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Saturday, 29 September 2012

Back to The Brute

It was only a week and a bit ago that i was walking round with a spring in my step. I was falling off the end of an amazing, inspiring project. I convinced myself that there would be a few more dry days as that's all i needed to finish it. Just when you need a bit of luck the deluge began. Three days of constant rain, 4 inches in a day and a half. Dry crags like The Diamond and LPT were destroyed so little old Pigeons had no chance. It's pretty unlikely that it will dry again and i doubt i'll do much more sport climbing this year.
Yesterday i fancied a bit of Diamond scene so went down with Tommy and Dave R. Sam and Bransby were already on the Brute. I had planned to get on Boat of Fools but i felt no inspiration for an 8a link up. I didn't even get on The Brute last year and i really felt the urge to climb on it again. I spent 2 seasons seiging the route and it all felt very familiar as soon as i got back on. The boys had worked out a less sapping way of doing the crux and i was soon kicking myself as i did the move using there hold. Even more dismay set in when i grabbed an intermediate on that top redpoint crux which used to stop me in my tracks. I'd felt it years ago but this time it felt more positive and essentially halved the big move. I'm sure this could have been enough for me on my best redpoints on the route. I may have done it or i might have pumped out on the last moves but it's fairly annoying that i missed the hold. I really need to finish it next year, it's definitely the best sport route in Wales. Ben did a big link then pissed it next go for the 6th ascent. I don't think i'll ever get over the way he drags small crimps on hard moves, it's ridiculous! Unfortunately for him his project extension was wet but i'm sure he'll be back. Sam was doing some good links and looking rather enthused. The route has had 6 ascents now but i've been waiting for some mortals to get on it to hopefully have an epic and make me feel better about spending 25 days on a 8b. The guys who have done it have all been 8c+/9a strong which quite frankly is cheating. It's settled at hard 8b but i do wonder if it might have been different if more 8b/+ climbers had tried it. Dave Redpath certainly expressed dismay that it was only 8b. I still rank it harder than Melanchollie which is top end. Damn those beasts!

Sam on the slippy flatties halfway up:
Setting up for redpoint crux:

The long redpoint crux:

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Tony the Tiger Conquers

Tony Shelmerdine has climbed his longstanding project on the Tower at Llanddulas. When we first started visiting the crag Tony was the first man over the top. He was immediately inspired by a crimpy steep headwall and stuck a lower off in. Tony returned to clean his line and finish bolting it. I bolted up Vegas Nights, Tony had considered a swap but decided to persevere with his project. He soon regretted his decision as elbow tendonitis thwarted his efforts and he hardly tried the route again. Roll on a year and a half and Tony was climbing well again and feeling strong and he started working his route. He got the two sections but didn't think he had the stamina to link it. He was proved wrong however and bagged the route in good style. The as yet unnamed line shares the first few moves with Resist the Race then busts out left and straight up to the top. The difficulties are about 7bish. Nice one Tone!
Pic by Mike Doyle:

We have had a ridiculous amount of rain in the last two days and Pigeons will be a dripping mess. I'm going to persevere though and climb it in the wet at 8c+.

Footage of Dave Redpath dropping last move of Skip (go before he did it):

Friday, 21 September 2012


I've had 4 days of redpoints on my pigeons route now. It's been going pretty well and i got the last hold before the top on my best go. I've definitely got fitter and stronger on it. It's no hardship trying the route as the top sequence is so brilliant. I still buzz off the crux sequence, it's not your average limestone route. Conditions have been great but alas the route was wet when i went down today. My only worry about getting this done is the seepage and next week doesn't look too great either. All i can do is keep strong and get on it when i can.
Yesterday i walked into the Diamond at 8am with Pete R and Tommy. I was keen to get some footage of Pete on his mega project by the Brute. It was predictably greasy with it being so early but Pete meticulously chalked up the holds and started redpoints. It really is a incredible, intense piece of climbing. Halfway up the jugs arrive but it's a long way to the top. I got a rope up The Brute extension (another amazing project- best 8b in Britain with another one on top). I was hanging out quite far filming Pete at the bottom so had to prod the crag horizontally with my clipstick to stop me swinging round continuously. We got stuck on the ledges at high tide for what seemed like an eternity. Dave Redpath had joined us, he dropped the last move of Skip on his first redpoint but bagged it just before dark. Tommy was figuring out Robinson Cruiser and Pete had some more redpoints. A long day at the crag and i daresay probably the only time i'll walk in and walk out 12 hours later! Pete Harrison rebolted The Sting 7c+ a few weeks ago and its reportedly excellent.
Tommy on Robinson 8a:

Pete with his proj behind him:

Monday, 10 September 2012

The Brute Flashed!!!!

Chris Webb Parsons made a historic flash of The Brute (8b) on The Diamond yesterday. 8b flash might not be considered historic in most sport climbing areas of the globe but in the context of our little scene and given the route in question it most certainly is. Pete Harrison was our man on the ground and takes up the story: "He rested up it, clipped every bolt including dogging clips and didn't use all the best holds. Formula 1 compared to British touring cars. He hadn't even done any climbing before pulling on, this was literally his warm up". This is the first 8b flash in Wales, Mcclure and Malc got reasonably close to Melanchollie years ago. Despite being a tough one locally i always knew the The Brute would be a good contender for Euro Wads/World beasts. It's a euro style resistance route with no real hard moves so a good contender for the top boys. Chris also got close to linking Waiting Game into the top crack project and left his clips in so hopefully he'll return for it! Inspiring!

Friday, 7 September 2012

Proj Psyche

After watching this video i was taken back by the effort Ondra puts into every attempt. None of us will ever be able to get anywhere close to his physical ability but surely tuning your mind to give it everything can be achieved. "Try harder" - it sounds easy, it should be easy, but putting this effort in and channeling it so it doesn't just throw you off the rock is pretty hard. So many times on Walking Mussel this summer i fell off through sheer ineptitude and just not trying hard enough. There was something in my head stopping me squeeze that pinch as hard as i needed too. I'm not alone either i've seen loads of people redpointing at their limit who just seem to drop off. Surely if you're on for your dream route, at your limit, you need to give it everything you have. I don't know what it is in our heads that stop many of us on so many redpoints but i'd like to get to the bottom of it!

Check out this video of Pete Robins 8b in Ogwen. A few people have said to me it looked good in one pic but not as cool in another. I think the vid shows its a pretty sweet line and a proper boulder problem. Get to it all you 8b climbing hommes.

I've had a bit more opportunity to climb recently and have been trying Pilgrim in Parisella's a bit. My downfall with the Cave is that i go, but don't go back soon enough to capitalise on it. Pilgrim inspires at it's pure power endurance and to me one of the best looking links in there. Its 25ish moves so basically a route and i can't really stop anywhere on it. It's frustrating though as i find every few sessions i have a backwards session and that's hard to take mentally. I got to the flake then a few days later my heel kept slipping off before Rockatrocity. I'm hoping this time i'll persevere with it and not get distracted by everything else.
I finally got to try my Pigeons proj yesterday, this was the one that got away out of all the routes i bolted last year. I've played around on it but yesterday felt like my first proper session. It seeps so has been wet all year. The top half of the route contains one of the coolest crux sequences i've done on a route. It all depends on a very specific kneebar that most won't be able to get. Yesterday was the first time i tried it with the 5.10 pad and it felt better. I also found a kneebar on another hard move which really helped but it's on the other leg so i'm going to have to borrow another pad. I managed to get from the ground through the first kneebar into the hard climbing but i need more power endurance. I've had a picture of the route on my desktop all year to keep me psyched. I really love it but doing it is dependent on the weather, work and belayers.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Paper Birds

Dan Knight has climbed a project line at the ferocious limestone cave the Gop, a stones throw from Dyserth. Dan lives near Chester now so the Gop was a relatively close hit and being a lover of hard moves he got into the place. A few years ago i worked out a new hybrid line in between Push the Button and Smoke a Bloke. It used holds on both problems but climbed really well and felt independent and very worthwhile. I went there with some beasts and Ned Feehally got keen for it and worked out the shouldery, body tensiony moves. Footage of his attempts here:

Ned didn't manage it that session and it was left until Dan got stuck in recently. Despite climbing the two 8a's in under 5 tries each the project took 7 sessions. He broke the first hold a bit and had to spend another session just trying that move again. Anyway he completed it and reckoned 8a+ was fair. This seems more than reasonable judging by the speed he did the 8as! The problem is called Paper Birds. The Gop is in my old mans guide. In my view Push the Button, Smoke a Bloke, Bloesmoker Low and this are good hard problems but the others aren't really worth travelling for so if you're weak i wouldn't bother (hence why i never go).

Paper Birds:

Last week down on the Diamond Ally Smith climbed Boat People into Skip Extension to give an amazing 8a link up.
I went down to Devon this weekend for Unclesomebodys wedding (remember him!). I managed to get down to Ansteys Cove on Sunday despite being sleep deprived. It was dry so i got back on Cider Soak. I fell off this route a few years ago with the top of the crag in my hand. I fell just short of the top this time which was a bit frustrating. It really is a route of two halfs for me. The first half is amazing moves and holds and then you hit these jugs and its awkward, painful, thrutchy climbing to the top. I hate that finish, i'll give it a go in another two years.