Sunday, 26 December 2010

Wales hardest?

Had a day out with Pete today, he was keen to get on a line he'd been keeping an eye on in the Pass, before the thaw set in.
This wasn't your average Scottish style mixed line. Not that there's anything wrong with them.
This was something different.
A steep wall for about 15m followed by a hanging ice dagger to the top. The wall itself is the line of a summer E4 past three insitu pegs, but with the wet streak that ran down it and the dirty nature of the rock, I don't think it would ever make classic status. Whereas as a winter line, it produced an excellent, pumpy test piece unlike anything else currently existing in Wales.
Pete worked the route ground up with a few rests, before pulling the ropes and going for the clean ascent with some style. Clearly the training had paid off!
I tried it on top rope with a few rests, then after he'd led it, I nearly seconded it clean, only falling after reaching the ice when my axe ripped. I was pumped stupid after though.
In terms of the grade, I'm unsure. Overall it felt harder than Cracking up, but as for the individual moves maybe about the same. After all, unless you're doing fig fours, axe dyno's or footless swings through a massive roof, how can you get harder than tech nine? So for me, lockoffs and long reaches between small edges for 15m means the overall grade will get bigger, but as for the tech grade I don't know. I wonder what the crux move is on the Hurting at XI 11?

All in all with the insitu pegs, its a pretty safe test piece that I'd recommend to anyone keen on pushing their grade, and I look forward to hearing about the onsite! 
endurance training required ( for me that is!)

Spot the winter line :-)

Monday, 20 December 2010


If we had completed it, this would have been one of the best routes I've ever done, and in my view, on the best winter crag in North Wales, when it's in condition. But three pitches up with 15m of climbing before easy grade 6 ground, and a gear ripping fall, straight on to the belay meant no tick...this time.

So fingers crossed that we get the conditions again and Rob's broken ankle recovers in time and we don't get the car stuck and we remember our head torches and we don't fall and...! 

There's loads more I could add, like the epic walk in through thigh deep snow and the free hanging rappels in the dark, but I'll save it for the successful post!
Somewhere on the best winter cliff in Wales!

Friday, 3 December 2010


Walked into the Black Ladders on Thursday with Rob, to try a new line I've been thinking about. Unfortunately it didn't go as smoothly as I'd hoped, after 7hrs of climbing we 'd gained about 40m and it was time to call it a day.
This is going to require something extra. 
The problem is with this line, its not about getting stronger, working out a sequence or finding a crucial piece of protection , it's just finding the courage to move out above two peckers for about 8m into the unknown. 
Still, they don't all give up their secrets straight away, and that'll make the success taste even better!                                                                                  
Rob looking for a way through the first line of overhangs.

And higher on the same pitch.
Chris parkin's shot, as Rob nears the second belay.