Saturday, 18 July 2009

Doing the move...

Had a minor breakthrough on one of my projects this week. After changing the angle of my foot and learning to pinch with my left hand I did one of the two crux moves. I started looking at the line about 3 years ago, and this was my tenth session. I had only done the move twice before but both times seemed more by fluke than anything else. Now I feel I have learnt a position on the move so hopefully it will become linkable. Given that once I caught the hold, I couldn't begin to move either foot, and once I do that I need to do another similarly hard move, that I have only done once, it could take a while!

Friday, 10 July 2009

This week...

This week I mainly went bouldering, shock horror! On Monday I sat out the rain in V12 drinking coffee and reading mags. Eventually went up the pass, been a while since I embraced the post work Cromlech sessions, so I had forgotten what a social centre these blocks were. Did a little climbing and made up some eliminates on the roadside face. Went down to Jerry's to play a bit on things there. Had a reasonable go at doing it blindfold, I have climbed the roof bit blind before but never the top out. Doing the whole thing from the proper start may become my summer fun challenge.

On Tuesday decided to head over to the Orme to climb in the cave, after playing around on this and that decided I was stronger but with much less fitness. My swinging match on Louie Armstrong still isn't working so obviously need to get stronger still. All the big links were out of the question, as I was tired on Lou Ferrino. In the end went up to Normans Wisdom and did the traverse and stuff, after a while it became clear psyche was low, so we headed to the pub.

Wednesday dawned a grey day, I wanted to go and check out a groove I remembered seeing at the entry to the copper mines in the pass. I remembered this as a steep blankish wall with some pinches, estimated the grade as V10 upwards. On my return it had morphed into a just off vertical V4, strange, it wasn't even much of a groove, still it was very good. I set up a rope and started to clean it. After sorting it out and moving some rocks at the bottom, I decided to give it a blast, slipping off the second move. I ran away to come back with a spot and mat. Jack came up from V12 and it went first go. Its quite high but totally safe with a spot and two mats due to a big flat rock for the spotter to stand on. Although I am sure it will probably never be climbed again for years, I named it Traitors Gate, and told anyone who would stand still long enough it was a modern classic. We then went down to the Cromlech, and had a social session with a couple of ciders, although I did land on my ass show boating on Sleep deprivation. Caff and Baby Dave both did Mr Fantastic as their first 8a+. Its great seeing other people happy when they climb hard stuff and even better when its on your problems.

Thursday, was mincing day, after heading over to see a mate in Bethesda, had a spare hour so decided to stop off and do the traverse in the river by the bridge. Maybe its just me, but I have been convinced this is worth doing for years. Its a bit small and you have to be careful not to land in the river, but it has a lovely sequence of moves on slopes. Well its good if your in the area with half an hour to kill!

Friday, 3 July 2009


Went up to Staffordshire for a mates stag on the weekend, stopped off at Gibb tor on the way to try Maurice Gibb. Thought this was remarkably cunning as its a jug to jug jump and it was hot. On arrival at the crag I realised the only fluid I had was 24 cans of Strongbow and 18 bottles of Stella, all warm. Fortunately after a bit of rooting round the boot I found some nice cider that had been kept cooler in the boot beneath some mats and stuff.

I started leaping around and quickly got bored of being a steady 6 inches short, so I canned the cider and started soloing round. First up was a nice looking slab into a groove, after moving up the slab on jugs I was reaching up towards a break looking for the next big hold, I got scared and retreated down. After a couple more attempts cursing my cowardice, I looked in the guide and realised there were no more good holds as it was an E5 6c. So I went through and found some more reasonable grades. This was great, scuttling round on jams being trad. I had a proper good time although I did gibb (see what I did there?) one route I would like to do, can't remember the name but the description was a Gogarth route! It involved a mantel onto a big green grassy shelf, a crawl then a dusty green crack to top out, after a couple of slimy attempts I got scared of being broken at the crag alone and ran away to party.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Moel Y Gest

I love cleaning boulders, its stupid but there you go, for the last few weeks virtually every day off I had has been spent at Moel Y Gest scrubbing lichen and peeling off moss. In the same time period my house hasn't been cleaned at all, well couldn't really as all the brushes were stashed under blocs 20 miles away.

About 2 months ago I first heard rumor of this venue, first from Andy, but he wasn't saying where. Then Simon Panton, who was thinking about giving away knowledge in order to gain positive karma to finally heal his finger. Eventually as it appeared to be becoming the worst kept secret in Wales, Si cracked and spilt the beans.
The following day saw me head down to check it out, after reading the crag description in the Tremadog guide I was fairly blase about the directions after all its at the bottom of a 200ft quarry, how hard could it be? An hour or so later sweating, stumbling and swearing, I finally located the boulders. They looked good, psyche was high so I started cleaning and climbing some of the lines till I ran out of tobacco, chalk and water.

I went back to V12 to collect Jack and some brushes, and we drove down to do some more. It rained, so we took shelter and he cleaned but failed to climb Room For Glue, it was very wet grim and greasy to be fair though. I started trying the groove to the right which became Beatitude's Kiss. This is probably my favorite problem in Wales now, it felt like a 8a+ when I did it but I know it was bad conditions, so I have decided to give it 8a and see what happens in the winter.

Beatitudes kiss.

Anyway there are new problems dotted around the hillsides, here is a link if I can make it work to Ground Up topo:

and some photos by Ray Wood off the DMM site: