Monday, 31 August 2009

Nant A-mor?

Finally got a moment to post about my mainly unsuccesful trip to Nantmor. This was due to my incomplete research, and generally looking in the wrong place. However their were many positives:

1] Its very beautiful

2] It confirmed my view that wellies are the way forward

3] I now know where not to look

4]I did find something..

This is the obvious jumbles of minibus sized boulders you see as you walk in. Unfortunately, the landings will require multiple mats, and the worthwhile lines all look brick.

This apears to be a left over project (hence the rotting abandoned ladder) The seam leading out of this 10ft horizontal roof has a few pods of possibility, fingers or gear) but generally looks brick and probably needs a rope.

I think that another walk with the family in tow may be called for.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

How to crack a grin.

After a day plodding around nantmor in my wellies foraging for boulders in the wrong area, I was driving home a little dejected, when I remembered some elder figure telling me " should really do Gwynant Crack.."

Now for those of you that are Unaware, this is one of the first routes recorded in the Tremadog guide, a Severe with lots of character, and more importantly, 20 feet from the road.

Ditch car, Jump fence, get stuck in.
However unlike this photo, I favoured the depths (harder to fall out)

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Feeding the Stainless Steel Rat.

An obsessive needs data, it it this data that leads to finds, reduces bog trotting and provides projects and Unclimbed Rock!

This is a short guide to how the web can help an obsessive get into more trouble than he can handle.

First -The tip off:
This is a hint that there might be treasure out there. The vast array of image sites help here, such as Pixaerial (for Anglesey and particularly the Lleyn) and Geograph, which is keyword linked (eg. boulder)

Second -The shufty:
This is the ground work (in your head). It allow a bit of further inspection and maybe useful initially for the tip off as well. Sites such as Google maps, and Flash Earth allow you to scope a site, see whats there and plan an approach. However, I would always advise cross referencing it with an o/s map to check the shadows you are seeing aren't just a pebble on a steep slope. Also the distance measureing tool on google maps allows you to actually measure the length of boulders!

Third -Go get 'em!
heres a tip off, save me some cracks.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Giveaway Project of the Month -August

The Venue this month, is Craig y Llam, the place of my baptism into sea level traversing. As promised this months humble offering is a potential route, good and proper.
This little bay is just round the corner from the beach start, and could be walked to at low spring tide. The 45 degree overhanging face is spit by a thin crack which widens to hands near the top, before giving way to less vertical ramblings. The seagulls give scale, and also fair warning..

Monday, 17 August 2009

Anybody out there?

I've been running this blog for 3 whole weeks now and I've got my first follower who's not related to me! (hello Jon)

To be honest I was only keeping it as somewhere to scribble down musings and important ideas, (not had any yet) but i've been gratified by those who've mentioned they've stumbed apon my witterings.

Anyhoo, Its my Birthday so if there are any locals around, I'll be in the Gallt y Glyn on Wednesday to celebrate. I'f the weathers nice I may even precede it with a pilgramage to George's, But I bet It'll Rain..

Stolen Moments

Well its been a week since my break from work, and I finally got out bouldering last night for a quick blast. Between the vagaries of work and demands of parentood, these moments can come sporadic and must be seized by both hands and preferably both feet!

After a quick warm up on cromlech roadside and a little banter with passing friends, I took myself off to Wire Brush Crack, another off the Fist List, although its only got a smattering of jams to be honest. The main reason of inclusion was its grade, being comparable (hah) to George's.

As it goes, with one mat and no spotters, it proved to be fairly exciting... But I'm proud to say another one has gone off the list. (yippee!)

A Very Sweet couple of hours.

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Day 7 -Satisfying Curiosity..

Today is the last day of my holiday, and with the chores piling up and time running out, I decided today to take a brief meander to look at some rocks that form my view when I'm washing up.

Now the area known as Creigiau'r Cadeirydd, or Chairman's rocks, has long been known as a bit of an explorer's dead end, complying to Craine's 1st law they are nothing like they look from the village.
I started at James' Wall and quested up in the general direction of Chairman's, and discovered these cool things:

A yellow and black horsefly thing, that sang whilst resting on a rock.

A flooded vertical mineshaft that looked like an evil well, in the back of a carved gorge.

A very pretty holly tree, lots for the treehuggers up here.

A passable hvs/E1 ish project. Abet 25ft high.

A couple of boulder problem's just of the Llanberis path

That my camera had no batteries in it.

My Wife and Son, out for a walk.

Life is alright a lot of the time.

Friday, 7 August 2009

Day 6 -Marital bliss

Finally got to climb with my better half today, its only taken 6 days...

The truth of the matter is its been 10 months since the mighty Logan burst onto the scene and I'm sure it was a few more before that Sam and I last got roped together for some climbing. It wasn't until the afternoon that we were able to part with the boy (who was gardening at Nain and Taid's) and headed up the Mot. It took a while get back in the old rhythm, bickering over the guidebook and the like. However, we jumped on Lorraine Direct and were soon giggling like naughty school kids huddled at the base of Trauma, which we had reached in a one 60m pitch.
Continuing my non avoidance of the classics, we finished with the Crack's mantle (cracking!) before abbing down the gully on our single 60m rope, plopping off the end safely on rope stretch.
Highly reccomended as a quick couple-time adventure.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Day 5 -We went climbing!

With ropes and everything!

My partner for the day was none other then Rab Carrington President of the BMC, which kind of makes him my boss (I volunteer as Area Youth Coordinator for North Wales) and I was under strict instructions that no Adventure would be involved (I appear to have a reputation), so we went to Tremadog; land of bomber gear, and eternal sunshine. Much fun was had, we warmed up with the Plum in a one pitch, followed by my first outing on Vector buttress proper. I've been putting this off due to not wanting to fall off and look a ninny. However months of inactivity merely psyched me up to get blooming well on with it.

Vector is a classic. You all now that, I on the other hand with my predilections for the unordinary, distrust of superlatives, and phobia of polish did not. In a fit of bravado I elected to string the first two pitches together, This combined with choosing to leave the guide in the car, Rab's decision to climb with a slimmed down rack of 10 quickdraws and three crabs of doodads (stopped unnecessary dallying) all made for an unforgettable experience (I didn't cheat or fall off either!).

Tea and cake was called for, to be followed by a quick nip to Pant Ifan for Rab to scoot us up Falcon. I'm really grateful to Rab for a great day.

The eagle eyed amongst you will have noted that the Days of adventure no longer align with the dates. Wednesday was a no adventure day, due to Logan being out of sorts and making babysitting somewhat more tiring than usual. I did get out for a boulder in the evening, but I've been reliably informed that doing the Edge Problem from a crouching start doesn't count as a real adventure.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Day 4 -And the Rain came down...

So I went Snorkeling!

This is Mancer lake in Llanberis, home to such delights as Clippopotomus, and Mancer Direct. As I still had a wetsuit and the weather was really Damp, This seemed like a suitably cavalier way to pass an afternoon. It also gave me an excuse to dig out my flippers, which haven't been used since my honeymoon.

The lake is pretty well equipped with a tunnel to kit up in (it even has a coat hook) and this promontory to enter off. I wasn't quite prepared for quite how deep this puppy is, the waters pretty clear but there's no way to see the bottom. Furthermore the shallows, where they occur, are covered in fluffy algae. This should be repulsive, but bobbing along face down, snorkeling above, it seemed more like a tropical sponge garden. This underwater world was populated by zillions of three spined sticklebacks. I'm fairly sure I saw no other species, (maybe one small broader fish) but no biggies. Certainly nothing like the behemoths a friend saw looming in the depths whilst pootling along the quarry rim one summer...

It was with these beasties in mind that I made my first launch out over the depths, heading for the base of Mancer Direct. I'd spotted some potential deep water soloing here, unfortunately from the water I could see the wall had many vertically aligned razors that would punish a failure unduly.

Much more positive was a scramble round the bay to the left of Mancer. Truly there are some great potential lines here; some are good to go trad lines, others need a declutter. There's even some lines that could value the odd bolt... go see for your self.

Tommorow holds more babysitting, maybe I'll go for some extreme pram action?

Monday, 3 August 2009

Day 3 -Adventures in Babysitting

Today I was in charge of the mini me, and coincidentally the clag and grot descended on our happy valley. hey ho, no room for big adventures.. However once Logan refused lunch, and was clearly suffering from cabin fever, I launched into the assembly of his baby carrier.

This contraption is multi strapped and dangly but come with various rain beaters, so once strapped and dangled on my back. We set off on our mission.

One of our agents (Agent 'M') had informmed us of a big boulder up the hillside above the house, and I preceded to get lost in an uphill direction trying to find it.

Much bog insued.

However it really did exist. A quartz marble, 10ft in diameter, all erratic in the middle of a field. Logan touched it first so he gets first dibs, but no doubt Agent 'G' and the Boulder of the Month Beckons.

... Maybe 7 days of adventure was a bit optomistic.

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Day 2 -Another tick on the list

The list in question is one I compiled a few months ago to fuel my new found love of jamming.
This list is made up of boulder problems in North Wales that are primarily composed of holes to wedge your limbs in. Somewhere along the line this became the Fist List...
Joining the likes of Browns Crack, Running Jam, Happy Feet, Quack Crack, and err January's Boulder of the Month is todays trophy...

Teyrn Roof Crack. V4
The days been mainly family stuff so an evening jaunt to pen y pass was required, where I got to road test my wellies on the way down to Cwm Dyli (they passed, although thicker socks are required). Teyrn, is pronounced as one long slurred syllable, rather like the beginning of 'Murder' as spoken by Tagart fans. The Crack is 45 degrees overhanging or so and hands to off fists. It took an hour of flinging myself onto my carry mat to solve the conundrum, as I was lacking a little flexibility and cursing my tiny fists, but my grin was fixed and slightly manic all the way home, up the hill, through bogs..

Left on the list:
Wire brush crack V5
George's Crack V5
Dangleberries V4
Jellybowl Crack V6

Feel free to suggest more..

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Day One - 7 days of Adventure!

Its finally, arrived, My first week off work where I'm not running kids climbing competitions or moving house!

Its my intention to get an adventure in Every day, even if it has to be snatched from between the jaws of day to day chores..

Day One

Coasteering round Craig y Llam, near Nefyn. This was brought about via a train journey and a chance meeting with Martin Crook. He had mentioned a chimney in the vicinity of Fantan B, that might be worth a look. I decided to take in the whole headland, Starting on the Nefyn side.

I managed to stay dry the whole of the first gap, Making fine use of limpets and barnacles for holds. Many a flared groove gave way to a limpet mono, and I often forsake crimps for a barnacle sloper.

Eventually, the swimming started. Now as a exponent of the doggy paddle, this was a little alarming

Its not the getting in, or the vauge flailing in the general direction whilst waves do their best to send you in the other direction, It the trying to get out that provided the most dread. Rebounding waves not only snatch holds away, but can be an arse if your trying to catch a breath. Mantleshelving became the skill of the day, along with getting your body in exactly the right shape to stick to the available holds. A bit like one of those sticky toys you throw at windows.

Anyhoo, apart from killer waves, menacing seals, and the excreta of a million seabirds, It was quite a fun trip, Even found the chimneys! Saving for later tho I think.