The Almost Sector

This weeks advice is quite simple: if you’ve only got one evening left before bad weather comes in for quite a while, don’t spend it going to somewhere you’ve never been. Certainly don’t spend it trying to find a previously unvisited crag that nestles deep in a coniferous forest, constantly changing with fresh trees. And if you don’t heed this advice and decide to find a fresh challenge, that nestles in a thick forest, don’t pick one that has yet to have a map drawn up for the approach.

In hindsight, all that was probably blatantly obvious but on Thursday afternoon, armed with the approach description, an (admittedly very old) OS map and the brand new, up to date cycling map, it seemed like a good idea. In truth, it was a pleasant walk around the gorgeous Beddgelert forest, with a stunning sunset and midgeless clear air but it would’ve been much nicer had we actually planned on a walk, not a climb, and not lugged the pads and kit around with us.

After two hours, I was stood back at the car, with Ryan and Owain, cursing and trying to figure out how to get any problems in with the short amount of daylight remaining. In the end, we opted to head back into the forest, determined to find what we had been searching for, this time unladen with crap we weren’t now going to be using.

A more direct walk took us back to where we thought we’d turned wrong and we investigated the other two options of the cross roads: straight on revealing some new but pretty poor rock after a fierce fight through pine branches and left bringing us to the Shocker Area. The namesake problem looks absolutely stunning; a 7b+ dyno to die for, and the whole area is a jumbled collection of rocks piled atop each other. That said, by this point we had no idea where we were and only found out once back, thanks to Si Panton and a poor photo i took of the area.

So after my V9 success the previous night, and the night before a weeks rest, my recent climbing resurgence ended with a mild disappointment. A said above, it was a pretty stupid idea in the first place.

Since then, it’s been back to normal: relentless drizzle, wet rock and lunchtimes searching the forest for the next big project. Yesterday, taking a slightly longer lunch, i ventured slightly further than i have previous and found what i have dubbed The Almost Sector. From a distance, there looks endless potential but as you approach, every option has one of the four killers:

  1. Holds too big or big ledge right in the middle – the type where font grades don’t go down far enough and it would probably get V-not-even-close
  2. Angle too shallow, often so shallow that once you’ve done one move to get on, it’s actually a walk
  3. Problem too short and forcing you to start lying flat on the floor or actually a micro route, far too big for pads
  4. Rock falling apart, requiring every inch of visible rock being removed in the vague hope of finding something climbable

I’m obviously going to go and investigate further and see if i can get enough decent problems to make it worthwhile but the name will now stick. Even if there are a reasonable number of problems, it could’ve been so much more. Besides, what else am i going to do in the rain!


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