One Last Fix VI 7 – another quality mixed route on Crib Goch

Simon Frost on the first ascent of One Last Fix VI 7, Crib Goch photo: Owen Samuel

Simon Frost on the first ascent of One Last Fix VI 7, Crib Goch photo: Owen Samuel

This winter climbing season has proved to be as fickle as ever. Consequently the focus for many climbers has remained locked on high crags such as the North West Face of Crib Goch (850m altitude) – this rocky buttress is one of the first to come into condition. It rimes up quickly and the routes are not heavily reliant on turf.

When the mid January snow arrived, Simon Frost and Owen Samuel were quick off the blocks, climbing another excellent new winter route. One Last Fix VI 7 tackles the line left of Detox, breaching the horizontal roof at its left side. It features loads of good climbing and is generally well protected.

Although the various winter routes on this crag have featured in previous news reports, Owen has put together a helpful mini guide. Here it is:

North West Face of Crib Goch, 850m alt

The crag forms the pinnacles section of Crib Goch ridge and gives relatively short (~ 75m) routes. Although there are rock climbs, Route 2 and Route 3, on the face left of Reade’s Route, only Cold Turkey is based on a summer line. The winter routes just follow logical lines of weakness. All of these routes are frosty rock climbs so people who think mixed climbing is a mixture of rock and ice climbing need to look elsewhere.

There are several way to get to the crag. A) Walk from Blaen y Nant in the Llanberis Pass. B) Walk from Pen y Pass up to the foot of the scrambling on Crib Goch then traverse right across scree/snow to pick up a faint ‘foxes track’ that will contour round to get you in around the east ridge and under the North West Face. The best descent to the base of the cliff is it to continue along the ridge westwards to Bwlch Coch then drop down and back round under the cliff.

Routes from right to left:

Crazy Pinnacle IV 5 ***
There are many variations to this route which is based on the summer Diff climb. [Owen Samuel, Matt Sygall 2008]

Crazy Pinnacle Gully II/III 3
The gully between Crazy Pinnacle and the main buttress.

Unbelievable (Reid’s Route HVS) VI 8 **
Climb the summer route. With a step out right in to a groove at one point for a rest. This route may be harder as Tom doesn’t know his own strength. [Tom Livingstone, Pete Harrision, Simon Frost 2014]

North West Face of Crib Goch topo by Owen Samuel

North West Face of Crib Goch topo by Owen Samuel

1. Read’s Route (S) VI 6 ***
A sustained expedition; it’s not all over when you’ve made the big step from the top of the pinnacle. There’s the second pinnacle step no-one mentions and the groove above: phew! Just enough gear where and when you need it. Climb as for the summer route. [Dai Lampard, Dave Green mid 90s]

The next 4 routes all start from the same anchors (2 spikes on a subsidiary ridge) – this is reached by climbing 60m up the snow gully that leads to crazy pinnacle gully. Then tracking left across an easy but exposed rocky slope for 25m.

2. Cold Turkey VI 7 *
Loosely based on the no star Hard Severe rock climb, Route 2. The first pitch is a turfy left facing grove to a ledge then move left under a small overlap where you hang out on your axes in a horizontal brake then climb a vertical crack on nice chock stones to the belay on the left side of the main pinnacle. (The lower continuation crack running to the overlap will be a harder and an eliminate variation for someone…) The route now steps of the left side of the pinnacle and 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 due to it becoming too slabby to climb left and keep it independent. (Anyone brave enough to straighten it out and keep it independent be my guest). [Neil Griffiths, Owen Samuel 2013]

3. Detox VII, 7 ***
Probably the best of the new additions, taking a line left of Cold Turkey. Follow Cold Turkey for 5m then go up the wall to the left, to get established under the overhang. Now take a direct line through the overhang and climb the wall by a crack to a ledge and belays on the pinnacle again. From here climb left across a thin slab into the grove with a peg. Up the groove with some fine climbing and on to a comfy belay at the Arrow Head which is the apex of this piece of the buttress. The next pitch climbs diagonally right across the slab. Difficult to start but it eases off fairly rapidly. The crux here is protected by an in situ blade peg. Can’t recommend this route enough, sustained with good pro and quick to come into condition – what’s not to like… [Adam Crook, Owen Samuel 2014]

4. One Last Fix VI 7 **
This climbs the line left of Detox breaching the horizontal roof at is left side. Climb directly up from the first belay via a groove to establish yourself under the roof. Once you’ve stepped left around the overhang climb a flake crack steeply to a rest by a horizontal crack (possible belay). Pull into the continuation cracks and up to easier ground and groove that finishes with an energetic pull on to the Arrow Head belay (45m). For the last pitch make a big step left back across the groove you’ve just climbed to ascend a steep crack and turfy bulge. Each pitch has loads of good climbing on it and is generally well protected. [Simon Frost, Owen Samuel 2016]

5. Rehab V 5 *
This climbs the very obvious winter line formed by the chimney groove on the left. Climb low angle ground left wards and then rightwards to a ledge under the steeper walls. Climb a short way up the right grove to arrange high side runners then back down and across to move boldly up and left across a blunt rib that bars access to the crack / groove. Once in the crack, reassured by more runners, climb steeply on great holds to a comfy ledge. The next pitch climbs up and then diagonally left across the slab to a ledge, belay. Now climb the short crack just left of the arête. [Matt Perks, Owen Samuel 2015]

6. Where the Fox Hat V 5 *
Left again. In the lower 2/3rds this climbs short walls and grooves. It belays in the same place for the last pitch Rehab but then climbs farther left, finding a chimney with a capping chock stone to finish. [Mark Walker, Gareth (the policeman) 2015]

There are lots more lower grade routes to do left again that will weave there way up to the ridge.


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