Tim Neill and friends continue to explore the potential for new ground at Craig y Castell. While making a recent ascent of the rather excellent Castell High Girdle (E2 5c), Tim couldn’t help but notice the obvious weakness in the roof left of the upper section of Tensor. He returned a few days later with Mark Walker and rather fittingly, Tremadog guidebook editor, Steve Long. The lads managed to complete an absorbing new route, slightly eliminate in nature but finding some bold slabs and a safe but ‘goey’ roof section.
Spinor E4 6b starts just right of Sisyphus with a 5c variation pitch on The Wasp start: from a grey niche pull over the overlap on the left gaining an arête leading to the spike below The Wasp’s chimney crack. Follow the old Wasp variation with its stimulating mantel.
The second harder (6b) pitch breaks out from the right end of the ledge, stepping out above Pellagra’s first pitch to follow the cracked slab and gain the left facing groove of Tensor. Follow the groove for a couple of metres to a jug then take a short steep flake on the left to a fine procrastination perch under the roof. Perfect gear in the roof protects a long move to big sharp crystals on the lip. These lead with a ‘well timed slap’ to jugs. Finish directly up the fine rough wall to the top.
Tim Neill and John Orr have added a couple of entertaining new routes to the Tensor area of Craig y Castell.
Tales of Suspense E4 6a starts from a good nut belay level with right end of the Tenser roof. Step out onto the slab as for Tensor and move up to good cam slot near the right side of the big overlap. Take the obvious stepped groove past an old peg to reach a fine hanging slab. Climb its right edge to gain the pegs on Titanium Man. Back these up and pull out left wards and up by some great laybacking and undercutting on big flat sidepulls to a shallow scoop (poor RPs). One last scary pull out the top of this gains the juggy traverse of Tantulus. Finish up the fine slab and pillar just left of Titanium Man.
Multi-Dimensional Array E3 6a also steps out onto the slab as for Tensor. Near the left end of the large overlap and approximately 1m right of the next groove of Tensor (good wires in the lip and small cams to the right) test your ape index and yawn over for the biggest jug at Tremadog. Match both knees on the lip and grovel onto the fine slab. Climb the left arête of the crystalled slab to gain the peg under the crux of roof of Tensor. Step right to under a vague groove in the next roof and reach some good flatties well over the lip. Span right for an obvious spiky jug and make a well heeled move over. Finish up the juggy pillar right of Tensor’s grassy groove. Both overlaps are very reachy.
Tim was understandably pleased to grab a pair of quality lines on such a well known piece of rock and at such a (relatively) accessible standard:
“The possibility has been mentioned in the previous two or three Tremadog guides…so we were surprised that they gave up so easily. The big roof above the Tensor traverse was very good on both lines and offered perfect gear…the big move on MDA is a good challenge for people who don’t use their knees…double knee match obligatory.”
The BMC Cymru Annual General Meeting is taking place at the Indy Wall in Llanfair PG this coming Saturday (23rd Nov). The meeting kicks off at 6pm and there will be free food (veg and meat chilli) and free Purple Moose beer. Everybody is welcome, BMC members and non-members.
There will also be a fun bouldering competition with lots of prizes and raffles in the afternoon (Fun comp is £6 to enter with £1 going to the North Wales Bolt Fund).
Then at 8pm there is a talk (with video clips) from Calum Muskett. From Ogwen to the Eiger will tell the story of Calum’s rise from apprentice days in the Ogwen Valley to his current wild exploits. Special attention will be given to the F8a, Paciencia on the Eiger which he climbed with Dave Macleod, his recent trip to Patagonia for the first ascent of The Wall of Paine and his ascent of the The Indian Face.
Colin Struthers and Harold Walmsley continue their explorations of the Dinorwig slate quarries. This week they completed three new sport routes on the Below the Salt Pans level in Australia (see page 54 in the Llanberis Slate guide).
Best of the bunch is Zut Alors F6c/+ which tackles the striking arete situated directly below The Australian. To gain it traverse the Below the Salt Pans level to its left end and step down a short wall. The arete is followed on its right side with occasional excursions onto the slab to the right. It culminates with a fine finish on the very edge of the protruding upper section
Over on the right is Stretched to the Limit F6c+, the blunt arete between Y Rhaffwr and Narcolepsy. The route starts up the left side arête and moves round to the right by the first bolt. A long reach for a finger hold and a tricky sequence to stand on it precedes the easy upper section. The grade is very reach dependent. As given it is for just getting the finger hold at an extreme stretch (requires 6ft or a bit more depending on ape index). It would be much harder if too short to reach and probably easier for the few tall enough to get both hands to the hold.
The third route, The Rack F6b+, starts just right of Stretched to the Limit and climbs the groove, ramp, mantel and wall between Stretched to the Limit and Narcolepsy. Move left on to the upper arete of Stretched to the Limit at the last bolt and finish via this to the same lower off. Another reachy route but less so than Stretched to the Limit.
James McHaffie continues his run of stellar ascents in North Wales – this time he has climbed the abandoned crack project on the Promontory which splits Left Hand Red Wall from Red Wall proper at Gogarth.
Satan’s Scream E8 6c tackles the obvious crack line right of The Featherstone and 3m left of the seaward arête of the wall. It was originally attempted by Adam Wainwright back in the 90s. The lower crack already had two pegs in it when he came to try it (NB. these may have been placed by Paul Pritchard some years earlier). Adam came close to completing the line, but was thwarted when a key hold broke: “I kept it for years with half a mind to gluing it back on.” Prior to the hold breakage Adam thought it would rate around E7 or F7c+; in it’s current state Caff reckons it is around F8a.
Although Caff has made a few visits to check the line out yesterday was the first time that he actually got to inspect it properly. He abseiled down it, chalking what he thought were useful holds, then tried out the moves on his Gri Gri. Satisfied that it was feasible he went for the lead.
The lower crack gave sustained and powerful laybacking with poor footholds and a crucial but hard to place micro wire. Caff nearly fell off low down on a high step move off smears and then again at the last hard move below the overlap.
After the overlap the crack flares out a bit and the gear improves. Caff climbed the flared crack and continued up with some careful moves onto the ledge on the arête, and from there the upper arête went at about E4 5c.
“I was a bit tired after a big session at the Beacon wall the day before, but it is very intense. It’s 6c for pretty much every move to the first overlap, and despite the inspection I climbed it differently on the lead. The gear is okay, but strenuous to place. Mind you if that RP2 ripped you might be in trouble.”
Explained Caff, before adding:
“It’s very gymnastic and a bit slatey in style, in fact similar to Wish You Were Here. (Jon Ratcliffe’s excellent F7c/+ in Australia Quarry] It’s definitely a three star pitch.”
Chris Doyle spearheaded the bolting work, re-equipping an old Andy Pollitt line (The Senile Penile Extension F7b+) and an old finish to The Bloods which traversed off right to exit up the slab above the finish of Mayfair – this in effect has become the Mayfair Extension, with no change in the F7a+ grade. Tony Shelmerdine then bolted a diagonal link into this from the Contusion lower-off to give a big and very entertaining F6c+ pitch.
Chris also bolted a old project line (abandoned by Phil Smith) on the left above The Bloods belay. This gave him quite a struggle at first, but then it went quite steadily on the final redpoint. Chris is unsure of the difficulty of Cold Blood, thus the split F7c+/8a grade. He is offering £15 to any potential suitor who can go and repeat it and offer a correct grade in time for the new North Wales Limestone guide.
“It felt bloody brilliant, The Bloods is a great route to start up, then you can chill before the powerful crux moves. It is really nice climbing involving a fantastic thin pinch and a small undercut. After the crux you rock up the groove before easy climbing takes you to the top of the wall. It felt great to do a long new route even though it’s not really a pumpy route.”
New guide author, Pete Harrison also got involved, bolting up the line between Cold Blood and The Senile Penile Extension. Unfortunately back problems prevented him from getting on the route. Ally Smith then climbed this line by mistake, thinking he was repeating Cold Blood. Bad Blood seemed like a suitable name for this F7c/+.
The Julio Juvenito Extension F7a+ also got the re-equipping treatment from Chris – this route can now be linked into the Mayfair Extension at F7a+.
All of the extensions are around 28m long so require a 60m rope to lower off safely.
To read more about the development of the Mayfair headwall check out Chris Doyle’s blog.