Sunday, 30 August 2015

Tick Report - August

Well August has brought the realisation that having a new baby is adventure enough.
I've had a couple of trips to try to establish some deep water soloing this month, but they're going to have to wait until next year I think. The only big ticks I'm properly psyched for are tosheroon, and the Marchlyn grit. Saying that, I have fallen back in love with Dyffryn Mymbyr, so I think I'll be up there quite a lot when I get a moment.
Other things this month; Bought myself a pair of Solutions for my birthday. I guess having two different pairs of unholey shoes makes me now officially a boulderer.
I was also able this month to have another visit to Joe Brown's house to talk Twll Mawr. This time for an article that will grace the climbing press in the near future. I recorded two hours of conversation, about 30 minutes was Twll Mawr,the rest was an enjoyable romp through adventure climbing, bolts, corrections to the current slate guide, Morocco, and getting old.
And finally, I installed my first conventional training aid to my house:

So far, I have done a pyramid up to 5 of pull ups and press ups, as well as a quick 10 pull ups on the slopers. I'm keen to do something to make trips to Marchlyn worthwhile. As for Tosheroon, its now scheduled for the spring, but if I can get Georges crack done by Christmas, I'll be a happy man.

Having taken Fiend to Mymbyr, I realised that more folks might like to come visit. so as well as the instructions here, I've included a pic from just after the 2nd bridge you cross if you are aiming for the Quack bloc and surrounds:

A= Bari Island, B = Quack Bloc, C = The Mighty 'Tashe

The Quack Bloc looming just above the wall

in all its glory

So I got up to here today to try the last line currently feasible to me. This is the big lip traverse, starting up Minnesota Loon, and finishing up Ball's Groove. Bill Travers is somewhere in the F6C+ region and after I practiced the various sections, surprisingly it went down first go. I only had two mats with me so I put them under the two spots I might get a foot/heel stuck, and started a bit crouched, as I had no mat to sit on:

So to further encourage you guys to visit and correct my grades for me, here's a crappy topo: 

1.Ball's Groove. 6A+ Standing start, hands on the left arete, can stand on the block.
2. Love Battery. 6C Standing start, hanging on the crimps on the right arete, feet on and boof up to the crack, then through the roof
3. Quack crack. 6B+ Sit start at the lowest jam. the stand is about 6A
4. Fist Full of Teal. 6B+ Sit start, Quack Crack start into Teal Appeal
5. Teal Appeal. 6B Sit start, LH undercut jam, RH undercut the fang
6. Minnesota Loon. 6C+ Sit start, LH undercut fist jam, RH side pull, slopes and a leap, monkey up to the horn. rock out right for a thoughtful top out.
7. Fat Duck Arete. 6B Sit start LH pinch, RH side pull as for ML. big move to gain horn then up the arete with occasional face holds. Stand(or sitting on the right hand block) is about 6A
8. Duck Life. 6A+ sit start, LH pocket RH rail,blast up the slightly overhanging face
9. Bill Travers. 6C+ sit start on Minnesota Loon, cross into Quack Crack without recourse to the jug rail, reverse love battery, and finish up Ball's Groove


Thursday, 20 August 2015

Birthday Antics

So another year older, and still none the wiser..

This weekend I got to have some "fun"

Binky the Wonder boat got launched in Trefor on the Saturday. All was calm in the bay, but waves are a bit scary. I got flipped on my bum onto the rocks when I tried to get out in a little surf. My plan is to stick to inland waters until I can row in a straight line.

Sunday I was awoken at 5am by a ferret eating all our lady guinea pigs. After a little wet work and "cleaning" I was in no fit state for adventure. However, I had a date with Shale city. Arriving tardy and after high tide, I was pleased to find that the belay for the abb. was solid and reliable. Unlike the cliff below..

I've not climbed on stuff like this since Whitley Bay. I cleaned as best I could on the way down and then thought I'd just take a peek under the roof...

So there I was like Toni Kurz, admiring the solid architecture under the roof, and being unsettled by the shallow looking nature of the water below. Not wanting to get wet, and with only a shunt and reverso for company, I took a few pics, and then started to kick a swing into motion. This was a little tricky as I was spinning, and the rope was rubbing a little ominously on the roof lip. However, as the worst outcome was a quick dip, I pushed on until I could latch an undercut and pull onto the left hand ramp. Switching to shunt, I started climbing back up through the roof. This was absorbing and sphincter troubling, but all achievable, and from the ledge above the roof, it seemed all above sufficient water. The top out from there was an exercise in avoiding the loose holds and safely using the solid ones. All 4 of them. Flopped on top, I didn't feel up to the challenge of a S3 solo, and limped home.
Basically is it sensible (of course not), OK is it not mental to try it?

Tide out

Tide in

I guess a pirate rope would reduce it to S1 or 2, but its definitely a high tide venue. I may return to do the easiest full top out, just for completeness before it becomes a pure pirate DWS venue. I'm sure I need to be there with someone else, so that collective psyche and spidey sense can kick in..

It wasn't over there though, as Monday evening I had an unexpected pass to go out bouldering. I was fortunate to be joined by the cuddly Fiend, who I've sort of known since UKC had less than 500 members. The venue was Dyffryn Mymbyr and a opportunity to get some of Fiend's opinions on the place. 300m into the 400m walk in I realised I'd left my fingertape in the car. A quick sprint later I was thoroughly warmed up and ready for action. First stop was the Mighty 'Tashe which was a tad midgy, The quality was confirmed, although my memory was a bit hazy how I started stuff, and Imhotep was declared a sandbag.

Onto the Quack Crack bloc to escape the midges. The venue is the boss rock of the lower "Wall" boulders, with flat landings, a breezy outlook to deter the biteys, and seven established lines in a full spectrum of Font 6. Duck Life 6A+ went first..

Fiend giving some questionable beta on Duck Life..

After that was dispatched we moved onto Quack Crack. I managed to link it into Teal Appeal to give Fist Full of Teal F6B+. Fiend then lay siege to Quack Crack, finally latching the top jugs with a manly yell. Birthday happiness is sandbagging your f(r)iends. Completing the birthday festivities, a pint was secured in the Vaynol, where the presence of Mick Fowler and Catherine Destiville, sent me scurrying round the back for fear of embarrassing myself with gawping and hero worship. All good stuff. Ready for a baby now...

Thursday, 6 August 2015

An Ill Wind

So last Monday I had an opportunity to have an adventure. On my own and with the chance of Rain I had decided to venture out for the maiden voyage of Binky the Wonder boat (an impulse Ebay purchase). However, on arrival Trefor (home of the mighty Shale City, and my prospective Deep Water Soloing venue) Something wasn't Right. 
For starters there was a bit of Drizzle, but that wasn't really an issue and was clearing. It was the wind, a bit blowy at home, was blowing along the coast, rather than over the top as I thought. I scrambled down to the sea level platform (on the left in the picture below) and the waves were all forming up and heading for me. If I even managed to get the boat in, I doubted I could punter my way around the corner..

I considered walking further along and putting in, riding with waves, but as they were also leading away from shore, I thought that a little too exciting.

Looking down the orange corner, fairly easy to rig a escape / inspection line here. Maybe for the next visit.

As the sun was coming out, and I did have some climbing / swimming kit, I chose to bail to my other prospective DWS venue, at Nant Gwrtheyrn. It a firm favourite venue with my kids now, and this would be my first high tide visit..

Plenty of sand now at the far end, a sign of our stormy summer?

So I had a slightly breezy slog along the beach, and started the Diff solo onto the top of the Slot zawn. Then it got proper windy. Sort of crawl along windy....

The Zawn at a breezy high tide, note the Spraybow and soaked walls...

Here's a vid of what I found:

Having therefore abandoned thoughts of DWS, I went exploring the grounds..

The top quarries sort of have potential for one or two lines...

I, on the other hand, retired for coffee, ham, egg and chips (and a scone)

Adventure awaits! (a less windy day)

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Tick Report - July

So July came and July went. Work and Physio took up a fair bit of time, but I did get out and, with Calum's help, get the last of Joe Browns projects into reality. Burning Bush, draws a line for me, and I hope that Twll Mawr Trad will to continue to grow and develop with others imput. The BMC Cymru meeting was a chance to highlight the opportunities the Twll Mawr offers and will offer with careful stewardship, and I put out this upto date topo for peeps:

The Routes
1 Taith Mawr (2008) Trad E4/5 6a
2 Long in the Twll/ the North will rise Again (March 2015) Sport f6c/+
3 Tân y Ddraig (4th May 2015) Sport f7a/+
4 Hamadryad (1971) Trad E3 5c
5 Desolation of Smaug (April 2014) Sport f6c
6 Antiquarian Direct (September 2014) Trad E5 6a
7 Twll Love (September 2014) Trad E5 6a
8 The Baron (1st May 2015) Trad E4 6b
9 The Razors Edge (1971) Trad E3 6a/b (5c with gear pulling)
10 The True Finish (1989) Trad E4 6a/b (5c with gear pulling)
11 Bushmaster (1982) Trad E3 6a/b (5c with gear pulling)
12 Scorpion (1981) Trad MXS (E2 5b if use 1st pitch of Bushmaster instead)
12a BSB Trad HVS (Bushmaster with the second pitch of Scorpion)
13 Burning Bush (3&4 July 2015) Trad E7 6b

A= Retro bolted trad belay first used for True finish
B = Retro bolted trad belay first used for Twll Love
C= Previously lost belay of Razors Edge
D= Retro bolted belay that replaced the deteriorated trad one on True Finish, and the lost bolt one on Razors Edge. Was put in during the rebolting to allow safe retreat off this section of cliff.
OG= Opening Gambit (what’s left of it) (1974) Trad MXS
 PB = Punters retreat (2007) escape route... E3 5a/b

Attempts at progression, however, have reached an impasse. Trixibelle has shunned my efforts at getting better, and has been quite usefull in highlighting my inadequacies.

Pretty isn't it.

There are time and seasons for such guff, and Its 6 weeks or so until Little Miss Dicken; Child no.4 comes into this world. As with the arrival of the Twins, this event is heralded with 2 signs; Contentment, and the need to shed projects to maintain a sanity free from obsession.
This experiment with multiple hard projects has been fun, But of the outstanding Ticks, I only really care about two. Certainly enough to not want anyone else to bag the first ascent. These are Tosheroon, and the Marchlyn grit project. So all those others (including Trixibelle) is up for grabs. I'll still dabble, but don't wait for me.

Interesting times, but adventure is out there...

...It just doesn't necessarily have to be nails!

Enjoy, and Watch this space