I knew it would happen, once back into the mix, doing the rounds on the phone the excitement is just to much. I promised myself I would not be back so soon, but how can I resist. With so many opportunities available to me and no time at all to climb, the easiest option was to turn the phone off. However, once I decided to leave the dam thing on, it was just a matter of time before the texts came winging my way.
Firstly, its been a good bumper week here in North Wales for new routes. Mr Panton, I am sure will fill you in on more of the details ( on the V12 news site this coming week ) However, seems Pete Harrison has great vision as he follows in my footsteps again and manages to finish off another of my attempted routes. Thing is this time, neither of us knew of each others plans/previous visits.
Big news are 2 new routes by my good friend Rich Stone up on Craig Dayffed. Having to turn down his offers of teaming up I managed to avoid the full on fight of Bladerunner. Having discussed this with Rich over the last 12 months and looked at the line I knew it would be a battle. A quick look through the new winter guide and one will see that Rich has been an active climber on and around the Black Ladders for some years and he is no stranger to adding his mark on the Welsh Winter Scene. I know Rich will be pleased with these routes and will be quite interested to see what the grades pan out to be.
Bladerunner VIII 9 ***110m ( As Rich has stated - Grade will need verifying )
The pencil thin crack in the shallow V groove right of Samuel goes the full height of the huge block that forms an awesome wall. Ridiculously tenuous torques and layaways make this well fall-offable (7 falls over two seasons ) but strenuous to place good gear (small wires and blade pegs) render it a safe-ish, bullet hard test piece. Grade will need verifying.
Rich first tried this route back in Dec 2010 and took 4 falls, 2 from the lower part of the crack then 2 from the desperate last bit. Finally he got back on it this weekend after a period of indifferent climbing over the winter due to prolonged chronic fatigue syndrome. Through, logging, and stone-walling he got fit enough over the last month and just in time. The route felt desperate and still took a further fall from the lower section followed by 2 from the upper before success. Its the hardest thing either Rich or Andy have done by quite a fair margin and thus Rich states is at the limit of my experience for grading, so it would be good to see what subsequent assentionist make of it.
P1. 50m 5 As for Samuel up steep turf steps to the ledge just left of the tooth / pillar.
P2. 35m 9 Above is the soaring crackline in the shallow groove. Initially scary pulls on thin turf lead to the crack. What follows is a relentless series of powerful but tenuous torques and layaways, passing a small overlap on its left then fighting on up the crack to a piss poor rest at a turf blob below a blackened slit. Pull past this to the obscenely thin continuation of the crack. A mighty heave and deft footwork (monopoints a must) followed by a landed fish flop and soiled trousers get you - sometimes - onto the decent turf ledge. Belay at the back.
P3. 25m 6 A brief but feisty struggle up the corner followed by a couple more big rock / turf steps which lead to The Trident shelf.
FA Richard Stone & Andy Humpheries 30-3-2013
After a bit of a session on the ale celebrating our days achievement Andy was dead to the world Sunday morning so I headed off alone up towards the ladders hoping to make the most of a beautiful day. Half way up the valley got a text saying 'wait for me,' from Andy- the Easter Resurrection. After catching up we headed up the cwm, solid 2 all the way up it was so banked out with neve and ice steps looking for the cracked arete that we vaguely remembered spotting back in 2010 and hence the resurrection was made manifest, a truly first rate climb and a clean ground up on sight flash. Mind you the last 2 days have took there toll a lingering sore wrist has developed into nasty ligament strain and tendonitis.
Easter Resurrection VII 7 ***110m
The arete to the left of the start of The Capstone Heelhook gives an awesome and quality outing with decent protection. Steep turf grooves followed by the mother of torquing cracks on the apex of the arete lead to a difficult V groove. Note : Capstone Heelhook V-7 by G Davies and Baggy 2011 has since changed due to a large rockfall in summer of 2012.
P1. 40m 5 Start 10m left of the bottom of capstone heelhook, below a turfy buttress that leads to an obvious arete with a crack in it. Go up the surprisingly fierce turf V grooves until there is a large spike belay on the arete where the turf ends.
P2. 40m 7 Directly above the stance a pristine torquing crack leads up the arete to a V groove above. Enter this with difficulty and fight on up using the crack at the back of the grove and a thin crack on the right wall to reach turf ledges on the blocky arete.
P3. 30m 4 A couple of steep pulls between ledges lead to easier ground and the finish of The Capstone Heelhook.
FA Richard Stone & Andy Humpheries 31-3-2013.
Not ending here, back to this Pete Harrison story. I get a text this evening off Pete, saying that he had just done a cracking new winter route, one of the best he has done this season. Its Adam Rib ( HS 4A ) and reckons VI-7 maybe VII-7. Pete's enthusiasm oozes out on this text and I had to call him back.
Pete, I really feel mean saying this but did you come across the tat about 10m from the top of the route. yes was the reply, we wondered about that. Well the thing is Pete, I climbed that route with Stu Stanley back on Jan 19th of this year, cracking route and we thought a classic. Well I say route, I backed off 10m from the top, due to very loose rock on the original finish and an alternative finish which looked loose and needed large gear, which we had failed to bring.
We had a good laugh about this and Pete was like no way, that is so weird we both thought about this climb. Asking me why I had never mentioned this, I replied well the plan was to go and finish it off.
So 3 major new routes in two days, a variety of major new routes last week, Caff ( James ) doing the Pass Challenge. What is that you ask ? Ah just 3 routes in the pass in one day ? Easy you might say, well when Neil Dwyer tried it, climbing Right Wall brushing the snow of the ledges was a tad hard even for Neil. I will let you find out more. Then Mr Emmett making a guest appearance and doing a torchlight Trio.
Phew what a week, I am so glad I have not been blogging all week, to much to keep up with, where will it end, no sign as yet.
Keep on cranking boys and girls and remember no day out in the Welsh Hills is complete without that lovely Welsh Winter Climbs guide by Ground UP in your pack.