BBC - Weather Centre - Forecast for Llandudno, United Kingdom

Sunday, 27 March 2011

KO Wall

Me and Norm have developed a new little sector at Llanddulas. I bolted a steep line similar to Sticky Fingers back in early February and Norm bolted a line to the left and two to the right more recently. Today i did my route, quite nice and with a very distinct crux. The grade is 7b and the name is What Man Would?, after a chat me and Dyer had in Indy! Last week Norm did the line to the left at 6c, this is called Two C's in a KO. Norm also bolted two 5's to the right, he gave the first to Fran Gowling and Norm led the last route on the right himself, this is called Elizabeth Taylor. All in all a nice little addition. To get here follow the path away from the main cave on the same level. Very shortly you will see a smaller path breaking off right up the hill. Shortly Sector Ko becomes obvious to the right of the path. Then we got in the car and went to another Crag X. I did a new 20 metre 6c+ which is as good as anything i've done at the grade in North Wales. Was getting quite pumped at the top!

Two C's in a KO:

What Man Would?

Ormesman of the Week - Pete Robins, The Ticking Machine

Pete is the most recent Ormesman. It is only in recent years that he's got properly stuck into the place and spent some significant time there. Pete has been climbing since he was quite young and up until a few years ago trad was the main event in his climbing. After climbing thousands of routes all over the place and onsighting many hard trad routes Pete fancied a different challenge and set about getting strong. I remember him failing on my problem Ain't No Party (7a+)in 2006. I also remember him absolutely taking ages to do Trigger Cut! In one of the greatest transformations ever he shed a load of weight, started training and climbed more overhangs. In a few years Pete went from finding Trigger Cut the living end to completing the 2nd ascent of Silk Cut! Talk about rags to riches. hollywood ain't got nothing on this. I guess the modern Ormesman needs to have cut his teeth in the Cave and Pete certainly has. He already has some impressive FAs to his name including In Heaven, The Wire and the seriously impressive Incredible Bulk. Petes trademark is his speed, don't blink as he sets off up Lou Ferrino as this takes about 0.4 seconds. With his new found beastliness Pete also went to work on LPT and soon got ticking through the 8's. The 8a's, Melancholie and Walking Mussel soon succombed and in 2009 he embarked on what would become an epic mission on the very classic Liquid Ambar. Pete spent over 20 sessions down there trying it relentlessly. I remember him going down one minging humid afternoon as the sea clag made everything minging. I thought he was mad going down in that weather but he'd driven over from the hills and was psyched. He got it done in September and you can see the ascent in the Welsh Connections film. In 2010 the LPT campaign continued and Pete added a new link - Wild Youth. The next obvious one was Infanticide which went down without too much of a fight. After a look at Big Bang, Pete channelled his energies into Sea of Tranquility and after another seige topped out on the 2nd ascent becoming the first person to tick the 3 big 8's of LPT, quite an achievement. Pete does his training at the crag and usually leaves absolutely spent. He finishes off his day lapping tough problems in the cave or by lapping 8as down LPT! Pete has an unwavering psyche which is probably one of his greatest strengths. It will be good to see what he gets up to this year, i know he's got a few things lined up, lets hope he doesn't dust off his rack just yet!
Melon Beach 2nd ascent:

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Wobbly Block Back On

I went to the cave today and resined the wobbly block back in place. It slid back into place so with the glue i'd be surprised if it came off again. It should be fine to climb on from sunday. Jump on fat bastards!

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Check it out.

The hottest new thing on the blogosphere is yorkshires very own sex machine, the man with the piston pumping levers and a tight little booty. No i'm not talking about Steve Dunning its this man

Monday, 21 March 2011

Tony Stud

After two weeks off the rock i finally got to go climbing on Sunday afternoon. I have been doing pull ups down in Kent which help stop the rot but i struggle to find the motivation to do enough to actually get stronger. I really think i'm going to struggle to improve without climbing. It's a shame as i was starting to drag myself out of the doldrums a month ago but then i had to go away to some very terrible places. On Sunday i met some Sheffielders on the way back from LAMFF at Llanddulas. I belayed Lucy Creamer on a route as she got some pics for an article. Back in early February i bolted a line that Tony had tried on the Forgotten Sun Area. It follows Ralarwdins for the first 4 bolts then breaks out right up the blue headwall. Tony had struggled on a move or two, he had placed a high stud to work it but gave me the green light to fully bolt it. I was impressed on the abseil, i had gazed up at this wall before but never had the vision to think about it as a route. When i was off work i didn't get to try it as the top was wet. Yesterday I went bolt to bolt as a warm up which turned out to be a bad idea after not climbing for a while as my forearms went all jellylike. Regardless I managed to sprint it out first redpoint freestyling a bit. Its quite surprising that no ones done this as its quite an obvious line on a well developed sector, that is the beauty of North Wales i guess! The name is Tony Stud, as i was encouraged to bolt it by, Tony's high stud and he is a stud of course. Not certain about grade but its probably 7b, don't laugh me out of town if i'm wrong. We popped up to the main cave and i had a quick play on the first crux of my new roof project. It needs a good clean as is quite dusty but i was able to get a feel for it. I think i know how the sequence works, need to try it when i've got more time and i'm strong again. Back in work now, fingers crossed i'll get out next weekend again, loads more to do! Climbing is frustrating at the moment but the truth is i'm just happy that i love it again.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Ormesman of the Week - Andy Boorman, puller of strings.

Behind every great movement there are those behind the scenes. Andy Boorman has not got the rack of FAs that some of the other Ormesman have but he's been climbing in the area since the 70s and has been involved in access negotiations over the years. In recent times he's checked lower offs and added rings to the crags and is one of the mian collaborators of the Bolt Fund guide. I'll let him tell his own story:

I moved to Prestatyn in 1978, taking up a teaching post at the High School. Cash was short so local climbing venues were very important and there was a great supply of keen youngsters in the school to get out and explore the crags with: Andy Pollitt, Dave Prendergast, Trevor Hodgson, Anthony Ingham and so forth. The Rowland Edwards 1975 guidebook Climbs on North Wales Limestone was our bible and we did a good job of ticking it and getting rid of the odd point of aid. Andy P swung leads with me on The New Dimension and Moon Shadow in 1980 and soon the pupil became the coach! He moved on to Jerry Moffatt and I linked up with Pete Bailey - a great man to have around on the scary parts of the Ormes.

Summer evenings were devoted to Craig y Forwyn and the Ormes, with chips then a pint in the Cottage Loaf to finish off the fun.

I'm not one for epics or accidents but in the late 90s some careless footwork just below the first bolt on Firefly led me to inherit a very sore arse, a cracked wrist bone and a large clip-stick!

Attached scan from my logbook page in 1992 gives a flavour of those grand days and evenings.

Monday, 14 March 2011

New 8a at the Mwyn!

Sam 'mule' Cattell has returned to his old stomping ground of Pantymwyn near mold and done a cracking new 8a traverse problem. Spinal Tap starts on the lefthand side of the main crag down and right of the obvious hole on a flat jug. The problem traverses righwards into the finish of Be Ruthless. Mule has been climbing at the mwyn for over ten years now establishing nearly every problem. He says his new addition is the best one he's done there. Mules career has been blighted by injuries so its good to see him cranking although he never seems to be weak. In the hills he also repeated the sitter to the Caseg Groove,another 8a.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Ormesman of the Week: Steve Mayers - Early 90s activist

Steve Mayers was an Orme activist in the late 80s early 90s. Steve is a well known British beast adding some significant new routes to North Wales and beyond. Although probably best known for his trad ascents Steve put up some good new routes on the Ormes including Youthanasia (8b) on LPT, Specular Reflections (8a) and The Shining (8a) on the Diamond. Youthanasia was briefly 8a+ but has long been regarded as 8b and not an easy one. Pete Robins described the top moves as some of the best on the crag. Steve was one of the early pioneers of the Diamond. It must have been quite something abbing off the top of the Little Orme onto the sea of steepness that is the Diamond. Bolting it must have been fun too. Steve got very close to climbing The Brute project and it was the photo of him on it in the guide that got me inspired to try it. Steve started the North Wales Bolt Fund in 1991 which helped fund the DMM eco bolt which became commonplace on the Ormes. Steve also authored the 1992 Rockfax guidebook to the area which was the first guide to include photo-topos. Still living in North Wales Steve is a partner/director of The Beacon Climbing wall.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Bonnie Extension

Ben Bransby has climbed an extension to Bonnie in the cave.Ben had played on the line with Pete Robins last week.Pete was raving about the moves Into the top of werry's. The line needed two extra bolts.Ben returned today to bag the FA.Pritch was on hand to capture the ascent on camera.The grade is in the region of font 8a+/b.The full link from Lou Ferrino is an obvious challenge.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Meatsville Arizona

I picked the right day of the weekend to go climbing this week. Saturday was all misty and damp so i pampered myself at the posh spa near me. I got out with Norm today, i wanted to try and finish off my roof project that i'd failed on last week. I was feeling the pressure as i'm just about to embark on a 12 day stint of work and i wanted to get it done. I played around with the bit i fell off last week and found some better beta. Then i belayed Norm on his project before pulling it out the bag on redpoint. There was some freestyling going on as i powered out but i managed to sketch up it. Its a great route, probably my 3rd favourite new route that i've done. I had been convinced that it was 7c+ but last week it felt easier so its probably 7c. Now for 12 days off work and pull ups. Hopefully i won't be any shitter when i go climbing next.
Vid with quality Norm commentary:

Ormesman of the Week: Tony Shelmerdine - The Encyclopedia

For my generation of Orme climbers Tony is the person who first comes to mind when you're talking about Ormesmanship. Tony has spent a lot of time climbing in the area for 20 years. He's scaled the majority of routes all over the Orme, climbed on every crag and even soloed about 30 routes. When i'm looking for some potential new lines i'll give Tony a bell and try and stimulate his memory. He knows about every bit of limestone round these parts but sometimes hasn't thought about them for years so needs a bit of prodding. I'm often sat there with a piece of paper while he fires off the info: "there's this route here, and this crag there, and this route here..." His knowledge is testament to the hours he's spent in the area and in North Wales in general. Tony was one of the first people to collect cash for the early bolt funds. He carried a jar out at the crags with him. Those who were seen to be enjoying the re-equipping work but wouldn't contribute were confronted with the Shelmerdine growl. Quite a scary thing! Only one man can get you where all the smoking holes are on the wall on the marine drive. Despite his knackered elbows Tony is as keen as ever and has been my partner in crime on the crag development scene.

Me, tone and spidey underneath Yellow Walls:

Thursday, 3 March 2011

The Grade Creep

There has been some debate via email this week by the Bolt Fund guide committee on the grade of Masterclass on the Orme. Masterclass was originally graded 7c+ by Jerry Moffatt and was regarded for years as benchmark for the grade. These days most regard it as solid 8a and this raises an interesting issue for the guide. Do you keep historical routes such as Masterclass as their original grades or do you bring them in line with modern standards? My argument has been that it is more important for the grades of routes to be relative to one another than sticking to different grading scales for different eras. To give Masterclass 7c+ would affect all the other routes around 7c+/8a in the area. This is also an issue on the global scene. When Wolfgang Gullich climbed Action Directe he graded it Xl which equated to 8c+/9a. Ben Moon and Jerry Moffatt were also pushing the limits at the time and their ascents were defining the grading system at the top end. Ben had done Agincourt one of the worlds first 8c's and Hubble the worlds first 8c+. Jerry had established Liquid Ambar in 1990, Britain's first 8c. In the mid 90s however Moon was becoming alarmed at the contracting of the grading scale and reports of 9a's and even 9b going up when he believed that 8c and 8c+ had not been consolidated properly. The grade creep had started! After doing Bronx and Super Plafond 8c+ in France, Moon believed them to be no harder than two 8c's in Britain, Sea of Tranquility and Liquid Ambar. Action Directe which Moon had got close to and believed it to be hard 8c+ soon became regarded as 9a and that was probably the catalyst for the way grades evolved at the top end. The proliferation of sport climbing areas across the world also had an impact and the parameters set out in the late 80s/early 90s soon became diluted. In Britain we have clung onto some of those early standards and certain routes like Liquid Ambar have retained their original grades over the years. It is clear now though that despite the historical repercussions (Britain's first 8c being 8c+!) that it makes no sense to keep these routes within a grade paremeter that is now obselete. These days we have Ondra travelling extensively and repeating most hard stuff old and new everywhere he goes. He has donwgraded many routes and upgraded some. Significantly he upgraded Huber's mega route from 96 Open Air to 9a+. These are significant shifts but at the end of the day although its a shame that the early pioneer's vision of the grading system has been adjusted somewhat it is more important that a grading system is consistent and depicts a routes difficulty in relation to other routes.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Strength Reflections

Just been doing some training down here in Kent. Fairly simplistic stuff, 45 minutes of pull ups til failure on the beastmaker big and small edges. I'm going to be working a lot this month with limited rock time so will need to pull my finger out after work. I've accepted much hard work is needed to get me out of this current rut. Over two months off and 10 pounds of weight put on is the problem. And it seemed like such a good idea at the time! Normally i'd be getting fairly demoralised by now and indeed i have been here before. I can remember sitting in the School and the Den after a bit of downtime despairing about my form. This time i'm probably even shitter but my saving grace has been that i have had some pretty cool stuff to climb on to break up the training and keep me motivated. Although i know the stuff i have been doing/am trying would usually be first redpoint affairs trying hard always feels the same and it always feels good. Tonight i got thinking about my strength history. Feeling strong is one of the great feelings in climbing. Strong moments don't even have to result in a top out to be memorable. Doing a move that you never thought you'd do or maybe a one armer on a hold you've been trying to deadhang for years. Its been a few years since i trained consistently. I lost some love for climbing on boards and training and have just been getting out on the rock as much as possible. One day i would really like to push the physical side again and really improve and push the next grades but i'm aware that this will take six months of hard training. For me i know to get to my best, training is essential. I will never get as strong on the crag as i can on the board. We all have had mutant periods in our climbing. These are the times when you crush your hardest routes and boulders. For most people it takes a quick step up from their normal level to achieve their hardest climbs. For me it has been different. There are two times in my climbing that i have felt significantly stronger than normal. During these periods my level shot up for a short period of time, i did some stuff and then i returned to normal. In 2005 i lost a load of weight and felt a level of strength that i hadn't experienced before. I didn't do much this time really. I did the Hulk at Crag X and then went to Raven Tor and almost did Hooligan Start in a session. I was foiled by a split tip. I felt so light and steely, it was amazing. In 2008 the same thing happened. This time i managed to do Zeke on the quick and Jack the Drunk which is my hardest problem. I've done loads of stuff i'm pleased with under normal strength conditions but these higher levels of performance do feel strange as they're so far from my normal every day level. It almost feels like i didn't do these climbs. I could probably train specifically for the next year and might not be able to repeat these feats. I do find it frustrating as my body has achieved a really satisfying level but the day to day reality is so different. I bet Pascal could do Spectre again in the same time if he went back to Bishop. And Danny would get back up Louis Armstrong if he really wanted to. I thought the whole idea was to train, get stronger, plateau, maybe lose a bit, then push on etc... This might read like a whiney post, i am grateful that i have had these experiences but it can be a bit demoralising at the same time. Anyone who's had similar experiences get in touch. Hang on i just thought of one, Paul B on Voyager!