BBC - Weather Centre - Forecast for Llandudno, United Kingdom

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

The Tide is High

Pete Robins has done the natural extension to the deep water solo Heel Hook Look on the Little Orme.  Pete first tried the extension moves last month as he believed it was the line of Heel Hook Look.  He watched the vid of Rob Lamey's first ascent and that confirmed that HHL went directly up from the point that he was falling.  After finishing HHL Pete was keen to return and finish the extension.  He did so yesterday adding a significant amount of hard climbing and bumping the grade to 8a+.  The route is called The Tide is High. Pete Harrison has a vid of the ascent which should pop up soon.  Here is Pete doing The Heel Hook Look last month:

Friday, 16 August 2013


The historic month on North Wales lime is showing no signs of slowing down.  Tommy Chamings has got in on the action at the Diamond now.  Shortly after the ban was lifted Tommy rebolted the old extension project to Never Get Out of The Boat, a classic 8a.  The extension takes the route from a good rest at the belay to the top of the crag.  To his surprise it only took him 4 sessions.  He's called the route Cherry and given it 8a+.  It could prove to be quite a stiff one. Who's next???
Photo of Tommy bolting the route:

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

New fb 8a+ on Orme

Ned Feehally has climbed the big roof arete to the right of Flashpoint down Sea View Walls. Ned finished at an obvious point 3/4 along but did the moves on a possible extension that he reckoned was about 8a in its own right.  A meaty link project for someone! He reckoned it was about 8a+ to his finish (no name as yet). Effort pal!

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

More 3 Star Routes on the Diamond

It's funny to think that when climbers started re-visiting the Diamond back in 2009 the hardest route was 8a+.  Considering it was one of the biggest, steepest, most impressive bits of rock in the UK the years of hibernation had ceased development despite the obvious soaring project lines.  The amount of unclimbed rock was gobsmacking, the lines of the future were there staring us in the face.  After a couple of years of consolidation Neil Dyer struck first (after two failed seasons by yours truly).  The Brute was an old project and the stand out hard line that the crag had been waiting for and deserved.  Despite this it was still only 8b (albeit a hard one), which is a fairly modest level in this day and age.  This crag had to have some high 8's/low 9's, it was too impending and impressive not to.  In 2012 Pete Robins struck to give the crag its first super hard route.  Diamond Dogs features some immaculate hard climbing, Pete battled through terrible conditions to get it done.  It still has an extension that will take it to the top (it got wet so Pete couldn't couldn't finish where he had initially intended to).  Two years ago Ben Bransby, one of the best climbers in the UK came over for a piece of the action.  He took the bull by the horns and along with Sam Whittaker bolted an extension to The Brute.  Steve Mayers had planned to take The Brute higher up the crag just below Diamond Dogs extension lower off.  Ben saw the potential for a more direct extension that had some amazing rock and was considerably harder that the extension to the left.  A super project was born, climb The Brute, one of the best 8bs in the country and then continue direct to the top of the crag with another 8a+/b pitch on top.  The extension was different in style to The Brute but was equally amazing.  The rock changed from the slick rock of The Brute to rougher and more grease resistant stone.  Also whereas the Brute was in essence a sustained power endurance romp the top extension had shake out jugs but with hard boulder problems in between.  The first job however was to tick The Brute and Ben managed this with minimum fuss in 2012.  He knew the challenge that awaited him and the fitness levels that he would have to acquire to clip the lower off of this 30 metre monster.  Ben recognised that with the crag having such a short season, with it being away from home and with it having somewhat fickle conditions he would have to return prepared and be clinical when Diamond season came.  He went away and in winter started to build up the massive fitness needed.  He did a lot of circuits on his home garage and did plenty of shaking out practice, he knew that would be key - if he could could recover on the top shake outs he'd be in with a shout.  On his first session he was surprised to link it from the top from the 3rd bolt, it seemed all his hard work had paid off and he knew it was on. The next day was greasy to begin with but he got through The Brute on his 2nd redpoint.  This is where he needed those rests to count.  I was hanging from Diamond Dogs filming, the shakeouts were a god send for me as it meant i could jug up as Ben was shaking out.  It was incredible to watch, Ben grunted his way through the hard moves and he soon found himself a couple of metres below the top on a big hold but still on very steep ground.  After all that effort it would be heartbreaking to drop the finish now, he came to 50/50 moment as he eyed up the top of the crag but made no mistake and with another grunt pulled up the rope and clipped the belay.  The route (currently unnamed) is without doubt one of the best routes in the UK and i don't think it would be out of place at any classic crag in the world - it's that good!

The line:

 Ben was a little unsure about the grade as it had gone down so quickly but 8c/+ seems likely (read probably 8c+ !)     The footage is some of my favourite ever, here are some stills but they don't really do it justice:

Pete Robins also got in on the action by despatching a project that Chris Webb Parsons had tried a couple of times last year.  Chris was thrwarted by shit conditions and seepage but this year the crag is dry and mint.  The line in question does the first few juggy moves of The Waiting Game then blasts straight up a perfect 45 degree overhang - amazing board climbing!  It then joins the top diagonal crack project and climbs this to the end.  Pete put a lower off in above the crack at the end.  The last move of the route is a big powerful move which isn't too bad on its own but heartbreaking from the start.  The line may not be a big soaring line like Ben's new route but it is 3 star climbing in its own right.  The moves and holds are amazing and its a draining power endurance romp.  Pete kept dropping the last move but it went down soon enough- The Pink Panther 8b+!
Film trailer:

Fresh Meat Trailer from Chris Doyle on Vimeo.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Speckled Jim

I reckon 2011 was my most fulfilling climbing year ever.  I bolted 26 routes and managed to climb 24 of them.  One that got away was a line down Pigeon's Cave just right of Stark.  Dyer had spotted a cool diagonal rail above some big undercuts and there was a possible finish up a cool groove feature up and left.  I abbed in and bolted it, initial efforts felt very hard indeed. I could see a sequence but it was super fingery and powerful.  On one go i pushed my knee against a slopey ramp and as i felt it take some of my weight i could see some light at the end of the tunnel.  2012 came and went in the splash of a massive ugly raindrop.  One of the downsides of the route was that it did seep so needed some dry weather.  It dried out in September and armed with the new 5.10 kneepad i fell near the top after 5 or so sessions.  The next day it got wet and stayed wet and i spent the winter fantasising about getting back on it.  It had me captivated, when i first linked it to the top from the half height undercuts it became my favourite thing in the world.  The moves were really funky and unique and there were some great features and big slopey holds.  After slapping out to small positive part of a slopey ramp you did 4 foot moves with youtr hands in the same place to walk your feet into the kneebar.  The kneebar had to stick for 4 more hand moves before a shouldery and tensiony finish using one of the nicest holds I'd used on a route - a waterworn slopey pinch.  I resumed my efforts in spring this year and managed to do it in two with a short rest straight away.  Getting the job done would prove problematic however and i fell a lot coming out of the kneebar and tensioning to the last hold.  I packed the sessions in and started to get tired, then i got some strange forearm injuries and had to stop climbing for 4 weeks.  I started climbing again but Pigeon's was a no go in 25 degree heat, the holds are like butter in these conditions.  I really wanted to get the route done for the guide, it could be one of the last hard FAs i might do and it would be special to do another hard one on the Orme.  My first session back on the route was a disaster, i couldn't even do it from halfway and i broke a piece of the undercut off.  Everything seemed stacked against me on this one.  I glued the hold back on and then finally on the day Pete did Dark Energy i fell off the top again.  I've never been so happy to fall off something  but was dismayed at finding a foot move hard on the new highpoint.  I knew getting out the car today that the conditions would be good.  It's a bit of a nightmare crag and getting it mint is half the battle.  I warmed up on Pill Box then headed down.  There were some big numbers present- Barrows, Shauna and Ned.  I felt mutant on the dog and knew this was the time.  It went down first redpoint, the last move was proper 50/50 but i ran my fingers up the wall to the final crimp and got the jugs.  The route is called Speckled Jim (Genereal Melchetts Pigeons in Blackadder Goes Forth) and it's 8b.  The one man who i was worried might think its totally piss is Alex Barrows as he's taller than me and has some pretty nifty kneebarring skills.  To my relief he confirmed it wasn't and reckoned it was harder than Kali Yuga and La Connection,two 8bs he'd done earlier in the year. Phew!
Photo: Jack Geldard
The beasts were taking advantage of the good conditions.  Stiff Upper Lip got flashed 3 times by James Noble, Barrows and Ned and they all reckoned 7c+ and probably easier than Follow the Prof (also flashed by James).  Weirdly they reckoned Koo Koo was the hardest of the bunch!