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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.

 


Cwm Idwal and Cwm Cneifion temperature gauges go live 1st December – useful conditions data service for winter climbers starts up again

Tim Badcock on the left hand finish pitch to Great Tower Buttress VI 7 Photo: Si Panton

Tim Badcock on the left hand finish pitch to Great Tower Buttress VI 7, Bristly Ridge Photo: Si Panton

Here we are again, on the cusp of another winter climbing season. The first snow on the tops has already been and gone and keen winter climbers dare to dream of a strong season ahead, perhaps one as good as the wonderfully alpine-esque one of 2012-13.

If the snow and ice does arrive then winter climbers now have a very useful tool to help plan days out. The temperature gauge scheme set up in Cwm Idwal (at 600m below Clogwyn y Geifr) and Cwm Cneifion (at 850m altitude in the ground between Clogwyn Du and Seniors’ Ridge) by Natural Resources Wales in 2013/14 goes live again on Tuesday 1st December.

You can view the temperature data page here: www.thebmc.co.uk/idwal

The remote temperature sensing station generates live data and records not only the air temperature but also the temperature of the turf at 5cm and the ground at 15 and 30 cm.

This information is then sent by radio signal to an internet feed at Ogwen Cottage and then to the BMC website. The intention is that climbers will be able to use this information to gauge if conditions are really suitable for winter climbing, so avoiding the situation where people may make the long drive or effort to get to Snowdonia and possibly then be tempted to attempt routes which are not in condition and thus potentially causing damage to the vegetation.

More guidance on winter climbing best practice and the potential impact on rare plants can be found in the North Wales White guide – you can download a free copy of it here: www.thebmc.co.uk/north-wales-white-guide.

For up to date information on routes in Cwm Idwal and on Clogwyn Du check out the North Wales Winter Climbing guide.


Ginger Ninja E7 6b, Purple Paradise direct finish E5 6a/b, Day of the Triffids E8 6b – clutch of new routes from Calum Muskett

James Taylor repeating Day of the Triffids E8 6b, Clogwyn y Tarw Photo: Calum Muskett

James Taylor repeating Day of the Triffids E8 6b, Clogwyn y Tarw Photo: Calum Muskett

Calum Muskett has added a trio of new routes to the North Wales mountain crags. Back in October he climbed a variation on Rare Lichen on Clogwyn y Tarw in the Ogwen Valley. Day of the Triffids E8 6b comes in from Trouble with Lichen, as Calum explains: “It’s a nice obvious link into the final arête and is probably soft touch E8. It’s probably the easiest mountain E8 in North Wales and makes for a safe headpoint so could become popular as an easier alternative to Rare Lichen. James Taylor made a quick repeat.”

Ed Booth repeating Ginger Ninja E7 6b, Craig y Clipiau Photo: Calum Muskett

Ed Booth repeating Ginger Ninja E7 6b, Craig y Clipiau Photo: Calum Muskett

This week he made a visit to Craig y Clipiau in the Moelwyns with Ed and Adam Booth and came away with two new routes. Ginger Ninja E7 6b tackles the wall between Straw Dogs and Non Dairy Creamer. “This is probably 2 stars, amazing it hadn’t been climbed before. Low in the grade and fun climbing on nice pockets and positive holds. It was repeated straight after by Ed Booth.”

Calum’s second new route was a new direct finish for Purple Paradise which takes the steep blunt arete to the right of Crimson Cruiser. Surprisingly, this came in at E5 6a/b.

There has also been some re-equipping work in the Dinorwig slate quarries, specifically, Twll Mawr, as Calum explains:

“I re-bolted Wonderful World of Walt Disney like for like and it is now essentially a sport route, albeit with a couple of run outs. Climbing with Emma Twyford I linked P2 direct into P3 by climbing direct up the wall above to the jump. About 10m of new tricky but obvious (1 new bolt) climbing between the two pitches and an amazing way of doing the route. E6 6b/c and the jump is intimidating after 40m of hard E6. We finished up The Dyke which I added a bolt to with Johnny’s permission. Still E6 though. I called this way of doing the route the ‘Disney Pixar variation’.”

Calum also re-bolted Unpaid Bills E5 6b in California and Tim Neill re bolted Con Quista Dors F7b in the Dali’s Hole area.


Dagrau’r Graig E1 5b, Teyrnon E2 5c and Orogenous Zones E3 5c – fine trio of new routes on the Nose of Dinas Mot

Dinas Mot topo by Iwan Arfon Jones

Dinas Mot topo by Iwan Arfon Jones

The Nose of Dinas Mot is a magnificent piece of rock, a great shield of rhyolite that stands sentinel over the shady side of the Llanberis Pass. It has many classic routes, but surprisingly it still has much potential for development. Over the summer months Iwan Arfon Jones proved the point by climbing onsight a trio of fine new routes on the left side of the cliff, namely: Dagrau’r Graig E1 5b, Teyrnon E2 5c and Orogenous Zones E3 5c.

“All the routes are on good rock, Teyrnon will take a bit longer to clean up with traffic. Grades may change a bit as more gear is found.  The Dagrau’r Graig is good, but the best route is Orogenous Zones, really good technical and bold climbing on clean rock.”

Said Iwan.

Iwan’s topo illustrates the lines of the new routes, but it also shows the correct line of The Cracks and the Lorraine Variations. In addition it shows that GBH does have a lower pitch.

Dagrau’r Graig E1 5b 40m
Good climbing on generally sound rock that will clean up, but it can seep a bit around here. Start about 8m up and left of The Cracks at the base of a rib leading up to a pocketed steeper area of rock. From the top of the rib climb up to a vertical large Cam slot then head right to reach pockets and a shallow depression that leads up to a sequence of crack systems. These cracks gain a wide and vegetated crack, up and left of the overhangs on the cracks. Move out left onto the rib and climb it keeping left and out of the twin cracks of The Cracks for as long as possible.
[I A Jones, C Allington (on sight) 16.06.15]

Teyrnon E2 5c 55m
This climb is on good rock and although the first pitch is a tad mossy at the moment it should clean up well with traffic. Start at the first short columnar rib about 4m up to the left of the start of The Cracks and Direct Route.
P1 5a 30m Climb the rib to a series of shallow stepped grooves leading up to a patch of grass. Move left and avoid the grass just on its left, to continue up to cracks and what seems to be a flake. From the good foothold atop the false flake, move up right to belay below the overhangs, as for The Cracks.
P2 5c 25m Move left onto the rib, immediately left of the overhangs, and gain a curious wedge shaped pocket above an overlap. Move right and swing up right to reach the well worn ledges on The Cracks. Tackle the slim groove crack system between The Cracks pitch 3 and the corner of Lorraine on the right; the groove has one delicate move at its top.
[I A Jones, P Haydock (on sight) 11.06.15]

Orogenous Zones E3 5c 50m
This route presents a couple of bold pitches with diverting moves on good rock; the second pitch is particularly worthwhile and towards the top end of this grade. Start just right of the very base of the cliff; a little to the right of The Cracks/Direct Route start area, down and slightly to the right of the twin horns .
P1 5a 20m Climb the slabs easily to the base of a groove just down and right of the twin horns. Enter the groove and climb it boldly to reach the base of the large detached flake (on Diagonal), from its top left edge, move out left and swing round the rib airily to reach and belay on Direct Route; or, just a little left of it to keep out of the way.
P2 5c 30m Head diagonally up left along the base of the slab past a pocketed area (Lorraine Var. goes straight up here) to reach a diagonal cracks trending up left. Go right then up to gain the base of the wide crack at some heather, arrange some gear in a thinner crack to the left, then drop down and left to a fantastic position. With hands in the crack system and feet on small holds down below the rib, on the steep wall. Work your way up to an easing, where you can go back left again to follow the insipid crack and tackle the bold double crux moves up the rib edge.
[I A Jones, B Reed (on sight AL) 15.07.15]


Macsen F6a – Veteran star Colin Goodey adds another new slate route

Sue Goodey on Macsen F6a, Never Never Land, Dinorwig Quarry Photo: Colin Goodey

Sue Goodey on Macsen F6a, Never Never Land, Dinorwig Quarry Photo: Colin Goodey

Veteran star Colin Goodey has added another new slate route to the Dinorwig Quarries. Macsen F6a tackles the line a few metres left of Hawkeye in the Never Never Land area. It is on good solid slate with two contrasting sections. The crux comes high up below the double bolt lower-off. Colin was joined on the route by Mark Hellewell, Sue Goodey, Sue Trainer, and Graham Sutton. Here he explains the background to the route, plus the story behind the name:

“Ian [Lloyd-Jones] had selected two lines for me to do in my 80th year. As previously reported on the V12 site that wonderfully kind gesture of Ian making my last new route at 80 which I called ‘Octogenarian’. Well, that was done whilst undergoing chemo therapy and feeling tired and sick! Ian saw I was not well and said afterwards -‘we won’t look at the other one I had in mind but will show it to you and maybe when your feeling better you might like to bolt it and bag it’, which I did two weeks later although still feeling bad from my cancer treatment.”

“So, with a group of family and friends we bolted the climb and made ‘Macsen’. For Octogenarian and every other time I have been with Ian in the quarries he has always had his faithful collie with him, often tied to the foot of the crag or hanging around waiting for him. The dog’s name was Macsen (Welsh for the Latin name Magnus Maximus – a Roman Emperor who featured in many folk tales including The Mabinogion). The dog was killed soon after Octogenarian and Ian and family were devastated – so since ‘Macsen’ was part of the quarry scene and was always with him I called our route after him.”


Rockfall in Vivian Quarry – Conscience Slab swept after heavy downpour

Conscience Slab rockfall

The mud stained line of the recent rockfall on the Conscience Slab in Vivian Quarry. Climbers can also be seen on Last Tango in Paris E1 5c on the adjacent Dervish Slab. Photo: Si Panton

The recent sustained dry period ended with a heavy downpour and this triggered yet another rockfall in the Llanberis slate quarries. This time the area affected is The Conscience Slab in Vivian Quarry.

A section of rock above the left side of the slab has collapsed and swept down the slab. A series of classic trad routes were in the firing line, including Menage a Trois E4 6b, The Sweetest Taboo E4 6a, Never as Good as the First Time E2 5c and Is it a Crime E2 5c. The adjacent sport (or should that be, ‘sportingly bolted’) routes, Mister, Mister F6b and The Full Monty F6a appear to have been hit too, albeit less directly.

Obviously any in situ gear in this area should be treated with suspicion and it is highly likely that the aforementioned routes will have changed in character.

Some of the debris has also swept down the lower levels but it does not look as if any of the routes have been affected, save perhaps for the lower-off on Watching the Sin Set E5 6b/c, and possibly Glurp E4 6a and Clap Please E7 6c down at the Pool Level.


The 24 Karat Start F7a+/7b – Bill Wayman returns to Pen Trwyn

24 Karat Start topo V1.CDRAfter a long break from climbing, Bill Wayman has linked up with his old mate Dave Hollows. Bill’s lost a fair few pounds and has recently been active on Craig Pen Trwyn – his favourite 80s stamping ground. The team have been busy repeating many of Bill’s early routes and spotting opportunities for further development.

Last week Bill climbed The 24 Karat Start, F7a+, maybe F7b, a fierce direct line linking into the upper section of Price of Gold, and starting 2m left of the parent route. Two stainless through bolts provide the protection.

Bill has also added a second bolt to his own 1983 route Prospectors, as the flake used for nut protection is now decidedly hollow.

N.B. Price of Gold was incorrectly credited to Dave Lyon in the current North Wales Limestone guidebook – the first ascent details should read Bill Wayman, Fred Crook 12.05.82

Another new limestone route of a similar (F7a+) standard was added by Pete Robins to Fedw Fawr over on the tip of Anglesey. The new route follows the obvious line of bolts on the left edge of the recently developed bouldering section.


Curious Minds F8a – Dave Redpath adds another massive stamina route to The Diamond

Dave Redpath on his new route Curious Minds F8a, The Diamond Photo: Redpath collection

Dave Redpath on his new route, Curious Minds F8a, The Diamond Photo: Redpath collection

After the initial burst of activity this season’s flow of new routes on the Diamond dried up. Nonetheless some folk were still getting busy – one such keen activist is Dave Redpath, a regular visitor to the Llandudno limestone crags who bolted three big lines and has just managed to complete one of them.

Curious Minds F8a tackles the massive wall to the right of Pete Robin’s recent addition, The New Colussus and is similarly epic in proportions.

Dave tells how it all came together:

“I was shocked to see how many new lines went down early season on the right. A couple of which I’d had my eye on… After six years coming down from Scotland each season I’d always been looking up at that big wall in the middle thinking I’d be back to check it out.”

“Anyway, everything seemed right this year and I finally got some time to get the drill up there and ended up bolting three 40m lines over the past few weeks. More to come on those I expect. The first I managed to finish on Tuesday.”

“Curious Minds starts as for Hysteria but swings left on a higher line of holds up to a ledge on the nests. From here a line of reasonable holds lead steeply up and right to the white band of rock. A
couple of big moves block the way before pure stamina needs to be engaged.”

“It’s my anti-style hence I’ve no idea on the grade, it seemed a bit much to give it F8a+ when there aren’t any hard moves up there really. Saying that I finally did The Brute [F8b] a few weeks earlier so five sessions to do a F8a seems a bit of a push. Hopefully it’ll see some repeats next year. Totally awesome; another five star route on the Diamond!”


Dramatic rockfall in Mordor – Tick’s Groove and Prometheus Unbound affected

The fresh rock scar on Tick’s Groove and Prometheus Unbound in Mordor, Dinorwig Slate Quarries. Photo: Ian Lloyd-Jones

The fresh rock scar on Tick’s Groove and Prometheus Unbound in Mordor, Dinorwig Slate Quarries. Photo: Ian Lloyd-Jones

There has been a dramatic rockfall in the Dinorwig slate quarries – this time it occurred in Mordor, just over the back from Twll Mawr.

A large section of cliff has fallen away from the middle section of Tick’s Groove and the lower half of Prometheus Unbound. The first pitch of Tick’s Groove appears to have taken a bit of a pounding too and there is a large amount of debris at the base of the route.


Another Tick on the Wall F7a+, A Motion in the Ocean E3 5c – Dave Lyon adds two new lines to Craig Pen y Gogarth

Crag shot showing the obvious line of A Motion in the Ocean E3 5c Photo: Dave Lyon

Crag shot showing the obvious line of A Motion in the Ocean E3 5c Photo: Dave Lyon

Prolific Ormes new router, Dave Lyon, has climbed two splendid new lines on Craig Pen y Gogarth (see page 350 in the new North Wales Limestone guide). At the end of August he visited the crag with Norman Clacher and climbed A Motion in the Ocean E3 5c, an impressive route tackling the glaringly obvious weakness at the right side of the crag. As Dave explains the route requires a big trad rack:

“There is a small thread to mark the start, just above the first shelf. There is no other fixed gear on the line – large cams – up to Dragon 6 and large hexes are required. There is a lower-off at the top.”

Dave returned the following week with Malcolm ‘Mills’ Davies to complete another 30m pitch, this time just right of The Ormesman. Another Tick on the Wall F7a+ follows the line of twelve bolts leading to a lower-off (12 bolts).


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