North Wales winter climbing news round up – lots of activity on the high cliffs, plus a flurry of new routes

Tim Badcock onsighting the top tech 7 pitch of Oblique Buttress Direct VII 7, while Ian Parnell belays. Photo: Si Panton

Tim Badcock onsighting the top tech 7 pitch of Oblique Buttress Direct VII 7 on Glyder Fach, while Ian Parnell belays. Photo: Si Panton

A week of excellent winter climbing conditions in North Wales has seen teams ticking classic routes at all the usual, reliable venues (Clogwyn Du, Glyder Fach, Craig Dafydd, Crib Goch and Clogwyn y Garnedd). There has also been a flurry of high quality new routes, once again emphasizing the seemingly endless potential for development on the Snowdonia mountain cliffs.

First up Dave Evans and Matt Stygall picked the obvious plum line on the left side of Craig Dafydd. The Shoulder Barge rates a feisty VI 7; Dave described it thus: “It’s a classic winter line which is both bold and physical. The second pitch is quite technical and run out, and the third is a really fine struggle up a wide crack with good protection. I think it’s a really cool route, varied and fun and it really packs it in…”  See the bottom of the page for a full description.

When the cold weather arrived Owen Samuel and Neil Griffiths made a beeline for Crib Goch where they climbed Cold Turkey V1 7, a line loosely based on the no star Hard Severe rock climb, Route II.

Chris Parkin eyeing the crux traverse on the top pitch of Vari-errant VI/VII 7 on Glyder Fach. Photo: Si Panton

Chris Parkin eyeing the crux traverse on the top pitch of Vari-errant VI/VII 7 on Glyder Fach. Photo: Si Panton

“The first pitch is a turfy left facing groove leading to a small overlap where you hang a left in a horizontal brake and climb a vertical crack on nice chock stones to the belay on the left side of the main pinnacle. It then climbs the left side of the arete in a wide crack. Very cool moves to get established, then wrestle the off-width. Then it heads back right in to Reade’s Route. Worth repeating if you’re looking for a bit more climbing than Reade’s Route.” Explained Owen.

On Monday Chris Parkin and Pete Blackburn took a walk up into Cwm Lloer where they climbed Kirkus Winter Direct V 6, which, as the name suggests, is essentially a winter version of Kirkus’s Route (albeit with a few obvious winter style variations). The surprisingly mid-range grade assumes that the leader is carrying a very large cam to protect the crux offwidth section on the second pitch.

The next day the same team headed up to Glyder Fach to climb a couple of new routes in the Oblique Gully area. Oblique Gully RH Start V 6 starts 10m right of Oblique Gully at a spike belay. It climbs a slanting corner then continues up snow over a steep step to gain a steep, wide corner crack on the left. Struggle up this to easier ground leading to the top of P1 of Oblique Gully.

Neil Griffiths starting P2 of Cold Turkey VI 7 on Crib Goch. Photo: Owen Samuel

Neil Griffiths starting P2 of Cold Turkey VI 7 on Crib Goch. Photo: Owen Samuel

The lads then climbed a superb line up the right side of the Oblique Gully amphitheatre. Implied V 6 starts as for Oblique Gully RH Start; climbing up to a block below the steep, wide crack (belay on a thread behind the block).

The main pitch then follows the crack in the wall (3m right). This is bold to start and leads to a turfy ramp. Go up the ramp and continue with some difficulty up steep cracks. Climb the open groove above to its top then head leftwards past a big block/spike to finish up Oblique Gully.

Dave Evans on P2 of The Shoulder Barge VI 7 on Craig Dafydd. Photo: Matt Stygall

Dave Evans on P2 of The Shoulder Barge VI 7 on Craig Dafydd. Photo: Matt Stygall

The Shoulder Barge VI 7

P1 3 50m Easy gully with fun turf bulges as for David but instead of traversing right continue straight up to belay on obvious massive flakes below an obvious chimney/corner system.

P2 6 25m Climb the weakness in the wall immediately right of the corner/chimney directly, via some surprisingly steep committing climbing to the terrace, and continue to belay directly below the obvious wide crack.

P3 7 20m Climb the crack directly to the ledge at the top of the buttress with some interesting and gymnastic manoeuvres (a couple of large cams will prove useful!). Be very careful of a loose block directly above the stance at the exit!

P4 3 50m Climb up the crest of the buttress to the point where it joins the main hillside.

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