As the days begin to lengthen, the weather slowly improves – after the shortest and fiercest of winters, where EVERYTHING froze for a week and then suddenly thawed – and i gradually drift down the rankings of this year’s Indy Aggregate competition, my thoughts have drifted from indoors to outdoors and the crags and climbs on the radar for the coming season.
It’s a little early, granted, as my New Year doesn’t actually start until the 25th March and my bi-annual goal setting, but it has certainly been prompted by recent events; namely actually getting out on rock!
So below are some crags that have come to mind recently, either new or hitherto neglected, and the reasons of their appeal. with a caution never to completely neglect somewhere.
Sometimes a good #session is where we go and tick hard #climbs. Sometimes it's when you go and finish a project you've been trying for ages. Sometimes it's just getting out with old friends for the first time in a long time. Sometimes it's being somewhere #amazing on a#beautifulday. Sometimes it's just being able to #getout. Sometimes you don't get them all but sometimes what you do get is just enough to make it an #awesome day. @pablo.sordo on Jez's Arete 6c at the Milestone Buttress #worldclasswales #snowdonia #northwales #northwalesbouldering #bouldering #rockclimbing #climbing #climbing_is_my_passion #climbing_pictures_of_instagram
More specific than a particular crag, this is a particular boulder at a particular crag. The boulders at the Milestone Buttress are often overlooked – epitomised by their absence in the Boulder Britain guidebook, which did include the locals venue of The Tubes instead – yet have some outstanding and classic lines. It has been many years since i ticked off Marilyn Monroe 7a and Bombshell 6c+ but an inspection of the Pit area around that time, with encroaching boulders right behind you and a not-ideal landing, put me off enough to consider myself done at this site.
After some inspiring videos, including the always excellent Girl Crush series, i opted to go and take a fresh look this January and was suddenly quite surprised. What i remembered as absolute death previously suddenly seemed, if not reasonable then acceptable and a glance at the grades made me reconsider my original assessment. Sure, plenty of pads and preferably a spotter will undoubtedly be required but for lines ranging from 6c+ to 7c+ it is certainly worth a go! What’s more are the nineteen stars to accompany those climbs.
It would appear i may be looking to the Wales of the past in 2018 as i begin working in the Pit. If that doesn’t work, the massive circuit of satellite problems in the new guide will get a look in.
This is another crag that i had visited a couple of times and neglected based on it’s landings and overgrading – primarily on the advice of a friend – and another that i had found inspiration for from videos online.
I’m not sure what made me ignore this on one day in January this year, a combination of time constraints and conditions meaning there weren’t any better options. Couple a vague video i had watched on Facebook (and now cannot find for the life of me) of successes and it made sense to have another look.
When is it too cold to be good #bouldering conditions? When there's a sheet of ice over the entire top of the boulder… With an afternoon free after attending the inaugural adventure sports coaching conference at @plasybreninstaff I opted to head a few miles down the road in the #ogwenvalley to the #galltyrogof bloc. I'd always been put off by this before but now with fresh eyes and photo topos in the #northwalesboulderingguide the problems seemed immense and impressive. So I started to at least try and warm up, only to find the top out dodgy as sin! An entire sheet or verglas meant even if I had pulled over the top, it would've been rather treacherous to say the least. Nevertheless, another #beautifulday in #northwales! #worldclasswales #snowdonia #northwalesbouldering #rockclimbing #climbing #climbing_is_my_passion #climbing_pictures_of_instagram
Boy was i glad i did and while the day itself didn’t yield any actual successes in terms of ascents, it did get me past the idea of never going back and did yield a good story about being chased away by a large sheet of ice. The fact that i now have a guidebook with photo topos to show exactly where the lines are is significantly better than ever before and doubtless has made a massive difference.
From 7a to 8a, Gallt yr Ogof is, in the short term at least, worthy of a bit of Spring attention. Watch this space.
It was mid-August last year that myself, my wonderful other half, our (then very) little daughter and the mad hound went to scout out Supercrack on a very wet and soggy day but it feels like an age ago. Ever since then it has been on my agenda, high up and waiting for a dry enough spell to get back there. There just hasn’t been one!
I am desperately hoping that come Spring, we will get a few days of sunshine and mild breeze that will dry it off for me and that, considering i’ve yet to actually pull onto the rock here, that it lives up to the high hopes i have. A collection of grades including warm ups in the 6s through to a 7a, two 7b and a 7c .
Wow, this feels a while ago now! This is the crag I'm absolutely itching to get to – just as soon as the weather gods around here give us a few dry days in a row. The idea of getting into any of the #forest crags around here lately seems a vague dream. It'll be a happy day when I finally get up to try #supercrack! #worldclasswales #snowdonia #snowdonianationalpark #northwales #northwalesbouldering #crag #woods #Aberglaslyn
Craig Pont y Pant, as it is also known, has been a firm favourite of mine since i first obtained the section of the then new guide and ventured to the far side of Betws y Coed. It has a peculiar grade range, with one 6c, 7a, 7a+, 7b, two 7c, a 7c+, 8a and 8a+… or so i thought at the time. I have slowly been ticking off the next grade with every visit and reaching an impass.
That is until i looked anew at the guidebook and realised not only had some grades changed, there were other lines there too. The main face is the only one that (still) grabs my attention but now houses 50% more climbing than before. It transpires i’ve even done one of the lines already, Badgers In The Mist correctly splitting into two problems, with a new 7b+ and 6c to keep me busy while i fall off Nazgul’s Traverse again and again. There’s even a 6b and 7b that don’t have a photo topo too – loads to do!
Finally! This is me, slapping the top of #badgersinthemist at #rhiwgoch on an after work #session with @alexcutbush and a great photo he took too! Feels great to finally get this finished after the fiasco from last time – a fiasco I can now go toward forgetting! Meanwhile, feels like a fantastic warm up for next week… 7c (kind of in a session, not bad and I won't complain) #snowdonia #worldclasswales #northwales #northwalesbouldering #bouldering #rockclimbing #climbing #climbing_photos_of_instagram #climbing_pictures_of_instagram #climbing_is_my_passion #climbinglife #meclimbing
At first, i got very excited about this one, until my recent visit, when it dawned on me that some of the new lines weren’t where i had thought and that, actually, they didn’t look as appealing as i was expecting. Nevertheless, i didn’t check out the other satellite problems and the draw to Bustach was and always will be, the main face.
Much as with Rhiw Goch, Clogwyn y Bustach has one main, steep face that houses a number of 7s. Again, i’ve slowly been ticking off the lines but had reached an impasse, with Bustach Prow 7b+ and Sick Happy sds (formerly 7c+, now 7c) next on the hit list. While only one line, the new Rudder’s Wall 7a+/b has given me added impetus to get back there and give it another good go.
I dare say with some searching around the mess of fallen trees, many of the other new lines will be worthwhile but the focal point is now Rudder’s Wall and then on to the Prow.
New #bouldering motto: if at first you don't succeed, blame conditions and midges, give it a couple more goes then sack it off and go eat pizza #climbing #rockclimbing #northwales #northwalesbouldering #clogwynybustach #fagin #climbing_pictures_of_instagram #climbing_photos_of_instagram #petzlgram thanks for the photo @ruth_harland
Lastly, as i’m aware the word count is rising rapidly, are the Pac Man boulders. The grade range here is slightly unusual, in that there are a number of high-6s and low-7s and then a big jump up to 7c+. As such, i thought i’d ticked off the crag sufficiently, until a couple of years ago when i went for another look. Spoon Machine 7c+ still looks nails but given enough time it could possibly go.
But that’s not the reason i’d be making the 30 minute walk in. The new guide – yeah, that bible again – has yielded more new boulders and problems stemming that gap. Thonz LH 7a and Thonz 7b+ both look like my cup of tea, while come of the problems on the Prisoners of the Sun bloc also look interesting. The latter are a little high, granted, but all look worth a session. While i’m there, might as well give Spoon Machine a look too; you never know.
I've been trying to remember what it's like when it's #gorgeous around here – i had to look through the #archives to find out… This is Charlie Torrence up at #pacmanboulders back in 2013 – it feels like the last time I managed to get out… #northwales #northwalesbouldering #bouldering #rockclimbing #climbing #climbing_is_my_passion #climbing_photos_of_instagram #climbing_pictures_of_instagram #thisgirlcan #randomhashtagforjim