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Wednesday, 28 September 2011

October Furnace

What a topsy turvy island this is! It's too hot to climb in late September. I went to the Cave today but it was warm and i had no growl. I sacked it to Pigeon's with Ducko to have a look, it was still a bit wet but my route was dry enough to have a quick look. It's all there but there's not much you can do if its wet or 30 degrees. I've lost a bit of spark this week but it's normal after a sustained psyche period and a big project. Ducko pointed out a nice clean little wall on the way down to Pigeon's. There were two potential problems that i doubt have been climbed before (the hard one defo hasn't). The left hand one was a cool sit start and followed some nice flowstone. I got it ticked when the sequence was worked out. It's worth checking out and is around 7a+. I've christened it October Furnace. The line to the right looks 8a/+ and is one for CJD i reckon when it cools down, come on fatty!

Come on Floppy!:

Dyer flashed The Empire State on The Diamond as a warm up like he does.

Monday, 26 September 2011

The Empire State

Me and Tommy headed down The Diamond today. It was quite warm and still so we were expecting a bit of grease but the chalk was glowing as we approached and it was quite good. The crag's recent upsurge in popularity continues and there were people all over it. Tommy was keen for an old project line he re-equipped back in 2009. Right of Never get Out of The Boat is a amazing yellow streak. The start is a hard boulder sequence up to a long vertical jug and from here is a further 25 metres of amazing pumpy climbing to the top of the crag. Like The Black Pearl it makes for an unbalanced route with the first two bolts taking the grade up 3/4 grades and so the link from the jug to the top was an obvious challenge. The route has a hard sequence above the jug before it turns into a stamina fest. The rock has a rough shell so it's usually ok conditions when everything else is greasy. Tommy spent 6 days on it in 2009 and got involved again last Saturday and was soon on redpoint. Today he got the link first redpoint despite wet holds at the top. I'm glad he didn't drop the end as i doubt he would have got there again. We don't get much practice on 30 metre sport routes round here! He's called it The Empire State and has given it 8a but reckons it could be a tough one. Nice one mate. There are some pics on Mark Reeves blog.
I had another go on The Black Pearl, i still felt tired despite a rest day but had a redpoint and powered out on the top crux sequence. It's flippin sustained and the shake isn't that good as the holds are flat. I had a realisation that i really shouldn't be wasting myself on any more fitness routes this year. I need to make the most of feeling strong not wasting the window of opportunity getting boxed and tiring myself. It was a useful epiphany to have! I need to crush some stuff before mediocrity creeps back in. Jimmy Big Guns did Skip of Fools 8a+, ye! Later i had a look at the thing i bolted on hanging rock on the Orme. After one go i've christened it Hubble's Welsh cousin, its fuckin nails! Oh well, if i ever do Louis Armstrong i'll give it another go. Some nice weather coming up, need some wind to dry Pigeons!

New craglet near Ruthin

Two years ago my old mucker Ryan Mcconnell (aka Spidey) started developing a small roadside crag at Pwll Glass just outside of Ruthin on the A494. The crag yielded a 6a and a 6b on the right and a 7b through the central section which Danny Cattell bagged the first ascent of (name:Apple Crumble). Spidey had his sights set on a harder route on the left hand side. The route was a very nice little boulder problem passing the 3rd/4th clips involving some small crimps, a pocket and a high heel. Spidey tried the route sporadically but struggled with the tenuous bouldery crux, a long slap off the heel. This year he made the breakthrough and latched the move but got spat off the next move. He started getting through the crux more consistently recently but the last moves were still tenuous and hard for the feet and he kept dropping them. However he could tell the redpoint was close and desperate to bring closure to his seige he linked a few days in close succession and got the route ticked yesterday. It is the great thing about redpointing that we all go through the same tribulations on a long term project. The route is called Fraxinus Excelsior and is 7c or 7c+. The 7c's Spidey has done (including the LPT beast I've Been a Bad Bad Boy) have taken him considerably less effort than this route but he concedes that it may just not suit him. Time will tell but it is a very nice little route with a satisfying crux sequence. It's right by Ruthin escarpment which has been re-equipped by Lee Proctor and co so it's quite a handy micro venue. Spidey gets to jet off to Yosemite with his proj in the bag, nice one shag!

Lee Proctor on Apple Crumble:

An attempt earlier in the year:

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Tigger Cut

Wandered into the cave and saw this beast on Trigger Cut:

I chilled for a bit after the Dyserth exploits then went down the Diamond with Pete. It was greasy on first arrival but it got good. I finished off NGOOTB. I felt good on it but climbed it mainly on strength rather on fitness. I did get a bit back on the shakeout. Without doubt a North Wales classic! Pete tried the start to The Black Pearl, awesome hard boulder problem. I had a bolt to bolt on the new 8a. It is steeper than the other low 8's and is a really good power endurance route. I was tired so didn't have a redpoint. Yesterday i had a meaty sesh in the Cave with the stags. Some more Waiting Game footage:

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

The Black Pearl

Years ago Dave Redpath stuck some bolts in one of the obvious main lines on The Diamond. The line followed a hanging corner in the middle of the steepness which had plenty of holds but the first couple of metres off the beach to gain the corner was totally desperate. It made sense for someone to climb the route from the first jug as it is such an excellent line and the desperate start was so unbalanced. I remember when i first went to Ceuse this was a common practice on several routes. It seemed silly on those routes as starting from the ground was only usually a grade harder. I recall people hanging on the first bolt of Blanche Fesses 7c at Cascade. The one move off the deck was a v3 dynamic move but all the stamina jug pullers couldn't handle this savage piece of bouldering so they bypassed it. On the Diamond route it was an obvious way forward and Pete Robins did the deed a few days ago at 8a (name The Black Pearl). Now all it needs is a new lower off, maybe an extension and of course the route needs to be climbed from the deck. Hopefully this will go down this season. Its brilliant watching the crag coming to maturity with the obvious new routes getting done and the old routes getting re-equipped.

I was looking in my diary this morning and i noticed a list of 14 new routes that i made back in May that i wanted to complete this year. The Hole Truth was the last one on the list but a few extras have been added. Forgot to post this pic of my lucky belayer:

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

The Hole Truth

I did my project at Dyserth Waterfall today. I can't believe its 9 months since i first wondered up to this crag with Tony in the search for new rock. I was taken by the steep roofs and the first line i spotted was the roof with the hole on the right. I didn't really spot the potential for the two middle lines as i couldn't see the holds. I cut down some brambles at the top of the crag so i could ab down the line of the hole route. I got down to the lip and where i had been hoping to find some good holds was basically one solitary pinch. I gave up on the route and concentrated on the other lines. The hole was good when you got into it but there were so few options for your feet, i just thought it wouldn't go for me. After i'd completed Meatsville Arizona and Strawberries Man (7c's) i decided to bolt the last two lines even if they were two hard for me someone would do them. The middle line turned into The Madness Reigns which i sandbagged at 7c+. It was one of my best new routes. I had been playing on the hole project and had worked bits of it out. Before my injury in June i had a freak go and managed to get to the lip. It was a freak and when i started trying it again i struggled to get into the hole despite being as strong. It needed drastic action and a crash diet resulted in a breakthrough two days ago. It felt like a different route and i ended up dropping the last hard move. Today i returned with my lucky belayer Norman Clacher (Norm belayed me on the other routes) and did it first redpoint. I felt strangley subdued as i lowered off. I don't know why but the usual excitement when i do something at my limit wasn't there. I just felt pleased and relieved. I've never done a route like this, it is a hard, gnarly, crazy style. The moves you are forced into doing are quite wild for a route. It felt like a weird redpoint because after setting off it was done 40 seconds later. Difficulty wise i can't pinpoint it exactly but i'm guessing it is somewhere between mid to hard 8b. It could be my hardest route, i can't really judge if it's harder than Melanchollie as they're 7 years apart and so different in style. It's 6 easy moves to a 11 move font 7c+ sequence (compared to the recent boulders i've been doing/trying) and then 6b to the top. The name is The Hole Truth (nice one gorgy). I'd love to see some other folk trying it, i'd be intrigued to see what beta people come up with. Anyway to get to the crag follow the river from the top of the falls. Please act sensibly if you visit this crag. It is a popular tourist area and the crag is close to residential properties. You all know the score. I celebrated by climbing two 5's on the left so i could tick the crag.
Pic's by Mike Doyle:

Shit topo for the hard routes:

Monday, 19 September 2011

Pics n Vid

Ducko on G Spotting 7a, Pac Man boulders:

Bogroll comfortiser for toe cam on my hole proj:

Pete on the 2nd Ascent of The Madness Reigns:

Loyal belayer Tommy C:

Jimmy big guns film of the 2nd ascent of Dumpster Diver's. Looks cool, nice to see someone else recording the action!

We need some dry weather drastically, Pigeon's, The Diamond and the cave are all gopping. The Orme was shut today because of rockfall

Saturday, 17 September 2011

New 8a+ on The Diamond

Neil Dyer climbed the old left hand Skip of Fools project today. Neil was surprised by the quality of Dumpster Divers (i don't know why! Name connection to Skip of Fools, google it!). This was one of the oldest projects in North Wales and if it were at any other crag it would have been done yonks ago. Pete Robins almost flashed the 2nd ascent falling really high on one of the last hard moves. The first proper hard move of the route is a spectacular dyno which is followed by sustained climbing above. The boys seem to think soft 8a+ is appropriate. The two long wall climbs to the left Robinson Cruiser and Non Tidal Screamer are now good to go. Pete did Robinson last week reckoning it to be pretty hard for the guidebook grade of 7c+. This must of been the first ascent for 20 years. Pete reckoned it could be 8a which in my brain register's as definitely 8a :). Expect a hard runout finish. Caff did Non Tidal Screamer, also probably the first ascent for a very long time. Unsurprisingly this also seems to be pretty tricky for its guidebook grade of 7c and don't be surprised if it feels 7c+ by modern standards. Either George didn't realise how well he was climbing in the late Eighties or we've all gone soft (probably both). Boat People is another example, 7c to the top of the crag in the guide but surely 7c+ compared to all the popular 7c's round here. Owen did NGOOTB (effort) and Caff did the 3rd ascent of The Brute (effort). I'm sure it was a casual affair, i love the way Caff keeps his belayer informed of his movements when he's on a hard route - "i'll have a little look in a min Soph" and the classic "bit of loose". Legend! Anyway no project is safe down The Diamond now, i'm quite glad i don't have to stress about it anymore as all the beasts are going down this year. I tried my Pigeon's proj again yesterday, it was a bit hot and still again. I took my jeans and kneepad but the kneebar wasn't as bomber as i hoped. I persisted and by the end of the session i understood the intricacies of it a bit better and managed to link the 3 hard moves. Pete was trying the S crack but had a go of my proj at the end and confirmed that it's tricky and there is no revolutionary beta that i'm missing. He reckons kneepads are cheating but he's just bitter cos his knee's too short. I embrace cheating like Tiger Woods so i've gone a step further and glued some rubber to my jeans. Please let it work, winter gop is coming! After i went to the cave and had a few redpoints on The Wire, it's a bit of a frustrating one as it's very easy to fall off Broken Heart even if you feel fairly fresh. You have to concentrate and climb it right. Dyer turned up and we killed the day off down LPT. I was keen to have a play on Liquid Ambar as i hadn't been on it this year and i wanted to keep it fresh in my mind. I wanted to try the crux as i knew the big slap Moffatt beta that i had employed when i did it wouldn't work for me on the link as it would be very low percentage. I know he was Jerry Moffatt but i find the way he did that move much more dismaying than the other methods despite being less powerful. It's such a hard accurate slap to be doing there. I had been taking notes when Malc was on it last year and was keen to try his foot beta of keeping his feet low on the shit left hand crimp pinch. I pulled and i roared and i was heartbroken to discover that i'm not as strong as Malcolm Smith, i wish someone had told me sooner, i've been living a lie for all these years. Anyway this crux move is substantially harder than all the other moves on the route for me and i'm not sure how i'm going to do it. The high feet feel too high and Malcs way feels too powerful and low. It'll probably be Malcs way. Just need to get stronger on that shit left hand. Dyer tried a cheeky heel on a decent sidepull which looked interesting. I had it in mind to go away this winter and do loads of campussing but i think its more a case of being able to hold a couple of very shit holds on the crux. On the plus side i was all over the first hard bit straight off, i was pleased because this is the second hardest bit and likely font 7b+. I was even more pleased to find the last sequence pretty steady on it's own. It is significantly easier than the lower moves. I'm sure it's hard on redpoint but if you're getting there you're laughing anyway. It's my lifetime goal and i'm fairly optimistic i can crack it within ten years after yesterdays session. Just need to get beastly, work the crux out and link 13 hard moves. Shouldn't be too bad actually. Its been the golden year for Welsh sport climbing. With well over 100 new routes from French 4 to 8c+ and hopefully more to come the place really is alive.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Sexy Little Knee

The good weather continues, i was losing the will with the rain but this weeks been very nice thank you very much. I headed to the recently unbanned hanging rock just past Mayfair Wall this morning to catch up with Tony. He was bolting up two very old forgotten routes, Wall of Goutes and Gripper Clipper. The rest of the crag was bolted up recently. The routes look very good actually. I bolted a new line through the main roof. A very nice looking boulder problem route on excellent rock. It will be the most roadside hard route in North Wales and looks pretty despy actually. Hope i can do it!
We removed a few loose blocks from above the crag. Its quite scary to prise a big block away with your little finger. This kind of work definitely makes the marine drive safer for everyone that uses it. If us climbers didn't clear loose rock they would eventually come down, probably in a rainstorm and they are potentially lethal. Anyway that's enough blowing climbers trumpets for now.
I tootled on down to the cave pleased with my mornings work. Nodder, Jack The Ratt and Ducko were getting involved. I felt light and bouncy, my performance is definitely elevated at the moment. I've had a few of these moments over the years and the lesson i've learnt is to strike while the irons hot as they don't last forever! The priorities are my new routes and Cave 8a+s. I'm on redpoint on The Wire now and got the undercut twice today falling just shy of the jugs. I'm sure i'll fall off Clever Beaver pumped stupid when i get there. It's a brilliant bit of power endurance climbing and it feels good to climb well on a hard problem. Mills turned up and we headed down Pigeon's. It was nice and dry but still and muggy so not mint. I was well excited to get on my project feeling strong. I hadn't tried it for ages. The moves felt easier straight away and my original beta seemed about right. The route is about 7b+ to some undercuts and it's pretty intense to the top from there. I was still finding two fingery moves pretty hard and deep down i was thinking 8b and pretty hard on the link. The important thing is to keep an open mind and i wedged my knee against the slopey ramp feature. I had the worst kneebarring trousers on but instantly i knew that it would work as my leg was the right size. It dawned on me that the knee might work for the next move too and sure enough it seemed too. I'm pretty sure this will feel solid with my jeans and kneepad and all of a sudden the routes seems do-able. I need to do it before winter as the top does seep. I'm sceptical about Pete's 7c grade for the right hand route. It looks harder and Mills said he belayed Kristian Klemmow on it in the 90s. He was crushing 7c's back then. 3 finger deadhangs now.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Praise the Hurricane

Phew i'm at risk of spreading myself too thin at the mo. I want to climb everything, stamina down the Diamond, hard new route projects, blocs in the hills, PE in the cave. Need to take a deep breath and concentrate on the new routes. Me and Jimmy went to climb down Pigeon's today. The remnants of the Atlantic hurricane has made everything so mint round here. It was a one in 500 day down Pigeon's. Definitely the most mint conditions i've ever seen down there. Unfortunately it was approaching high tide, the sea was proper choppy and it was a high tide so we had to bail. Jim had a quick go on Stiff extension and i warmed up on Koo. Tony was on the Orme re equipping Paradise 6c amongst other things. There's been lots of action on the Upper Drive as Tony and co are trying to get the place sorted for the guide. I headed back to the Cave to meet Nodder, we warmed up in Split. I managed Belpig 7c for the first time, another nemisis despatched. I never thought i'd ever do that one. I kicked my cave season off and felt good despite feeling worked. I re-worked Pilgrim with the heel (superior beta) method and managed to get into RA. I also did the first move of Broken Heart from the start of The Wire which i was chuffed with also. I don't know which one to try first now! When i was hanging on The Diamond the other day i got thinking about some of the sport routes round here that i've been on and where i'd rank them in their respective grade in percentage terms. With 1% being low in the grade and 99% being top. Here we go (my opinions obviously!):

Boat People 80%
Bad Boy 90% (for tallies)
Magic Flute 50%
Body Torque Direct 30%
Tomorrow People 20%
Release The Hounds 80%
Koo Koo 70%
Upside Doom 90%

Follow The Prof 90%
Stiff Upper Lip 90%
Wirral Whip 30%
Billy The Fish 90%

Stark 10%
Statement 70%
Over The Moon 80%
Over The Moon Direct 20%
Battle of The Little Big Orme 70%
Mussel Beach 5%
Parasite 10%
Rodney God (pre break) 20%
Never Get Out of The Boat 80%
The Waiting Game 25%
Simon Says 35%
Masterclass 70%
Oyster 30%

Masterplan 5%
Rock Lobster 10%
Wild Understatement 30%
Moonwalk 40%
Pas De Deux 90%
The Last Crusade 50%
Melon Beach 80%

Melanchollie 85%
Stiff Upper Lip 20%
Temple of Gloom 5%
Carinthian Groove 50%

The Brute 5%
Walking Mussel 5%

Monday, 12 September 2011

Bowldro Gogledd Cymru

Back in uni North Wales bouldering was my main inspiration. The Northern Soul guides and the subsequent bouldering guide galvanised my psyche. I loved the varied nature of bouldering in the area and the many options for a good day out. As i did most the cool stuff i could do my psyche went off the boil a bit and i went on a bit of a downer with British bouldering as a whole. After a couple of years routing i'm really keen to get back into it and have earmarked a meaty list of problems to play on this winter. Some are definitely goers and some are very optimistic but i'm looking forward to getting out there. Currently the list includes: Flick of The Wrist, Diesel Power, Special K, Cruella, Nazgals Traverse, Love Pie, Wurzel Gunnage Stand, Will, 36 Chambers sit, Be Ruthless, Smackhead, Jerry's Problem, Main Vein, Lizard King, Sick happy, The Tusk, Lotus, Wierdo and Papa Big Lunch. Will be interesting to see how many of these babies i can tick off. The plan for the winter is to train like i never have before. The thing i care about most in climbing is my top end sport grade and i've been frustrated that this has stagnated for 7 years. Living round here to make a step up i need to get stronger. It is the most important thing. So i'm keen to hit the boards for an extended period and start campussing. This is something i've always been shit at. It's always been a major weakness and i really think developing that power will help me step up. I'm going to have to do something different if i want to be doing some good links on Liquid Ambar! The only way i can maintain psyche is by continuing to climb outside and get ticks. I can't just lock myself on the board like Nodder and Gorgy. Anyway hopefully my body and mind will allow me to stick to the plan, be like Jerry.
I have been dieting hard for my Hole proj, today was the first day on it for over a week and i was hoping for a breakthrough. It wasn't to be as the start was as hard and awkward as ever. i did do a bigger link on the end and could feel the weight loss kicking in. The start involves getting a shit three finger drag for your right hand, camming your foot in a hole and reaching left via some really wide moves into the hole. Its strength, technique and body position rolled into 3 go again moves. I'm starting to run out of ideas on it. I know i can do it because i got to the lip pre injury. I think some specific training is in order, i'm going to do some 3 finger deadhanging on my bit of wood. Grrr! I tried Pete's route First Round, First Second. I bolted the line but didn't feel like i would ever do it. It was good to try it with the beta. It basically boils down to 2 hand moves and 2 foot moves. The hand moves i could do ok by keeping my feet low but moving my feet was the desperate bit. With 2% more finger power i think i could do it. Its an inspiring style, short, just off vertical and bony. It's probably a tricky Font 7c sequence i'd say. Pete did the 2nd ascent of my 8a The Madness Reigns and also did the 7c's Meatsville Arizona and Strawberries Man. Today was a mint climbing day in North Wales. Jordan chose a great day to make a solo trip from Lancashire and came away with the 2nd ascent of The Brute. "Made it look like 7a+" was Pete Harrison's comment. Ahh to be fit. Finally a big well done to Jimmy Big Guns who finally came out the other side on his seige of Melanchollie. I think he first tried it in 2009 so it's been a while in coming. Great effort and a great first 8b!

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Den Rebirth

Back in the mid noughties the Denbigh Den was THE training facility in North Wales. Located in the Cattell's shed it contained some of the hardest problems in North Wales courtesy of Danny and Mule. Danny in particular had the style dialled and used to pull out some sick moves. A new grading system emerged, it wasn't based on logic as the gap between the grades got bigger the higher they got. I.e the jump between 7b and 7b+ was bigger than the jump between 7a and 7a+. It worked though and some hard classics were established. Eventually though the Den ran out of steam. It wasn't perfect. There were plenty of nasty holds and we thought we'd give it a complete makeover. The board was stripped and put back together. Things weren't quite the same and we stopped climbing there. The Mill came along and Dannny hardly climbed for a few years. I was chuffed to hear that Dan had been back in there and had tweaked it. I went along the other night and it was great. It has the potential to be better than before and maybe one day now Den 8a will become a reality. It was great to see Danny cranking again. His base level is unbelievable. He is really good at that dynamic snatchy style. He has even reset his old favourite 7c Goin homo and has repeated it already. I'm keen to get there while i'm working in Runcorn. One of my favourite vids, the Den vid:

Another evening i went to try Danny's problem
36 Chambers
at Tremerchion. This is a great great limestone 7c. Obvious stand start to a high jug on the arete. The rock, holds and moves are all first class. It's one of those problems that is hard because you have to ground it up (unless you have a ladder). The finish is easier but quite high. I tried it years ago but didn't get too far. I felt stronger this time and bagged it after a fairly intense session and quite a few go's falling off the last hard move and having to do it all again. I don't know at what point during the last year and a half of route climbing i got better at bouldering but i'm not complaining!
The sit start from the big tufa down and right is even better and unrepeated i think. I'm quite keen for it. The next day my elbow felt knackered. I've felt it for a while but the seige on 36 Chambers made it worse. I've never had a elbow problem and it's quite worrying. I have got a lot stronger over the summer, maybe my tendons are struggling to keep up with my biceps. I'm also aware that i have literally just pulled down for 15 years. Never doing any pushing to balance things out. I know this will catch up with me eventually, maybe its time to do some push ups. I'm unsure what action to take with my elbow. Pete Harrison has had elbow issues and he says its good to keep climbing.
Went down the Diamond yesterday. I've done so many new routes this year but no re- equipping yet so wanted to pull my weight a bit and do some. I drilled the old George Smith route left of Skip, Robinson Cruiser 7c+. It looked pretty meaty and hard to me. The top headwall to the lower off in particular looke fairly blank and there is a big run out. May have to put another bolt in. Anyway it should be glued soon so get on it. The LPT brigade heard my rallying call it seems. It was chocker down there yesterday and big queues for Boat People. Jordan and Shauna (FFA) crushed The Waiting Game. I always knew this would become popular!

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Monday, 5 September 2011

Billy The Fish

True to my last post about craving bouldering (i'm not just copying Ondra, honest) i went to the pass on Sunday. My strategy was spot on. I waited all day for it to start raining then sat under Jerry's and Diesel Power in the monsoon. I felt quite strong though and did the move on Diesel Power i've never done. It's really hard and nasty but this problem's already appealed to me. I like trying the 90s problems from round here. There usually CJD or Higginson testpieces. I waited til it stopped raining then went to the Mill to finish off. Today me and Tommy were down the Diamond bright and early but were still behind Scotland's greatest Diamond connisieur Dave Redpath who is down for his annual trip. Tommy did Boat People and i went bolt to bolt on Never Get Out of The Boat, i was intrigued to try it as i've been watching people on it for 3 years. I sorted the moves and had a redpoint and fell getting the shake out jug before the last boulder problem. I concur with Jim that it is the best 8a in Wales (he says it's the best he's done in Britain). Its not visually the best 8a, it doesn't look that special compared to something like Statement but the climbing is superb. Pure power endurance and amazing moves - an 8a version of The Brute. I didn't get quite as high 2nd redpoint, my fitness was found wanting but i was satisfied with my first redpoint and it is quite complex so nice to get so high first go. The same nucleus of people are going to The Diamond whereas all the sad gits are still going to LPT, it baffles me really! I don't get it! And when are some strong people coming to try The Brute, come on lets be having you. Pete Harrison has extended the handline so you can now get into the crag 2 hours after high tide. This is extremely handy especially considering the short season. More beers for Pete please! We jumped ship to the Great Orme. I wanted to try an old project on the upper drive. I first tried it in 2003, at the time i thought it was one of the last projects and i was really keen to do a new route in the area. It takes the crozzly bulge between Gold n Delicious and Magical Ring. I tried it last year again with Panton and was convinced it was 8a. Part of the problem was that it was so painful on the crux you let go becuase your fingers were screaming. Today i twatted a few of the spikes off with a krab and suddenly hanging the holds became easier. I played around with the beta for a bit and finally got a way i was happy with. I got through the hard bulge in the rain but the easy ground just after it was now piss wet through. My hands and feet were on water as i tried to get my fingers to feel normal. Stupidly i hadn't done the finish on Magical Ring 7a+. I had done the route years ago but all i could remember was that there was a bony 6b move before the jugs. I hung out below the move getting ever more soaked and watching the top get ever more soaked. I had to act fast and managed to keep it together, luckily the very last moves after the tricky move were on massive holds. It was certainly very memorable and very nice to finish something i first tried so long ago. After Gorgy badgering me to name something Billy The Fish for years i think i will this time. I'll go for 7c+ gradewise but i can't see too many people being psyched for it. It looks cool but is a little gnarly but if i can do it the day after trying Diesel Power it can't be that nasty. Finished a long day off at Matt's. Yeeeeeeeeeeee

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Hole + Diamond

I've been on my project a few times this week. I've done some good links on the end but the first hard moves remain as hard and as awkward as ever. The route is about 10 serious moves and some easy climbing either side. I am getting better on it but progress can mean learning a bit about the body positions. It remains an inspiring challenge, i've never done a route like this before and i think it is going to take a fairly monster effort to complete. Luckily Tommy is trying The Madness Reigns to the left. It's nice watching someone on it. I feel a lot of enjoyment watching people on my routes. It's certainly more enjoyable than the stressful redpointing i underwent! Seems a bit silly i gave it 7c+ now but i was lacking in confidence after 6 months climbing 7c. My project brutalises the bottom of my fingers as they have to wedge in to allow me to move through the roof. My foot is also bruised as i have to jam it in a hole and hang off it. I'm going to leave it for a week now as i felt a bit jaded today and lacked the necessary growl. I really need to raise my game a little for this one and could do with getting super skinny. This is almost a big a challenge as the only nice thing that happens in work is my lunchtime panini. Think of the bigger picture, topping out on this route will be better than any bastard panini (even a mozzarella and chorizo one).
Back at the Diamond people have been getting stuck in. Pete Robins made the first flash of the Waiting Game and Dyer got the 4th ascent. I went down on Thursday night and raised the belay of the Brute. When we re-equipped it in 2006 we didn't know what went on with the route and so stuck an extra bolt by an existing eco just under the jugs. This turned out to be in the middle of the final sequence and although it was still fine clipping from the finishing jugs above it was a bit unclear and strong people would be able to cheat and clip without doing the final moves. So i stuck two new bolts in. They're not that much higher but it is now obvious where it finishes and hopefully people won't be able to clip it early. I also grinded the old bolts off so its nice and tidy now. Pete Harrison surprised everyone (but not himself) by crushing Never get Out of the Boat 8a. A few sessions ago he was struggling with the high crux but he looked solid on his first proper redpoint. It is quite an impressive second 8a, certainly a step up from Mussel Beach. All the more impressive considering that when i first met him about 2/3 years ago he'd only climbed 7a+! Happy man:

Apparently when George Smith first bolted NGOOTB it had a big hole that made it too easy so he covered it with newspaper and resined over it and blended it in with rock dust. You can't see where the hole was now, he obviously did an excellent job. It's funny to think there's a page 3 girl from 1989 stuck in the rock halfway up the Diamond. She'll be there forever now!
Jim is working Skip of Fools 8a+. I must admit i always thought this looked like the lesser one of the newly bolted trio even belaying Pete on it didn't excite me in 2009. I have to say i think it looks brilliant now. Its great watching Jim going for it on big links. Hopefully he'll get it soon:

I ticked the final one of the North Wales big 3 7c's. There are 3 7c's that stand out from the rest in terms of quality. They are truly great routes that would stand up anywhere. Bad Boy and Boat People are joined by newbie Release the Hounds at the top of the pile. Boat People is a fantastic route, i really enjoyed it this year. It is really meaty for a 7c. It packs in quite a lot and features superb atheletic climbing with a need to really go for it. It's a little more run out than most the routes round here. I'm not normally nervous before setting off on a 7c but i was on this one. I almost dropped the last tricky move, i really thought i was off. Keith also did it that night, it is definitely highly recommended. It's about time someone did Wall of Evening Light too, come on peeps.
Dyer looking for projects:

Shauna staticing her way along The Waiting Game:

Jim on Skip and Ally on NGOOTB:

The little old Orme is currently on the news pages of American magazine websiteRock and Ice. Nice to see it getting some international exposure.
Last night i went to film Lee Proctor on his big Mywn project. He is currently locked in battle but is looking good. Come on big fella! He does well to get off the ground considering he's 14 stone (he's 6ft 6). Not many people lift me in the air when they fall off! I was going to rest but got sucked into doing a bit of climbing. I ended up trying Danny's problem Under the Bridge 7b+ in the gorge, a problem that i'd failed on quite a bit. I instantly felt stronger on it this time and got it in half a dozen or so go's using the right hand method. This is the first proper boulder problem i've done for almost a year. I was pleased to tick a bit of a nemesis and to feel strong but my first thought was if that's what 7b+ is my hole proj is at least hard 7c. I have been psyched to do some bouldering recently, i'm not even dreading winter like usual. I haven't bouldered for so long i quite miss it. It is inferior to sport climbing but i really enjoyed just standing on a pad with no harness on and having repeated go's. It's a simplistic easy life and after a 9 month sport climbing campaign i am actually craving it. So i intend to mix it up a bit and i need more strength for my project anyway. My fitness has been on a downward spiral and although i'd love to do some more long stuff like Never Get out of The Boat i'm not sure it's going to happen now. I'm in a happy place with climbing at the moment, i enjoy every day and feel like one day in this life i might do something hard.