Seeing as it is now in the public domain, I thought I would spare a thought about all the going ons in Yosemite over the last few weeks. Especially the ascents partly managed by team wales. Of course everyone has heard thanks to UKC about James McHaffie, Hazel Findlays and Neil Dyers second ascent of the Pre-Muit a massive 33 pitch E8 free route. Whilst Hazel doesn’t fit into the team Wales it is still amazing effort for her, however I want to focus on the Welsh connections.
After all Caff has spent a lot of time in Wales recently and probably repeated more hard trad and sport routes than almost anyone. However he too like myself is more of a incomer. However Neil Dyer the strongest man most people have never heard of is something of a legend in Wales.
The first time I remember meeting Neil was at LPT. He turned up and had a pair of resoled boreal ballet golds and a DMM apline harness with some gear loops he had stitched onto it. My initial thoughts was he must be a punter like myself, however he quick dispatched Meloncoly (sic) a F8b. So don’t judge a book by its cover. More recently he went move fo move in a protracted battle for the first ascent of a F8b+ route down at LPT with Pete Robins. Neil was a good friend of the other North Wales wad, Patch Hammond, who sadly seems to have given up climbing for Poker, but Patch too headed to Yosemite back in 1998 with a young Leo Houlding and they shocked the world when they repeated El Nino.
There have been tow other locals out in Yosemite Callum Muskett and Dan McMannus. Callum is a product of a wall breed climber who went mad for real rock as soon as he managed to find anyone to take him. Within weeks he was climbing Slate E5, with an apparently lack of respect, as he could barely place a wire. His ability basically meant he just won’t fall. Callum binned the idea of going onto college, in hope of pursuing his passion for rock. An excellent year off seems to have been the result, with him and Dan repeating Golden Gate another El Capitan mega free route and only a month of so ago he climbed Devine Providence on Mont Blanc.
Dan on the other hand is a quiet and unassuming guy whose folks live down near the Llyn Peninsular, cricceth seems familar. I am not sure if he was brought up in Wales though. He too is one of the silent wads that shy away from the limelight. However I hope that he gets the recognition he deserves for freeing golden gate along with Callum.
I did hear a rumour that Dan might well be back on Golden Gate with Caff, to see whether James can get a second free route in his short stay in Yosemite. Although given that everybody else seems to managed a Facebook update or a blog when they are away, Caff’s page is quiet, so who knows.
Anyway, out of five of these British Climbers who have free El Cap this fall, three are from North Wales. Given we are in general a quiet backwater what does that say to the climbers hereabouts.
Anyway, great news for all those climbers. Fantastic ascents on what is surely one of the crucibles of world climbing. Hopefully it might make a few climbers from around the UK or even the world sit up and ask just what the climbing is like in Wales. It certainly seems to help prepare you for the Big Stone.