Wednesday, 24 March 2021

Lockdown Diaries: Dusting the corners

 So with travel restrictions relaxing and the awesome new guidebook is sending everybody out on their own personal SparkleHunt's for all this new shiny treasure. This has left me with the opportunity to poke around some old corners, those briefly mentioned and and dimly lit, and revel in their obscurities. 

First though, was a visit to quack crack, as there were a couple of lines I still desired. With the relocation of a block at the end of the crag, a bunch of sits that I've been coveting the last decade became available. 

First off (pre kerfuffle) was the Niche Problem at about 5B:


The remaining two lines had to wait until things quietened down. Ball's Groove was a stand I did way back when, and was a standard bit of my warm up here. Unfortunately the right hand starting hold broke off, which meant that you either had to start too high, or too similar to the adjacent problems. The route was lost until the new sds gave it a clear line into the original. 

Here is the all new Ball's Groove 6C+:


The last one up at Quack Crack is the Love Battery sds, its about 7A and I'm very happy with it :


So back I scurried to that dustiest of corners, and star of last posts SparkleHunt; The Clegir Crackhouse. 

Having realised I couldn't follow the footsteps of my youth, I put some effort into repeating some of these Esoteric blocks. If you wish to do the same it's mentioned on page 89 of North Wales Bouldering : Mountain Crags. 

It's the localist of venues, and due its strong lines all packed in on each other, it has few proper "use everything" lines. It's strength is in the vast amount of options and eliminates it provides. 

First thing we initially couldn't get off the ground is Shed Party 6B fairly non eliminate as long as you don't resort to chimneying:


Opposite Shed party is an ace eliminates wall that I gave a spring clean to, should stay clean ish till next winter. Here are a couple of examples of the sort of eliminates that you can do :


The entrance to the "shed" is one of the highest blocks here. Doorway 5C! uses all aretes, face holds and chimney-able surfaces to struggle to the top. More elegant eliminates are possible, but the pure thin slab still awaits an ascent. 


The purest line is that of its offwidth Barred to the Bone 6B+


I did do an eliminate up the right wall which was quite hard, however it was also a bit contrived. 

The keel of the crackhouse boasts its hardest current line. I originally gave the central sds Toe Bar 6B.  At the time I was doing a lot of inverted offwidth; either Happy Feet at Feidr Fw (p.444 in NWB3. 1) or working on Big Bad Bari or George's crack. Consequently, I had overdeveloped ankles and literally levered myself through the first move (hence the name). It's probably 7B in reality, and I haven't been able to repeat it. (luckily Simon Panton witnessed a repeat for a news article at the time). Here's the stand at 6A+ish:


All this journeying down memory lane gave me a new appreciation of the place, and with a little more landscaping, a new line was unearthed :


Exhausted 6B takes the left arete and gives some nicely squeezed slopers. Like Toe Bar it uses the break below the boulder for feet to get off the deck, unlike Toe Bar it may be possible without. Something to work on.

There's Treasure Everywhere!


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