2015-06-04 Wales, Llanberis, Twll Mawr   Leave a comment

Ever since we schlepped round Slaley Brook, admiring the long long sport climbs (Too Monsterosity, 7a, 45mtrs), we had made it a mission to investigate the country’s longer sport climbs.  I had a new Grivel Lynx big wall rucksack to try out and was keen when Mr.C suggested the slate mines at Dinorwig.  Hmmm, slate… never climbed on slate before…

When it was first put up, Desolation Of Smaug! 6c was THE longest sport route, weighing in at 145mtrs.  It’s currently the UK’s 3rd longest sport route however, after two other biggies have been bolted near it.  But it has two stars, whilst the others only have one star, so it seemed like the best place to start.  We decide to ignore the guidebook and abseil in to the approach tunnel, and find the line easily when up close.  Far away, the sheer size of it makes navigation difficult.

Desolation Of Smaug! 6c   Desolation Of Smaug! 6c

Pitch 1, 6b, 30mtrs.  With three 6c pitches, and three easier pitches, Mr.C begins climbing, though the crux move appears quickly at the 3rd/4th bolt.  But it’s a one move wonder and the rest of the line to the anchors is a gentle 5+ cruise.  I am honestly enjoying the rock.  As I said, I had never climbed on slate before, and when people said to me “no smearing, only micro-edges”, I had taken it with a pinch of salt.  But the texture… well, grit stone it is not.

Desolation Of Smaug! 6c

Pitch 2, 6c, 35mtrs.  My first slate lead, and I find a meaty 6c crux just about a third of the way up this pitch.  The holds have thinned out, but the feelings of exposure and scale are intoxicating.  There’s a really nice move to get round the problem involving a nifty bit of foot work, and I’m up to another hard move just at the vertical arête below the anchors.  Definitely THE pitch of the line, and long.  Brilliant stuff.

Desolation Of Smaug! 6c

Pitch 3, 6c, 25mtrs.  An interesting start and straight away there’s a fairly tough move to get onto the rib from the belay ledge.  But the crux comes from leaving the groove/chimney about half way up.  Another really nice move to get out onto the face and then there are ledges and flatties to the next anchor.

Pitch 4, 6a+, 20mtrs.  The crux is leaving the anchors in the first moves, but gets easier pretty quickly.  This might only be a 6a move.

Pitch 5, 6c, 15mtrs.  A short pitch with the difficulty concentrated into a couple of moves, but there’s a nice foothold for your left on the arête, and then it’s a reach up and over to the next belay station.

Pitch 6, 6b, 20mtrs.  A vertical exit from the anchors leads to easier climbing, and what’s this? A sting in the tail?  What a brilliant end to an ace route.  Thoroughly recommended

Hugely enjoyable and I’ll certainly be back for the other long routes in this particular hole in the ground.  Here’s the view from the top out:

Top Out

6b   6c   6c   6a+   6c   6b

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Posted 2015/06/09 by allend66 in Llanberis, Rockclimbing, Twyll Mawr

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