Well almost, I should perhaps start from the beginning of my long story with The Nose of Dinas Mot. The routes, the climbers, the good times and the suffering.
Way back in 1995, I sat down and choose a university, it had to be close to climbing, it had to have mountains. Sheffield and Leeds only covered one of those bases, the University’s in Scotland are a reasonable distance away from both the climbing and the mountains, but Bangor seemed to have the best of both worlds, so I found myself enrolling on a degree in Environmental Planning and Management, and for the next three years I went out of my way to climb as much as possible, probably to the detriment of my studies, but I got the climbers degree a Desmond Two Two.
The first week I arrived I met a guy called Tom, we are still friends to this day, and managed to get about one or two routes a year climbed together, and I try to visit him in Pembroke under the guise that I will go climbing with him, when really all I want to do is borrow one of his many surf boards and annoy any surfers with my total lack of skill.
With Tom in that first year we did nearly all the VS’s, HVS’s and E1′s on Dinas Mot. Learning the ropes as we went along, and ticking all the classics that the cliff has to offer. I’ll never forget the first time we did Superdirect, as that last pitch still puts the fear of god into me, so steep and powerful for E1, but as I have become well aware all those top pitches are the same.
Intermittent journeys across this great steepening slab of rock has lead to a few more routes, and then I kind of forgot about it for a while, until I got better. Returning with Pete to climb Stairway to Heaven a thin E3, with a top pitch that made Superdirect look like a veritable walk in the park. Then it was GBH, and aptly named crack pitch that is as intense as it is short lived.
I then went up there with a young Leo Houlding, when he was working the route that became known as Trauma, and it was a fitting name, as we headed up there the wind was utterly biting. Sat on the ledge on belay duties it was horrendous. At one point I had so many jackets and hats on, I must have looked like a orange ball balanced on teh ledge from the Cromlech Boulders.
A few days later at it was Leo’s turn to try and lead it, up he went to fiddle in the wire before he down climbed back to the ledge and we bounce tested the runner. A quick run round to the gully to get out of the wind and some jumping jacks to warm a now frozen body and Leo was back up there. Four times he took the fall that day, the last time I clearly remember him way above the crux with a move to a backhand, on top-rope he had done it easily, however on lead, pump he could get to it. If it had been a flat hold he would have used a bit of power to slap it, but as a backhand he couldn’t.
The wheels fell off his wagon, and I can remember him being scared for the first and only time I can remember in all the time i climbed with him. High on the Mot, with the potential of hitting the ledge if the gear rips from about 50ft, even I was gripped as he plummeted from the rock. Every time we went there he offered me a go, but I always turned him down, mainly because I feared that I might have been able to do the moves, then I might end up where he was!
There was one route left on the Mot that was going to be a problem, Truncheon Meat, at E6 I was never going to lead it, but went up there with Caff and Tim one day, and after a bit of team work, mainly caff strength to reach the first runner, then Tim’s reach to get another and it was in the bag so I waddled up it on top-rope.
I have a great memory of my personal climbing day on my MIA assessment, Ollie the assessor had taken us to the crag, and simply said can you do pick a route you haven’t done before? Well, no, as that’ll be Trauma, I can do one I haven’t done for ten years though.
Unfortunately I was wrong, there was another route on the Nose of Dinas Mot that I had yet to climb, and it was a feature that for a while now I have really liked the look of, the arching groove between Trauma and Direct Route, it is taken by Crossties, a rather esoteric HVS, it only gets a star, but if you skipped the first pitches and only climbed the final groove it would be worth 2 at least.
I can say that now, because today I headed up in the sun, as the only real time to climb on the Mot to be honest is in a heatwave, and climbed it. There were no fireworks at the top, no champagne, just another day, another route and another experience on this great cliff. I guess most people will say, well you never climbed Trauma, and you’d be right, but I have to say those few days on belay duty, in the freezing cold watching Leo take horrendous falls, was at least worth 7 or the 8 E points it now gets, as them were the days before everyone realise you can get a good pecker below that lonely wire