Thursday, 30 March 2017


Sooo I only went and sent my Clegir project!

Only 4 weeks ago that I reported I was applying a little psyche to this long term project ( a mere 3 years not as long as Some). This mainly involved repeated watching of my link attempts vid, plenty of boulder setting at the wall, and replacing the Slivers with The Slivers mk2.

Once again I think that success came down in part to improved core. However, trying really hard was also a big factor. Skadoosh is basically a 3 move bloc. Hold the starting holds and weight the foot dink off to the left, Dyno to the crux hold of the Filling, bring your left up to the adjacent slopey crimp, then dyno for the finish of the Filling. All of these elements brought their own challenges.

The day of success was Monday. Dry and sunny, not much wind, but pretty low humidity. It was an unexpected trip out as I thought I was on baby duty, but got a last minute pass. Upon arriving at the boulder I was keen to try some further links on the project, but discovered I'd failed to bring my tripod to gather some footage (data folks!) or my brushes to squeak the holds. 

Resigned to a bit of a slap about I started my warm up on the 6B+ James' Sit Down, and lapped it a few times. I then moved onto the 6C the Filling which shared some ground with the project. Got this a couple of times and then chalkballed rubbed and bashed the project.

First plan was to link to the end from after the crux dyno. I got this second go I think, and ditched shoes for a rest, hydration and a wee(weight loss you see).

I was feeling quite good about the top, and thought I should really go for it from the bottom, as if I didn't really believe I can do it, why was I there?

First few slaps were ineffectual as I wasn't getting the foot/ body position right. This started to come together and I was getting a confident launch. Next slap was short, but almost on target. I then slapped the hold! didn't hold it but that was a case of more belief, surely.

Rest,  boots off, fiddle with the camera wedged in the tree. Check data.

Slap! Hold! boom! fell on my bum. This was a good sign, if I wasn't committing I'd land on my feet so giving proper guns.

Slap! Hold! Match! Step through! Launch!


Still a good sign, I just needed to land the initial slap precisely to give a good enough hold for the final launch. My Biceps were still fresh as daisies, it was my contact that was preventing proper power. Some goes I even was able to readjust on the hold, my left giving good transfer; power maintaining contact.

I'd texted the missus to say sorry but I was Really Really Really close to success and was staying out a bit longer. Pressure was building with a few dabs sapping my confidence, and causing me to thin out the landing, only to drop between mats next attempt.

20-30 attempts down the line, I resigned myself to getting it next visit, and at least I had some good data to peruse. Unfortunately I then went to peruse said footage and accidentally deleted it.

Sore of skin and fingers, mentally a little battered too, I was a bit put out.

I talked myself into giving it one last good go, so I could take away at last some footage. I wedged the camera in the tree again and stepped up to the plate....

Skadoosh 7A+

Looking back, the removal of the pressure of succeeding may have tipped the balance, either that or the rock just got bored of shrugging me off.

Well chuffed. On top of this, 2 weeks ago I managed to send one of Big G's open offwidth projects that he put on the latest Boulder of the Month. More when I get the piccies back off a mate.

Keep trying hard!

Thursday, 9 March 2017

New Toys, New Ploys

Wednesday I got out for a wander. No ordinary wander, this was a wander in wellies to ascertain how much of a ball ache it really is to slog up to the Super prow from Pen y Grwyd. I have nominally nominated the Super Prow to be the recipient of this years patioing efforts. The reasons for this is that now one will ever go beyond a top rope on this thing without the landing being sorted a bit. That, and its such a ridiculously monumental task, I'd really have to try hard to top it afterwards...

"Oh yes, I thought I'd spend my precious free time in 2017, moving 2 tonne of boulders around at 650m altitude, a mere 2km or so from sensible things like roads.."

after half an hour of bog slogging, our objective is sighted...

This trip was also the first outing for my new camera. For years now I've relied on my camera phone to record the monumental delights I've encountered. On the whole its been great, but avid followers may have noted the old phone is occasionally corrupting some of the masterpieces lately, and as I've just moved to a sim only contract, I ain't getting an upgrade anytime soon. Cue a trawl of ebay and 20 quid later I now own a Pentax Optio P80 ; 12.1 mega pixels in my pocket now, with a x4 optical zoom too. All in a tiny package easy to slip in my pocket.

All this is distracting from the fact I was now sweating buckets and had lost the cup off the end of my walking pole. Still the objective was now tangibly close.

Behold the Super Prow

I neither took this approach or used it to egress. However, I had a nightmare on both, so this might be a better Idea.

The start of a patio...

The Idea of slogging up here for a bit of neolithic engineering was seeming more and more daft. Especially as if your feet came off out of control you'd probably swing off down the valley without some form of leash on...

lying on the lip of the patio, looking at the sky..

It had taken me 70mins to reach the patio site. this left me 20mins to shuffle rocks before the sprint to work had to commence.
The prow and the car. I made it between these points in 45mins.

A couple of shots (using the zoom) of a potentially fruitful craglet cluster

(from higher up)

I'll leave you with a shot of the Troubles Braids area. Still lots to do even here...

Come and play (bring Wellies)

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Skill Acquisition; The Wuxi Finger Hold

So Years ago I pretty much pinched James' Boulder. Did the sitters, built the patio, the whole territorial pissing thing. What was left was the aesthetic central line with attractive starting holds, and a damn ugly squatting start. This was the Skadoosh Project. I'm still no closer to doing it, In fact I'm a little further away, as once more years ago, I actually latched the crux dyno.

However, as an exercise in patience, I thought I would apply a little psyche to the issue, and maybe slowly sneak up on my would-be adversary.

This is the opening skirmish; a little video showing what I can do, rather than focusing on what I can't. That'll be the crux dyno then, and linking it all of course. But as Bobo the Bear says "Baby Steps Sir, Baby Steps".


I'm posting quite a lot at the moment as I'm actually getting out a bit, certainly more than normal. I'm also getting a little excited again, Finding the Happy Happy Joy Joy of climbing once more.

Watch this Space
Not for too long though, it may rain or the kids get sick or I break myself again, or I may just forget to post. I wouldn't want you to get bored.

Monday, 27 February 2017

Taking a Bite

You know in the movies when the hero confronts the bully in the car, and the bully gets out of the car, well unfolds his giant frame out of the, frankly small, car. One of those bitten off a bit much moments...

I went in to abseil the Shard last Friday, on the dry day of the latter half of February.
My highball mat seemed very small, and the rope dangled far out from the bottom. 6m high, and about 50cm overhanging at its furthest point maybe. Good solid, rough rock. Not many holds..

By the time I'd found all the useful holds and got them chalked, I was certainly questioning how quickly I could get this done. My calculations soon indicated a need for many more mats and a spotter for proper injury prevention. I'll need at least 4 mats, with a bit of shuffling. I also need to get much more stronger. There's a mono pocket undercut for flip sake...

To console myself I checked out this other block I'd spotted on the last visit. Nothing like a quick send to boost the spirits..

This wonderfully faked footage shows the length of the initial dyno I'd need to make. From there  is another huge chuck to the top. Poor feet throughout. I went and repeated The Goodie to cheer myself up, and then ran of to work (literally, at least as far as the car..)

The View from the top of the Shard. The Right hand circle is the Super prow (this years Patio Project), and the left is a boulder field that I found a photo of from a previous visit recently, some steep rock there.


Saturday, 18 February 2017

Stepping off Once Again

So after a few forays round the slate quarries, and maybe a resurgence of psyche for slippery sharp adventure, I decided that I needed a new plaything in the Mountains. Something new to be afraid of and drawn to in equal measure.

Behold the Shard:
Nicely Highball. Suitably Difficult too, however there was some doubt as to whether it would allow ascent or try to crush me like a bug. First mission was to climb to the top round the back and give it a kick. This proved to be adventurous... 

It did survive the kick test though, so I started finding out what was keeping it up. The shard is in front of this big block,

It is lapped in place by the big block...

And the big block is sort of tied in...

So first tests are proving positive, next the landing.. 
Massive surf board. Enter the Jack!

Landing sorted. Now I just have to try it. It is safe to say I am rather excited, and a little crapping it. The landing is still bumpy but not a patio candidate for many reasons:
 1) It'd look rubbish
2) The lumps are only mat depth, so 3 mats should sort it.
3) We are in bog land, no material, and it'd stand out like a turd in a punch bowl.

Still lots in Cwmffynnon

There's Treasure Everywhere

Friday, 10 February 2017

New Friends, Old Friends, and the European Enclave of Mordor

Took another wander today to look at Harold's new routes in the top of Lost World, a tad frosty, this morning, and hoar frosted slate scree certainly made some of the scrambling quite exciting

 Some of the rocks scars left in Lost world do not seem as settled as I first thought...
 I was also tickled to see the European flag flying over the Kyber Pass. Beyond on the Willow plain, JCB's are creating an impressive grid of track ways and buildings. The plan seems to be to stabilise Yr Ceiliog (Trango Tower) so it stops falling on First Hydro's office roof. I doubt its been that busy down there since Willow itself was filmed.

The main aim of the morning was to check out how The Beast in Me was fairing. Its been 2 years or so since I put this baby to bed, and as it has had no suitors in the meantime, I was keen to check it wasn't returning to nature too badly, or indeed falling down. It turned out the rope I had bought with me was too short, however, in the hut above was the rope I had used to access it back in 2014. The hut was dry and as it was on top of a pinnacle, goat free. 
 After checking it for mouse chews, I popped over the edge.

The moss managed to avoid all the holds you actually use! I was also please to find the rock all in one piece. Its impressively non flaky for this part of the quarry.

Even more impressively the crux off width was squeaky clean! This may have had something to do with its overhanging, sheltered nature, or maybe something to do with this:

Heartily recommended if you want to keep your slate project slime free for seemingly years...

Other routes have not fared so well. Ticks Groove and Prometheus Unbound have spilled their guts.

So there it is, if you want to repeat a hardish route in Mordor, The Beast in Me (HVM) is cleanish and not in any immediate danger of falling down. There's even an abb rope (a little green and stiff...)


Thursday, 26 January 2017

Back in the blood

Training is going slow and frequently derailed, not quite enough obsession kicking round to drive me on. Sometimes its too much fun just being Dad, and bouldering requires me to actually be good, at least for the things on my radar.

Luckily I may have stumbled on a solution, with mizzle and other complications I've been stuck for mini adventure Ideas, for when I only have a short window of quixote time. I've therefore set myself a challenge to compile notes for all the changes and additions that have birthed since the Slate guide got published.

This, started as an act of whimsy, has now reached 20 pages and has resulted in some fine stomps. A bizarre side effect has been that I'm actually getting some psyche back for playing in the quarries. After all things Twll Mawr, I kind of felt I'd drawn that chapter to a close, but the jaunts have reinfected me somewhat. Some examples:
Harlod Walmsey's Routes high up in Heavens Cutting. These will be a good adventure for the low grade sport aficionado, providing they don't shed too many holds. However on the opposite side of the cutting are a load of clean highball aretes and slabs with flat landings. Food for thought 

Who bolted this buttress, curious and curiouser

The buttress in question is  in the centre of the pic, above the sadly collapse Alice Springs, a route put up by my dearly departed mate Dave. If I ever bolted again, I'd like to follow that hanging slab left over the void.

Some more of Harold's work. Some really strong looking lines in the middle of Upper Dinorwic in an area he's named Ayer's Rock. The right hand line Kata Tjuta Rib follows an old Giveaway Project of the Month.
The left hand wall of the bay looked familiar. Turns out I soloed through here 15 years ago, what became If you Kill People They Die. Nice to see its still standing.

Looking down into Australia from the adventurous mess that is Upper Diniorwic

Another new development is the Plateau slab. Ian Lloyd Jones secured access to this  area, which was previously banned under the Access agreement negotiated in the late 80's.

2 routes in this area previously left out of the guide were mentioned in the old black book, I was intrigued by Stay Big..

And here it is! This whole section looks ripe for some highballing, but the one pad I'd bought with me wasn't enough to persuade me to engage quite yet.

And so on to the main event! I had been invited to come and play for the morning, by my work mate Alex. What me? going to climb popular classics? I had great fun, leading Pull My Daisy (which I'd last led 20 years previously) and cleanly seconding Splitstream. I was particularly pleased with this as I feel pretty much fresh from the couch, and it also marks my first Redhead route!

So Slates back in the blood. Lets see what adventure awaits!