Upward Progress

While my week in Font may have been a bust, the subsequent fortnight has been quite the opposite. I returned to find the weather not only clement but conditions excellent and my form returning. Out almost every night, thanks to the clocks going forward, i was possibly the only climber in North Wales glad of a wet weekend just gone as it finally gave me a chance to relax and recover.

My ticklist since returning matches that of my week away – impressive considering i’ve also worked nine-and-a-half hour days on all but four since my return. If i’m honest, i can’t rightly remember everything i’ve done or where i’ve been and have to revert to my 27crags ticklist to try and figure it out.

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The only thing missing is Bus Stop 7c in the pass, as on my first session, i cruised through the crux and only failed through a lack of knowledge of the top out. Several subsequent sessions didn’t yield success, and the problem remains tantilisingly close. Nevertheless, the progress made on a V9 is not to be underestimated and hopefully it will go very soon.

Meanwhile, a good day was had down at Elephantitus cave, ticking off the namesake V6 with relative ease and making good inroads into Going Down On An Elephant V8. This was two days after a brief stop off at the Pop Block, in Drws y Coed. A lonesome boulder near my parents caravan. The two easier lines were both flashed and the sit start Harry Popper Extension V6 went within a session, although it soon became apparent why the problems are so named. With the nature of the holds being quite pockety, it would be very easy to pop a pulley on that block and it did my finger tweak no good at all.

But the weather was far too perfect to go to waste and i persevered. On the Wednesday, i headed down to the Brenin boulder after arriving at work three hours early by mistake. It did mean that i got my sorry arse out of bed and made the conditions crisp and clear, giving ample opportunity to tick the V2 and V3 that both finish at the high point of the block. The two lines running out right were out of bounds due to foliage, meaning my only other option was Eat the Meek V6/7. This too fell within a session, matching my haul of sevens for the Font trip.

obscure foot beta turned out to be agonisingly close to being spot on.
obscure foot beta turned out to be agonisingly close to being spot on.

And of course, i wouldn’t let it lie just there. During lunch breaks, i returned, armed with a rope and a grigri and cleaned the upper slab as best i could. Then, this Tuesday evening, following a weekend of rest, the V3 line to the right went while taking Euan and Tim from work on his first outdoor bouldering excursion. We even returned on Wednesday, our hand forced by the weather and the drizzle in the hills proper. Sadly, this left Alice without a taste of success but it did allow me to tick off The Hobbit V5, leaving only the V8 traverse to go.

Tonight, the weather more conducive to a session at RAC, the Cromlech or Sheep Pen, my compadres stayed out at Bochlewyd Buttress, meaning it was to be a session alone – ideally suited to a blast on one of my unclimbed projects. Two more easy ones have fallen: King Arthur’s Allowance  4+ and another which has yet to be named but probably goes at around 6a. Suggestions in the comments please.

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The line of Prowess looked simple enough during cleaning and i was expecting a contender for Caseg Fraith Arete  for North Wales greatest V3. The first session, on the day of my first session on the Brenin boulder, quickly made me realise this was not the case. More 7b than 6b, it may be even harder than that. Two sessions in and i’ve managed a meagre single move. It’s a good move though.

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