Hardest in the Hills

A few days ago I was trying to decide where to go, and I started to wonder what the hard problems in the mountains were. A couple of years ago I would have simply said Malcs start and that would pretty much have been it but now with one thing and another and mainly through the efforts of that one man first ascent machine of Chris Davies there are a few to chose from. So here they are in no particular order the problems at 8A+ or harder that are inland and in Wales, I think I got them all but will almost certainly have forgotten something.

Many thanks to North Wales bouldering, for reminding me what happend in the last few years.


My own Private Idaho - Chris Davies 2011
New line at Crafnant from Chris Davies, ungraded and unrepeated for now but in my infinite wisdom guessing 8B.

The right hand hold is quarter pad, and your hand has probably moved 5-6 foot to get to it

Malcs Start - 8B Malcolm Smith 2001
The extension start to Pools of Bethesda. Repeated only once so far by Rich Simpson. The first 8B in Wales.

Life Aesthetic - 8B Chris Davies 2010
Short and hard, a crux first move allows you to get to the position where a bit of technical toe hooking makes the rest easy. In the corner of the boulders at Moel Y Gest. Unrepeated.

Yep thats it, now chuck the toe aaround arete for glory

Compact Culture - 8A+/B Chris Davies
Links the crux first move of the menace into the finish of Kingdom of Rain. Repeated by Ty Landman who said 8a+.

Think it turns out you dont have to do this move, shame looks cool

Neon Handshake - 8A+/B Chris Davies
Stunning problem on a stand alone boulder near Hyll Drem, few easy moves into a jump of a small crimp to the top. Unrepeated, originally graded 8A+ by CJD but after climbing some more he reckoned it could be harder. A contender for first 8B in Wales...

Neon Handshake 2nd Ascent anyone?

Poppys Move - 8A+/B Chris Davies
A big jump in the roof at Craig Pont Y Pant, again unrepeated and originally graded 8A+ by Chris before suggesting it could be harder. Another contender for the first of its grade.

Mid flight a one move wonder, othrwise known as a hard move

Pools Of Bethesda - 8A+ Paul Higginson 2000
It started as optimism of the highest order by George Smith, and ended with a showdown between Higg and Jerry Moffat, a classy throw to a sloping porthole, then a series of perfect holds through to the top. Classic. Seen a few ascents now, first by Malcolm in a session in a heat wave. Then by Rich Simpson, Danny Cattel, Pete Robins, Dave Noden, Dave Mason and Ned Freehally. I think that's it?

Me desperatly trying to sort my shit out on Pools while realising its June

Hippocampus - 8A+ Adam Hocking 2007
Hard line at Tan Y Grisau, the only time he used a big grade while living here, so probably tricky. Unrepeated.

Big crimpy moves, Hock on Hippocampus

Downset Sit - 8A+ Chris Davies 2003
A 2 move extension into the original jump at Elephants Rock in Nant Gwynant, Repeated by John Gaskins and later by me.

This Parade - 8A+ Chris Davies 2007
A Traverse from Regeneration into Diamond Eyes at Gallt Yr Ogof in the Ogwen. Unrepeated, it seems that most people either find the jump or the traverse tricky so linking them together is hard.

Chris going sideways on This Parade

Queens Of the Stone Age - 8a+ Chris Davies 2001
A short line at the pacman boulders in the Pass. Basically revolves around catching the slope and jumping to the arete. Repeted by me, Garth Miller and Calum Hart in 2008, Tom Willams making it 5 in 2010.

The Tracks - 8A+ Dave Noden 2010
Longish line in The Hall of the Mountain King (AKA the hole behind the barrel) Two moves see you established on a good jug then lauch rightwards towards the light. Second Asscent by Pete Robins.

Me crossing through

The Crest SitStart - 8A+ Dave Noden 2010
A Huggy prow adds 5ish moves into the original 7c crouched start. Stunning moves, in a slightly annoying setting with walls either side, the classic definition of a bit Welsh. Unreapeted so far, but Pete and Kook (I think) have both done it in pieces. (Now 2nd asscent for Pete, confirming hard 8a+)

Mr Fantastic - 8A+ Dave Noden 2005
Not sure this really belongs here anymore, repeted too many times to count 10ish, suggested by a couple of folks that it should be 8A.

Leroy on the 2nd Ascent