Monday, 29 December 2014

Aims for 2015

Hee hee I just wanted that to pop up on UKB...

Anyhoo, This year has been one of trying to be normal, then tentatively getting back in the saddle of the new. Twelve open projects, well... Opened, and new routes in Twll Mawr.
Next year is simply the logical continuation. Complete the projects to a level of personal satisfaction, and get happy in Twll Mawr.

Today I got out for a visit to Open Project June:

Unfortunately I chose to ignore my advice about walking along the inside of the wall, as the path outside looked so easy and flat. I obviously forgot about the bottomless blubbery bogs....
(socks, trousers and wellies drying in the sun, went above knee but not as far as groin..)

Time was limited so I rigged a rope and cleaned the next toy; the left arete.

I only went and got it 1st go! and enjoyed it enough to repeat it for the cameras:

Frontside Arete F6C! (thinking the cube needs a sk8 theme...)

So as well as The Cube, Tosheroon, Neverfall, and of course the SuperProw are in my sights..

Roll on 2015!

Sunday, 28 December 2014

This years fall: Lost World

While Upper Dinorwic continues to shuffle its pennies down into Tasmania, its been the big collapse in Lost World that has been the slate quarries big noise this year. I got a chance to pop up and get some photo's this week.
The topo shot used in the guide, what was...

Things started with the big buttress right of the Coolidge Effect, here's a pic from the mine explorer site:

This has effectively remover A Small Rusty Nail.... but the rest seems intact on a macro level, rather than the small stuff, stone fall and ricochet. What I mean is that the buttresses are still there.

What happened next is rather more impressive..

This massive collapse means two things; the old Sunday walk across from the coat hut through heavens cutting is no more (although project climbs either side are still accessible and intact), and a new and impressive,  and dare I say it, solid looking wall has been exposed. Its like the fruit machine in angry birds, giving new toys....

There has also been some minor changes to the start of Prometheus Unbound:
topo view

view this week

There was nothing noticeable from my side of the quarry, but it was enough to turn back Keen Calum and Big Tim. Given the activity next door, it may be best to give it a winter.


Friday, 19 December 2014

Neverfall: First Lob

Finally got here to actually climb, After a bit of a drive round rustling up pads, Ben, Charlotte and myself rocked up with 4 pads, and Charlotte's posh camera...
(Spot the foreshortening)

Stack of Nu Pads..

First try, arse high...

Hold Checking / Cleaning

Throwing Shapes

Engage reverse thrusters!

Ben's High Point

So close... my highpoint one move from completing the first section, which would leave me standing on the big hold. Section 2 looks to be a wiggy layback section to the finger ledge. At this point hands are at about 5.5m. The final section is the push from here 1.5m to the top.

Notes for next visit:
Warm up at Suncharm ledge first
Take abb gear for any further cleaning
6 pads would give the breadth to the pads to reassure on the layback moves, as well as stack up for the final section.

Thanks for the pics Charlotte!

Monday, 8 December 2014

Open Project of The Month - December

....And so a year of Open Projects comes to a close. I (or anyone else for that matter) have yet to bring closure on any of these puppies, but now at least they're out there, tried and in the public domain. When I started this project it was as a slightly broken man, I thought of the  big unclimbed lines I knew of and really wanted to do, despite being way out of my league.

Well I've been trying them, and maybe they are not out my league... we'll see what next year brings. Enough of that, that's for a post later in the month.

This months project is a Christmas gift; I found it in March and have been saving it as something special, hopefully to be realised as a team effort. However, December arrived and arrangements with wads failed to come together. So off I went; two mats, a pair of wellies and a Dream...

Nantmor Mon Amore!

Now Nantmor has been well explored in the 90's, with many padless classics developed over the back of Craig Bengham bach. I myself had been on a wander many moons ago, and found a bit, but not a lot. However, with a bit of spare time and Googlemaps, I became curious about a cluster of large looking boulders on the fringes of Coed Caedafydd. Last March I bailed up through the woods on a reccy, cautiously as they were felling at the time, and strenuously, as the woods were so full of storm blown timber, that I had to use my hands as often as my feet (the woods are on a steep slope). This time I used Bing as then I could see the OS maps, and subsequently the appropriate public footpath...

Park at the Coed Caedafydd picnic spot, which has parking for 5-6 car (luxury in Nantmor) and walk up the road towards Gwynant. Take the first signed public footpath on the right. Go uphill through the field, through a wall, then zig steeply rightwards up through the woods to another wall. Through this to a big white boulder, then steeply upwards to arrive at the view above.
20mins from car, wear wellies.

This spot has a crag and numerous super boulders, The rock is rough and faceted, similar to some of the ash boulders in the pass above wavelength. This means little crimps and complex slopers, as well as a little bit of scrittle. The landings are very Ysgo/Crafnant, and lots of mats are a good Idea, as well as going as a team, and a bit of patioing. As well as huge pebbles, there are a myriad of corridors, tunnels and caves to explore and develop.
The rewards are boulders like this:
The Dai Koyamada boulder- 

Perched in the middle of the field, a Highball mat for scale..

Close up showing the clear space underneath, including lots of tiny sharp pockets, a starting flake, and space to bivi 8 people...
View from the side showing my attempted pad stack. the landing needs work and not one for this solo trip. I instead went left of this shot to tackle the big hanging slab. This gave Pull Test F6A+! ish and my first climbing outside since I did my shoulder in. 

The landing was a little comical, and my numerous falls in establishing this line generally had me sliding off the red mat into the undergrowth on the left. The lip of the slab was at about diaphragm height and severely undercut, the scoop on the left provided a flatty and a slopey pinch with which I had to rock it out with extreme prejudice. However, once I'd eventually managed this I refused to fall off again and gibbered up the thankfully easing slab.

After this bit of excitement, I went looking for slightly safer fare, and picked on a couple of boulders at the front of the field.
Nkosi Arete F5. sit start on the Africa ish like flake this is the FA onsight, hence the pop of scrittle..

The Brawler F6A. Pull via pockets into the start of the flake system and follow it to the top. Straight up from the starting pockets was about F4/5.

So here it is, an area about the size and situation of Sheep Pen, and about as easy to get to from Llanberis.


Thursday, 27 November 2014

Hidden in Plain Sight

Today I got to take my lovely wife out for an adventure at Nant Gwrtheyrn. We were blessed by blue skies, and as the sun peeped over Craig y Llam, we were met by the Seal Family:

I actually got to photograph them this time, they're living by the Open Project for September, so you might need to be sensitive there, although they we'rent too bothered by us, and we moved on to the far end anyway.
I had been curious as to what lies beyond around the corner, a little light soloing later (its rehab you know...) I found this:
the landing?

the top out

It Appears an awesome DWS spot, in the old sense of the word. I will definitely be visiting once warmth returns to Wales.

There's Treasure Everywhere!

Friday, 21 November 2014

Open Project of the Month - November

Having confirmed the mythical status of bouldering on Carnedd y Filiast, I once more quested into the woods and riverbeds to bring you this:

The Whale of Galedffrwd

Or should that be a Carp as its freshwater? Galedffrwd translates roughly as the hard stream, and it certainly has its fare share of bedrock, as well as these lovely smooth erratics, nothing else as useful as this though.

The fishy juts out over the torrent with its snout over white water..

The side however is above a bedrock shelf. a spotter to steer will keep our intrepid boulderer dry.
(best to pick a dryish period though...)

Finally the scale. Here is my hand firmly grasping the starting jug. This is the incut triangle seen in the middle of the previous piccy.

Standing on the top.
Its the top that its all about, and makes this boulder pretty cool. Its not a small boulder and below the starting jug its undercut and almost completely devoid of holds.
Basically its all top out, lovely smooth holdless font top out. Its surface is extremely tactile, almost animal in substance and I found myself giving it a good rub and slap. Think heels, drags, press downs and piloerectile locomotion....

This boulder is located off the Tai Duon road out of Mynydd Landegai. Best to park near the top of the hill, don your wellies and wander down to these chaps:

The Holly and the Ivy (well it is nearly December) carefully hop the fence and squelch down to the stream and the Whale.


Monday, 17 November 2014

Neverfall November visit

Its still there.
It seems quite high, but at least the landing is flat...
(ok I'm bricking it and quite happy to complete my physio rehab first)

Some Photo's:
Nice angle, nice flat landing pad, easy exit.... Just a bit High 

The new improved top out is friendly enough to wander down now in my trainers, the holds of the easy line and the finishing jugs catch the eye...
As does the height (half buried chair for scale).

Think I'll take my time on this one..

Thursday, 6 November 2014

We can rebuild him. We have the technology.

So last week, arms a bit niggly from a few snappy pops of Porth Howel, my car wouldn't start. an afternoon of pushing the beast round Deiniolen left my shoulders further ravaged. The day after I was back behind the drill at work and I was sure it was time for a rest. Too late. Opening a door was all it took to send me swiftly through the pain portal.


Fortunately, the Beacon has an in house Oesteopath Belinda Rae. I was able to shuffle in in agony, and walk out in relative mobility and comfort. This isn't the end of the matter, I still have a lot of physio to do, and my shoulder alignment needs serious sorting to give me a frame to build myself up again.

We can rebuild him. We have the technology. We can make him better than he was. Better...stronger...faster

The important thing is to maintain motivation, I may not be able to go out and crush, but I can keep exploring, and I may take some keen wads out to some of my select venues. Two more Open projects to launch, Then next year will be the year I actually send some of them (all of them Dammit! lets be ambitious).

So Back to this week, and I went in search of the mythical roof of Carnedd y Filiast. I though I spotted this 4 years ago, when out on a fruitless search on Fronllwydd. Having no camera, I filed it to my memory and left it there to fester. This seemed like an ideal opportunity to tie up this loose end.
Sunny Filiast on the approach, good forecast for this day...

Enery sink needs an overflow, the Marchlyn Mawr Reservoir has a big one, keen followers will have noticed the Open Project for May is non tidal, Good News. Clouds? odd...

Ahh. I must ignore all Forecasts for North Wales....

Fortunately, I managed to squeeze under this rather diminutive boulder, and amused myself imagining I was and inch tall and climbing it (rather reminiscent of the Bone People buttress)

On the top of Carnedd y Filiast. Veiw like this might persuade me to walk  a bit more...

I think this is the Macguffin that drew me up here. It does overhang, the landing isn't terrible, but does it make you want to drag a mat up here?

A slightly cloudier, less sunkissed recreation of the view that triggered this jaunt. Another example of Craine's 1st Law.

So one less hillside to wander, only a couple of thousand left.

Shoulders back..

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Open Project of the Month - October

Well October is here and so is the weather. The ridiculously dry September spoiled us rather and, I got loads done, eschewing bouldering for the spicy adventure of Twll Mawr. Well October has brought, not only more Autumnly / Wintery weather, but a return a more normal work pattern (I've got some hours to make up) and to bouldering. This means more safety, and a chance to follow up on some leads from the Summer.
Last Open project I mentioned exploring Penrhyn Glas quarry, Well I made it in the last of the sunny weather, and found a little gem tucked away in its depths:

Porth Howel

Obviously I was drawn to the big cave at the back, after a bit of a death scramble down the scree at the back, I got to explore the cave itself:

This was at the end of the drought and you can see its still seeping in a lot of places, its also massive, (those are truck wheel hubs in the wreckage) and will need a nominated finish rather than top outs I feel. 

However, on the other side of the beach: 
The Wall of Something Dead. (There was a bad smell under the pebbles that day)

The ramp also provided a safe way in and out of the beach. I didn't have pads with me that day, so the only thing I got done was The Rail, this is the obvious break that comes out the alcove on the left and cuts into the ramp at sort of half height. The climbing was suprising in that I couldn't always predict if the holds would be incut or slopey, the directional nature of the holds also forced good (better maybe..) footwork. I was keen to return. This time via the Craig y Llam approach, as walking to and from Nant Gwtheyrn was a ball ache.

So, as I said October meant more changeable weather, and work meant less days to choose from. Yesterday came around and off I went on my lonesome (not everyone has my optimism) and made the long winding trudge to Porth Howel. The ramp was seeping and I chose to slide the pads and bumslide down...

Then the drizzle started. As you can see the pebbles have dropped and leveled off a bit. You can also see how much the Wall of Something Dead overhangs. similar to roadside face I reckon.

Optimism prevailed ( I'd bought a book), and I settled down under this handy overhang..

A couple of hours later the drizzle was sort of abating, and I thought I'd try to make something of the day... Then it started again, so I went for a walk
Above the beach, give a bit of scale and better explains the ramp approach.

 The other side of the bay has some potential, but the turf means it takes a bit longer to dry, especially in the drizzle....

Eventually, I decided to pull up my trousers and get on with it. Didn't Joe Brown climb in the rain? The wall overhung, and as the ramp projects out it seemed to deter a lot of seepage. Starting on the easiest lines with the biggest sopping holds, I clambered around. Then the rain stopped, and the wind picked up. Yippee!

The wall is quick drying and high, It does have some drainage on the left, but within an hour of the rain stopping it was pretty mint.

Here is what I got done:
6. The Ramp. F5+ Starts off jugs on the front of the ramp, swings round to lip traverse up to The Rail exit.
5. Up the Junction. F5 The obvious jug fest up to The Rail exit.
4. Rockaway Beach. F6B! A crimp line up to the rail, taking the brick with your right hand. A long reach to a crimp then a flick will gain the top.
3. The Wall of Something Dead. F6A+! Starts of opposing sidepulls (left on right margin of alcove) to blast up the seem to pull out at the "peak".
2. The Rail. F6A Starts of opposing sidepulls (left on the overlap in middle of alcove) to pop for the start of the break, follow this on improving holds to pull onto the ramp.
1. Blitzkreig Bop.  F6B+! Starts off opposing side pulls as for The Rail and after the pop, swerves left to follow the seam (big move to hidden jug) to the sloping rail. scamper right into The wall of Something Dead.

Here's a video of the FA of The Wall of Something Dead:

The wall is far from worked out as the pillar on the left of the alcove was too wet to go all the way (Nice moves up to the wetness BTW), and the below rail traverse looks mint! (more tidal stuff to the left)

To the Right of this was The Flail Rail F6B+, here's the FA video:

The shelter dried last, I tried the left hand standing line first, easy enough and I proceeded to top out. Don't do this, especially if its just been raining. Nominate a finishing jug (there's an obvious one), unless you really like XS death. The right hand line was also really fun (cool kneebar), and I finished this time at an obvious finisher Jug:

The obvious challenge is to do these line from sitters, Although the Left Hand line will need to wait until this young ladies brood have flown the nest:

The open project refers to anything unclimbed here. Please visit, as its ace. Park as for Craig y Llam (Fantan B) and follow the path all the way down to the top of the ramp scramble. I didn't bother to note how long it took to get there, as with these sea level spots its the getting back up to the car that bothers people. From the top of the ramp to the car took 25 mins, I am rubbish at trudging, but I was being earwormed by The Ramones. (Hey Ho, Lets Go)

Weirdest bit of detritus on the Strand line.....