2016-09-12 Wales, Fedw Fawr   Leave a comment

Over on the Island of Anglesey, we planned on doing a bit on a couple of crags, but the weather wasn’t good.  Very strong gusts and sea spray meant this part of Wales was just not going to happen today, so plan B – we drive down to a little spot called Fedw Fawr, White Beach Crag.

We only have time for 3 routes.   Bunty, 6a+, Tricky Fruitbat, 6a+, and the world’s hardest 6b, Mike’s Glory.  Not a bad crag, but as it’s limited in the amount of lines there are, I doubt we’ll be back here again.  It was however a nice retreat when most other places were with bad weather conditions.

2016-09-12 08 White Beach Crag

6a+   6a+   6b

Posted 2016/11/01 by allend66 in Rockclimbing

2016-09-07 Llanymynech, Red Wall   Leave a comment

As the newest member of our 7a+ onsight/flash club remarked yesterday, “[even though it has several climbs in the Clwyd Top-50 list, the Red Wall] doesn’t look very inspiring…”, And I’ve got to hand it to him.  It has the look of a very quarried, very man-made looking wall, with lots of unnatural angles, and plenty of dust & grime.  And the potential for taking a fall, and landing onto a nasty out-jutting bit of rock doesn’t really inspire confidence.  I do however plan to have a look at all the climbs on the aptly named Red Wall, and we continue today with the other easiest climb, Clematis, 6b+ in the corner. 

Clematis, 6b+

A sustained climb and intriguing warm up, I use it to lower down and clean off all the holds on the next route, the nice looking Poison Ivy, 7a+ on the short end wall.  I missed the onsight of this particular 7a+ a couple of days ago and wanted to get back on it.  Meanwhile, Marc smashes it, and the sun comes onto it for around 1 hour and then it’s back in shade.  I pulled off a couple of holds on this last time, but I manage to clip the anchors, a very long 35mtrs away without much drama. 

Poison Ivy, 7a+   Poison Ivy, 7a+

A super route, but it isn’t 7a as stated on sportsclimbs.  A recommended tick to anyone working 7a+.  Not so good if you’re new to 7a.

To finish the day, we cruise up A Night Torchlight Parade, 6c well, some of us do…

6b+   7a+   6c

Posted 2016/09/08 by allend66 in Llanymynech, Rockclimbing

2016-08-29 Wales, Llanymynech, Red Wall   Leave a comment

Red Wall, the dark, dusty very ‘quarried’ looking wall below the golf club is full of lines on the still-to-do list.  It also has a few of the Top-50 routes for Clwyd.  After warming up on 39 And Counting, 6a on the Grid Iron, we nip over to Red Wall and welcome shade.  Another warmer on Day Of The Triffids, 6b+ and I start on Poison Ivy, 7a.  Given 7a on Gary’s website, but after trying it, I would agree with the 7a+ grade given on UKC.  It’s hard work up to the hands-free rest at half way, then it’s steady 6b+/c climbing to the anchors.  Dusty but nice.  I even managed to pull off a couple of holds, which won’t help.  Recommended.

Poison Ivy, 7a+

6a   6b+   7a+   7a+

Posted 2016/09/04 by allend66 in Llanymynech, Rockclimbing

2016-07-21 Capçanes, Barranc Del Tortó   Leave a comment

Having climbed here once before – I remember trying the rather butch Carrasclet, 7c a while back, it’s no surprise what this great wall has to offer.  The first time around we didn’t have a topo, this time we do.  And Chema, our guide.  You can get approach instructions from this website.  In summer, a morning crag, in winter an afternoon crag.

2016-07-21 10 Capcanes

What was once a tough 6b+ is now a chilled out 6c and that makes the warm up less stressful.  You lower down from the 33mtr Rústica and think “Yeah, let’s smash the next one” instead of thinking “Holy shit, that was hard, I hope I don’t get spat off the next climb”.  And we do just that – smash Chema and Isma’s 7a send Hecatombe.  Congratulations to Isma for his first 7a, Hecatombe is a worthwhile tick.

Rustica, 6b+   Hecatombe, 7a

And so we move on to Mosca Negra, 7b.  A nice climb of around 6c up to the roof break, then a hard move, some thin things then another hard move before the chain.  Annoyingly I miss the onsight by a schoolboy error, but Paco nails his flash.  And so with three routes and 100 vertical metres, the sun is eating away at the shade at the base of the crag, and it’s time to get a brewski.  At 2:30pm in summer, the sun is on the wall and it’s too hot to climb.  A great sector, with decent routes, and one 7b that will shortly be added to my CV.

6c   7a   7b

Posted 2016/08/08 by allend66 in Uncategorized

2016-07-17 Spain, Siurana, Grau Masets Abaix   2 comments

So nice to be home.  The old stomping ground, so to speak.  Siurana well known the world over as a top climbing venue is dreadfully hot in summer, but we descend to the lower of the three Masets sectors just as shade is arriving at 4pm.  And even though young Paco is rocking version 2 of the definitive guide, today I’m testing a new app – Climb Around.  This digital guide for smart phones currently has topos for Siurana, Rodellar, Montserrat Nord, and Sant Llorenç De Munt, all available as separate downloads, and all free.  That’s right – Free.  Gratis.  Sin pagar.  Nada, zip, zilch.  The app’s still in beta, but I have all four sectors downloaded, occupying a paltry 195Mb of space.  So how does the app compare to the Brascó guide?

First impression is it looks nice, but is short of quite a few sectors.  It has the well known and important ones though.  Being a digital version too, it should get updates as and when new routes are bolted, depending on their update policy, of course. 

As for the climbing, we warm up on Aleva, 6b+  and get on to El Rey Del Atajo, 6c+ which feels a little dodgy with a tree nearby to some thin moves as you get off the ground.  Wouldn’t want to fall off into a branch.  And then we do the super thin No Ha Hi Pa Per Tant Xoriço, 7a next to it which was nice but we couldn’t flash it – too hot.  There’s some very thin dimples you have to pull off, with crap feet, and it’s just a little too warm.  Wandering down the crag, we see a project rope and some shiny new bolts to the right of No Pierdes El Maná, 7a – someone has been busy squeezing in a new route.  There’s also development at the end of the crag, towards Can Sumera / Can Maquis, but it’s so new that it isn’t in the Climb Around app.

I wanted to post a few app screenshots but the app seems to be protected (“Screenshot was not saved”), so you’ll just have to download it for yourselves – after all it’s free.  The app compares well to the book, though.  The website is in Spanish & Catalan, but my app is in English as per the ‘Device Default’ settings in preferences (well, everything except the sector information text, that still comes up in Spanish).  The app doesn’t seem to be finished yet either.  By that I mean that for each climb, there are 3 stars greyed out beneath each name, but you can’t vote for routes of quality – and I know Masets Abaix – there are some quality routes there.  In fact no sector has any starred routes.  I would like to see the number of quickdraws needed for each climb, as well as the grade and route length (which are both given), though this would be a lot of work to include.  The photo of the sector – taken with a Phantom drone, gives excellent topos.  You can zoom in to a certain extent, not much though.  GPS would be a nice addition too.  Thankfully though, there are no added adverts – let’s hope it stays like that.

We finish the day on Maná, a previous onsight, though this time we traverse left a little lower down than before.  Still a nice climb though.  Download the app, and go climb in Masets Abaix – it’s a grand sector.

6b+   6c+   7a   7a

Posted 2016/08/02 by allend66 in Grau Dels Masets, Rockclimbing, Siurana

2016-06-22 Wales, Gogarth, South Stack   Leave a comment

Castle Helen is the venue at South Stack – a very pleasant introduction to Gogarth: Trad sea-cliff climbing in a truly beautiful area.

2016-06-22 01 South Stack

Mein Host, Mr. Chinner, is a local round these parts, and I cannot fault his guiding skills.  We park up in the free car park – yes, free!,… and descend the path to the lighthouse where we find the 60mtr abseil in to the start ledge for the chosen climbs.  The ab in itself feels big, and is a great prelude to the fun that is waiting for us.  After backing up the in situ gear to an OCD level, we swoop in to a stance around 8 mtrs above the crashing swell.  Very atmospheric.  So the plan was to climb Lighthouse Arete, VS 4c, 4a which goes very much as planned.  Not too hard, and a great route.  The second pitch wasn’t as good as the first, but nevertheless, a very worthwhile climb.

2016-06-22 12 South Stack   Lighthouse Arete, VS 4c

Another ab in and we do Lighthouse Arete Direct / Blanco, HVS 5a, 4a with another flash first pitch, onsight 2nd pitch.  This second half feels a lot more airy and exposed than the other line, though it more or less ends up in the same place towards the topout.  The rock quality is superb – maximum grip and surprisingly unpolished, considering the age of the first ascents, and the popularity of the crag.

Lighthouse Arete Direct / Blanco, HVS 5a

With time for one more line, we chose Pel / Rap, VS 4c, 4b combination line, as the top out to Pel is more or less the same for Blanco, so at the end of pitch 1 we go directly up for the finish for Rap, 4b – very very nice.  Amazing quality, and well recommended.

We top out in golden hour sunshine, with spectacular views from an excellent day climbing.  Gogarth will be on our hitlist again soon…

2016-06-22 24 South Stack

VS 4c, 4a    HVS 5a, 4a    VS 4c, 4b

Posted 2016/07/26 by allend66 in Rockclimbing

2016-06-14 Wales, Llandudno, The Gallery   Leave a comment

With rain pissing down in the Pass, we blow off the slate mines and head up to the coast.  Conwy, seemingly didn’t hear the weather forecast today so instead of rain, moisture and precipitation, there’s sun and half decent views of the coast.  Close to Llandudno, The Gallery is a quarried bit of stone that has a road going through the middle of it.  We start on the easiest route on the lower right hand section, a 6a+ that was pumpy, hard to read, and felt unusual.  The rock is micro diorite, a type of granite.  One Nation Under A Groove was a very uppity warm up.  With not much light (and grey clouds looming) we get on the long 6b, The View Belongs To Everyone.  A hefty 30mtrs, with a lower slabby section, up into a roof corner then some fine pulls through over and through a chimney finish.  While my rope partner, the renowned faffer Matthew Chinner continues beasting his way up the quality line, he is unaware of the rain that is starting to come down.  Nothing too serious, just spots at the moment, but dug in like an Alabama tick as he is under a roof, there is certainly more relaxedness about our situation on his end of the rope than I am feeling on my end.  Every time I look up, I get a rain drop right in the eyeball.

Get a move on, mate!  It’s starting to rain..” I yell up.  With the little road noise, wind and the distance between us, communication could have been easier.  He tops out majestically, we decide on leaving the draws in place as we think there’s time for me to do it and he lowers off the climb a true champ.

Are those clouds darker and getting nearer?” I ask.  “Maybe, but it’s all good” replies the man.  I’m debating whether to pull down the rope.  I do and the instant the end drops onto the gravel, rain comes down.  Not one or two spots like before, but rain.  Proper getting things soaked kind of rain.  We cover the rope, take cover under an overhang, and muse the situation.  Light is falling and humidity is rising.  The possibility of a Plan B is mentioned – strip the first 2 or 3 draws, leave the rest and come back tomorrow when it’s dry… Nah! let’s have it!

So after 20 minutes, after water has stopped streaming down the slab in torrents, I start climbing.  Everything is still wet, friction is at a minimum, and I’m climbing like I’ve got a rucksack full of nitro-glycerine strapped to my back.  Talk about delicate moves…  I’m almost off it twice, but keep on going up to the roof.  As I get to the roof, like an omen, the sun beams through under the clouds, just above the horizon.  Golden hour, nice.  The wet rock has an orangey glow to it now and despite the bird shit, looks lovely.  A couple of tough moves through the roof and I’m rethreading the anchors.  I touch down to the last hint of orange sinking into the sea – perfect timing.

The View Is For Everyone, 6b

I’d like to get back to this crag, we had wanted to do the 3 star Iskra, 6b+ on the upper tier.  In the guidebook; “Described by many as the best 6b+ in N.Wales…”.  Next time…

6a+   6b

Posted 2016/07/11 by allend66 in Rockclimbing