Thursday, 28 April 2016


So The Cube has been a source of psyche and frustration for a number of years now. Recently, with irritating shoulder problems forcing a bit of a lay off, I turned my energies to improving the landing...
Well it couldn't be much worse could it? Apart from crocodiles and punji sticks

Less a landing, more of a series of collisions

I've got quite into dry stone platforming; the patioing of  boulder landing sites can often result unsightly jumbles. However, if done right, they can blend into the landscape, and even be quite pretty (or rather, handsome). The Cube's patio took 6 sessions. I built up a retaining wall, backfilled, knitted in the next level of retaining wall, backfilled, levelled off with a spirit level app on my phone (strapped to a laser pen), and finally tarted it a bit..

The initial retaining wall

The next lot are the finished product..

And here's the patio geek himself.

My pilates sessions have been going well, and Eirian has encouraged me to return to climbing with lots and lots of warming up. Last time I climbed at The Cube the landing looked like this:

What a difference 6 cubic meters of stone makes.

Incidentally all the stone was taken from adjacent piles of stones on the hillside. Its rather like Crafnant, and not a place to drop your keys. I don't advocate patioing in natural areas which require more than just moving things around. Spadework might be okay in the quarries, but not out on the hill.

Needless to say, that once I'd dragged two pads, the abb and climbing gear up the hill, it started to snow. After sitting it out 10 minutes under the roof, I set up and dropped in regardless.

I'm going to need more pads. Spotters would be nice too... and being warmer.... and less sleet.

I think the next game will be some cheeky shunting. I've had almost 2 months off, so I've a fair bit of form to recapture. The platform feels quite narrow from to top, but I think this has more to do with the slant of the top slab, and the very far away-ness of the pads. Anyway, any extensions will require a fair bit more stone, and might overwhelm the environment.  I had a good feel around on the rope (before my hands froze), and the sequence I was using on the snow day seem to be the way forward. However, I'll need some gains in hip flexion, core and fingers to latch the next 2 finger micro crimp.

Time for some new distractions..

Until next time..

Sunday, 24 April 2016

I.N.S.P.R.E April 2016

So it was a sunny day, and I'd just finished shift and had to run an errand in Llanberis. This humble hotchpotch of a village was home to me for a number of years. When the twins were born and adventures were restricted, extremely local rock was valuable. Thus begun my search and eventual siege of Moose's Wall. Revisiting the wall today, finding the moss returning, spurred me to do a bit of scrubbing in the hope you folks may enjoy it too. 

First discovered by Mike "Moose" Thomas, Matt Anthoine, George Smith et al in the early nineties, this bouldering venue had the big five, appreciable difficulty, clear lines, good height without being deathly, good landing(important in the pre pad days), and short approach(15secs from the car).
However, its relative dificulty combined with height for the pre pad era, meant it dropped out of favour as new venues were discovered. It got forgotten, moss moved in, and it went myth-ing...
Scroll down to 2011, and developments amongst the Bends crags and Clegir boulders dredged Moose's wall back to the collective memory. Needless to say, we couldn't find it, and it was up to the G to show the way in this BOTM.

After G remembered how to get there, I popped down and got busy with a brush and secateurs. l found it to be a delightful, if unforgiving crag, being either cracks or crystals and pebbles to gain ascent.
The classic of the crag is The Biggun; a F6B! crack which unlocks via a series of sprags, fingerlocks, and sublime hand jams.
Myself on The Biggun, courtesy of

I went on to clean and climb the remaining established lines, and after a helpful chat with Moose, lay seige to, and eventually climb the last remaining line; Something, Something Darkside F7A!.

Back to 2016, and 5 years later, I don't think the wall has had a lot of traffic. This is a shame, as its a great venue, and The Biggun is proper class. I only had an hour or so, so I concentrated on the Biggun, although it really needs finishing off with a bit of chalk to abrade out the last of the moss. I couldn't resist another drop to unearth Darkside again. It was definitely a highpoint for me at the time as thin wall climbing is by no means my forte. Again, a proper chalk is required to bring into condition.

Nice rounded top out!
The Biggun

Sprags and locks!

The wall is waiting for you.