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Saturday, 30 July 2011

Big Bang 2nd Ascent!!!!!!!!!!!

James Mchaffie made the 2nd ascent of Neil Carson's LPT testpiece Big Bang today. Big Bang was Britain's first 9a and indeed one of the first in the world. Neil Carson did the first ascent in 1996 after lots of effort and specific training. The route has seen little attention over the years and it seemed like the 2nd ascent may never come. Last year Caff did Infanticide, the 8c that shares the same start as Big Bang. He then tried the direct finish and even put in a good link getting quite high. Caff had the 2nd ascent in his sights and on returning to Wales this year he got on it again and got a consistent method of doing the crux upper slab. Now all that was needed was to build up the specific muscle memory and get it absolutely dialled. He decided to lay down a seige and was down LPT at every available opportunity. Today he put it to bed on a pretty warm and muggy day. It is definitely one of the most significant repeats in Britain of recent years and a brilliant effort for a amazing climber. Back to onsighting e7s now Caff!
Unfortunately i missed the ascent but here is some footage of the moves:

Friday, 29 July 2011

Walking Mussel 3rd Ascent

I have continued to try my luck on some overhangs and the side is holding up well. I had one go at my Dulas roof yesterday. I got to near the end but didn't want to do the final twisty sequence so dropped off. Felt ok to there though, hopefully i can try it properly soon. Mule has been over and we went down LPT today. I got back on Parasite, i had a go of it before i got injured and was close so was interested to see how i'd get on. It went down fine first redpoint, was never in danger of falling really. Ben Bransby did the 3rd ascent of Walking Mussel 8b+, he tried it the other day and did it today on his 3rd redpoint overall. Pretty impressive! Mule had a go and did the moves again, he tried it 2 years ago and should of stuck with it and done it really. Ben Pritch's clips were in Mussel Beach so i had a go and topped out much to my surprise. I'm wondering if i sold my soul to the devil when i was pissed one night. I have done two 8's in a day before but only once. I think the truth lies in the fact that i've actually done quite a lot of climbing this year. I checked my routes book and i actually only did 20 routes last year. I've done 80 already this year and consequently am feeling fit and climbing well. I had a board session the other day and was a fair bit weaker than before i got injured so there is still more to come.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Back in the Game

Well after 3 and a half weeks i finally feel like i can start to climb properly again. The injury feels fine on the stuff i've been doing but i'm trying to be careful as i know it will be vulnerable for another week or two. I have mainly been doing non steep stuff to ease it back in and have re-aquainted myself with some of the old classics like Face Race and Pink Pinkie. I did my 20th new route of the year, a nice long 6c and today had a cracking day on the Orme. It was early tide down LPT and the sun was out but there was a nice breeze and the conditions were good. Usual good scene down there, i did Night Glue and Bad Boy and chilled and watched the hommes. As the sea came in we scarpered to Pigeon's. It was mint there too and i dispatched Koo Koo and Stiff Upper Lip again, both first go. I'm convinced now that Stiff Upper is 7c+ and not 8a. The extensions still nails though! Yesterday i had my first dose of steep climbing and tried a great 7b+ by Breck Road called The Mask. I had been saving this for a possible flash attempt so i foolishly sent Mule up first. He fell, i fell, he did, i fell. I then got shut down on a bouldery 7a+. This was the most demoralised i'd felt for a while. It's easy to be pessimistic after this but i was pleased with todays performance, two 7c's and a 7c+ all first go is a great day for me even if i've done the routes before. I find it easy to think the worst of my form. This is due to a long history of mediocrity after time off but sometimes i need to be a bit more optimistic. A great day was rounded off with Gav swimming out to sea in his harness to save a lad who didn't need rescuing and a barbecue on the ledge in the sun. 'Oh i do like to be beside the seaside!'. The plan now is to get on Gorgys board pretty soon to test my bouldering power and get back to where i was. My fitness feels ok and i've still got the flow on the rock but i've put weight on by comfort eating and need to steel up again. Can't wait to get back on those loevely projects!
North Wales guidebook mogul Mr P:


Wednesday, 13 July 2011


I finally went to a physio today. Andy Scott is a physio who also climbs and has a surgery in Bangor. He prodded and poked me and gave me exercises to do and advice. He reckons my affliction is a oblique tear and i could be looking at another 3/4 weeks before it is fully recovered and ready for extreme stuff. This was a bit sobering as by the time i've got strong again after 6 weeks off it will be winter! I can work around it a bit however and keep experimenting and see how it feels. Andy said the next week is part of the crucial timescale where i must really try not to strain it as it will set me back. It feels a lot better now though, it doesn't hurt day to day and sneezing is a lot more bearable. I even managed to hang off the pull up bar at home. I went to Penmaenhead after to do my first bit of climbing for two weeks. I did some routes up to 6a+ and it felt fine which was promising. It's certainly put a spanner in the works but there you go. Obviously i want to do my projects but i also was starting to think that i could climb better than usual this year and that was really motivating. I was getting somewhere before the injury which is why it was so frustrating. The plan now is to do some more easy climbing this week then if i feel i can do some harder vertical stuff. Back to stretching now....

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

The Pros of Being Injured

The pros of being injured are that you get to go exploring and find a 3 star limestone bouldering cave. This is what happened yesterday. Walking up a river i encountered a couple of nice steep buttresses, very South Lakes-esque. Potential for quite a few problems and a nice traverse:

Just round the corner was the main deal however. An amazing cave with tufas and funky looking climbing. In the cave was a long horizontal juggy break that the good lord put there to give all the problems a logical starting place. It really looks like it will be fantastic. The cons are that it is almost certainly a summer crag and will probably need a dry spell before its climbable. It really look as good as any limestone bouldering i've seen in the UK though. Starting bids for the location information starting at £1000 please.
Pic doesn't even do it justice:

I've been hanging out LPT down a lot watching the action, there is some beastly shit going down. I haven't been blogging about any of it as its not really my place to potentially add pressure to folks who are immersed in battle but i look forward to writing about there feats when all is complete. I've been climbing down there about 3 times this year but i've been on the beach a further 8 or so times. Its pretty frustrating, i can only liken it to getting a dance at a lap dancing bar when you've got to sit on your hands or you get pulverised by a meathead bouncer. Here is some footage of Pete doing some training on Over the Moon, 8a:

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Wad and Waddette Beast Cave

I popped into the Cave today to say hi to Sam Whittaker. He was there with his lady wife Lu and ned and worm and 8c crusher Chris Webb Parsons with his girlfriend Alex Puccio. Alex is a strong American boulderer who has climbed quite a few 8a+s in the US and Swiss. Good to see some foreign beasts in the Cave. I arrived to see Alex fall off the last hard move on Lou Ferrino on the flash. Considering no man has ever flashed this it would have been quite a feat, she was a little unlucky! It was quite shocking to behold, it was more of an onsight really. I've seen strong men in the Cave before who don't know what they're doing but it doesn't matter because they have so much strength in reserve. This was a similar deal! She got it next go. Chris then did the first probable flash which was a good effort. Alex rested then did the first female flash of Rockatrocity. Watch her do the last move on the footage and if you know the problem you will realise this is one strong femme. Today was certainly the most impressive bouldering display i've seen from a women. Chris had a go on Pilgrim, did RA (took a few go's, must be weird getting burnt off by your girl when you've climbed 8c!) and tried the crux of Louis Armstrong (but to no avail). Louis Armstrong is a trade route these days, its had 5 ascents so must be piss! Some footage: