Firstly, I want to say a huge thankyou. The blog has had more than 1000 views. I think that's amazing. If you were the 1000th viewer let me know and I'll post you a copy of Welsh Connections!
Anyway... Pant Ifan on Thursday, totally deserted. Just me and Tommy Martin. Duncan and Mike went to Blwch Moch to try Mike's project.
First up, the aptly named Barbarian (E1 5b). This savage will plunder and pillage your forearms for juicy lactic. A small, awkward roof early on merely hints at what's in store. A good fight. Next in line, Scratch Arete (HVS 5a). A much more pleasant opponent, gracefully conceding the win as you gain the awesome jug over the roof. The first ab left me beneath a clean looking wall. Inspired, I roped up again and set off into the unknown. A rapid, romping layback flake gained some good holds beneath a bulging corner. I stuffed a few cams in and cranked around into a groove, an unlikely backhand mono was the last memorable move before whopping great ledges to the top. The route turned out to be Rhych dy Din, or Itch (E2 5b), worth seeking out. I really enjoyed this knowledgeless style. True onsighting.
Feeling good I decided to have a go at Integral Direct (E3 5c), a bold, blunt arete. With only two small wires behind two thin flakes and a slopey crux sequence above I ran away with my tail between my legs. As the darkness crept in I soloed Scratch (VS 4c), trailing the ropes for the ab. The first pitch was fine with big ledges, and I managed it in my trainers. Arriving at the ledge beneath pitch two and eyeing the steep corner crack, I decided a switch to rock boots was in order. High up on jams and smears I was glad I'd made the change.
I abbed down, got the gear, pulled the ropes and... nothing. Totally jammed in a crack! I sprinted up the never-ending staircase to free the ropes from the top. Tom shouted after me 'pull them up or they will get jammed again'. Inevitably, I ignored his advice, threw the ropes and ran back down beaten and in the dark. To add insult to injury, the ropes had caught again. All remnants of patience were shattered as I frantically scrambled up dodgy terrain to unhook the ropes. A minor victory. At the same time a head torch appeared through the trees it was Mikey. He had done his project, cleverly named 'The Philtrum' (E6 6b).
The next day, we headed to the Grochan. It was as busy as toys'r'us on Christmas eve. I knocked out Brant Direct (HVS 5a), a classic corner climb, to warm up. Much more awkward and polished than I had remembered. Then, Tommy did Karwendal Wall (HVS 5b) a pleasant romp up a pair of perpendicular ramplines. Ready for action, I plumped for an effort on Mural (E4 6a). A nice bit of wall climbing led to a ledge. From here a crack runs to the top of the wall, but holds out left beckon and a few slappy moves gain jugs. After fiddling some gear in I made a sprint for it and topped out just as my arms were beginning to wilt.
The time is upon us to go out and get pumped to the eyeballs, Shame I've got work to do...