Friday, 16 November 2012

The Beast Is Caged..

On an exceptionally sunny day, I found myself set free by my better half, plied with big drills and lashings of static rope. Thus equipped I was off to the quarries. Arriving at Bus Stop I was greeted by Carlos himself, off for a spot of slacklining. Spurred on by this fortuitious meeting, we walked in together, him under a load of wide tape and rigging ropes, myself under about 25kg of spaff.
Unfortunately, I'd forgotten my hammer..
Fortunately, I was only 100 yards from the car when I realised this, and as I got back to vehicle, Ian Lloyd Jones appeared and presented me with one. The Slateheads were smiling down....
As was the sun, water, sweating and panting breaks were required, but I eventually staggered to the weighing hut at the top of the yellow wall steps. It was here I promptly got lost and staggered up and down the scree like a numpty, trying to find the Razor's notch. This col is one I frequented and owned godamit, back in my freer days, a calling point on many of my wanderings. However, I turned up eventually and sought my solution to getting all the gear to the Twll Mawr Summit. After tossing Ian's hammer repeatedly into the void (tied to the static) I bit the bullet, paid out lots of slack and lashed myself to the rigging. Its a fairly simple solo to the summit, But negotiating it dragging a rope, which in turn needs to run free enough to allow me to get it back to the hauling point meant some thoughtful moments.
Still I got to my sunbed eventually....

The picture shows all the gear I pack horsed up:
36v drill + 2 batteries
40 bolts
100 of Static Rope
Lunch and water
assorted climbing and bolting spaff.

The view down the beast.
As usual things didn't go to plan, the hollow bit took a hammering, wouldn't fall off, but merely wobbled. I was concious that the bolting should prevent the rope running over the sharp fins on the upper section, or bringing the rope / protection in the firing line if it did shed. The solution was one bolt in the closed out upper section, keeping it bold but safe. The upper groove remained Cam #2 protected, keeping the rope away from danger, but you never get far above them, before getting to the bolt.

The Lower section is bolted well out the way, and is pretty overhanging anyway (the rope here is hanging plumb vertical) and the belayer is in a tunnel.
Everybody safe.
That done, I proceeded to the main event. Rebolting Journey to the centre of the earth. a F6a+/E1 that gets three stars and ends 30m up an 80m wall (hence 100m of static).

As you can see the daylight was beginning to go at this point. With the old rusty bolts being imperial and slightly under drilled, I soon abandoned thoughts of removal, and pushed on. 7 bolts in 30m looks pretty spacey, but at least they're good ones now. At the bottom I started to prepare to rebolt Full metal jack off. Basically I dumped all the kit below it and tied it to the bottom of the rope.

Up I Shunted until a pendulum into the belay was possible without slicing the line. It was proper dark now. I abandoned optimism, replaced the belay, and fixed a handline to the lost world ladders. Once I'd stashed the gear on the ladders, I set about shunting back up, stripping the rebelays and getting back to my head torch.
Proper Dark, Proper tired. I stacked the rope back in the bag and packed everything I could see. Rebolting Full metal and the porphory chair will have to wait until I get another bolting window (or someone else is inspired). They can be done with a less bulky kit list however, as both belays are accessible off the Mordor ring path. I'll probably put in a belay for the middle earth ladder too, so the nervous can rope out to escape the pit.

So the Beast is now ready for me, Caged but not fully tamed (the hollow jaws..) a sport grade or a sporting tradish? My heart tells me it'll be HVM  (f7ish)

Watch this Space

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