Sunday, 30 May 2021

Training montage

 With the Tosheroon clearly in my sights for this year, the month of May heralded a special little trip. I had, during lockdown, identified a series of crack boulders I hadn't tried. With 3 of them all being down the end of the Lleyn, I had hatched a plan to try and get them all done in a day. A suitable tide was found at the end of May and duly written on the calendar..

Well blow me if the weather actually played ball and all the green lights flashed. Of course all the suplimentary training I had planned leading to the event failed to materialise, but this could be a benchmarking exercise instead. I wasn't going to waste the weather!

Porth Ysgo looking lovely, however my first target was Maneater at Talfarach. This venue is not the easiest to negotiate on your Todd, but once the big orange was located and its spongy patio made base of operations, I could get taped up and crack on.

Not posing (honest) but identifying feet. I was very pleased to get this onsight (it's about 6C) although once committed above a typical talfarach landing I wasn't planning to come off. It played well to my strengths as it was basically fists and bars. The low crux being leaving/ mantling the fists into the bar /squirming section. The vid is below for geeks and insomniacs, although it took 5 minutes to to cover a little over 6m so you've been warned. 

Chuffed by my initial success, I scrambled back to the cliff path and quested round to Porth Nefoedd. This turned out to be a drudge, and I fell in a bog. Fortunately it was hot, so I crusted off quickly. Nefoedd is a lot tamer underfoot than talfarach, however the approach is a fair bit sketcher. It's also hedged in by a maze of brambles and gorse. 

I located Nefoedd Wideboy and quickly got stuck in working out a plan of attack. This stretched into a prolonged head scratching exercise as its far from a standard block. Once tucked under the initial constriction you can stand into a narrow triangular slot between the boulders. At the back of this is the starting point (a jammed boulder). Once off the deck, you have to dive under the constriction. Needless to say a variety of strength sapping options were applied before the award of "most likely to succeed" was claimed. Unfortunately by this point, I was knackered. I took this to be a benchmarking success and noted the requirement to get better core endurance. 
This is my highpoint. 

The next venue was on the North Coast, so leaving the tape on (got some funny looks driving) I sought out what I thought was a direct path back to the car. 

Never do this. 

First rule of Rhiw bouldering : never leave the described path! 

The resulting hour of psychological warfare as I negotiated 100m of dense brambles (no sleeping beauty was worth this) reinforced the first rule, and my cunning idea of bridge building out of my pads meant I'm still picking spines out of them.. 

So anyway next venue. 

This was the fabled Jellybowl cave, old school and rarely in condition. It was a bit damp, but I was here and keen for Jellybowl Crack

This was definitely an old school V6, and I was spent. Short and brutal, it was a bit damp, but really had I been fresher, it probably would have been a different story. 

There’s loads of untapped potential in jellybowl cave if you have industrial fans to get it dry.. 

My well planned tide window was coming to a close. The sea lapped at the ceiliog's feet and work beckoned. 

Moving forward, I've identified some good tide windows for the Tosheroon in July, so June is to be mostly about core endurance and maximising beans. Hopefully I'll have some fun too. 

Watch this space 

Saturday, 1 May 2021

Purple Patch

 Things are going pretty well lately. Firstly finally surmounting George's Crack, then putting The Shard to rest. I've been using the progressive psyche like Spengler's proton pack, hosing down neglected projects.

First up was a trip to the hidden valley. There was this rather massive boulder there by the river. Landing wasn't great, but the rock was rather cool; a mass of grit like slopes with an undercut base:

There was a cool cave at the left end with some flat ground and a well defined start. I made this my goal for my first foray.. 

The result (after many many attempts) was Bumshuffler, a high F6/7A. So many attempts in deed, that my camera ran out of memory as I topped out (and I was slightly late for the school run). 

Spurred on by this my next adventure was up to Marchlyn, as I was well keen to push forward on some of the projects there.. 

On reaching the dam, I saw the water level unusually high... 
Oops, the landing for the Super boulder was under water! First time in seven years I've encountered this. After some research I had found that the moving away from nuclear power has meant that its not always the best economy for them to pump up at night, and sometimes (especially when green energy, solar and the like, is doing well), they keep it up top to get the best price... 
Some further sleuthing has shown that you can predict the up top Connie's by looking by fishskin wall (a drive rather than a long walk). It's a closed system, so if it's empty down here it's full up there and vica versa. 
As a rule of thumb, this boulder here is a good marker, if the level is so low that it is linked to the promentary behind, it probably not worth walking in. 

This screen shot shows the same boulder on Google earth. The level here is still good for the super boulder, so lower than this is bad... 

So back to a peed off Mark at the Dam.. I had remembered some unfinished business at a boulder on Elidir Fach, on the same contour as the dam. Some time in 2011 I had done this :

I had given away the full traverse as a project in 2012, then in 2013 Big G named it The Biscuit Tin of Marchlyn Bach and highlighted it as the Boulder of the Month. I'd assumed he'd climbed it and promptly let it fall behind the bookcase of my mind.. 

So a decade after doing the short version, I returned for the complete slopes. 
Turned out he hadn't climbed it, but I liked the name so.. 

Biscuit Tin of Marchlyn Bach (might be 7A)

So man made tidal systems are a little tricky, but good old lunar tides sometimes bless you with a perfect meeting of wind, time and tide..

I'd been intrigued by the seaward wall at Porth Howel, but on previous visits it was either in the sea, or wet and Teflon.. 

Not so today. Bone dry! 
The main wall was at its spring level and that made it high... Even Richie Crouch's 6C sitter on the far right; What a difference a wave makes, was exposed and climbable. 
Peering round the corner to the seaward wall. 

In all its glory! 

Bashed by waves an pebbles, it was as smooth as the Tubes; that Beddgelert Esoteric gem. As usual I was drawn to the highballs, and the groove looked awesome and Jammy. 
This became Paradise Groove 5+!
A mix of slippery slabbyness, Jams and udgeness. Oh and slopers! This wall has class/impossible slopers, flatties are the jugs here.. 

Next easiest thing to try was at the other end of the wall, thankfully the lower end. 
Here lay the two biggest flatties in the insipid lower seam that slashes across the wall. They weren't actually that big but to me they were.. 

 Two Jugs 6B

Now I had a style I turned my attention to the other end of the seam. The last holdable edges that I could reach from the ground. This dyno was a little bit bigger and the upper break was not disclosing where I could actually hold it. Finally spotted a less slopey bit.. 

This is Seams Dynamic, might be 6C. 

I also spent some time failing on other stuff, but that just made me more keen to return. All I need is my skin to grow back.. 

What this space..