Friday, 28 February 2014

Neverfall, and this years obsession

Paid this months visit to the NeverFall project. The winter storms had done some work and washed down some of the smaller scree, I got stuck in with the larger bits and threw together some rudiments of a patio:
Note the level bit at the bottom, its getting bigger and longer....
Next visit will probably require a spade. I plan to start clearing the top next, as this will add lots of material to the patio and start to give an idea of what the finished version will look like. Also to keep dragging material down the slope to patio will eventually cause it own problems.

Not sure if anyone has joined in the prep work yet, but all efforts are welcome, even if its just one rock chucked...

The enormity of this years challenge is beginning to irk me somewhat. In trying to reduce my obsession by limiting my new routing efforts to boulders, I now have found myself taking on 12 futuristic projects in the same year. Admittedly the definition of "futuristic" varies from blank and inconceivable to not of a type generally attempted in the past (Benllech). Generally, futuristic to me means Cool (for a given value of cool), and "requiring a lot of effort" either in unraveling the intricacies, training really hard, or moving a mound of rubble to make it safe.

My phone now has a list of 12 projects in it, and I'll dish them out in an order specific to:
a) how much work there is to do
b) season
c) when I verify whether they actually exist or not (its that kind of list)

Another factor is Send-Tember. This September all my kids are in full time school for the first time. This sudden rush of freedom will hopefully full a rush of unparalleled adventure (or a monsoon), and Therefore those near this hallowed month are likely to be the ones I really don't want to share, but have to for the challenge...

I definately need to do some normal climbing too

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

A Classic Welsh Tease - Clogwyn Y Garreg

Where? I hear you cry, nestling in the mouth of the Nantlle Valley, found in a 10 year old guide which states 8 single pitch routes up to a solitary E1, a brace of new routes added on the CC website all solo upto VS, and Questionable access.

Thus starts a classic welsh tease, familiar to all driven to the unheathly life of the new router. You see its 200m from the road, and looks pretty. Further more its strewn with a myriad of, admittedly small, boulders. To clinch the deal, a bit of digging divulged its now on open access land, and an anglers deal means easy parking and a maintained path.

The Game is Afoot.

2 mins from the car

The View down the valley

All starts as usual. Time is limited to 2 hours between home and Osteopath appt (hence why I'm not patioing  Neverfall..) so thats about 1hr to wander. First impressions are that the rock could be nice and is certainly quick drying (all dry here), its rhyolite with some quartzy metamorphing. Think wavelength meets  holyhead mountain.
Given the time I elected to circumnavigate the mound, not having time to scour the two tiers..
First lot into view
start of next tier

And so it goes on round the mound, new exciting rock round each corner to inspect at a closer range...
What we want is:
1)a line
2)a landing
3)respectable difficulty
4)more than 3 moves..

And thus the tease ensues. It means that we get 1 or 2 out of 4. maybe 3, but the golden chalice of 4/4 always slips like snot through our fingers. 3 out of 4 isn't bad I hear you say, but its always the most awkward un-useful combination.

And so the next corner beckons..
the end?
around the corner
up the gully
another corner. Okay this ones looking good....
A case study in tease. 3 lines each 3/4 in the most unhelpful combinations..


This crag has a lot to offer and is not really known about, so come for a wander, bring a pad especially if you're operating in the Font 3-6 range, and a rack if you like short interesting lines. Just no minibuses.

And there's still a few corners to explore around next time....

Friday, 14 February 2014

The Pursuit of BOTM

Those of you in the know, will recognize the above acronym as the on-line journal of the Big G. Someone who's ceaseless tramping in search of unclimbed pebbles is as insatiable as it is readable, and may have influenced the monthly giveaways. This particular BOTM had me intrigued and as soon as an opportunity presented itself I found myself on a jaunt to shale city.
This was the day after storms had blacked out much of North Wales and the unceasing winter rain had saturated every inch of terra firma. So if I found dry rock, it was likely to be always so..

The storm has littered the cliff top path with sea life

Shale city comes into view

The actual zig zag path down, those following the path at the back of the zawn as per G's instructions may suffer humour failure. I reversed and approached as per the Llyn guide, using this path to climb out, rather than the Aiguille Merlot which looked tempting but deadly.

Shale city, Ugly (the central fault) is its most famous route but the area suffers from heavy seeping and leprosy.

One of G's teasers. Its gets wet. However, as Benllech has shown, this may not affect its crack climbing.

Inside the caves there are some quick drying, non seeping lines, totally nails of course, but maybe someones cup of tea.

A very hard crack line, that wasn't wet despite this round the corner..

So there it is. Don't think I'll tie on here, and I may not have found anything to magnetically draw me back. But there's a lot more to place than the publicity suggested. Come you firebrands and claim your glory.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Open Project of the Month - February

Yes its early in the month, and yes a slight change in post title (to reflect this years challenge etc..) But I'm quite excited about this one.

In an Earlier post I alluded to a former Giveaway of the month . Having calculated that a low tide of under 2m was required, plans were made for the end of January, and a small team assembled. Despite the best planning, we arrived to torrential rain, which ceased 4 songs later to release us from the epic mobile into a drenched Benllech. As ever my optimism drove me to drag the pad down and we settled down for a soggy session. Dim ots, as the say as due to its extreme tidal nature its always sopping anyway, and part of the fun.
The problem starts 30-40ft back in the cave at an obvious chockstone. The Nature of the challenge meant that no chalk was taken (too wet) and tape gloves and an old jacket were deployed (barnacles)..
Myself golem-like and wedged in the niche directly after the chock stone, and pulling round the 1st bulge.
Ben Egypto-Barring and myself beginning to Bez slightly.
Eventually through tiredness and lack of 3D processing we both got to this point and plopped off to sterilise our wounds...
The Jaws required more victims so come and play! The cave is just around the corner from hidden wall, and is easily accessed by those who can use Googlemaps...
The Rules
Start at the chockstone, don't touch the ground until at the top of the crag.
No chalk, use adequate protection against barnacles.

We will be going back in warmer weather so we are more aware of the damage we are doing to ourselves, so why not get in contact, and come along for a team effort.
Photos by Charlotte who refused to play that day...