About me:

Originally from Hull, I now live in Llanberis, North Wales. Totally addicted to climbing, I work at the Indy Climbing wall and as a freelance routesetter to fund my dirty habit.

31 March 2011

Five minute warning.

I've just finished the best SPA ever with the legend Andy Boorman (over 50 and still cruising E5).

The first day was daunting, having learnt how to tie-off a belay and make a releasable abseil the night before. Anyway, cruised it. Today we had to demonstrate our personal climbing. We headed to Craig y Forwyn left-hand, a good single pitch venue for those wanting to get a load of S-E1 routes in the bag. Over the course of the morning Mikey, Bubbles, Oli and I took it in turns to do Arian Direct (VS) and Plas Newydd Groove (HS). All 4 of us passed, and all 5 of us enjoyed it, although I'm sure Andy must have been tiring of me asking about all the routes he had done.
'Extreme Rock' is somewhat of a trad climbers bible. It's a list of around 150 of the UK's best extreme routes, and in my experience upto now, it's not far wrong. As a slightly autistic list-lover a little pipe dream of mine is to tick the book.

As I was saying, we were at Craig y Forwyn 'left-hand'... The reason for this distinction is that the main part of the crag is banned due to the landowner's logic-less temperament. Within the banned section is one of my outstanding Extreme Rock ticks: Great Wall (E4 5c). I had to do it.

Arriving at the bottom of the wall, I craned upwards. When I got to the crag I had wondered how a route here could be in the climbing Koran. It all became clear...100 odd foot of smooth, immaculate, leaning rock. Several insitu threads guide a path up the wall via a series a well-formed features.

I leave the deck, get an early runner in and feel pumped. I contemplate heading back to the deck. I don't. 50ft later, forearms tight and tired, hindsight regrets. Blind moves head just where you want them to. I find myself 30ft from the top, begging for respite. It doesn't come. I'm falling upwards. Recovering is no longer an option. I beat the sting in the tail just in time. With the final few feet of climbing to do I'm no longer able to hold on. Using my forearms for hands I grovel out over the top.

I had to take five minutes to be able to open the crabs to make a belay. Awesome.

Whilst belaying Mikey up the landowner came out of his house. From the bottom of the hill he launched a barrage of unreasonable, uncompromising abuse. I wore my diplomacy hat but it was futile. Remembering the shotgun cartridge we had found at the bottom of the crag, his five minute warning was heeded.

I will definately be back, and I think a little reshuffling might put this route in my 'Top 5'.

1 comment:

  1. Cool post Al, Andy's over sixty by the way...

    Bubbles x