I had this gnawing from after the Baron, the panad with Mr Brown had had a significant effect. The efforts he had made to push new ground in Twll Mawr, the big pushes and forced retreats, covered far more ground than the legacy of 5 routes implies. The Antiquarian, Twll Love and The Baron follow 3 such forays, a forth lies under Long in the Twll... But there was a Fifth.
The back wall is rift by a series of slanting faultlines, most except Hamadryad are disguised by a deceptive topography of angular butresses, hidden until a sideways glance pops it up like a magic eye painting. One such rift rises just right of The Razor's Edge, and Joe sought to utilise this as a finish to RE..
He was turned back by this roof!
I'd seen this roof before on my travels as it lies above the belay at the end of the limbo pitch of Taith Mawr. Although, at the time I was mainly just trying to get Jon and myself back in one piece. It was fun dropping back through this territory, dwelling on the glories of past. I also discovered this!
The lost Bolt belay of Razor's Edge
I'd gone hunting for this when in the thick of the rebolting boom in 2005 or 6. I waskeen to get RE spruced up as it seemed such a great adventure. I'd already done Hamadryad, and the aid bolts on that were now redundant with some solid cams, but RE depended on a fair bit of fixed gear. I ended up popping a couple of bolts somewhere between True Finish and RE as I couldn't find a useable belay for either. I figured as this section of cliff had a sizable cakewalk, this belay could be used for rescues or escapes (there's a abb bolt and wire on the top above this too). Confused by the Paul Williams description that had been dragged through successive guides, I also popped a bolt in what I thought was a belay bay of RE further down this faultline...
Jollying down Reeves' magic abb rope, I seemed to require very little cleaning, as the rock was in most parts solid, if devoid of gear. The roof at the top seemed impossible from the abb line, however the arete you crawled round on Taith Mawr almost touched the left edge of the roof, and had a bit of heather on it which might imply gear..
Fast forward to last Friday, and an 830 start had Calum racking up at the bottom of the fault. Steve Long came along for a jolly and to take pics. The sun was up but the rock was still cool, and Calum dispatched the first rib pitch with much gear of varying quality and general style. Much talking ensued and as I racked up for pitch two I must admit I got a bit distracted, the pitch was bold but steady, only E1 5a ish, but my distraction had left most of the quickdraws and cams back with Calum and Steve.. Much hilarity and boldness ensued, and I brought Cal up to rebuild the belay with some proper gear.
By this point the sun was well and truly in charge and Cal set of into the crux pitch a little sweaty, heat, slopers and worrying gear are a difficult mix, but Cal fought hard and retreated bravely to continue drawing breath.
Friday's highpoint Courtesy of Steve
we retreated that day, following Taith Mawr and up left of Bushmaster (Calum shunned the Campus move in favour of slopey lanking) and abbed the line to retrieve the slanting skyhook and 2kn micro wire that aided retreat. I dug around a bit more, but it only uncovered a couple more so-so rp placements.
So after work on Saturday I was gratified to receive a text for Cal. He'd returned and abbed in with his lovely and patient girlfriend Gabriel, and with no more ado, polished it off. The back wall of Twll Mawr now had its toughest route:
Burning Bush E7 5c, 5a, 6b
P1. 30m ish. The route starts 10m right of the Chain of RE, at a rib just right of a big rusty pipe sticking out of the rubble. follow the rib as it rises leftwards until it reaches a corner. Surmount this and scramble up to the bolt and shothole belay in the bay above.
P2. 45m ish. Climb fairly direct from the back of the bay, following the line of least resistance, until a juggy roof is tussled, spitting you onto the Taith Mawr belay.
P3. 30m ish. Gain the arete on the left, get what you can in the overlap, then shudder upwards utilising the slopey groove on the left side of the arete. Gain a slight saddle on the arete and wish the gear was better. Insinuate yourself forcibly through the notch in the left side of the roof to a hard won wire and hollow spike(crux), easier but thoughtful ground leads you to the top and a bolt and wire belay.
P1&2 (3/7/15) Calum Muskett, Mark Dicken, Steve Long. P3 (4/7/15) Calum Muskett, Gabriel Lees.
So I guess that leaves my Twll Mawr Trad urge satiated.
First tick mined out and complete. Still thirteen left, but I don't think I'll be slipping on a rack for a while.
Enjoy Twll Mawr.