Here are some stills from the Nesscliffe trip, thanks to Dave and Phil fordragging me over there.
I was going to head out to LPT today, but have been busy, and felt I needed a day to do some washing, send an invoice, and stuff like that. It sounds like I missed a good one as Pete Robins was beaten to the first ascent of a new route that may well be F8c+ at LPT. He was beaten by the great Niel Dyer, a legend in North Wales for being super strong. Read about this over on Chris Doyles blog.
Anyway I headed to the slate in the evening an did a quick ascent of sunchaser wall, in Vivian, finishing at the top of Comes the Dervish, which is a bit of a fitness test for me as I know how hard it should feel. Today I stood at the bottom, not having climbed the route this year on lead. It can feel easy, it can feel hard, but I have felt my confidence is coming back on the rock after a winter of no training.
It was good to know that the feeling was well placed as I breezed up the initial section to the first high runners, and then the route was as lovely as ever. So in two hours we maanged to cover 5 pitches up to E3, all within walking distance of Llanberis, you have got to love that route!
These pictures are from my trip there last week.
This is a video of Dave Evan’s on a redpoint attempt on Berlin Wall, he was so close to hanging the final jug, the resulting lob is somewhat impressive.
Well, after Red Walls gogarth, today I headed out of Wales to the red walls of the sandstone quarry of Nesscliffe on the borders. The last time I went there many years ago, it was always wet, today though the rock was dry and the conditions were good.
We started with some ‘easy’ warm up routes, which were great E1 high ball boulder problems. Follow by Dave’s first play of the day on Berlin Wall, before I led Red Square, a simply awesome E2 corner. After which I follow Phil up the E5 to the right, which despite his cleaning was awefully dusty still, and by the time I made it to the top crux, my feet, which were sporting one of my rock shoes, and another of Dave’s, were flithy. Unfortunately this and power fade made me blow the last move of the route, it was an great lead by Phil though.
After that we moved round to project Dave, on Berlin Wall. He had another few attempts before Phil lead another rather dirty E3 up an arete/wall/crack. The top out was so hideous that he needed a rope. Afterwards dave had another couple of goes on Berlin Wall, his last of the day he hit the final jug but was ejected in spectacular fashion, which was a shame for him, but for you guys it means that
I spent another day with Ady, working on developing his jedi rope skills, and we focused on consolidating the skills we covered the day before, which is an approached that I have often used in these courses as the skills get very complex very quickly, and it was great that Ady was onboard when it came to learning the few things we did very well, rather than moving on and not fully understanding any of them.
So today we looked at Assisted and Unassisted Hoist, using a belay plate and a petzl reverso 3.0 in guide mode. We also added an extra piece of mechanical advantage, and also added in a DMM revolver, which made everything a lot easy.
The other skill we concentrated on was escaping the systam and going into a abseil rescue with the rope we were climbing on. Sounds easy, but it is actually very very hard to do, as there are many small components that make up this one piece. Ady went through it many times and he pretty much got it dialled on the last go.
I can only imagine the knot his mind was in by the end of the two days, however Ady asked if I could write down the sequence last night, and today we took a series of pictures of every stage of that rescue, and a few others. Hopefully Ady is going to email the pictures, as I used his G12, which was much better at indoor snaps than my D80. If he does, I am going to put together a PDF of the rescues, shot by shot. Hopefully it will be of help to a few of you guys out there.
Anyway I am off all next week, so I hope the rain stops, so I can try and get out. ALthough need to send a group text this evening to drum up some partners.
Had a really intersting couple of days, after what seemed like months not working at Plas Y Brenin, I got a call on thursday evening, asking if I could make it in the next day, as they may need me, but they would have to call me back in the morning. It made my day, and on friday I was at the centre doing some great working keeping a camera crew safe at tremadog. I can’t say what the work was, as the TV company involved want to keep a lid on it until the programme comes out. I will however endeavour to point you to the right channel when the time comes.
I was funny as off the back of my coaching blog I was asked some questions about a year ago for one of the programmes initial researchers, unfortunately I was about to head to south america so passed the work on, glad to see that programme is going to make it to air. It is always fun working on TV and Film Safety Work, as the challenge to work together to get the images they need in the can is different to the run of the mill guiding and instructing work.
I was back to another great course today though, as I am running a Rope Rescue Course for climbers, well, climber. We covered loads of stuff today, gradually starting from the most basic of skills and building up chunk by chunk to make more and more complex rescues. Ady who is on the course, as well as with me for another three weekends this month, as well as a weekend at Plas Y Brenin, has lapped up the skills.
However at about 2pm we reached saturation, so we went over the same rescue a few more times and decided to leave it at that, as it is better to learn the few skills we have covered well, rather than just kepp throwing stuff at him till he’d forgotten how to tie his shoelaces.
Anyway, we are consolidating all the skills from locking off belay plates and italien hitches, to basic hoists and escaping the system, through to abseiling rescues. We wrote down a lot of teh skills, and Ady wanted a few pictures, so we might try and take some photos and video tomorrow, and work on a PDF workbook for him.
Well, even I have to stop from time to time to go to the bank, and even get a hair cut. I have to say I think it has almost been a year since I got my hair cut, one of my problems with getting my hair cut is it seems to reveal more and more grey hair every time I have it cut, I have to say it is almost undeniable now that I have a slat and pepper look going on!
After that I head up to the quarries with Llion and Bunny, I wasn’t too psyche after all the adventure at red walls, it felt rather to familiar heading to Seamstress Slab and doing Seamstress and Seams the Same. However we then went up to Yellow Wall which isn’t as familiar.
Llion lead the Great Curve, a great Little E3, although if you start it direct rather than the recommended way it is really about E2, and way easier than the E2 I did Slippery People, which for sub six footers is rather pokey for the E2 5c grade, in fact its more E3 than The Great Curve is.
After that it was Llion’s turn to climb Remain in Light a nice little E4 straight up the wall past a number of bolts, with a tasty run-out in the middle. Great climbing, although I think I need new shoes and the edges are gone on mine and so are the rands, so standing on such small edges was both desperate and painful.
I spent a lovely day out yesterday at Milestone, coaching Shaun and Sarah in some lead climb coaching. I had previously taught them to lead climb, but it was the first time this season that they were going out, and what they really wanted was for someone to watch them climb, and give them a few tips, but at the end of it say, yes you are doing everything right.
The interesting thing was they were doing everything right, and whist at times it may have taken them a few minutes to tie into a belay, all there gear was great, and they could do everything without me say that much. Hopefully it will kickstart there climbing again this year, and hopefully they will alway get that weather when they are climbing.
After work I then headed up to the Crouchan for a spot of climbing with a few friends, I ran up Phantom Rib, a route that doesn’t get much better at VS. A real combination of pitches with different styles of climbing, make it great, and the Rib for which it gets its name is nothing if not impressive and exposed.
Even at 7 in the evening the rock was baking, and chalk was definitely needed up there. Although as we abseil off the mountains did was they have managed to do for years and surprise me. In the cloud formations that were billowing over Crib Coch were like a layer of smoke caught in a thermal ceiling, and bent and contorted by updrafting air. Very surreal, but very unsurprising the early warnings of the rain that was to follow shortly after.
Everyone thought I was joking at the start of the route when I warned that it might rain, despite
Today I had the pleasure of Dave Evans company, we had made loose plans for soem adventure, somewhere, although we had hoped to go to Red Wall, the overnight rain made it possible that we were going to be going somewhere else. As it was the sea fret was still about when we arrive at SOuth Stack and as we fretted over whether to go down or not, it would clear and get worse.
In the end we headed down, and went for another minor classic Blue Remembered Hills, an E3 5c, 5c. I wasn’t sure whether I was going to be up for it to be honest, as 5c on this rock is pretty intense due to the gear at times. As it was Dave lead the meat of the route, which was way harder than you’d think as it was fresh from any chalk meaning he had to battle his way upwards figuring out the rock as he went.
He did and amazing job, and the cliff lets you keep going as you shuffle from ledge to ledge with just enough rests to make you forge onto the next ledge. As he inched up the climbing looked to be pretty sustained for an E3 up there. I had sat on the belay, enjoy the glorious sun, and had all but convinced myself to back off the last pitch.
A quick pep talk from dave, and I gave it a look. After an age deploying half my rack in the first 30ft, I commited. Dave mentioned the body language I had when I first got there compared to when I commited. I have to admit that until I had all the runners in, I was pretty keen to veer left and up the top pitch of Wendigo. Having got some kit in, and decided that there was holds out right, I commited to the move up to the flake and onwards.
It was probably the first time I have really pushed myself into climbing something near my limit this year, and it was great to feel more or less in control out there, as you have some serious space below your feet as you move into teh bottomless groove, beyond which the climbing was blind. However it all worked out, and having commited I have to admit to feeling comfortable on that kind of terrain again.
Again, above the hard climbing with the end in site the type II fun style of climbing became apparent to me. I also ticked my 96th route at Gogarth, four more to do. A friend scared me the other day, as he asked what my 100th route was going to be. It is strange because I saw his point, what route should I choose when reaching this massive milestone. To be honest it will probably be just another route, but it would be nice if it was special, so any suggestions please add a comment.