Nippletastic Thigh Squeeze V4

A mere 24 hours after my epic day and i’ve been out again, this time at the RAC boulders after work. As i write, my housemate is trying to persuade me to write lots of rude words on this entry, such as clench-age, shaft and strain and so this may come across a bit weird but never mind.

It’s all part of my get-mildly-stronger-than-a-big-wet-fish-before-Italy plan, and it seems to be working, as tonight i managed the Pump Traverse V4 before lapping the first pumpy section about half a dozen times. Meanwhile, Lucy was hard at work ticking off some more V0s and V1s, and exploring a lovely little venue within an hour of her house.

The name of tonights post stems from a little problem i found that isn’t in the guide between The Ramp and Marsh Arete. It involves (and i’ll keep this short) a sidepull left hand, mono right, with a heel hook on the right foot and as you pull up, squeeze the arete with your knees to try and hold on for long enough to reach up. The top is also awful, and the first time i managed it was topless, with added nipple friction! Hence the name.

Lamenting on the epic that was yesterday while at work today, talking to customers about kit and taking stock of my life, i realised my livestock is going pretty well. It’s not often that seems to happen to me, but i’m glad it has. I suggest to you all to think about yourselves for a moment, concentrate on what’s going well, the best parts of life, and let out a little smile. It’s worth doing every now and again.


12 hours at the office

My fingers hurt. Quite a bit actually, although it’s not really a surprise when you consider my day. Much as it was against my better judgement, i was persuaded to get up at 9am on my day off to go and meet my old uni friends at the Cromlech boulders, arriving at about 9:30. I got home after having dropped Lucy off at the Pen Y Gwyrd at 9:45pm and have been climbing pretty much all day.

So a good solid 12 hour day out bouldering is probably exactly what i needed. We started at the Cromlech roadside face for a bit of a warm up (although i did find a couple of problems i haven’t done, but they are high, scary and sharp) before missing out on my little V8+ traverse project because there was a mini parked in the bloody way and headed down to Browns Crack (cue stupid jokes please).

Before too long, we headed down to the famous Jerrys Roof V9. For the uninitiated, this is a very steep boulder problem in the Llanberis Pass, which is supremely hard. I’ve worked the middle section a bit before and today managed to get the start wired, which is great progress if i’m honest. We stayed for a while, not too long, and headed up to the Utopia boulder on the opposite side of the pass below Cwrn Las.

Lucy sailing up Problem 3 at the Cwm Dyli Boulders
Me on, erm, Pete's Wall V3 at the Cwm Dyli Boulders

I never really make it any further, and can’t say i’ve really climbed on the Wavelength, Pieshop or other boulders above in the valley, but i have been working a project there for about 6 months; a long traverse starting at the bottom right and working around the bottom of the boulder before finishing up the final V5 problem at the end. For those in the pass that day, it was me that let out the ear-splitting scream purely out of frustration as a once again feel from the last hold.

After a quick bite to eat at home, and a rendezvous with Lucy, we headed back out again, this time to the Cwm Dyli boulders. It is at this point that i must declare i have fallen in love. It’s certainly an unrequited love affair… mainly as rocks don’t carry with them that emotion. I soon found that the Moose’s Boulder has the best landing you could imagine, is the perfect height, and is almost completely secluded. As such, i’m not going to tell you anymore than that – it deserves a little effort to get there.

So exhausted, i retire to bed, ready for work in the morning and ready to hit the boulders once again afterwards! It’s not quite 12 hours straight bouldering, but close enough and it’ll all be worth it once i get to Italia.

Slate excursions

As my flatmate picks holes in my grammar, it occurs to me that today has actually been too good for me to care. It’s not often i see old friends from uni, and yet today i’ve had the pleasure of climbing with two of them within an hour from my house. Despite my natural desire to head up the pass and hit the growing list of projects i have, i was persuaded to head out to Rainbow Slab and second some trad routes!

Even writing that fills me with a little dread, so i’m quite pleased at the fact that i managed to follow up Bella Lugosi is Dead E1 5b without too much trouble, followed by the beginning of Poetry Pink E5 6a (it’s not, it’s harder) before realising that enough was enough and i was bound for the smaller and steeper challenges that rock can throw at you. The lads continued without me, after i’d taken some rather snappy shots, and carried on with Pull My Daisy E2 5c, topping off a great day for them.

Sometimes it’s good to do something a little different, and today was one of them. Tomorrow shall return to the status quo but for the time being, despite my achievements being rather tame, i feel rather pleased with myself.

6 weeks ’till Italy and counting…

Six weeks. 45 days. 31 days of work. Doesn’t sound like long and then i’m off to an underdeveloped, new and upcoming venue in the Northern area of Italy known locally as Val Daone. Imagine the sight: a huge Alpine valley, beautiful views of high peaks and flowing rivers and some beautifully, unpolished granite with a host of unclimbed boulder problems. Just the thought of it is so good, i’ve just shuddered a little!

I always enjoy going to a new venue, somewhere popular and well known but that i haven’t been before. I still remember the first time i went to Font many years ago now, and the thought of going to Switzerland to check out Cresciano and Chironico and i was so excited it was untrue. With somewhere like that, you’ve normally met someone who’s been within the last couple of weeks, read all the guidebooks, seen the films and often know as much about the place by the time you go as you do when you get back! Now, i’m not complaining about that, or else there’d be no point doing this blog, but at the same time, last September i went to the Iberian Mountains in Spain to check out Albarracin. With it still being a mildly undiscovered place (believe me, if you go you’ll understand) there was certainly more of a feeling of adventure to the trip.

The same can be said of this June; the guidebook Daone Prog only came out in 2009 and i met the author in Spain last year. It feels almost as if i’m going to get some first ascents, to attempt some hard and unknown line and to show the locals that those of us in Wales can boulder too. Then again, reality has a way of hitting me inĀ  the back of the head like the headrest of a Land Rover on a really bumpy road…

I am excited about going, and i am super keen to get some first ascents if at all possible, but i am very aware of the training involved. In a strange way, i’m hoping it rains relentlessly for the next 6 weeks, otherwise endless sessions in the wall at Plas Y Brenin may destroy my psyche. Then again, lets have another look at that guidebook…

Introducing a gramatical incorrectness

Alas, i have done what i said i would not for so many years and have joined the phenomena known as blogging. While i don’t want to do this just to join every other sap on the internet trying desperately for something interesting to say, i do need a medium to share info about bouldering trips, venues and possibly some info on kit.

And so slowly but surely i plan to explore the world, two weeks at a time, documenting every journey, story and life endangering experience along the way. I’ll even try and publish some of my older trip reports so you can see some of my previous tales from over the last few years. Feel free to check back for updates!

A home for European bouldering reviews and info