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 May 2011

The most exciting climbing of the year so far (Part II).

On the way home from Yellow Wall last night I got a call from Ed Booth. He wanted to do 'The Wonderful World of Walt Disney' (E6 6b, 6b, 6c?, 6a). It takes a parralel line to the infamous 'The Quarryman' (E8 7a) and is of a very similar nature, four hard, unconventional and sparingly bolted pitches.
I met the Ed in the car park in the morning and we walked in heads down against the wind. Arriving at the gigantic hole of Twll Mawr, Ed seemed entirely undetered by the ferocious winds and it was evident there was no backing out. I realised I'd picked up Georges boots so borrowed a pair of Ed's baggy shoes, not what yo uwant for your first slate E6. We traversed a scree slope and abbed in to the bottom of the route (already about 80m from the bottom of the pit). We tied a pair of ascenders to the end of the rope in case we couldn't do the route and had to back off, we could just pull up the rope with them. Stood at the first belay we watched the wind blow the abseil rope out of reach across the wall. There was no other way out now except up. We were well and truly committed.

Ed set off on the first pitch and tussled his way up an awkward, slick groove to a 'grip-clip' at the second bolt, but wedged in the groove with a double knee jam, when he tried to move he was spat out. Pulling back on, he laybacked away to glory. I seconded clean but only by the skin of my teeth.

At the top of the uber tenuous groove/arete on P2. Already exposed and
only halfway there

The next pitch, and my lead. I scrambled away from the belay across ledges for a few metres to an arete. With the wind howling and pushing me out of  balance it took a while (and distant side runners) to summon the courage to go for it, a swift layback move gained an old bolt.  From the bolt a funky rockover move to cross an overlap left me in 'no mans' land'. Unsure if I'd reach the next hold, and pretty put off by the wind I handed the lead over to Ed. This is when I realised just how keen Ed was, he went at it, no holds barred, unpeturbed by the old bolts. Several tenuous moves, but only one fall later he made it to the belay.

So on the third pitch I tried to lead again, bit of ledge shuffling, spooky mantle, clip an old bolt, cool 6b one hand one foot rockover and I have a good lefthand sidepull, only problem is that the groove is about 7ft to my right. This is the famous sideways dyno move. Unfortunately the wind blew my proverbial skirt untucked and I swapped leads again. Ed manages to clip a newer, higher bolt before launching himself across the groove, first go he comes swooping back across the wall. Second go, he drops across to the groove, almost horizontal. Amazing stuff.

Me by the last runner on the final (easy!) pitch, just a 5-move 6a
sequence, a 15ft juggy romp and a 'mantle to glory' to go.

So third time lucky and all that, I take up the lead again. The top pitch is a lot dirtier and I get the impression that most people get stumped by the dyno. Up at the top of Twll Mawr the wind is really howling, but my ego can't take another second, that was the 7th pitch in a row I had seconded.
After a fairly sustained sequence of 5c/6a moves I find myself a couple of metres above the last bolt unable to reach the finishing jugs. Psyching up for the jump was intense as anything, like Pete Robins at the top of Master's Edge in 'Onsight'. Fortunately I found a small slopey gaston which wass just enough to get my weight across.

We had done it. Well Ed had done it, an absolutely outstanding performance driven my pure passion, I've never seen anyone so keen to get up something. I had an awesome couple of days out of my depth, it was definately mind expanding. I feel very ready for the trad now.

NB. in the last post I said Alien had never been onsighted, well not wanting to sow misinformation, I have been reliably informed by local hero Rob Greenwood that 'The Man' Pat Littlejohn onsighted it on the first ascent. He climbed the first 25m (worth pumpy E5), placed high runners, reversed, and then climbed it in a oner. All that and probably with no chalk. Wad.

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