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Sunday, 23 October 2011

Alberta Rose

Pete Harrison has sent over some info about his new route:
I finished my most recent 'do something creative whilst the weather's shit' project - the Detritus Wall traverse which provides airy access to those intriguing routes out above the sea. Of all the things I've done over the last couple of years this is definitely the thing I'm most proud of. It's been so fulfilling to go out there by myself after work and do such a bizarre thing, trying not to think about the consequences of a mistake and the resulting 40 metre plummet to the sea with rope, drill, batteries, bolts, gear and god knows what other shit hanging off me dragging me down like a stone. Then getting back safely to the pub car park and seeing the fat fuckers doing their chain-pub thing makes me feel priveledged to be able to spend time in the hidden corners of the Ormes!
Anyway I thought it was a fitting use of the last of the DMM Eco bolts, which Dave Lyon gave to me last year after having been holding onto them for the last 15 years waiting for the next classic. What a great design they were.

Dave's efforts back in the day make mine look like childs' play. During 'a bit of a bad patch' he thought it'd be good to go out across Detritus Wall by himself with a single 9mm rope, a sky hoook, a drill and some ironmongery. It took him half a day to do what took me eight - to get to the top of what is now Ocean of Emotion. I found it quite harrowing at times and I had all the old kit ahead of me to aim for. Dave wouldn't have had any of that. Fucking loon.

Pete has called his route Alberta Rose. He has provided some more in depth info about the area:
Detritus and Atlanta Walls
Access to the these walls is actually simple - no harder than accessing Gogarth uper tier and easier than The Diamond. You can walk straight to the abseil point for all the routes on Atlanta Wall and the first three routes on Detritus Wall. A simple 30m abseil reaches good non-tidal ledges with bolt belays on the Detritus Wall routes, or a thread-belay for the Atlanta Wall routes. All the routes have good bolts - stainless though-bolts on Dave Lyon's Detritus Wall and Atlanta Wall routes, stainless 'petzl long-lifes' on a couple of the left-hand Atlanta Wall routes, resins on Alberta Rose.
Atlanta Wall gets sun from 2pm in August / 3.30pm in October. Detritus Wall gets the sun from 2.30pm in August / 4pm in October. Both walls are more exposed to the wind and get more sun than The Diamond so are more reliable for good conditions. Climbing here on a sunny afternoon is pretty hard to beat. Stormy October/November may be memorable for less pleasant reasons, but yesterday was primo climbing conditions and weather. Atalanta wall faces due West, Detritus Wall faces NW.

The in-situ handline across Detritus Wall is very airy but well bolted. 'E' is reached by abbing down to a non-tidal ledge from the first set of double rings about one-thirds way along the traverse. Ocean of Emotion and Alberta Rose are reached by abbing to a non-tidal ledge from the end of the traverse.
You can gear up for the routes on Detritus Wall at the start of the traverse, but I find it better to take the packs in to the end of the traverse for Ocean of Emotion/Alberta Rose and leave them hanging from the line - careful with the wallet and car keys!

Either take an ab rope or a lighter option is to take a clip stick as a fail-safe for getting out. If go with the clip stick you'll need to know how to rig a single line retrivable abseil if abbing in on gri-gri's, or bring a normal belay plate.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

The Acid Test and Mega New 7c on Little Orme!

The Electric Cool-Aid Acid Test is one of the iconic Pen Trwyn routes. It was first climbed by Ron Fawcett at E5 6c in 1983 and was one of the most technical challenges at the time. I have always thought it would be cool to do it. It was on the front of the Pollitt 87 guide and was one of the significant testpieces of the 80s boom. Ben and Jerry even met under it for the first time. The difficulties are fairly short, easy plodding leads to a pristine scooped headwall where everything blanks out. I was out with Tommy today. We started up at Mumbo Jumbo doing a few warm ups and Tommy did the FA of a new line that Tony had bolted on the left hand side of the crag. We then headed up to the Acid Test area and both did Quicksilver (really good 7a) to get a top rope on it. I had been on it briefly before and remember struggling to understand it! This time i spent the first 30 minutes trying to identify holds and trying to execute funky positions and palming manouveres. I couldn't believe i was on a 7b+!! Eventually i worked out a sequence that involved crimpy pulls on crozzly holds. It was just pulling really and not overly technical in the end. It went pretty easily first redpoint and i was left wondering what all the fuss had been about. It must be one of the hardest 7b+ onsights in the country when it's unchalked though. Stevie Haston managed it onsight back in the 80s which was a great effort. I don't think many would onsight it now (get on it N Waleans). Satisfying! We then went and hommed around on some 7a's and i did two old routes that have recently been bolted up. Big is Best is now roughly 6b and Adequate Compensation 6b+ish. I think they're both destined to be quite popular.
France? Spain? No, the Orme in October!:

I spotted this project for the Wideboys today for when they return:

Last week me and Tommy headed down to Detritus wall on the Little Orme with Pete Harrison. Pete has spent 8 days putting a handline in across the top of the wall from the grassy ledge above Atlanta Wall all the way across the wall to the Ocean of Emotion belay. Pete rates this new handline as his best achievement in the area. He had some pretty hairy moments sticking it in and most of it he was self belaying holding on to terrible loose rock while sticking in the bolts. Dave Lyon had tipped Pete off about a line to the left of Ocean which he reckoned would probably be just as good. Pete thought this would be a good reward for his efforts and soon had the line bolted an worked. Today he redpointed it at 7c stating it was one of the best of it's grade around. It is a great wall in an amazing position and now it's not even an epic to access it. I got some pics of Pete working the line. Ocean of Emotion looked immaculate too. It takes a orange streak through pristine rock and wall climbing. It looks like a route from Demi Lune sector, Ceuse stuck to the Orme. The last bit of the routes are a bit shitty to the handline. Pete was struggling to get a belayer so he drove to the hills to pick Calum Muskett up who repaid him by working out the top. Calum also bagged the 2nd ascent.
Bird shit tufas:


Top roping the proj:

Sunday, 16 October 2011

The Wizard is Oz

I did my 24th new route of the year today at Penmaenhead. I had wondered about the wall right of Clogau Gold years ago but had never checked it out. Recently Tommy mentioned he had looked at it and it looked good. I abbed down it and it did look very cool so i bolted it up. The route took no cleaning and there were no loose holds at all which is rare for a virgin route of this height. The rock is really nice and rough. The route follows the first two bolts of Clogau Cold on easy terrain then breaks right onto the ledge. From here blast straight up the headwall. The first section is reasonably steady up to a small overlap and a jug. Then you tackle the crux sequence which is a really nice tenuous couple of moves with some more nice moves above on bad feet. I've called it The Wizard is Oz. Oz is the 6 ft 6 Ghambian doorman at The Barrel in Rhyl, a very handsome man. I've given it 7b+, it's quite hard to grade as the hard section is very shortlived but it seems too thin for 7b and it's a bit easier than a hard 7b+ like Rompsville. All in all a very satisfying experience and if it's my last new route this year it's a good one to end on. I'm chuffed to have the hardest route as Dyserth, Dulas and Penmaenhead. I was a bit snooty about Penmaenhead years ago when i was doing the first new routes there. Fair play to the old king though it is a very handy crag. It's a convenient ticking venue but the quality is actually very good and with over 60 routes there's loads to go at. I onsighted Clogau Gold 7a after my FA and found it quite tough for 7a. I think it's because it was unchalked and i've just been following the dots this year. Nice big wall anyway.
I went to Dulas with Pete Robin's the other day. Pete did the 2nd ascent of The Last Crusade, he managed it first redpoint which is a good effort as it's quite a complex route and hard to remember straight off. I guess it doesn't matter when you're four grades beneath your limit. He confirmed the grade but said he found it as hard as Temple which he found really easy. I still think he beasted Temple and 8c wad Bob Hickish has a couple of sessions on it recently and reckoned it was tricky. I had a play on the link up i bolted. The new section was really good and it seemed like the moves would go ok with some time. It's definitely doable but i'm going to have to be climbing well. It'll be quite pumpy with Last Crusade start, then hard 8 move or so middle sequence then the redpoint crux of Temple. Look's like i'll be seiging in that roof for the 3rd year in a row. We then went down LPT, pete was keen for a look on The Big Crunch project that i bolted a year or two ago. The first crux is nails and it's yet to be worked out. The middle section is excellent and doable and then there's a really hard lip encounter. Pete reckoned it could be 9a! I had a go at the middle bit and did the moves, LPT LGP! Footage of Tommy crushing Simon Says 8a in Split Infinity:

Finally some bellend kids have set fire to the two gym mats in the Cave. Tommy put it out and no real harm is done but i think it's worth keeping the place free from such detritus as it is definitely tempting for some nob who's a bit trigger happy with his lighter. It could have been a lot worse!

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

New Proj

I'm feeling increasingly refreshed after having a break from pulling hard. The elbow hasn't really improved so it's been an enforced rest. I've had to sack off my Font trip which was dissapointing but you can't go there with a bad elbow. Tony 'knackered elbows' Shelmerdine says it's not tennis elbow as it is in the centre on the outside. Anyone any ideas? I've been doing some easier routes and have bolted a couple of projects. One is a line i'm very excited about at Dulas, a link up of my two roofs that Ben Heason spotted when he tried Temple. The new section of climbing looks really good and hard. The whole route will certainly be harder than Temple, time will tell if it qualifies for the next grade or not. I'd quite like it too as long as it's doable, i like going up there!
Aiding in the roof:

Something to play on next year anyway. Early Bird on the outside of the Cave has been bolted to give a fine 6b and Norman has done a route branching out right at about 6b+. Tony has been very active re-equipping on the Orme. He's re-equipped Hamburger Buttress. The routes got trad grades but relied on a lot of insitu gear. So we need the sport grades for these routes for the guides.
Tommy fingering his beast:

Friday, 7 October 2011

The Ferret

Pete Robins has climbed a very old project down LPT. It was known as the Angel Project and is a short bouldery affair left of Mellanchollie. This route has been strangely neglected over the years, despite being short it is a nice wall. It would certainly have been done if it were in the Peak and would be the best route on the right hand side of Raven Tor. I think it was bolted by Johnny Dawes back in the day and has seen attention off a few people. Steve Mcclure almost did it years ago but pulled a hold off the top. I belayed him on it again a few years later and he was all over it but split his tip. Matt Donnelly, Mark Katz and Danny Cattell all put some effort in over the years. Danny got through the crux but was pulled off by his belayer (Bob Hickish). Despite effort from all these beasts Pete reckons the difficulties are about font 7c and french 8b and he's called it The Ferret.

We re-equipped the line last winter. Pics:

By my calculations there have been 11 new grade 8's in the area this year. 3 8a's, 3 8a+s, 4 8b's, 1 8c+.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Pilgrimage vid

Jamie King found the old footage of Malc doing Pilgrimage and has stuck it on youtube. It's great to see it again, really inspiring (especially the celebration):

I am taking things easy now to let my tennis elbow sort itself out. I ignored it for a few weeks and kept pulling hard. It didn't get any worse but i'm very paranoid and want to nip it in the bud now. I'm pretty sure it's a consequence of the sudden strength increase that i underwent. Apparently tendons are 6 weeks or so behind muscles in strengthening. So lots of stretching and hot and cold for me and some easy climbing. Bit gutted as i was sposed to be going to Font next week!

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Trwyn Ticking

My desire for hard climbing has diminished slightly so yesterday i was keen to go out and do some ticking on the Upper drive. Me and Tommy warmed up on Testament, a classic Orme 6c then moved on to the Cutaway as Tommy was keen to finish off John Paul and The Vatican 7(7c). I'd been up there a few days earlier with Jim having a play on the hideously horrible Rock Lobster 8a+. Tommy clipped up John Paul. I wanted to do it first go and i managed to pull it off which was good. Pretty gutting really though as i'd been on it once in 2003 and so i miss out on the flash tick. It would have been a PB in the UK too. I was satisfied with how i had climbed it however and it gave me confidence. Next up was Chain Gang Wall, i'd never done any of the hard routes despite them being some of the best on the Upper drive. Mr Olympia was the one i was keen for despite it getting a trad grade (E5 6b). It has a insitu thread and two bolts on it so feels like a sport route really (especially if you clipstick the thread- i did). The top is runout but is about french 6a. It was well chalked so i just joined the dots. It is great steep climb and my first E5 tick for quite a long time. Didn't feel like trad though. There are two other E5's on this wall that are proper trad and they look brilliant. When i've done Liquid Ambar i will get back into trad, i've pencilled in a new rack for 2022. Tommy managed to cock up the flash somehow, moment of madness on the last move. Then we headed to Black Wall which is a very nice little sector with pockety technical routes. We did Storm Warning 7a, and i cocked up The Lull (7b) on the onsight and we finshed off on Wet Dreams, a ace 7a slab which would be a very tricky onsight without chalk.
Pic by Mills:

On the bumpy boy scene Pete Robins has extended The Black Pearl to the top of the crag to make a harder 8a (i thought the original was hard enough!). He joined Tommy's route at the top so there are now two 8a mega pitches side by side. Caff and Dyer both made a rare repeat of Central Pillar on the Gwynt. Apparently its similar in difficulty and style to Masterclass and it took them 3 go's each. I'll give that a miss then!