, working out the moves from the top jug of Trigger Cut into the Bonnie jug. He reckoned this was about font 7a+ on its own. Then he linked it from Parisellas Original and continued up Bonnie Extension for a pump fest 8b (or so) route:

Pete found himself confused as he reckoned Bonnie Extension was 8b+ but this new thing 8b. There's obviously more than one grade difference between them (give BE 8c i say)!
Markus Bock, legend of the Jura and 9a+ route and 8c bloc crusher was down LPT last week. He tried Sea of Tranquility and Liquid Ambar and reckoned they were both pretty tricky. He thought Sea Of was definitely 8c+ and said Liquid Ambar probably was too and is harder than any 8c he's ever done. Markus has done many 8c/+s and the Frankenjura is not exactly known as being soft so i think his opinion is very worthwhile. He may come back in a few months to give them another go. I'm just chuffed to have done all the moves on a relatively short probable 8c+!
Me and Dyer went down Pigeons yesterday. I was keen for the new Koo extension. Despite it being shortlived i've always liked Koo so was quite excited about trying an improved harder version. Dyer put the clips in and i had a bolt to bolt, the extension part felt quite tricky. It felt like it could be an epic but was actually ok on redpoint. Definitely a big improvement, original Koo doesn't feel like a route now and the new version must be one of the coolest 7c's on the Orme. Dyer did it too then floated up Stark and Follow the Prof again. Follow the Prof was only rebolted last week and Pete and Neil were the first men up. It looked really good watching Neil on it. The last dynamic move to the top is the redpoint crux. There aren't many decent 7c+'s on the Orme so this should prove popular. I can't wait to try it next time.

Pigeon's is looking ace now. The extensions have really took it up a notch. Koo Koo is a great route. Dyer has improved the unsatisfactory finish of Stark by taking it up to Koo Koo finish and Stiff Upper Lip extension looks like the best 8b in Wales. The last boulder problem looks amazing with the chalk on, shame i'm not going well enough to get on it :-(.
We started rebolting the two old routes on the left. I'll finish these off sometime
when i get my hands on some bolts:

Dyer seeking holds in the roof:

And finally, farewell to my old climbing sack that i've had since day one, i'll miss you buddy!

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Mcclure Blitzes Mayfair Wall

Team Marmot Europe are in Wales this week so expect some good ticks if the rain holds off. Today Inspector Mawsons and Steve Mcclure were on the Orme ticking on Mayfair wall. Neil finished off Masterplan, first redpoint. He struggled with the crux of this when he tried it just after i did it but he's an 8c crusher these days so it went down ok. Steve then pulled off the first flash defying those long reaches. He then onsighted Masterclass (first onsight???) putting the clips in thinking it to be one grade easier than Masterplan. I'm always confused with the grading on this wall as for me (and others i'm sure) Masterclass is harder than Masterplan. This is due to Masterplan being a modern bouldery style and Masterclass being old school and technical. It's good to have confirmation that the grades are fairly accurate from someone not affected by styles at this level. Of course these are not surprising feats by Steve buts its still nice that a good climber came along and did them first go. Shame he didn't do Oyster for the full sweep.
I did a lot of climbing this week, six days on in fact! I did some training and ticked some nice routes. I went to Pantymwyn earlier in the week to have a bash on Grand Canyon. I've been going to the gorge for years. There is a picture of me asleep under the bouldering when i was 7 or so, i shunted the slabs back in the 90s and of course i've been there bouldering loads of times but to my shame never climbed on the steep side. In my ticking frame of mind i was keen to do the classic 7b+ Grand Canyon so met Lee down there. There's not really a decent warm up route there so i thought i'd give Canyon a bash to see how high i got, a stategic error! Its not your average North Wales 7b+, its steep and pumpy and i was soon boxed and off. Unfortunately the pump was terminal so i couldn't really do much more and left without doing it. I returned later in the week to finish it. Its really good- involving pumpy big moves! Only the Diamond and the Gwynt really compares for pump factor. Yesterday i went back up to Craig Seiriol with Lee Proctor and Paul. Rob Pitt and Lee Roberts were working Hounds. I did a new route that i'd drilled last time but not bolted left of Osama. Its called Gadaffi the Diplomat and is about 6c+. Its nothing special but is worth doing. Lee climbed Osama with a different sequence which he reckoned was more like 6c. Jonny Boy had been up to do the groove left of Hounds. This is another stellar line which suprisingly went at 6c/+. It is another classic, great positive holds the whole way up, ace!
Lee on the hunt:

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Release the Hounds

Me, Jonny Boy and Alex went up to Craig Seiriol today to give Gav's route a proper go. I had worked out that Jon was going up from a coded Facebook status and luckily for me he didn't mind me inviting myself along. It was cold and windy up there and we all took a while to warm up. Alex warmed up on Osama Bin Bin Bag and then had a respectable flash burn and me and Jon were soon on redpoint. I managed the 2nd ascent, then Jon bagged it and finally Alex completed the clean sweep. A great route that is destined to be a classic. All it needs now is the strong boys to go up there and give it its first onsight. We all agreed the grade is solid 7c. Some footage:

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

New Mega Sport Line Above A55

A few weeks ago i went up to the old quarries between Penmaenmawr and Llanfairfechan with Gav Foster. I had heard of Gav's project up there that was supposed to be very good so i was keen to check it out. Gav bolted it a while ago, he spied the line after walking up there in hope of finding some bouldering potential. Working away and his house building project meant that getting consistent days on it was proving tricky. After slogging up there i was hoping it was going to be good as people had suggested. I was not disappointed! The line is quite striking and i was immediately impressed. The route takes a curving overhanging prow before finishing up a immaculate headwall. We got to work and after an initial scare pulling some loose blocks off the start (probably a result of winter freeze thaw, luckily the holds underneath were perfect) Gav soon got the moves again. He was kind enough to let me have a dog up it. The start is steep and keeping tension was tricky as a result of the low friction and slopey holds. After 8 or so metres of amazing slopey compression the line eases and leaves the arete for the headwall which leads to the chain. Gav had some redpoints and was falling just shy of the easier top section. I knew he just needed to get back ASAP and he could do it. Today he went back with Mr P and finished his project. It really is a stunner and anyone who climbs around the grade 7c/+ in Wales (visitor or local) really need to get up there and get on it. I really think it is one of the best sport routes in Wales. It has the quality moves and rock that you find on the best routes but what sets is apart in my eyes is the unique line that is really quite rare. Its not just another bit of overhanging limestone (in fact its not even limestone). I can't wait to get on it again. The name is Release the Hounds (a reference to the people chomping at the bit to get on it). I thought 7c after my brief dog up it, Gav's not sure but thinks maybe even 7c+ so 7c/+ will do til the repeats start rolling in. In the bay to the left is a new 6c+ that i put up which will be a good warm up for the meat. In terms of access details i'm sure Mr P will have them online soon enough and as he's much better at such things than me i'll leave it to him

Monday, 16 May 2011

Line of the Cave Goes Down

Pete Robins linked Lou Ferrino into Bonnie last night in Parisella's Cave. This has long been admired/touted as the visual line of the Cave but it has never really seen much attention until recently as Bonnie is such a tough little cookie on its own (Font 8a+). Pete first climbed Bonnie in the winter 09/10 after a bit of a seige and at that point the link seemed some way off. After Ben Bransby climbed Bonnie Extension and Neil Dyer did Bonnie in quick time the spotlight was back on the big link. Neil was looking like the main contender making quick progress and looking very strong. This was all the encouragement Pete needed and he got stuck in and soon found himself falling near the end. Last night he completed it thinking it to be of similar difficulty to the other two mega link ups he's done in there, Silk Cut and The Incredible Bulk. That would make it around Font 8b or French 8c+. The breakdown of the numbers would suggest that this new line is perhaps the hardest of the three. Bonnie is a power problem with hard moves which makes for a very spicy link. The line follows the two ramp features of the Cave. All we need now is for someone to finish this link up the extension for a mega boulder/route hybrid for a 9a combination.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Someone at Malham please convince Ondra to pop over to LPT.

This week was a mixture of training and cragging. I went to check out a very cool project with Neil Dyer, a line up a short but sustained red wall. It was very ansteys-esque and very hard too. Probably 8b+ or 8c, come on Neil pull yer finger out! He probably won't try it for another 3 years or so. I went to the Dulas with Heason and we hung out in the roofs. Ben tried Temple making quick progress. Since i did it everyone has used a easier more efficient foot sequence just before the last crux which seems a bit less draining. Ben also did the first crux some mental foot above yer head in a hole method, pretty different really! Looked cool. I worked on the end sequence of my proj and made good progress. The finish is a bit weird as the right wall comes in at the end and your feet go on a slab. This doesn't feel like it detracts from the route when you're on it but looks funny from the bottom. Its bad cos it means its not quite as cool as Temple but good cos its makes it do-able. The moves are all good anyway, i need to experiment a bit more. Ben had a quick go and even got a double knee bar in. I don't care what grade it is, the easier the better as long as its cool. We will see. I went for a quiet and gloomy mill sesh with Nodder (the electricitys off!). He's training religiously at the moment and not getting distracted with routes like he did last year. Its probably what i should be doing but i don't have the self discipline at the mo. I realised thats its time to stop complaining about being shit as i'm not actually that weak. Hopefully there's much more to come though. Yesterday i went down LPT with Pete Harrison, amazingly my first time down there this year. It felt good being down there, its such a good social crag as everyone has to go down at the same time. I even did a new 6, the short but good Bosch Bastards. Then i tried Life's a Beach, this is a previously neglected 7b that's become quite popular with a couple of new bolts. It is also probably one of the hardest 7b's on the Orme. An initial tricky wall leads to a ledge but the final slabby headwall is the crux and even though you're fresh when you get there it has a very tricky move. I did the move first go but then was losing purchase on the crimp on subsequent goes. Boooo i can't do slabs. It was raining though. I had no plans to try Bad Boy before i went down as i thought i'd get too pumped but was pleasantly surprised to not get that pumped. That route always draws me in, its such a joy. Then we headed up to the Cave's. Pete recommended a 7b+ called The Damage Religion that he'd done recently. It's one of those routes that you walk under on the way to Breck Road but never glance up at. It should get more attention as its well bolted and has a very nice bouldery crux sequence. I got the beta off Pete and set off. I utilised what he'd said but also did what felt natural and ended up climbing it a bit differently and managed to flash it. I wasn't kidding myself as it felt pretty steady, even 7a+. Its probably 7b though for most of average stature. Kind of summed up my climbing these days, shut down on Life's a Beach then flashing that in the same day. I'm really keen for some other routes round these parts especially The Mask and Taipan if anyones keen? It's been a good week which has helped my confidence a bit. You don't really know what the state of play is just climbing on your own routes.
Pete Robins went back down Pigeon's and extended Koo to the top of the crag this time. This takes it from 7b to 7cish. I'm quite keen for this as i've always enjoyed Koo. It needs a lower off putting in for it to become popular.

photo by Calum Muskett:

Ondra's back at Malham, still dreaming that he'll come over to these parts. He needs to crush the Orme and do the old aid route at Dulas 9a+.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Orme Bouldering Heaven

Mule's new bouldering area on West Shore has finally been revealed. I haven't been yet but have heard some good reports. There's quite a bit of bouldering dotted around the Orme now. Here's a quick rundown on it:

Parisellas Cave
Say no more

Split Infinity
15 problems 6a+ - 7c+/8a
A classic warming up spot with a hard traverse and some good up problems.
Best problem: Belpig 7c

Breck Road
15 problems 6c+ - 7c
Great independent up lines and some good links and a mega traverse.
Best problem: Swing of Fire 7b

Normans Wisdom
5 problems 7a - 7c
Direct starts to routes and a cool traverse.
Best Problem: Snout 7c

Pill Box Wall
30??? problems
6c+ - 8a+
Pristine crimpy lime and link up heaven.
Best Problem: Ain't No Party/Mr Whippy?

Pigeon's Cave Boulders
35 Problems?
V0 - 7b+
Smooth boulders with more easier grades.
Best Problem: ?

Sea View Walls
6 problems
6b - 7c
Some amazing higballs off a tidal ledge
Best Problem: Flashpoint 7b+

Badger Cave
5 Problems
Steep Cave.
v4 - 7a+
Best Problem: Brock Direct

West Shore Boulders:
30/40 Problems
6a - 8a
Cool boulderfield
Best Problem: The Spray 8a?
There's also Clutch, Plumbline Traverse and that easy sunny vertical stuff above the road on West Shore side.
Some interesting musings on hard grades on Paul Robinsons blog. He's travelled the world and done most of the hard shit so i'd say he's got a pretty good idea on what goes on. Its interesting reading about his grade calculations. Maybe we should use them to sort out the contentious problems over here. It sounds like East Coker and Silk Cut would both be 8b on the Robinson Scale. East Coker is 8a+ into 7c+/8a ands Silk Cut is 8b into higball 7a+, not big enough link up numbers to warrant 8b+ in his book. We don't need world wads to come and repeat our problems we just need to read their blogs!

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Stiffer Upper Lip

Pete robins has done the extension to Stiff Upper Lip at 8b at pigeons.The original is a cool roof line but it finishes in a rather random place as the first ascentionist George Smith lowered his original lower off as he was struggling to get it done.Above georges chain is a cool boulder problem to the top of the crag. When stiff upper got re equipped last year so whole line was bolted by Pete Harrison as we weren't sure what went on.Jordan has already bagged the 2nd ascent.This makes a trio of mega 8bs on the orme alongside Melancholie and Youthanasia. If you like things a bit shorter and sharper then Carinthian Groove awaits a second ascent still.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Osama Bin Bin Bag

My time off is drawing to an end. Have done loads of climbing, lots of nice easier routes and few projects done and bolted. Thursday i headed to Three Degrees Crag with sausage, Gav and Panton. I tried my proj there, some progress as i got to the crux on top rope but still struggling to get my feet up on the undercut. More burl needed. Sausage got on Pete's 8a+. I was interested to see what he thought of it as it took Pete 3 days and he's no slouch. He did the moves pretty much first go then lowered to the top of the ramp and linked them first go. He still didn't get the redpoint though as the holds (which are very small) heated up a bit. Conditions are quite important on this, seems Pete was wise doing it in winter. Anyway Sausage reckoned 8a+ was right, a similar proposition to Pas de Deux he said and he'll return in cooler temps. Me and Mule went for a random mooch on the Orme on Friday. We abbed into Seal Point for some reason??

I had been down to do Crigyll Outlaws in 2000. The rock is nice down there and the sport routes look good and the bolts aren't fucked yet. The hangers have rusted a bit. Then we went to check out Tony and Colin Goodeys mini crag on West Shore side of the Orme, this is under the road above some concrete slabs. I'm sure its destined to be quite a popular venue as its nice rock and non serious. We soloed a few diddy routes.

I took Jonny boy out to new crags on Saturday. I tried one of my best projects and finally made a breakthrough with the beta. Sould be on redpoint next time. Jon put in a good effort and flashed my groove route. He reckoned it was 7a+ for real men who can jam. I think the grade of this will divide opinion! Today i did a new 6c+ at a non limestone venue which i named Osama Bin Bin Bag, watch this space about this one, some impressive shit. I really feel if i didn't have a few hard projects then i'd be happy to have a break from trying to beast it this year. Just going out and doing routes and quick redpoints has been mega. Its a better life of this i am sure!

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Ormesmen of the Week Mel Griffiths, He came, he went and then he came back!

Mel Griffiths burst onto the Orme scene in 1981 with the first ascent of the iconic route Axle Attack on Mayfair Wall. Axle Attack is an Orme classic which was an incomplete aid route. Pollits guide states that: "it was this route before than any other before it, on Trwyn, that gave a realistic impression of the wealth of new climbing waiting to be done." Mel and fellow first ascentionist Leigh McGinley famously trained for the ascent using the axle of a train. Mel had ten years off climbing and was partaking in activities such as cave diving. When he started climbing again he got back into the Orme scene and started new routing and re-equipping on both Ormes.

Well that draws and end to the Ormesmen of the week series, i've enjoyed delving into the history of the area and the men who shaped our crags. It is a area with a rich history and with mnay routes that are of national importance. I've undoubtedly missed some Ormesmens but i am only young so please forgive me. Finally a big up to these guys: Billy Wayman, Pete Bailey, Ben Moon, Ron Fawcett, Mark Pretty, Perry Hawkins, Mike Owen, Phil Smith, Rob Shepton, Ed Stone and Nick Jowett