Thursday, 4 September 2014

The Antiquarian

An Antiquarian is a student of history, an observer of things past, and scholar of ancient artefacts. In my meanderings through the slate quarries I've always strived to delve beneath the surface and find out about the weird and wonderful rusting contraptions of quarry detritus, not just from active quarrying times, but the modern "quarrymen"; the inspection bolt of a long disregarded project, the Wedgefast nut I unearthed on Mancer direct, a peg in no-man's land.
Readers of the blog may remember talk of Twll Mawr and the efforts of Joe Brown and company to force lines up its big back wall. As They didn't get to the top, they didn't record them, and these often bold and adrenalin filled epics risk sliding out of folklore.
Today Calum Muskett took me out for a days climbing to try to stitch together some of these artefacts so that they can be remembered and valued. I don't necessarily think we completed their projects, as I don't know the line they were envisioning, but we visited some of their high points and had fun doing so. Its worth stating this wasn't an anti-bolt mission either; we made use of them when it suited us, but were keen for a trad adventure...
The Antiquarian E4/5, 5b, 6a, 6a, 5b
Bimble up the chain to rack up as for Razor's Edge.
1) 30m? Climb the pillar left of the V groove, cross the the next rib on the left and quest up to the crack for some more reassuring gear. Rise until level with the TDOS belay and bimble over to it.
2) 40m? Clip the first bolt of TDOS then enter the groove, follow until pushed onto the rib and follow until the First of Joe Browns bolts is spotted over by the corner on the right. Gain this and go up to the bolt at his high point (diff to clip as bunged up with old tat). Continue in the corner until a slightly unnerving slopey traverse gains the big slopey ledge, shuffle left on this to the TDOS belay.
3) 50m? Climb the corner system directly above the belay, to a decaying pink sling on a flake (remnant of a Ray Kay Jaunt). A rising traverse left meets the junction with the Taith Mawr Traverse (cam slot) follow this back right to where TM belays but quest directly up the corner system above the belay (plug the gear in the easy bits because its about to run out). the corner starts to shut out into the right arête, surmount the arête to join pitch 5 of TDOS just before the crux, follow this to the belay.
4) 20m Finish as for TDOS.
C Muskett, M Dicken 4/9/14

Myself leading P1, the rib of P2 is above my helmet, Took me a while to drop back into this style of fun, RPs apenty! I led 1st and last, and let calum do the hard work....

Pitch two, Joes highest bolt is a body length above me by the Veg. The black slabs of slate are a touch fragile/crumbly and make for an exciting ramble

psyching up for the slopey traverse, Calum has a little reach and height on me, so I felt a little intimidated by the space between the chalk...

I had a lot of Fun (thanks Calum) and relived a lot of old memories from my time on Taith Mawr, there are a couple of meanderings on P2&3 so feel free to claim The Antiquarian Direct!


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