Grab It While You Can

With bad weather on the horizon, apparently arriving Friday, there is a sense of urgency about people around here at the moment. Personally, after having totted up a handful of projects, all within reasonable grasp, it’s now a case of prioritising. Two nights left, and the big question is: where am i heading?

The obvious suggestion is over to my first ascents, to try and nail them off. This has become a priority of late, to allow me to release the location to the wider world and get some people trying them (he says, in hope). The major line to be done at the moment is Prowess 7b? – the striking prow feature, unsurprisingly, up by the already-climbed lines of the Bull’s Trio and the two new ones this week, King Arthur’s Allowance and Fluffion. Obvious it may be, but it could also be remarkably time consuming; don’t forget i had originally thought it 6b not 7b and i have yet to top out. That and if Friday turns out to be more drizzle than deluge, it will probably remain do-able. Verdict: Wait.


Next in the thought bank is down at Elephantitus Cave, where i recently had a very successful session, ticking off the namesake problem with relative ease. Next up is Going Down on an Elephant V8 which i had tried briefly but with new video beta should go fairly quickly. It’s a stunning but slightly contrived line which i’m very eager to go and have a good blast at. However, with a reasonable walk in and not a lot else there to warm up on or try, plus the need for plenty of pads and it might have to wait for another day. Verdict: Wait.

An early attempt on Going Down On An Elephant, with poor foot beta
An early attempt on Going Down On An Elephant, with poor foot beta

Now Saturday gone and i had a text from Tom; an old friend from Birmingham who now resides in Sheffield. He was over with some mates and going for a boulder. We met in Pete’s Eats the next morning and hatched a plan to head to the Caseg Boulders. A splendid little spot, nestled aside Afon Caseg and somewhere i’d been meaning on returning to for a very long time. Armed with an army of spotters and an armory of pads, i ticked off the classic line Caseg Groove V5 and made major headway on The Gimp V8. Sadly, i didn’t quite finish it off and it would make an ideal after-work session. Verdict: close but not quite.

Almost but not quite on The Gimp
Almost but not quite on The Gimp

I’ve also recently got some info on the boulder problems at Beddgelert Forest, most crucially the approach details! I’ve been itching to check out what’s there for years, as i’ve been frequenting that woodland since my early childhood. From sharing my info, it seems i’m not alone, and my prediction is it will be the most popular part of the new guide (when it gets here). There are dozens of lines to get on, in all manner of grades and i’m in no mood to wait for the next decent dry spell. Verdict: Thursday after work session.

That just left Wednesday night. With no Tess (she was with Ruth), i opted to go and have another blast on Bus Stop V9. Kim is going to come and crash on the sofa for a while, so wanted to find out, sensibly, where i lived and thankfully, was more than willing to stop off in the pass on the way back home. He had a good blast on The Ramp V1, and i had a few warm up problems before the short walk down the road. In my previous post, i explained how i’d been working it recently, merely failing on the top out, after years of apathy towards it. Tonight, i walked down, put rock boots on and sent it first go, with a sea of pads and an encouraging Rich Hessian behind me, cheering me on.


With fingers struggling to contain the crimp in my hand, and my left struggling to find a crimp at all! i held it together, and clawed my way over the face and rocked out. My second V9, joint hardest send ever (in my opinion shared with both Rock Attrocity and Carnage) has left me chuffed to bits, my only sadness that i was unable to find such form in France. Verdict: success.


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