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Monday, 20 February 2012

Orme Beaches

I stayed local this weekend and headed down to some beachside bouldering on the Greatest Orme. Me and Gav went down to West Shore on Saturday. It was good to go down in bouldering season, it gets the sun all day so can be a bit hot in summer. After a nice warm up circuit we parked the pads under one of Mules new classics. I Am the Walrus is a very cool overhanging arete and was given 7b+ by the dog. When you first walk above it it just looks like a greasy little problem. Gav was dismissive! A bit of chalk and a close up look and it soon reveals itself as a mini classic with brilliant moves and holds. The crux is matching a amazing slopey rail at the lip and we soon had it done to here. A bit of Foster body positioning magic reduced the crux to a stable move and it was game on. I managed to dispatch and Gav got to the crux but forgot his own beta. He doesn't get out much so his lack of session fitness prevented him finishing it which was a shame:

There are probably a dozen or so worthwhile problems down here but i guess people will keep away until it's all documented in the guide. I'm certainly looking forward to see how some beasts get on on Mules problem The Spray which looks a serious boulder problem. Yesterday i headed down to Pigeons beach boulders with Mr P and Neil Dyer. I hadn't been there for many years and wanted to check out an old Paul Higginson problem that was in the guide as 7b+. From memory it was very cool but i never heard of anyone ever doing it. I pulled up outside the Cave but luckily i managed not to peer in and i had my crucifix to hand to keep away the evil Cave sprits. I'm doing quite well resisting its charms. Down Pigeons things were a bit damp to start with but it soon dried out. I warmed up and started to try and work out Higg's fossil overhang. The problem blasts straight up a steep wall from a sitter. There are many possible sequences and holds so i spent absolutely ages trying many different methods. Dyer joined me and worked out his own sequence which consisted of two big moves at the end:

He managed to despatch it and i eventually figured out a direct crimpy method avoiding the two slopey pinches in the middle but alas it was too late as the wad had been shot from the shaft. I would say it's one of the best problems on the Orme, it really is very good. Nodder (who had just ticked Halfway House, effort) later told me that Katzy had flashed it years ago and downgraded it. This is a great effort considering how many holds there are to choose from. I think 7c is fair though. Neil went round to do a classic looking 7a+ on one of the other boulders. Mr P and I prepared ourselves for the inevitable flash but 7 goes later and he still hadn't topped out. We'd never seen this before, he normally flashes most things up to 7b+! So perhaps a bit of a sandbag that one, very classic though. Even more shocking news though is that he has started training. This could have repercussions on a global scale. Later i put a picture of the 7c on Facebook and Paul Higginson commented that he couldn't remember what he called it. Ducko suggested Fourteen Years Later and he decided to go with that. Such a good problem certainly deserves a name. Some footage:

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Louis Armstrong for Robins

Pete Robins did his fourth 8b in Parisellas Cave yesterday. Louis Armstrong is known as the bloc testpiece of the Cave despite the fact that it is still 12 or so moves long. It is certainly a sought after testpiece. This surely makes Pete the indisputed King of the Cave, he just needs to repeat Pilgrimage now to seal the deal. The FA for those who haven't seen it:

I ticked an old nemesis of mine known as Nazguls Traverse, quite a butch 7c. I also made progress on a project line at same crag which should hopefully go down. I think i can do it anyway. Today me, Mr P and Gav went to Pantymywn in search of dry rock but it was all gopped out with the temperature increase so we headed to Ruthin where Lee and co were getting stuck in. Most of it was pretty dry so we got cracking. Lee managed to repeat Sting Like a Bee (new 7c route) which he'd had a few sessions on. I managed to flash it for my first route of the year and my first 7c flash in Britain. It's essentially roped bouldering but pretty cool. I finished off the 7b to the left which is also very good, i had failed on it during a shit spell last year. 5 days off to grow some much needed skin now!
I was pretty dismayed to find someone hasd stolen the pad i stashed at Butterfly Buttress. I hope the cunt falls off and misses it and smashes their skull to pieces.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

More Hills

We've had some more fantastic weather and more teams have been descending on the hills. It's been a great scene with everyone motivated and keen to take advantage of the amazing conditions. has been in overload, i can't remember so much frenzied activity on it for years. I've been reminded of how much good stuff there is, there are so many smaller areas. You can hit a couple of venues up in a day targeting specific problems. Everywhere you go the rock is different and there are problems of all styles to go at. I haven't trained for weeks, i'm just so motivated to get outside and plus i have been feeling my elbow affliction from the end of last year rearing it's ugly head. Getting it once was pretty bad but to feel it coming back after a significant period of time is very worrying. My sister is a physio which is very handy so hopefully i'll get a diagnosis when i see her and then i will know how to combat it. I've been doing loads of mid grade problems in the last week, many of which i've done before yonks ago. It's definitely more fun than seiging one problem but then we all get drawn back to the stuff at our limit eventually. I went down the ultimate marmite crag Angel Bay for a few hours and did a stellar problem on lush slopes called Spectrum. It gets 7a+ but i wouldn't argue with 7b. I can confirm Manchester Dogs is finished, the start is completely smashed in. On the subject of problems changing the lower hold on Bus Stop in the Pass has got bigger making Bus Stop 7b and Mr Fantastic soft 8a. It still won't help me as i struggle with the shoulder moves and the high foot. I had a day of low psyche in the Pass (it's so dark and cold there) so Mr P rescued me and we went back to Clogwyn y Bustach. Still a bit wet but i made progress on Sick Happy sit, should go when it's dry. Yesterday i went to Rhiw Goch with Jimmy Big Guns, Mr P and Emma Twyford (who is now resident in Llanberis). We warmed up on a couple of nice lines on the main crag and then hit the 50 degree steepness.
Mr P on a 5+ start to a route:

I love this place, it's like a board but outside. Jim and Emma cleaned up the crag classic Moria (soft 7b prob) and i did White Rider, Ride the Wild Smurf and also repeated Moria.
Emma on Moria:

Floppy's 8a+ dyno is an amazing move and could really do with a repeat (come on beasts). I got close to my nemesis Nazgul's Traverse but we had to leave to walk up that horrible hill to the Mallory Boulder where we met Nodder. God i hate that walk, i forgot how shit it is. Dave was trying Will, the grade is still up in the air for this one but it seems very hard for 7c+ to me. I think it's only been done by Huffy, Ned and Mason and they're all monsters. It's a superb problem with a nails first move. I repeated Barking Direct and the Crack and we tried Cosmic Wheels 7c. This is a Nodder classic that I did in 2004 with Huffy, i managed the moves again but fingers were giving up.
Cosmic Wheels:

Will into the Crack is still and unclimbed link which will definitely be 8a. I'm sore today but buzzing off all the great days out. I'm a self employed subcontactor which means i have to be pro active in finding work. Sunny days are not condusive to this however but i can't keep on driving into the hills every day. Got to be responsible occasionally!

The next front cover of the bouldering guide:

Mark Reeves film Amateur Hardcore is really good for getting beta and its great to see Robins when he was fat sketching on a 7b.

Amateur Hardcore from mark reeves on Vimeo.

Nodder has produced a list of the 8b's on the Orme on his blog. There is also a list of the hardest problems in the hills. Check it here

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Thursday, 2 February 2012


Me and Dan hit the Ogwen valley today for more of the same. I showed him the pit at Milestone and we set tried Pit Traverse which is a very cool 7c. The end went fine but we were perplexed trying to work out the start. Dan did the move using the high hold on Harvey Oswald but this involved a hard drop down which i couldn't muster. Can anyone shed any light on the start of this? Pete Robins recently flashed the problem which is a fine effort. He also repeated Oldboy 7c+. Dan dropped the Jez's Arete finish but got it on his next go with some grunting. I spent ages trying to get off the ground on Harver Oswald sit start but pulled it out the bag when i finally did. Think its going in as soft 7b+. This is the first time i've been to this crag and felt like my skin wasn't ripping on the holds. We then jumped ship to Gallt yr Ogof and messed about before i did Regeneration 7a+ (7b perhaps?) in fading light. Another cool problem that i'd previously overlooked. I've already done as many problems in 2012 as i did in the whole of 2011 (i only did 7 in 2010). It's not surprising i haven't improved much on the blocs. On the way back i showed Dan the premier hard 8 project in Wales, the sit start to Repeat After me. Here is some footage:

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Dismay in the Hills

The last few days climbing outside before today were hard going. I struggled on everything i tried and started to feel a bit flat. First up was another spanking on Weirdo 7c on the Little Orme. I finally found a sequence for the stand up moves but then the foothold fell off and that was that. On Saturday me and Dan K headed to Tan-y-Grisiau to meet up with Mr P, Spidey and Dyer and Robins. We messed about on New Noise for a bit checking out the new sequence. I knew there was a new hold but didn't realise that it was such a different sequence. It's 7c+ with the pinch out right apparently. Floppy's undercut method is desperate to be fair and even Dan struggled to get off the ground. It's impressive that Chris managed to lap it for Welsh Connections. Then we went down to Flick of the Wrist 7c which i was hoping i might be able to do now. Pete and Neil had both dropped the top and weirdly they both continued to do so and didn't manage it. The crux is off a wide pinch, this is my weakest grip and i soon realised i was just not strong on the hold and it was game over. Dissapointing but Neil and Pete made me feel a bit better by failing with me. Dan got it in a couple of goes, he like the 2D! On the way back we stopped at Rhiw Goch and tried Nazguls Traverse which is an extremely powerful 7c. Dan pissed it again and it was the usual story for me although i did do it from the crux to the end. As one load of Sheffielders left my flat a few more arrived in the shape of Bob Hickish and Chris Lockyer. We headed straight for the Pass and hiked up to Lizard King. It was bitterly bitterly cold. Luckily there was only a slight breeze, any more would have made it too cold to climb. After warming up on the technical Peter's Crack 6c+ me and Bob went to work on LK. I was keen to try the 7c version which uses the slopey arete to the left to finish. Bob did the moves with a massive span, he makes me feel short that guy!

I couldn't do it and the original method off the pinch seemed more feasible. Must go back when it's a bit warmer. I've also got a couple of projects that i've found in the hills which i'm really keen for but they're a bit beyond me at the moment. One is very steep and requires undercut power. I drove straight to Gorgys and he got me doing some bicep work so hopefully i'll see the benefits soon. After 3 days of failures i needed a boost. Today i headed up to Craftnant with Bob and Chris. I had a great day here before Xmas and today it was just magical up there. The rock was totally prime and it was sunny and crisp. I had been excited to try Special K since hearing of the English raiders raving about it last year. I wanted to save it for Winter so i would have something exciting to try. Myself and Bob worked it out pretty sharpish and he dispatched. After a bit more tweaking i followed suit and sat on top buzzing about what an amazing problem it is and how i love that style. It has amazing holds (especially the flat rail), the line is very cool and the moves are excellent. It wouldn't be out of place in Switzerland. I can't for the life of me comprehend how this problem is two grades harder than Wonderwall though, personally i think it's the other way round. Wonderwall has such smaller holds and harder moves. Special K is my perfect style though, Nodder's most stellar FA i'd say! It is surely one of the most classic single boulders in Wales. Wonderwall Arete 6c+, Wonderwall, Riley's Arete (we warmed up on this, brilliant) 7a, My Own Private Idaho 8b, Cruella 7b/+ and Special K, mega!
Rileys Arete:

Chris ticked Cruella then Hickish pulled out an ascent of his cousins problem Grasswind as the light faded. I find it so much easier to perform well on days like this. You walk up to the crag feeling inspired and it stays with you for the day.
Special K: