BBC - Weather Centre - Forecast for Llandudno, United Kingdom

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Ty Newydd Seasonal Restrictions

Somewhat predictably the farmer at Ty Newydd has asked for the Friday/Saturday ban at Ty Newydd to extend to every day from 1st October to 31st January. More at theBMC. It's not a disaster to lose access in winter. Spread the word.

I've not been quite as psyched as i was but had nice day in the Pass trying Love Pie and the Lotus. Vid of Jee doing Love Pie:

I managed to do the Hatch start into Cave Life, was nice to go that way across the arch again after all these years. The jurys still out on whether Rocka has been done before from that start but its unlikely Cave Life has. It's still 8a anyway but feels a little less brutal to me than finishing up RA. My arms were melted on Left Wall so it'll take a good day to do it into the high. Ducko pulled a bit of the starting undercut off making it slightly harder.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

The Dream Week

After Pilgrim i was feeling good and keen to get something else hard done. You can never tell if you're just having a freak day sometimes when you do something. Little did i know i was about to embark on my best week of hard climbing ever! It all started on Sunday, Me and Matt got rained off the hills and the Orme so we had a session on his board. I had a set a problem a year ago up some wooden pinches. We named it after Gary Speed who had just died. I couldn't really do the last move and it represented a big step up on his board for me, Den 7b+. I had made it the goal for the Winter but i was having a good session so started trying the crux move. I managed to do it a few times and then from the start. Boom - Winter's training goal complete!

Broken Trigger went down 1st RP on Tuesday, brilliant - another long termer in the bag. I had a rest day and did Hatchatrocity 2nd go on Thursday. Friday i got the rope out and went to Dinbren with Pete Harrison, i felt knackered but managed to scrape up one of the best 8a's on the crag Elite Syncopations. I almost powered out on the easier climbing at the top. I'd been there a few times to do it this year but was wet/too hot.

Lovely day in Eglywsyg:

I didn't expect much yesterday 3rd day on but had planned to hit the hills with Dan Knight. We went to the Pass but couldn't park so quested on to Elephantitus. I thought it was going to be wet all the way there but it was suprisingly dry. After doing Elephantitus again (hard and sharp) we started trying Downset, a one move 8a:
It involves a big dyno to a good sloper on the lip and the feet make it hard to generate upward momentum. One move 8a isn't really my bag so i moved onto The Tusk which i couldn't really figure out (Cross Therapy is not 7c+ Nodder!!). We both had had enough so decided to try the Pass again to try the main objective for the day, Diesel Power. I'd done all the moves for the first time weeks ago and was ready to start redpoint's. After working it again we were ready to go from the start. Dan struggled with the first move for a bit and i had a really close go, slipping off the last tensiony move. I was psyched to top out before Dan as he's a 8b beast! Then Dan dropped the same move. It's horrific on the skin and mine was thin to start with. I swung about on the end but managed to top out. I looked at my thin tip and it was pissing with blood. Any other week and i would have slipped off that go and had to stop. But the stars were in alignment this week and it finished on a high. Dan got it next go (in a session) and we went home happy. I found myself wondering what had caused such an upturn in form. I hadn't done any special training or diet. In fact I'd put weight on! I think it's just culmination of trying hard all year. If you bang your head against a wall long enough a few bricks will crumble eventually i guess. Diesel is only my 3rd 'bloc' 8a, it's definitely the hardest as the other two were soft for the grade. It's problems like this I'm really keen to get better on. I know i can do PE climbing but to get better on the hard sport routes round here i need to be better on hard moves. Five bits of 8a climbing in a week was pretty sweet and I'll savour it for a long time. Time for work, rest and wondering when I'll turn shit again.

Some decent footage of Diesel from Kieran King:

Diesel Power 8a from Kieran King on Vimeo.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Cave Life

Well what can you say about Parisella's Cave! What makes some drive for hours for a day trip to sample its delights while others wouldn't piss on it if it was on fire? I think it's simple really, whereas the doubters may pour scorn on the rock quality and aesthetics the enlightened revel in the unique qualities of this grotty hole in the ground. There are a lot of hard problems in the Cave but it is the way they all connect is such a sustained fashion that make it a unique venue. Didn't Jamie Cassidy call it world class climbing "if you keep your eyes shut". And it's so true, the power endurance nature of the problems and the fantastic moves and largely friendly holds all combine to make it rather special. Throw into the mix the fact that more or less you can climb here all year and there is nearly always some dry rock to be had. The place has evolved beyond recognition from the days when Rockatrocity was a sit start from a big mound of earth.
A Brief History of Trigger Cut Trigger Cut is one of the most sought after testpieces in the Cave. It's the next rite of passage after Rockatrocity and Lou Ferrino. The problem was originally written up as Stuart's Problem (V12) in the early Northern Soul Fanzines. No one knew much about the line but the rumour was that the Scottish powerhouse Stuart Cameron had climbed something here. That fat tatooed broken fingered original Cave boy Chris Davies cornered Cameron along with Mr Panton at the Stick It launch party in Sheffield to see if he could remember what he did. He couldn't and Floppy eventually climbed the line and named it Trigger Cut and gave it V13. The problem came down to V12 with repeats from Steve Dunning and Rich Simpson. After a few years some keen boys (namely Neil Dyer, Malcolm Smith and Jamie Cassidy) got involved and worked out some easier beta and the dam began to break. A high right foot, an undercut and a left hand finish brought the problem down to 7c+/8a and the ascents started to mount up. This new beta would prove crucial for Jamie as he started trying the line from Lou Ferrino as a new Cave super link. He lived on inspiration while he was trying it and his problem (Director's Cut) showed what was possible for the strong and talented. For us casual observers we hadn't witnessed such impressive steep climbing waddageness on our own turf. Neil Dyer would eventually extend Director's to give Silk Cut and Halfway House (Trigger Cut from the Lou Ferrino ramp) became a popular problem in it's own right. One day a certain handsome weakling who was weighed down with a rather weighty schlong decided the move to the shothole was a bit tricky so he pushed his knee down from the right foothold and hey presto le statique! That was me and i would be forever remembered as the man who ruined Trigger Cut. A few years later another man wedged his knee down a move sooner and more recently the biggest weakling of all David Noden completed the kneebar rout by sticking it in straight away. What followed was much debate about what to do with the grade of TC and the links. With the knee you do the 3 hard moves with your leg and merely hold on with your arm. It was blatantly a lot easier. The Five Ten kneepad has made the knees even more bomber but the fair thing to do seemed to be to offer 2 grades as the knee were so specific not many people could use them. Trigger feels 7b+ to me now, 2 grades easier than without pads but strangely the links feel more like a grade less. Directors hasn't been done with pads yet but you're looking at probably mid-hard 8a+. Nodder did the first kneebarred FA, Broken Trigger which weighed in at 8a+ (or 8a with Knees). I repeated it yesterday, it was a bit of a long time nemesis for me but using the knee to get the crimp and the 5.10 pad helped me to finish it. Although not an obvious line (or obvious start) it's perhaps the best climbing i've done in there. So funky and interesting. Whether you knee or arm it Trigger Cut remains a classic Cave problem.

The Rest
Grading the Cave is probably Mr P's biggest headache with the guide. Despite the masses who go regularly opinion varies on a lot of problems. New holds by the arch seem to have brought The Highlife down to 7c+. It was definitely a bit harder when i did the FA. Another FA of mine Broken Sam has also been beta'd out but i'm not sure if it brings it a whole grade down, opinion varies. The standard for PE 8a is 7b+ into 7c (or 7c into 7b+). Cave Life and Pit of Hell are two typical 8as. Pilgrim weighs in at soft 8a+ IMO (7c into 7c). In Hell is probably smack bang in the middle of 8a+ though Ed Hamer and Dave Redpath actually found it easier than Pilgrim. In Life is probably soft 8a+ and In Heaven is still top of the grade. Greenheart remains one of the toughest 8a+s but a few slightly easier sequences do exist now from Pete and Nodder. The Wire is likely soft 8a+. Opinion seems to be divided on Bonnie (8a or 8a+). I'm too shit on it to comment but think it would get more ascents if it was 8a. Clyde seems a touch harder so 8a+. The 8b's seem pretty spot on, Silk Cut is no longer regarded as 8b+ (7a after 8b = 8b). East Coker is unrepeated, Daisy from Concrete is 8a (knees), 8a+ (without). And there you have it, why do people find grading so hard. It's actually piss :)

Video of Broken Trigger:

Mike Hart has climbed a worthwhile new low Rockatrocity link. Beneath the wobbly block are some slopey holds and its likely that RA has been done from here before. Mike found a nice start right on the back wall that gives it a logical start. There is a undercut and a big sidepull. It's cool in that it comes out in a straight line. I expect the difficulty is similar to Pit of, perhaps a little easier. Nice one! an attempt:

The dog in the background is known as Hatch and the link is called Hatchatrocity!

Friday, 12 October 2012

Big Numbers Descend on The Diamond

Pete Robins has ticked his Diamond project just in the nick of time! After battling with day after day of bad conditions he pulled through onto the juggy ground today to give the route a logical first belay. Pete had bolted the route to the top of the crag - a 30 metre monster. However the crag got wet after the deluge and never really recovered. I got this rather happy txt of the man of the moment: " Skin of my teeth!!! So good to have dry holds! So so relieved. Top was dripping unfortunately but not really bothered. Is this really happening?". Quite happy then it seems. The line in question does the first boulder problem of the Brute straight off the deck and then a big leftwards dyno leads to slots and tiny crimps. The first 6 bolts are so intense, Pete likened this section to doing a long Font 8a. After this a reasonable (?) shakeout is gained before more hard bouldering which leads to lots of jugs (but still on steep ground). From here the extension turns into a stam fest and blasts to the top on mainly good holds. Pete's route finishes slightly higher than the Brute belay.
Pete has been cranking in the area since 2009 climbing most the hard routes including the LPT 8c+ trilogy. He's done a couple of good FAs (Stiff Upper Lip Extension is probably the best) but he definitely had a reputation amongst us locals as being a bit bolt shy. It's more that we were imagining what we would bolt up if we had his ability. Pete Harrison put it to Pete early on in Diamond season and he explained that he didn't want to take a few days off climbing to bolt something as he was worried he'd lose fitness (obviously absurd). Pete's probing seemed to spur him on however and he was soon bolting his way down the Diamond to create an amazing project all of his own. I was quite shocked when i saw he'd pulled his finger out but he didn't mess about and his project was blatantly one of the best hard routes in Britain. Many sessions of effort and beta tweaking followed. Also as the best conditions started to become less regular he had to be patient and resolve himself to climbing on it when it was less than perfect. On the day i went to film him he used a block of chalk trying to dry the holds out. The man wanted it! Pete says his route (as yet unnamed) is likely 8c+ and that it will be half a grade harder to take it to the top for whoever fancies that. It is a great moment for the Diamond. It seems absurd given the steepness and obvious amount of hard lines but until last year the hardest route there was 8a+. The 8cs - 9as were staring us in the face but we needed someone good to get keen. I think this is just the start for this amazing crag, i'd love to see the topo in ten years! Despite it's obvious downsides the quality and inspiring nature of the routes means it should be a forcing ground for years to come.
Some video stills.
Nails first section:

2nd hard section:

It would seem that 8b and 8c+ are the hard grades to go for in North Wales. Come on beasts we need more 8b+/8cs!

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Bouldering Season!

Since my Pigeons project got wet i haven't been back on a rope. I'm too dismayed so unless by some miracle it dries i'll probably put the rope back in the gimp dungeon til next year. I've been trying a boulder project that i've played on a bit this year. It's coming together and i'm hoping it won't turn into an epic. I was also keen to finish off Pilgrim which i've also tried quite a few times this year. The thing is with the Cave is that it's hard just to dip in and out and make progress. Even with sustained effort i'd get to the flake on RA one day and not even get across the arch a few days later. This kind of thing just makes a siege hard work. Every backwards day acts as a razor to the scrotum. I've wanted to do this link since i first did Rocka 10 years ago. It seems like one of the most obvious ones in there and is so sustained. I used to try the arch so many times, long before it was a popular recognised link. I could never figure out a sequence but it's got easier as people have got better with there heels and you don't even need to heel these days if you don't want as there is a new foothold under RA jug. I finally started to get into RA but this was only half the battle. 9 sustained moves of tough 7c followed but the good thing with this kind of thing is that you do gain the specific fitness and you will improve if you put the time in. The first major crux is hitting the flake from the start, this is definitely a stopping point and if you get it you may well get to the last moves. Most people fall off the end on the RA links, the last move is a bit of a heartbreaker. I got back into Llandudno from work at about 5.30, i was looking forward to chilling out after working a nightshift last night and a afternoon today but i gave myself a kick up the arse (well i squeezed my nuts) and convinced myself to go and give it a redpoint. Owen Scouse was there with his rabbit savaging beast and his meaty lights. I warmed up complaining about not feeling great. I said to Owen that if i ever got past my highpoint and got the heel on at the end i might have a chance - i didn't really believe it. I sat down at the start of Left Wall, climbed across the arch perfectly and embarked on RA. It felt different this time, i was solid, i didn't cut loose and was soon at the tensiony end which marked my highpoint. I got my feet onto the ramp this time and the end wasn't really an issue. I screamed in pure surprise, i couldn't believe it. Where were the sessions dropping that last move? it doesn't normally happen like this! It's my first non Pill Box 8a+ but it's 25 moves so more like a hard F8b+.

A good attempt a few weeks ago:

So cool in the night!:

Friday, 5 October 2012


I often think what my life's focus would have been if I hadn't have got hooked on climbing when i was younger. For me as much as i love the process of climbing up bits of rock, the athletic side of it and having great days out with fellow psyched people in cool places i tend to think of it in terms of inspiration. I think if you can draw inspiration from something in life you've got it cracked. To stay driven and motivated through all of life's ups and downs isn't easy. Everyone faces adversity at one point or another and that's why i think it's so damn useful to have something that will always motivate you and keep you positive. Of course most people aren't lucky enough to stumble upon something that gives them such focus and motivation. It's not something you can force and to get obsessed about something is an organic process. You can lay the seeds but they may never grow. Whether it be making a million, sailing round the world in a bathtub or just collecting stamps i genuinely believe those with the inspiration are onto a winner and will be the most fulfilled when its time to stomp up to the pearly gates. I hope you're one of the lucky ones.

(Jeez that was almost like one of the old Sunday Sermons!)