Saturday, 17 December 2011
Right, back to the giveaway. This Christmas I thought this might be an appropriate little teaser:
Chwarel muriau gwynion mawr, in the fachwen section of Llanberis slate, uphill quadrant of the hole (but still requires a sensitive approach).
20-30m of clean knife edge arete. some sun. not many holds.
enjoy and Merry Christmas!
Friday, 25 November 2011
Monday, 21 November 2011
Saturday, 12 November 2011
What I found inside...
Basically it aint how I left it last time I was here! a slight collape from the roof before the tunnel mouth means although light still comes through and a wriggler could wriggle, they'd likely be squashed like a bug. Here's a shot I took before the fall from outside:
And here is yesterday:
You'll notice the outer skin is unchanged, however the floor of the tunnel is definitely raisedand the block on the left behind the outer skin has dropped down. I'd guess that although you could abseil in to start it, while the move may be the same, the stability of the outer skin might be questionable on a macro scale.
Friday, 4 November 2011
Thursday, 27 October 2011
Things I've learned:
- I may not be the choss hound I once was.
- I can still make reasonable decisions.
- When the crack smells of fish, its time to back off.
Wednesday, 26 October 2011
Tuesday, 25 October 2011
Friday, 21 October 2011
- I have been far too busy looking for unclimbed rock when the climbed bits are quite good
- I may have a diferent view on what makes a good slate experience...
Traditional views on what makes a good slate route:
- Strong line
- Memorable moves
- Reliable protection
- Trustworthy rock
- Wanting to climb that route again
In my quests and foray's into the slate realm I've been drawn to a slightly skewed criteria:
- Memorable setting
- Magnetic line
- Guarenteed adventure
- An intimate psychological experience
- A Good Name
Therefore, here is my alternative slate list:
- Act Naturally (p77) Still my favorite VS.
- See you Bruce (p81) My first E3 lead (back when it only had 2 bolts).
- Big Thursday (p56) Inspected but not started yet (still toying with a solo like Buffer).
- The Serpent Vein (p97) A memorable belay duty.
- Dali Mirror (p102) Sandbag-tastic.
- California Arete (p119) best experienced in solitude.
- Fruit of the Gloom (p122) an equal balance of desire and revulsion.
- Taith Mawr (p172) (trumpet blowing alert) a proud moment.
- Bushmaster with the Scorpion finish (p172) all that is good about Joe Brown routes.
- Josy Puss (p181) the line! the line! (still lacking courage).
- Rainbow of Recalcitrance (p203) one day..
- Come inside (p225) again, a good solo experience.
- Liquid Armbar (p290) (trumpet blowing alert) distilled sweat in a jewel of an arena
- Bring me the head of Don Quixote (p299) (trumpet blowing alert) I didn't give it stars in the guide as it's specialist enjoyment, but a stout adventure in another surreal hole.
- Giddy Variations on a Theme (p304) less a line, more a desire.
Five left to do
(that and the rain, and the fact I haven't climbed outside yet this month)
Three Star Routes by their areas!
- Fool's Gold
- Forsinain Motspur
- Geordie Warcry
- Scarlet Runner
- Looning the Tube
- Big Thursday
- Wish You were Here
- G'day Arete
- The Serpent vein
Holy Holy Holy
- California Arete
- Wedlock Holiday
- Spider Pants
- Central Sadness
- The Big Sur
- Waves of Inspiration
- Stairway to Silence
- Seams the Same
- The Medium
- Heading the Shot
Never Never land
- Never Never Land
- Short Stories
Monkey Bar area
- Coeur de lion
- The Quarryman (****)
- The Fire Escape
- The Wonderful world of Walt Disney
- The Wall Within
- Dinorwig Unconquerable
- Jack of Shadows
- Light and Darkness
- Big Wall Party
- Major Headstress
- Ride the Wild Surf
- Great Balls of Fire
- Pull My Daisy
- Chewing the Cwd
- Released From Treatment
- Naked Before the Beast
- Rainbow of Recalcitrance
- Bungles Arete
- Poetry in Pink
- The Very Big and the Very Small
- Raped by Affection
- Cystitis by Proxy
- Stiff Syd's Cap
- Prick up Ureas
- Cwms the Dogfish
- Vermin on the Ridiculous
- The Untouchables
- The Mau Mau
- True Clip
- German School Girls
- Spong (is good for you)
- The Dark Half
- Dawes of Perception
- Bobby's Groove
- Soap on a Rope
- Dope on a Rope
- Gin Palace
- Comes the Dervish
The Bone People
This list includes:
- Only 2 routes younger than 15 years old
- Only 14 routes of E3/f7a or below
- Only 1 route with real objective danger
- Only 10 routes I've done (4 more I've failed at)
- 31 routes I really should do (without a risk of death, or requiring a hero transplant)
Looks like I'd better get cracking..
Monday, 17 October 2011
Star ratings are initially arbitrarity applied be the authors (Pete, Simon and I) in relation to some control specimen (in this case the Dervish ***). this subjective round of applause is then glanced at by a crack cadre of nitpickers (the proof reading/ soundboarding team) who may dissagree / notice them.
So how to present my findings? Tables! (wrong data for graphs)
Ok lists, I'm not blog literate enough.
Basically I was wanting to see who saw and delivered the good routes, whose quests were of quality rather than cack.
Up first the Top ten of Slateheads with routes of three stars (or more)
Rank ][ Slate Head ][ No. of *** Routes
1 J Dawes 10
2 D Towse / J Redhead 8
3 P Williams 7
4 G Smith 5
4 N Harms 5
6 S Haston 4
7 C Phillips 3
7 M Crook 3
7 P Pritchard 3
7 J Sylvester 3
As you can see I've put Towse and Redhead together, as in the quarries they were joined at the hip anyway....
The next list is a biggy; The top 20 starred slate heads based on total stars awarded.
After the quantity of stars I've added in brackets this figure divided by the total no. of routes in the quarries that they've sired - a sort of average star rating....
Rank ][ Slatehead ][ Total no. of Stars (average star rating)
1 J Dawes 42 (2)
2 I Lloyd Jones 41 (0.64)
3 N Harms 39 (1.63)
4 D Towse / J Redhead 36 (2.77)
5 S Haston 35 (1.17)
5 P Pritchard 35 (1.59)
7 P Williams 28 (2)
8 M Crook 26 (1.3)
9 G Smith 25 (1.47)
10 M Raine 22 (1.38)
11 C Dale 20 (1.18)
12 C Phillips 18 (0.43)
13 C Parkin 16 (1.07)
14 C Davies 14 (0.82)
14 J Ratcliffe 14 (1.75)
16 B Wayman 13 (1.08)
16 P Hawkins 13 (1.08)
18 R Drury 12 (1.2)
18 J Sylvester 12 (2)
18 M Dicken 12 (0.5)
Rankings in italics are tied. Please note that all data collection and proccessing was fueled either by insomnia or coffee, so may contain some errors.
Make of it what you will....
Saturday, 15 October 2011
Tim and Nick were on Hamadryad. First time I've ever seen someone on the back wall of Twll mawr who wasn't tied to me on a rope...
Seems like they were having Fun, and the Bastard Bush of Twll Mawr was living up to its name. No real seapage on the back wall at the mo' so its all up for grabs.
This slightly naff picture is looking at the bottom of Braich, namely the East wall and Vilcabamba (pages 96-97)
The Fin of rock that boasts Where Green ants Dream and is skirted around to gain Buffer in a Crackhouse is seporate from the adjoining level. various spills of slate debris, probably even from working times have dropped in the gap, forming a roof of sorts.
This giveaway is a through trip; I attempted it on several occasions as a single man of limited ties, and each attempt was thwarted by a drastic need for fresh underwear.
All my attempts were from the Buffer side, as the "Floor" of the chamber is higher at this end, thus removing the need to ascend on matter of unknown actuality.
"Floor" is a poor descriptor; more of a mezzanine or catwalk. The protracted tinkling under your feet soon actuates active bridging and allows some further entrance. It was the point where this elevator shuffling requires descent that I chose to retreat for more fragrant delicates.
One for a keen explorer
Sunday, 2 October 2011
Friday, 16 September 2011
Direct up the middle to the hanging crack is Desire is Repressed Fire which I originally led with a friend 2 in the pocket to the right at E2 6a, but makes a good V2 highball. Above the rock on the right is Sharks Patrol these Waters, again led at E3 6a but V3 in pad speak, as long as a spotter's perched on the rock. The crag is bound on the left by Chemistry Crack, given VS by us but always soloed without pads, and involving some nifty arm bar work.
The area to the right of Chemistry Crack, between the dark patch and the ledge is now Its not the Years, Its the Mileage an 8m V6. I first pulled on in 2003, having glimpsed the glimmer of a line, a gosamer of possibility threading up the wall from an obvious side pull just in from the arete. The problem was, although it definately existed, grasping it was like capturing a golden snitch made of razor blades. After a clean, ground up efforts were applied, tips ripped, and hair pulled out. Basically back then my fingers were strong, but my core was flaccid, and my feet were therefore not being effective enough at taking the weight off my skin, hence the rippage.
Fast forward to my birthday this year and I finally got past this:The Biro hold is rather like holding the pointy end of a biro and using your thumb to gaston off the ball. This obvious masochism is eased by the equvilent of tape jamming gloves:
The Tape Thimble
Big thanks to Wolf and Cinder the woof, who trudged all the way up this near vertical sea of sedge grass and got to pull on only once before the heavens opened... I owe you a crack at something out the shed
Tuesday, 6 September 2011
Monday, 22 August 2011
Whilst route checking for the aforementioned guide, I happened to spend rather a lot of time and 160m of static on the back wall of Twll Mawr.
This mighty crucible of adventure was pioneered by Joe Brown himself.
Any hoo, here's a snap shot:
My abb rope cuts across the steps of the Razors edge, the grey slab of the true finish is to the far left, and Taith Mawr skips beneath the overhangs in the top right. You may have noticed the overhanging dolerite arete just left of centre..
Here sweeping up the centre of the pic...
The green arrows are bolt belays placed by myself as means of assisting escape or rescue (and preserving my neck while exploring on abb). They rather lend themselves to a 3 pitches and a scramble direct up the back wall. Pitch one would seem possible between Bushmaster and Razors Edge. Pitch two is a 4c formality. Pitch three would be amazing... and appears to have sufficent weakenesses to allow the climbing (if not my belays) to be trad and bolt free.
I have held onto this rather, but the truth is its out of my league. try not to soil it.
Thursday, 18 August 2011
However, that was probably my weakness and inaccuracy. This time I got over 10 proper goes out the old pads. The Key advantage to my older frame is a proper core which just made things feel Easier.
Monday, 8 August 2011
Friday, 5 August 2011
Thursday, 28 July 2011
Wednesday, 20 July 2011
You see most of these giveaways are surplus bounty, that would require a divorce and a gratis boarding school for me to complete in their entirity.
This month its something I'm quite keen (and Able) to do
Some of my more dangerous stalkers may remember this
Now The last winter has done its work and the Offwidth in question is prime for a quick abb, lever, brush and garden..
...then it would be ready.
Now I'm focussing on the Beast, I'm quite happy for it to go to a loving home.
Back left of the bay on the far right, once clean (or go au natural for the XS tick) approach by the Liquid Armbar Abb. At the Belay continue abbing to the base of the gully on the left looking in. Belay here. From here it will be 10m of easy slab and crack, followed by 30m of vert to overhanging snaking 7inches to body swallower.
Maybe if you were in the area Filming?
Sunday, 17 July 2011
Friday, 15 July 2011
Thursday, 14 July 2011
The weather was warm and dry, Fraser Ball; father to wads, and cracker of obscene jokes was on hand to hold the ropes and destroy my belays, and at last I was revisiting Here.
With Fraser along I could approach the right Eye direct this time (this line was a bit damp last visit) and once through the tunnel we could tackle this:
This was another one of my "probably HVS" projects (the last one was Taith Mawr) that I thought would be a suitable jolly for me and Fraser. It turned out (as usual) to be a bit exciting and tricky. Proper good value, all in all. The sort of thinky, scary, body achey climbing I enjoy. Unlike the Midges that the humid evening invited out to eat us, reppellant left in the bags.....
Ho Hum, Here's the full Description of sorts:
Tales of the Golden Monkey E2 4c, 5c. 20m, 30m.
Named after This, But My memory prefered the cadence of golden to gold.
1. 20m 4c. Start Golgotha side right of the mouth of the skull. Scramble then climb dirct in to the right eye socket.
Follow the tunnel to the Twll Mawr side.
2. 30m 5c. Exit left looking out to find the groove round the corner. Climb this on small to diddy gear with much head scratching and muttering to a ledge, where a continuation groove above (staggered right) spits you out onto the tourist path.
Mark Dicken, Fraser Ball (13/7/11)
Friday, 8 July 2011
Tuesday, 28 June 2011
Thursday, 23 June 2011
Monday, 20 June 2011
Friday, 17 June 2011
I'm now getting to get out a bit which means I'm getting keen to do new stuff again. I've rationed myself to new boulders, and one route a year to prevent obsession getting in the way of family life (the Beast is already causing some serious daydreaming..)
All hunky dory, but I'm not quite getting out enough to refill the reservoir of unclimbed rocks in my head. This means I'm now getting down to stuff I've a real attachment to.
No Worries, once the Slate guide is out of my hair, I can start drawing people's attention to a couple of sweet blank spaces, and maybe I'll get out more...
This month there's a small but perfectly formed blank space, on a little ledge above Prometheus Unbound in Lost world:
The ledge is in the upper right corner, and is reached from the level you must now attain to drop down to the ladders to Kyber pass (since the railway got a little too exciting).
At its end is a lovely steep and economically featured wall with a glaciated top out, keeping it exciting to the end. Would suit bolts, and has a touch of seepage, but very pretty none the less.
Tuesday, 14 June 2011
The big news is I was able to clean this years new route project at the weekend
Codename:the Beast in me
Well it was an after work jobby, and with one thing or another I didn't yomp to position until 8.30, This provided me with certain information:
-Walking uphill for protracted periods with heavy bags is quite tiring
-Kiddie tunes buzzing round your head may be debilitating but at least they help you keep pace.
This being a responsible Daddy adventure, the belay involved 4 rope protectors and I was abbing with a shunt line. Very dope on a rope.
The top 5m of the Beast is a little bit scary with a couple of metres of runout, and a smattering of rp's:
THe brownish ledge you can see is the rest before this and the site of the last good cams. You can just about work out the v groove snaking away below this into the dark..
Those familiar with the more exciting parts of the quarries will recognise the fluffy green powder on the walls pre brushing..
Looking down through the main roof:
Wednesday, 25 May 2011
(note the clash stunt pad half over the mat and slope, 2 normal mats abutted should be fine..)
A better foot sequence and the belief my fingers were stronger seemed to do the trick. Start off the undercut inside Barred to the Bone and the flatty seen on the arete and follow the seam to glory. You dont use the foot block or cam the crack, but it feels a pretty natural, non eliminaty problem. V5/6 maybe, no Idea..
On to Toe bar, and got offthe ground a couple of times, but its still hard from here. I started thinking, esoteric technique or not, this was still quite hard, then Crack!
Mid Allez, my foot made the same noise my wrist did when I trashed it on a sloper, basically it gave in and noisily let go of its own accord, the Wuss!
Bit sore today but seems to still do what I want it to, might leave Toe Bar tho' as I can't be bothered to enter a specific training bout.
Should be climbing with a rope at the weekend! happy joy joy
Friday, 20 May 2011
After my Bunker session I was keen to try the test peices of the venue; namely Shed party, the Rake, Toe Bar and Receding Hairline. I knew a lot had changed for me with the arrival of the twins, dodgy wrists and general lack of excercise, and although I'd trained a bit and regained some fitness, I was keen for a comparision. Also I'm currently questioning my ability to grade, even back then, and this meant I was fairly curious how they'd feel.
First up was Shed Party which I'd given V4. Initial impressions was I was certainly bolder before the twins, as the landing was definitely 2 mats and a spotter territory. Not a mortality thing I think, just not wanting to injure myself and therefore missing the few opportunities I do get to climb (and affect my ability to earn..)
Got it done and I think V4 is about right, compared to say Heelhook traverse at the cromlech.
Next up The Rake, again V3 was about right, Its only one move, but a big one.
Tried Receding Hairline next. I'd given it V4/5 and to be honest thats way off. In 4-5 goes I only managed to get 2-3 moves in, and its pretty sustained. Again one mat wasn't enough as it covers some ground laterally. The Issue was my finger strength as I couldn't hold the Hairline seam. If WireBrush crack is a good V5 and the Edge Problem is currently thought V6, Its certainly closer to Edge Problem hardeness.
Toe Bar was a non Starter as I couldn't Pull on. I gave it V4 which is a joke. the hardest move is the initial pull which is mainly driven by the ankles by a double heel-toe. I'd obviously developed this strength lots with my invert bouldering at Feidr Fw, and so with this esoteric skill set it felt easy and therefore V4. I eventually conceeded to a standing start which i got 2nd time.
The Plan is to work both RH and Toebar and its alternate finishes. This will hopefully give some enjoyment as well as buff me up again..
Monday, 16 May 2011
Not wanting to waste time, I high tailed it to Clegir as it was in the breeze, and more importantly had phone reception and was near the car in case of Nappy Duties for Logan.
I hung out at the Bunker, which I haven't been to since here.
Since all that Clegir has got quite popular with pebble seekers and these lines have kind of got neglected. Shame really as Huggy Bear and The Wedge gave me a really good session. Even a couple of wet squalls didn't affect it as they were steep enough and sheltered. The Breeze even maintained dryness on the top out slabs and I bagged some thing New. Hug Avoidance starts as for Huggy Bear but after the first throw utilises a toe hook to gain crimps on the slab and rock out right.
So For Harassed Dad's with a spare hour The Bunkers a hit with three worthwhile puzzles to ponder and pull on.
Saturday, 14 May 2011
Sunday, 8 May 2011
"The Science of the Sword" is somewhere between V5-7 and starts sds on the left on two paralell slanty slopey crimps (10 past 8 O'clock) and follows the swirl through the bulge to the top.
Also bagged the direct sds line up the middle. "Lessons from a Rainstorm" is pretty dynamic and possibly V4
Grading is a bit confusing at the mo'
Saturday, 7 May 2011
I spent the rest of my time getting very excited about the rampline project, and even got off the ground before a rainbow stopped play.
watch this space.
Friday, 29 April 2011
Friday, 15 April 2011
Taking 5ish sessions, a lot of head scratching, swearing and resulting in the loss of a small chunk of my knee; "Somewhat Erratic" is best graded on the Haston scale as HVM. this is mainlt because I'm not sure if its V3 or V6. Probably somewhere in between. Sit start in the cave visible in the piccy (blurred, part of a twighlight boulder sesh) pull out left and keep goin round until above the cave, then saunter to the summit. The traverse follows a fairly obvious line, with hands remaining around head height (thats when standing on the ground clearly).
There are a couple of sitter straight ups; here modelled by Rory, currently projects.On the approach path is this esoteric gem, again modelled by Rory (used flash this time)
Whirligig is sort of V3/4 and Vsmall (3 sessions to eliminate dabs). However the bloc is so undercut, most types should be able to swing their pegs around without dabbing. Right to left, pull on by the flake, then lip traverse until you can pull out with the bore strike.
You may have noticed a dirth of posts about training, this is due to time and boredom. Training is impossible with out motivation. So I guess the next step is to clean the beast in me and see exactly how far I fall short, maybe that'll give me a kick up the arse.
Monday, 4 April 2011
Tuesday, 29 March 2011
Wednesday, 9 March 2011
The obvious chimney line drew me here - A tip off from Martin Crook
Wednesday, 16 February 2011
Tuesday, 25 January 2011
Wednesday, 19 January 2011
The Crystal Chasm
This is situated high in the eaves of Australia Quarry and is best accessed from the top levels of Braich, a couple above Far out level, at a rail track dump. Distilling thefinest attributes of the Lleyn, this compact mainly solid vast wall of quartzy stuff is about 40m long by 30m high, and would give many exciting adventures. As well as this the level incudes some very steep dolerite bouldering
Go get it
I first brought Grandpa's spade down into filmset quarry in 2007 with the intention of reopening the tunnel between gideon and filmset, which involved shifting a few square meters of slate scree which had slipped over the filmset exit. I succeded on new years day 2008, and due to a fair amount of affection for the place, left the spade in place for further adventure. For one, there was still a bit of scree coming down the shute, and also there were these amazing boulders..
Obviously I never got to platform them out, and 3 years or so after arriving down the hole, I went to retrieve my keepsake of a rather special man (To which he would probably say "Silly Boy...")