Archive for the ‘Climbing News’ Category

Dark Religion E9 7A – James Mchaffie completes a desperate project on Dinas Mot

James has been very busy recently with several hard first ascents. Having added a new E9 to the Llanberis Pass only a fews weeks ago it was clear there was more to come.

This time heading to the north facing crag of Dinas Mot with his eyes on a long standing project. Dark Religion tackles the slab to the left of the top pitch of Direct Route (VS)

James Mchaffie demonstrating the technical sequence. - Photo: Tim Neill

James Mchaffie demonstrating the technical sequence. – Photo: Tim Neill

James had a few things to say:

You do the crux of direct route then moves left towards the arete before making tenuous moves up then left to a flake and sidepulls where u can get gear. A couple of ok moves up lead to a long crux sequence. Trending up right past a very slopey two finger drag, you stand up on small nubbins to poor sidepulls and a last smear move up left to a good ledge and easy finish up the arete”.

He added that is gives bold climbing on great rock in a fantastic position.

After struggling to get a decent weather window James lead it on Friday 13th, was he calling its bluff?

James eyeing up the ledge. - Photo: Tim Neill

James eyeing up the ledge. – Photo: Tim Neill

Anyone who’s interested in exploring the brilliance that Dinas Mot has to offer you can find out all the information in the North Wales Rock and Llanberis guide books. Available at

James is sponsored by DMM, Rab, Sterling Rope and Boreal.

Stone Masonry E7 6C – Porth Dafarch receives an adventurous test piece.

Gogarth is well known for its adventurous routes, a place worth seeking out if you don’t mind getting your hands dirty!

Loaded with climbs that combine many different climbing styles, Gogarth can be a real fight. James Mchaffie is no stranger to this, and has added a ‘modern classic’ to the right of The Blue Horse E4/5 tackling the central weakness through the steep cave.

Oli eyeing up Stone Masonry - Photo: James Mchaffie

Oli eyeing up what would become Stone Masonry – Photo: James Mchaffie

Alex Mason had also taken a look but didn’t get round to doing it, and so it fell to the hands of James and Oli Grounsell.

James had this to say:

‘It went first go. It was goppy and as I sat on gear at the crux the rock started disintegrating with the weight of my rope. Sinkers disappeared leaving fins and I thought we were in for a pointless shitfest. Luckily you can knee bar through all that bit. It is a total classic about 20 meters long. Good protection and non tidal.’

Description: Stone Masonry E7 6C (24m)

The central weakness in the very steep face. Climb onto a very sharp flake and layback up on good fins until it steepens a lot. Knee bar up to the horizontal crack and keep a knee in until better handholds and a good wire appears. A big backhand move right to two quartz jugs leads to a brilliant heel, move upwards to gain good holds and pinches but still a few metres of pumpy climbing to where the wall slabs off, and a step left can be made to easy ground and the top.

James added that the route was named after Alex Mason and the many different moves you come across.

I wonder how many fresh line this cave will churn out?

For more information on the location of this impressive cave and surrounding routes, turn to page 243 of the new Gogarth South guide. Copies are available at

James is sponsored by DMM, Rab, Sterling Rope and Boreal.

Oli is sponsored by DMM, Evolv, Lapis, Climb On and V12.

Oli exiting the steepness - Photo: James Mchaffie

Oli exiting the steepness – Photo: James Mchaffie


Oli enjoying the steepness – Photo: James Mchaffie

House of Talons E9 6C – Dinas Cromlech receives a scarcely protected new line.

Dinas Cromlech ‘s upper tier receives a very serious new route from James Mchaffie. House of Talons E9 6C tackles the fading groove and wall to the left of the two star line, Rumblefish (E7) through some interesting and precarious climbing.

James on House of Talons -  Photo: Dave Turnbull

James on House of Talons – Photo: Dave Turnbull

James had a few words to share:

It can only be protected by using skyhooks. A hard move up and right where the groove ends leads to scary climbing on side pulls to an undercling at the roof and a pumpy position. A poor wire and more hooks can be placed there before a second crux. Rockover up left leads to a side pull and more precarious moves up right to a good jug. Easier moves lead back left to the crack and then the top”. 

Although technically not as hard as Trauma (E9) on Dinas Mot, James said it is more of an involved lead and possibly the toughest and boldest lead in the Llanberis Pass due to the lack of decent protection.

The route is protected by a total of ten skyhooks some micro cams and a few marginal wires making this line a serious endeavour.

James offered some advice for anyone who may be thinking of giving it a go, he added “ab it first”.

Mchaffie certainly doesn’t look like he’s going to slow down this spree of developing. What will he have for us next?

James on House of Talons -  Photo: Dave Turnbull

James on House of Talons – Photo: Dave Turnbull


For more information on Dinas Cromlech and its surrounding crags, have a read of North Wales Rock and the Llanberis guide books, all available at

James is sponsored by DMM, Rab, Sterling Rope and Boreal.


Jaborandi Direct E3 5C – Gogarth Main Cliff gets a Spring clean

Steve Long, Donald King and Tim Neill have added a two star line to Gogarth’s Main Cliff.

Pitch 1 (34m) starts as for Jaborandi (E2) but carry straight up the fine pocketed groove with good protection. A big cam useful as the crack widens. This leads past the Morphine (E2)stance to belay on the flakes of Pentathol (HVS).

Steve Long tackling pitch 1 - Photo Tim Neill

Steve Long tackling pitch 1 – Photo: Tim Neill

Pitch 2 (48m) Continue as for Jaborandi to the top.

Both pitches are suggested to have a technical grade of 5C and Tim suggests that the second pitch would be best climbed in one pitch due to poor belays.

Please note: There appears to have been some rock fall where the original line tops out with several fresh scars…take care.

Tim added he is hoping to tidy up some new lines in the near future so stay tuned.

Steve long on Pitch 1 of Jaborandi Direct - Photo: Tim Neill

Steve long on pitch 1 of Jaborandi Direct – Photo: Tim Neill

For more information on Gogarth’s Main Cliff turn to page 90 of the Gogarth North guide book. Copies of Gogarth North can be purchased from




Steve Long and Main Cliff on a beautiful spring day - Photo: Tim Neill

Steve Long and Main Cliff on a beautiful Spring day – Photo: Tim Neill



















Queen Bee E7 6C – An eye-catching addition to Scimitar Ridge from Mike Goldthorp

Mike Goldthorp has added a stunning new line to Scimitar Ridge, found to the right of Xerxes (E1). Queen Bee is sure to attract plenty of attention this year due to its impressive overhanging arete.

Mikey had a few words to say about his ascent.


Queen Bee E7 6C – Photo: Mike Goldthorp

“I noticed it years ago and I drive past it all the time on my way to work, just calling out to be climbed. I’d assumed it must be desperate for it to have remained unclimbed all this time, but was keen to have a look, so I nipped up after work yesterday evening. Light was fading fast so had a quick look at the gear, did some pruning of an intrusive holly bush and had a few rushed minutes working out the moves on ab and it seemed like it could go so I went for it but with clumsy numb feet I pinged off the crux on the arete, took a decent whipper onto the two brass offsets by my feet and had to retreat in the dark empty handed.”

“Was eager to get it done ASAP so persuaded Helen to come and give me belay today (nice soft catch if I took the lob again). This time I warmed up properly at Cromlech boulders, razzed up in the warm sun and as I approached the bottom of the route the atmosphere felt much less foreboding than the gloom of last night. Everything came together and I found myself on the final moves, eyeing up the finishing jug and then it was all over and I topped out in the warm sun and buffeting wind all giddy with excitement to have climbed what is for me one of the best unclimbed lines in North Wales!”

“ A slighty tricky start to a no-hands rest below the arete, much like King Wad (E6). Then the amazing overhanging arete. Technical 7A/+ish boulder problem with delicate heels and snatchy barn door moves between little crimps, with two decent brass offsets, a good cam and a nice clear fall-zone. Pretty perfect really! Definitely worth at least 2 stars, maybe 3 for the top arete, although first half could do with a bit more cleaning, it’s good rock and nice climbing up the grey pillar and pulling round the right side of the obvious triangle roof.”

Mikey has named the route Queen Bee, partner to the Scimitar Ridge classic, King Wad (E6).


Mikey on the final arete of Queen Bee – Photo: Will Hardy

Queen bee fall

Mikey taking the fall off Queen Bee hoping to avoid the holly bush lurking below – Photo: Will Hardy


More proof that the areas of North Wales are far from done when it come to new classic lines. I’m sure there will be plenty more to come from Mikey in 2016.

All the information you need about to have a great day out on Scimitar Ridge can be found in the North Wales Rock or the Llanberis guide books. You can get your hands on a copy from

The Track of The Shadow E7 6C & The Ivy Flame E7/8 6C – James Mchaffie continues his spring of new routs.

It’s interesting to listen to people‘s views in regards to areas and their development. Most would say that areas like the Llanberis Pass and Tremadog are tapped out. Well, Mchaffie is a man that will make you contemplate that idea, a man that reads between the lines and still uncovers fantastic new lines in some of the most popular areas of North Wales.

I recently caught up with him to find out where is latest adventures had taken him. The first takes us to the very popular destination of Carreg Wastad in the Llanberis Pass.

The Track of The Shadow – Photo: James Mchaffie

The Track of The Shadow E7 6C makes technical and bold pulls just above the overhang of Shadow Wall (VS) to join Zangorilla (E4) before making another balance move right to the ace arête to finish”

Following on from the pass James headed to the beautiful cliffs of Tremadog.

“The Ivy Flame E7/8 6C, climbed with Emma Twyford and Pete Robins is named after his late auntie and is located on Craig Bwlch y Moch to the left of Sheer Resist (E4), a tip off from Elfyn Jones had the trad trio there with bundles of excitement.

James had this to say:

A serious start, where a jump right should be made into the gully if you think you might fall to prevent a bigger lob through all the ivy. After this, easier crimp moves lead up left to a peg with a step right to a good hold leading you to a poor peg. Climb the technical bold wall above. The crux at the top is a brilliant sequence”

 “It feels wild due to it being very reliant on two old pegs with only body weight placements surrounding them.”


James tackling the crux sequence – Photo: Emma Twyford

Photo: James Mchaffie

The Ivy Flame – Photo: James Mchaffie


With this  exciting information in mind its clear that plenty of lines are still out there to be conquered. Take a step round that corner and you never know what you might find.

For more information on the location of these new lines have a read of North Wales Rock, Tremadog and the Llanberis guide books, all available at

James is sponsored by DMM, Rab, Sterling Rope and Boreal.


The Gravity Wave E8 6c – early doors at Treaddur Bay

Pete Robins working The Gravity Wave E8 6c Photo: James Mchaffie

Pete Robins working The Gravity Wave E8 6c
Photo: James Mchaffie

James Mchaffie has kicked this year’s trad season off with a bang, adding another hard test piece to Treaddur Bay, Anglesey. The Gravity Wave E8 6c is a counter diagonal line to Tim Emmett’s route, Chicama E8/9 6c.

After abseiling the line on Saturday Caff returned with Alex Mason and Pete Robins the following day. He checked out the moves on a rope, then led it that afternoon.

 James had this to say:

“You belay at the base of the ‘Crow Road’ and stick a cam in to protect a poky traverse right and up to gain good holds and a wire. A big move right leads to a good pocket, wire and then the crux, wild moves up and then right to gain the same shakeout as ‘Chicama’. Follow the weakness right for 3 metres before blasting up the overhanging face above with great spaced holds and gear’.

He also added that this route isn’t dependent on the tide, unlike its neighbours.

Mchaffie’s belayer Alex Mason was equally enthusiastic about the route:

“Psyched to have seconded James Mchaffie on his new route ‘The Gravity Wave’. Even more psyched to have not fallen in the sea. It was a close one”.

A few days after Mchaffie’s ascent, Alex returned with Oli Grounsell keen for a go on the sharp end.

“I battled down the line back-aiding it and top-roped out leaving all the kit in place for Oli to have a burn. He decided not to have a go, as his shoulder was sore, so I gave it 20 mins then strapped it on. I was really glad I left the kit in; I was so f***ing pumped after the crux I could’ve been off pretty much any move. Easy locks turned into desperate slaps. There was a particularly exciting moment when I dislodged a cam near the top. I had to back aid it once more and second it again to get the kit out (I managed to get the two stuck wires out to preserve the route for the future). It’s an absolutely outstanding route, good, hard moves and well protected where it matters. A really good route for flash attempts, probably a nails onsight though”

With such gripping, praise-laden accounts its safe to say that this route will attract a lot of attention in the coming year. For those of you who are interested you can find all the information you need on page 251 of the Gogarth South guide, available at

James is sponsored by DMM, Rab, Sterling Rope and Boreal.

Alex is sponsored by Tenaya, Lapis, Climb On and Beta Chalk.

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:

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:

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.

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