Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Twll Fest!

North Wales has a fine tradition of volunteers getting stuck in to spruce up and spring clean our more neglected and vegetable ridden rocks, be it Al Leary abbing Gogarth with his Ice axe and Yard Brush, or the more organised, beer and brush brigade such as TremFest at Tremadog.
When discussing the fineries of Twll Mawr with valued customers at the wall, the responses one usually gets is "Loose" "bush bashing" or sometimes "death". However, the reality is that the rock is fairly compact and any detached pieces tend to be just sitting on ledges, rather than loitering in the shadows waiting to pounce. Death, apart from at the hands of raptors is extremely uncommon, but I can't deny that its is the residence of some particularly malevolent bush.

Before Ian Lloyd Jones came along and invited the masses, this didn't matter much as only I seemed to climb there, and I always carried some secateurs. Saying that I did write up the back wall section for the Ground Up Guide and gave the routes I particularly enjoyed stars. One such route is Hamadryad; a magnificent E3 I climbed in 2003 with a particularly hungover Aussie Conrad. Apart from the Bastard Bush of Twll Mawr, I have no particular memories of incapacitating shrubbery, just good gear (bar the 1st pitch which was Conrad's anyway) bags of adventure and lots of pitches of real climbing. Classic Joe Brown really; awesome line, sustained entertainment, and that warm glow when its accomplished.

Imagine my surprise then, shortly after the Guide came out, to find Big Tim and the Bullock on my back wall! the first party I'd seen there without me tied to them ever... My warm glow soon dissipated, however, as their reports seemed mainly to be about brambles and bush- Oh well a hamadryad is a mischievous woodland spirit after all.

Fast forward to the arrival of Smaug, and many of the valued customers at the wall were now singing a different tune, and some of the more adventurous were commenting on the unfortunate nature of the fine line to Smaug's left, a Fine Line under the tyranny of Furze. This led me to thinking I could redeem my attribution of 2 stars, and maybe tempt some more people (apart from Big Tim and Bullock) to the delights of Twll Mawr Trad.

So yesterday I borrowed a long static rope and descended with a patio knife, well worn secateurs and a leather gauntlet. 100 and a bit meters later; with many coiffed ledges, grubbed out gorse and well yanked brambles (the gauntlet was well used) between myself and the top, I arrived just above the aid bolted crux. 50cm above the crux actually, pitch 1 and the first 20m or so of pitch 2 are not particularly hindered by veg (and I couldn't be bothered to drag that much rope anyway) but I thought I'd get the full crack clear.
50cm short...........
So I did this:

Having put in all that work, I transferred to the shunt and pottered back up. much enjoyment and watching of edges ensued..

The Bastard Bush with its new haircut. I couldn't bring myself to grub it out entirely, as we have history, and its used in the guide to show where Taith Mawr veers off (that sloping ledge beyond..)

A Nice Clean Crack.

Looking up the route from the tree on the second belay

Looking down the route from its second tree of note on pitch 3.

So there it is. It'll even have chalk on it until it rains, so get to it.

No comments:

Post a Comment