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El Mocho

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#1125 Re:  fiendblog
July 27, 2023, 09:22:18 pm
Quote
Be Less Johnny Brown, Be More Wellsy

No offence Wellsy, but this sounds like a shit idea. Johnny Brown was never me. He was an imaginary ideal alter ego I would attempt to summon when in extremis, to possess me with the talent of Dawes and the effortless karate-trained cool of Ian Brown (remember this is the nineties, time is cruel etc), and allow me to swagger through the crux to victory.

When it worked it was great, and proved that wishful thinking and believing in your (alter ego possessed) self could be a valid alternative to fitness or strength, which in my experience tend to inflate your expectations while mainly providing the tools for bad sequences and grindingly slow climbing.
 
It wasn’t infallible though, all too often my pre-crux ritual would result in the disappointing appearance of a man I came to know as Ian Dawes. He was a cunt, frankly, his only talent being embarrassing post-failure paddies. So tread with caution.

Brilliant. I remember both JB and ID well. Luckily for you there were more appearances from JB during that time. ID basically came out whenever the rock turned past vertical, which made the times JB was on form even more impressive as we all kinda knew what was happening... I've spent the last 25 years trying to get some of the JB magic to rub off on me.

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#1126 Re:  fiendblog
July 28, 2023, 11:01:08 am
Edit: sorry if this came across as condescending- not my intention… just recognise some similar thought patterns to myself at my worse times
Not at all, it's a good post, it's more interesting here about other people's experiences and paths and overall thoughts on the topic than it is just head-patting sympathy. As I was saying to someone last night, my blog post was 3 pronged: A bit of genuine regret about not taking a more future-proofing path, a bit of hamming it up for the audience in how I've expressed that, and a bit of generalised speculation and the paths taken for different breeds of climbers.

I've spent the last 25 years trying to get some of the JB magic to rub off on me.
Well given you're now at least partly specialising in 8B roofs on Anglesey in your post-shuffling dotage(?), I'm not sure you're trying hard enough  :P

I might try to Be More Ian Dawes anyway. If that's possible.


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#1127 Re:  fiendblog
July 28, 2023, 03:36:28 pm
Ron Redhead might suit you better.

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#1128 Re:  fiendblog
July 28, 2023, 04:57:03 pm
an imaginary ideal alter ego I would attempt to summon when in extremis, to possess me with the talent of Dawes and the effortless karate-trained cool of Ian Brown

This sounds way more appealing than structured training, do you run masterclasses?

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#1129 fiendblogBest New Music 2023
December 30, 2023, 07:00:03 pm
Best New Music 2023


Mixes:

Presha - HOR
Somewhat inevitably Samurai Records and PRSPCT Recordings have been the sources of the year's best music and I don't see this changing any time soon. Hard to pick a particular favourite from Samurai but this superbly varied, deep, creative and uncompromising mix from the boss man Presha sums it all up - and hints at more excellent releases to come. 
To compliment that, favourite releases from Samurai this year, I can't pick a track to show off but both EPs are excellent in their own right:

Tracks and EPs...

Dom & Crystl - Stimulant
Dom has been at the top of his game for nearly 3 decades with no sign of wavering, and this is as good as it gets. From FADNB thread: "a lovely blend of soaring melodies and tones like the cry of avian aliens, militant drums of a victorious army, and bass pulses direct from the earth's core"

Dom & Roland - Clash Of The Titans
(From the Against A Dark Background album - https://domandroland.bandcamp.com/album/against-a-dark-background-lp )
Roland too has been at the top of his game and this is one for the podium of classics. Epic hardly does it justice but it's a start - the soundtrack to your gnarliest board session, hardest redpoint, or walking onto stage at the Olympics. This track turns men into titans, mortals into heroes, and will make a champion out of you too.

Kilbourne - Sunshine Terror
The Empress of Electronic Music returns for the 4th year in a row having a best of the year track (previous ones being Pillsurfer, Pain Becomes Pleasure, and Cathedrals). Definitely both euphoric and energetic, but other than that it's a classic yin-yang of good and evil, light and dark, hard and soft, sunshine and terror.

The Bug - Brutalized
(From the Machines EP series https://thebugmusic.bandcamp.com/music )
Apocalyptically good industrial doom dub from the master. Who know the soundtrack to the Earth melting under the weight of human civilisation would be so damn groovy??

Neurocore - Dawn Of The Rising Spirits
Is this uncategorisably excellent track the ultimate electronic dance music track?? Are there any sets it wouldn't fit into perfectly as peak time euphoria?? There's only one way to find out, and that's a full listen at full volume. Once you've done that, check out the album for all your cinematic-euphoric-techno-ambient-soundtrack-trance-melodic-hardcore-electro-rave needs.

Offish & Attempt - The Faceless
 
A fantastic future-looking track on Homemade Weapon's "Armoury" imprint so you know it's going to be good.  Smoothly rolling drums, pulsing caresses of downright erotic bass, and taut analogue bleeps combined in a perfect cyberfunk blend.

Homemade Weapons & Red Army - Spellbound (Homemade Weapons remix)
An unusually direct track from the deadly Homemade Weapons, but no less quality than his more creative and quirky dubbed out steppers. Absolutely fierce, absolutely groovy, headbanging and bootyshaking.

Rediscovery of the year:

Pascal - Johnny - )E|3( remix
A Bad Company track / remixed I missed for 20 years?? I've been making up for that with repeated plays in the last fortnight. As good as anything they've done with that classic BC energy - YA BADBWOY


Source: Best New Music 2023

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The Wedge Keeps Thickening...


...thickening like a fat greasy chode, which pretty much sums up the state of the climbing scene.

Yes. Ken was right after all. Bellowing like Canute at the ceaseless tide of crap new bolts surging towards his sandcastle, but he had a point. All the wedge-deniers - you're wrong. It is happening, it is here, the bolts are here. The wedge has thickened from additional sport climbs to re-equipping of sport climbs to sporadic retro-bolting of mostly fixed gear routes to straight out full on retro-bolting of good reasonably protected trad routes. 

I do fucking loads of sport climbing throughout the UK both as training for trad and for an inherently strong pleasure in it's own right. I thoroughly appreciate proper sport crags, proper re-equipping of shoddy old sport routes that are mostly run-outs on caving bolts and bits of coathanger, and sometimes obvious and justifiable retro-bolting of neglected trad routes that were full of fixed gear, never really offered a satisfactory trad experience (and indeed were closer to sport experiences when first put up before the fixed gear rotted).

I am profoundly less convinced when this bolting fervour sweeps onto good and protectable trad routes. And the more I explore around the lime, the more I see this happening all over... E.g.

Attermire
Almost completely retrobolted away from the main crag, including classic HVS/E1s that if not fully retroed have been compromised by bolts. 

High Stony Bank
Some good new sport additions, but stuff like Oedipus, which was on my list after seeing a photo, has been lost to bolts despite following an attractive flake crack system.

Lower Pen Trwyn
I took my rack down to do Jacuzzi Jive and Twisting By The Pool that I've always wanted to do (I've got them earmarked in North Wales Rock from a decade ago).... And they've been retroed too. As it happened I pretty much did Twisting By The Pool on trad, but caved in and clipped one bolt to back up the wire on the headwall crux, I'm dropping one E-grade off for that. Aside from that one move it is perfectly well protected with wires and a perfect waste having it as another F6b+ on a crag that really doesn't need that many of them.

Marine Drive
Whilst Beaverbrook might arguably be a sensible retrobolting proposition compared to it's previous mono-peg incarnation (somewhat out of character with the generally reasonably protected routes around there), Pure Mania further around is definitely NOT. I lead this a couple of years ago, and in character for the crag it was a great wee trad experience, a bit run-out, a bit thoughtful, a bit technical. Just a proper good trad route. Now it's a line of fucking bolts. 

The latter examples particularly baffling / infuriating. Pen Trwyn has, in my experience, always been a bastion of balance, a showcase of trad and sport sitting side by side, with neither impinging on the other, where you can have great experiences of both genres right next to each other, (and where the quality of the rock and climbing transcends Pete's miserly understarring ;)). It should have stayed as that great example, rather than another example of insidious wedge-thickening. 

What next?? Melkor has a thread in and most nearby routes are partly bolted - should that be another F6b-ish thing?? No. Fuck that, it's a lovely trad climb, I did it last week as a warm-down in the evening sun and wouldn't have wanted a single bolt other than the lower-off. It won't happen, huh?? It already IS fucking happening...

I always suggest the first and most important course of action should be:

1. Thoroughly clean the route up including removing vegetation and loose rock, scrubbing and chalking the holds (yes, some effort, but less, and much cheaper, than retro-bolting).

2. Replace essential fixed gear with like-for-like if possible. Install lower-offs if the finishing terrain is too appalling (as it sometimes gets).

3. Publicise the route(s) all over. Get some nice photos of people leading them in a pristine state. Shout it from the social media roof-tops. Write an article for UKWebanpeopleunjustifiably.com, update the logbooks.

4. In short, give the trad routes, and trad climbers, a fighting chance BEFORE reaching for the drill.

In the meantime I'm either going to have to get on any limestone trad routes pretty damn quickly. Or buy a re-chargeable angle grinder. Suggestions on a postcard...

P.S. Vaguely on topic, here's a disgruntled miserable old sport-hating trad dinosaur in action:

The Bloods  - I've wanted to do this for a while since the rather evocative photo of Redhead on it in ...And One For The Crow (my 3rd tick in the book after Poetry Pink and Young And Easy... , I probably won't get many more!!). In the accompanying essay / demented rambling, he says it was first done with two bolts, then ended up with 7 bolts and a lower off. It's actually only 5 bolts and a lower off and is still a bit run out for a sport route at the start, middle, and finish. Should this have been left as a sparsely bolted semi-trad route?? I don't know - would it have provided a good, intricate, nut-slotting, committing trad experience?? It didn't look like it, but if someone had chosen to take a strong stand for it, that would be fair enough.

Julio Juventus - partly done because a friend was on the first half (a very logical pitch in it's own right) and partly done to avoid failing to flash Axle Attack or Mayfair! I somehow scraped through this one despite botching the my feet on the first crux and simply not having enough feet on the second crux, thus having to skip an unfeasible clip, and I got away with it and was pretty chuffed with my commitment. No idea about a previous trad / semi-trad status of this one. 



Source: The Wedge Keeps Thickening...

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You Should Have Seen The Looseness Of The One That Got Away...


Recently I've had some setbacks with my amateur chossaneering. I seem to have come up with an abrupt wall where the gentle terrain of "Big G grading routes quite softly in his later climbing years" suddenly rears up into daunting scenarios of "Big G grading routes in direct comparison to his multiple Gogarth E7 6b roof crack heyday", and unlike the rock in reality, this particular wall doesn't seem soft or wobbly enough to pull a few bits off and sneak around it. Thus I'm running out of routes I can pretend my way up by climbing very slowly and gently and ignoring the dubious structural integrity, and starting to be faced with things that are actually hard. And then there are other issues with off-piste routes that don't get nearly the repeats they deserve:


The latest shambles looked a bit like this:

Dichotomous, The Range - superb bit of rock in a superb situation. The first two superfluous pegs I pulled out by hand. The essential gear protecting the crux along an expanding undercling finger flake with lichenous smearing consisted of the one remaining bendy peg with rust flaking off it and a missing RURP. The long fall from here would leave on having to be lowered into the sea. I bailed.

The Blue Horse, Porth Dafrach - Warming up on Caff's minor sandbag DAME was fun. Feeling the greasy flakiness at the start of The Blue Horse and trying to envisage the brutal laybacking required for upwards/outwards progress along with protecting the whole sheningan was less fun. I bailed.

Angel Of The West, The Range - On paper this is a mere half a grade harder than Surreal Estate that had been a perfectly charming womble the previous day. In reality it must be a good 3 grades harder. I have looked at AOTW from many angles on 4 visits, and have been doing specific training for it on The Depot roof and The Boardroom DWS roof, and it still looks utterly and incomprehensibly outrageous. I bailed (but I'm still thinking about the fucking thing).

Three Day Event, Porthllechog - more like Three Metre Event as that's about how high I got up it. Somewhat more conventional in angle and situation than the other routes but, well, my guts had been bad that morning (for absolutely no fucking reason), the refreshing breeze all day had dropped in time for my attempt, there seemed to be plant life covering crucial holds, I'm a wimp, etc etc. I bailed.


---


Anyway, all of this got me thinking, thinking about some proper choss, proper potentially wonderful routes, and the Top Three That Got Away, which goes a bit like this....

Gold, North Pembroke
Wow. Okay. This one. Honestly, if I'd got up this (a one star route at a grade I've done dozens of), it could have been the route of my life. Rainbow Zawn looks quite impressive from the side....but from below, it's unbelievable. It was genuinely hard to take in how impressive and intimidating it looked - constantly overhanging end-on strata of culm sandstone and shale. I battled for an hour up the first pitch to find that a section through an overhang (shared with an E3 5b!!) was missing and I couldn't work out how to climb it. I left a wire and krab in-situ and this update for UKHitlering (which never made it on afaik)

"An epic climb that is one of the easiest (!) lines up a shocking cliff. Originally graded E4, the first pitch has lost holds including at least one crucial ledge, and it is a very different experience to South Stack / Lleyn / Craig Llong E4s. The end-on shale strata are ungenerous with holds so expect an awesome adventure with hard, strenuous climbing as well as the obligatory loose rock, rope-cutting edges, rusty pegs and sandy cracks."

I still regret not doing it.

Back To The Old Ways, Atlantic Coast
Immortalised on film with me backing off it, tail firmly between stockings. A very cinemogenic King Line chosen for Cheque's Seaside, as a light digestif to accompanying Duncan on Eroica (and the bugger calmly encouraging me onto Black Magic despite my qualms). Alas it wasn't meant to be, the choss quotient was perfectly fine (in it's own shaley way) but the much-harder-than-graded climbing with much-smaller-than-required gear was a bit too much. A pity as it really did look ace.

Kelly's Eye, Lleyn
A recent inspiration and retreat. A great bit of rock in a lovely wee zawn, but this time whilst both the climbing and gear on the first pitch seemed manageable, the choss was in full effect with almost everything feeling crunchy, or wobbly, or indeed both. Yes, I backed off the first 5a pitch, but abbing down (with the lone belay stake reassuringly backed up by the dog stake), the two 5b pitches looked just as hard and terrifying as they did from the slope opposite. I suppose when someone (Littlejohn) who has been E6 new-routing for decades, including the Lleyn, warns that "some of the rock requires a light touch", I should probably be extra wary despite the lowly grade. So the right decision, but still disappointing. 

---

Back to the present day. It feels a bit weird to run out of inspiration at The Range. I do love it there. So gentle and peaceful and beautiful and weird and sketchy on the routes. But there's odds and sods to pop in for, and other coastal gems to explore and the bird bans are off South Stack this weekend... I just need to get some fucking confidence back as it's taken a bit of a beating with these retreats, my digestion being up and down, my sport fitness going to pot (too much amateur chossaneering, sigh), etc etc. Fingers crossed.



Source: You Should Have Seen The Looseness Of The One That Got Away...

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#1132 Re:  fiendblog
March 23, 2024, 09:44:26 am
Gold - North Pembroke really was amazing. I've been gently encouraging/sandbagging people onto this ever since I did it in 2009ish.

Genuinely some of the best steep chossaneering I've done.

Don't think we really knew what we were letting ourselves in for on this when we started. Then the sea had come in and we were quite committed.

The upper pitches were excellent including riding an amazing fin of rock at one point. At the top there was no belay so I resorted to sitting in a hole.

Three stars......


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#1133 Re:  fiendblog
March 23, 2024, 10:37:27 am
Thanks for confirming that and adding a little bit to the regret I already have  ::) Especially in the context of now never being able to get back the fitness / confidence / lightness to try it again (a decline that was starting at the time of posting that blog, before being accelerated by multiple injuries and depression).

Also Compiler please get a grip and stop re-posting blog entries from 2021  ::)



Edit: Am grumpy from lying awake at 5am worrying about being old weak and heavy

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#1134 Re:  fiendblog
March 23, 2024, 11:08:29 am
Well apologies for adding to the regret. It definitely required light thoughts.

I hope you have also continued to encourage others towards it!

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#1135 fiendblogMini-Adventures #3
March 23, 2024, 01:00:14 pm
Mini-Adventures #3

 
Although things ground to a bit of a halt on a recent (pre-heatwave!) trip, there was still some fun to be had. The pictures can do most of the talking:

Looking straight down to a shell glued to a vertical face by the very edge of it's shell!

View out from Porth Dafrach. So many lovely and intriguing inlets headlands and zawns.

Rhoscolyn lighthouse and the Llyn.

Moonrise over Porthllechog

Big skies over The Range all the way to The Llyn.

Dickhead.

An anchor without a dog stake is an anchor without dignity.


Crazy Horse, Porthllechog. A Nick Bullock "decomposing wide crack". Amenable standard but good, thought-provoking fun.


Dichotomous / Dai-Version, The Range. This was actually on the failed attempt on the former, but the latter meets it at exactly this point so I figure it's okay. A great and substantial route that is less mini than some hereabouts.


Dame, Porth Dafrach. A minor Caff sandbag, good adventurous fun in a lovely location. Just look at the rock architecture!


Surreal Estate, The Range. A minor Big G ultra-soft touch, but guess what, yes it was fun too, and in a cool setting too!


So that was that. Since then it got hot, it got showery, I got back on the sport, I got back to the indoor wall, I had an epiphany that I've got physically weak due lack of any actual strength training and pushing redpointing, I had an epiphany that I've got mentally weak after starting re-reading The Rock Warriors Way and a mere 10 pages in realising my mindstate had gone awry on almost all counts. Lots to work on there....


Source: Mini-Adventures #3

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#1136 fiendblogAnd thus it begins...
March 23, 2024, 07:00:21 pm
And thus it begins...



T = 0
I'm sat on a slope of tumbling tussocks, 20m above the sea, 70m below the crag top, looking out at a rising trench of steep silt with little sign of protection nor security, and I'm terrified. Unusually, rarely, I don't want to be here. A non-trivial percentage of my brain wants to scramble out and haul up the ab rope. My confidence has been very vague this summer, I'm fed up of being stressed and scared - not of the climbing, but of my own mental fragility. But....maybe I could just pull on the first holds, see if I can move...

T +1.2hrs
I'm sat on a small pedestal at the top of the silt trench, anchored in to abstract ironmongery hammered into dust, and I feel sick with fear. Well, partly fear and partly my guts playing up after wolfing down an emergency egg breakfast. The fragility is still there - if I struggled to cope with the easy intro pitch, how can I cope with the main pitches?? Maybe it's best to finish up an easier version, maybe I could cope with that. Except I'd have to do it all again at some point in the future. But....the next "poor rock" section looks easier, and I can see some resting spots to aim for...

T +1.4hrs
I've just pulled onto a thin wall, out of the steep looseness, and onto terrain that intimidates me just as much - sheer and smooth and supposedly sustained. But....I'm hanging on okay, I'm trusting small finger flakes, small foot edges, a good small nut next to me....I'm no longer scared....I'm curious, I'm inspired, I'm becoming happy....

( T +2.5hrs - the above photo )


T +4hrs
I'm sat on a dusty crag top, belaying, diligently taking the the ropes at constantly contrasting paces to best protect my partner on the bewilderingly weaving top pitch. I'm mostly.....surprised. Surprised I could cope with the initial reluctance, especially surprised I could transmogrify from that fear and nervousness to genuine pleasure in the middle pitch. Pagan isn't the hardest route I've done (nor the hardest this year, nor the hardest on South Stack), but it is one of the hardest that I've ever climbed when I've been so lacking in confidence - confidence being one of the essential pre-requisites (along with a light touch, trad nouse, and a lot of cams, rather than physical prowess) for this sort of terrain. I'm still not quite sure how it happened...

Expansive.

The mildly horrifying ""E3 5b"" first pitch. 50% of the climbing on this pitch you could have a nasty accident on.

The completely fine and normal first belay. "Yes we could sling together the 3 pegs in siltstone and abseil off into the sea to escape".

~~{§}~~


Meanwhile, a few weeks earlier....

As chance would have it, I started the Red Wall campaign nicely early this year, scarcely a few days after the bird ban was off. Gogarth South became my constant literary companion...

I've always particularly loved the second paragraph :)

Looking down to Left Hand Red Wall, about to do Left Hand Red Wall. Another traumatic start off the tussocky ramp!

LHRW was a stern reacquaintance with the terrain, but pretty good. But not as good as Television Route which was bloody marvellous, surely one of the best single pitches in the whole UK. The tricky climbing on this 45m route starts at about the 3m mark and eventually eases off at the 43m mark, and on the way takes in a massive variety of steep, committing, wobbly, technical and constantly interesting climbing. World class.

Incidentally the description is quite inaccurate so have a proper one:

Television Route E4 5c *** 45m
Start by the two loose spikes. Just to the right is a groove, follow it, passing a few rusty relics from the original aided ascent. Surmount a loose bulge to gain a better crack and step right to an improvement in rock quality and more bolt heads. Continue on easier ground with little gear to an overhung red niche in the groove, and make crux moves around the right edge of the overhang via a "thank god" jug. Move up to the where the groove steepens again, and step right to a rib and spike holds, then trend left and finish up the continuation groove, past the last remnants of scrap metal.

However there weren't enough sandy troughs on TR, so I had to go back and do Last Of The Summer Wine, a lesser-rated but quite quintessential Red Wall experience, as seen below:

"Moon cheese" according to Andy McBiscuit. Mars cheese according to me!!

The usual view of the usual situation.

Recovering after the "very exciting" start to pitch 3 - right limbs on overhanging flanges of quartz, left limbs on fins of silt. All quite emotional. Above this it was a typically brilliant finish up steady steepness - the final straits of these routes are invariably euphoric.

~~{§}~~

So, if everyone can forgive a bit of numerical masturbation, and very much taking into account the start of this post where I fully explicated my weakness, that makes it 5 out of 5 successes on  Red Wall E4s (the others being Cannibal and Rapture Of The Deep), and 9 out of 9 successes overall on South Stack (adding in Hysteresis on Mousetrap, Dogs Of War and 93,000,000 Miles on Yellow Wall, and Natalie in Natalie Zawn). I will aim to do Kalahari Highway to get to a nice round number and have something on Castle Helen, but of course the post-bird-ban stuff has been a priority recently. What that all means I don't really know (especially since one generally steps onto these crags with enough in hand that failure is unlikely, or were it to happen one is unlikely to be around to blog about it afterwards!), but given my passion for the area it's something worth celebrating??

Thanks to Jodie and Jordan for accompanying me on these shenanigans.



Source: And thus it begins...

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#1137 fiendblogMoonboard? Manorboard!
March 24, 2024, 01:00:33 am
Moonboard? Manorboard!

 

Power-to-weight is a constant battle. Too little of the former, too much of the latter. The latter I can do very little about as the DVTs prevent easy CV exercise and the b0rked digestion (and healthier diet to try to alleviate it) simultaneously gives me lower energy without any weight reduction. I once asked an established climbing coach I met at the crag about the general issue, and the short answer was "It's fine to be really heavy, you just have to be really fucking strong too", and the disclaimer "The trick is to get strong without getting injured". I haven't booked a masterclass quite yet. 

But yes the former I can at least try to do something about and maybe I should try a bit harder instead of spinning the ledge shuffling and esoteric bouldering and quick easy redpoint plates. Actually, I have lost a couple of kilos this summer (a dozen to go...), and this is almost entirely due to some hefty days out combining ledge shuffling with inimical walking. One edge of this sword is a tiny improvement in fitness and lightness, the other edge is a severe blunting of any power. Hauling my carcass up to Dow for two 6A+ moves, or a full day trudging back and forth around The Range doesn't actually get you strong, who would have thought it?? And when the buffer between my sport / bloc ability and my trad desires often feels as thin as a midge's scrotum, there's something to heed there.

A while ago I realised how dire the situation was that I was a solid grade and a half below my redpointing at this time last year, despite not having the restrictive nonsense of a spring lockdown to crawl back from. By chance the revamped Awesome Stockport bouldering room has a vastly better selection of holds and problems on nice angles, the same terrible decor and ear-vomittingly awful dad rock soundtrack, AND a new Moonboard with wooden holds, which lured me in with promises of a convenient skin-friendly power top-up. 

Naturally I took to this like a cat to water, although admittedly it was as much an issue of the constant "so farcical it's gone beyond hilarious and back around into tediously unfunny" pseudo-grading, the common terrible setting by morons who should be blocked off the MB app, and the often entirely useless feet-follow-hands style which given the larger holds on the easier problems reduces most situations to neanderthal lurching between relative jugs whilst pretending that "finger strength" and "core tension" are not relevant things to be trained. But at least the app makes it vaguely easy to sift through all the dross that actually gets in the way of training to find the occasional sandbag gem that might actually get me stronger. 

After a few sessions moaning my way through the 40° steepness I didn't feel any weaker, so en route back to Gogarth for some Red Walls trough squirming I stopped off at Manor Crag which has always looked fairly aesthetic for limestone. Given the angle of the place I had initial hopes that it could be a good test to see if the Moonboard had given me any hint of a power top-up, but on first viewings I remembered this same angle is my definite anti-style and resigned myself to merely getting a workout failing on everything, and at least it's more scenic than the AWMB. 

But then this happened....




....which was quite a shock to me. I know, climber in "trains a bit on a steep board and then does okay on steep board-ish style climbs" shocker, hold the fucking press. Actually in terms of tackling challenges, this is one of my very best bouldering days out ever, it didn't even feel like a training day because it was over so quick. A few notes: Jawa I missed the flash simply because I forgot my planned sequence and where to bump my hand to. Patch's Crack I missed the flash because I didn't seat the hand jam right a couple of times. Cracked Roof I missed the flash because I didn't get my thumb fully in the jam first time - all very close things!! All very good fun too.

Anyway recently I went back on the Moonboard a couple of times, there's a Font """""6B+""""" that I've tried at least a few times each session for 6 sessions now. I'm almost close. Almost. 



Source: Moonboard? Manorboard!

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#1138 fiendblogShadows of hope.
March 24, 2024, 01:00:04 pm
Shadows of hope.

 
The moments of light that shine through the darkness are real and wonderful, but sporadic.


"You seem to still be ticking off a lot of crags/routes on your list. Good work."

...said Biscuit. Oh how social media lies, even if you don't use cuntstagram. Show a few half-decent shots, write a couple of blog posts, celebrate the occasional success, and it all looks fine on the surface. People can assume it's representative, that it's all going well, a general trend of success and satisfaction. The bigger picture is of course bigger, and sometimes blander, and sometimes bleaker. 

The reality is ticking off very few routes of my list, and even fewer of the most inspiring and challenging ones. The shown successes are also real, but circumstance and self-timer means a disproportionate amount of showing off. There's not really a hidden iceberg of further successes beneath the photographic tip, instead it's a dark pool swirling with depression, disorganisation, de-confidence. 

Funnily enough this is not the sort of DMac style depression that gets you running up Ben Nevis on rest days. I've never encountered that sort of depression, I'd love to get hold of some. Okay so no amount of mental bleakness is going to overcome fluid mechanics and get me fell-running by pure magic, but obsessive training / physical activity depression?? Much better than the common-or-garden hiding-under-the-duvet-hoping-either-the-world-fucks-off-or-you-do depression. The latter really doesn't get you fit nor strong for climbing. And interval timer shots of someone staring at their phone for hours, desperately trying to summon up the courage to get in contact with someone or make a plan to get away, doesn't get you many "likes" on FB....


"It IS supposed to be fun, climbing...." 

...said Reeve. And indeed it is fun. Lots of fun. Type 1 or below fun (even if it sometimes takes a bit of Type 1.5 to overcome to get there), that's why I go on Red Walls and The Range, not hanging off bolts at The Tor, nor winter fucking mountaineering (the latter being Type 3 fun - the only pleasure coming from finally stopping it and forgetting the horror).

The problem comes when a lot of fun comes from the challenge, and the challenge is is a huge motivator and also big and scary and that's quite off-putting for the mind, and when the mind is as dysfunctional as mine can be, well, the mental processes are Not Fun - trying to get to grips with the fun is not fun. The desire is very strong and very authentic and gets proven so on the rare occasions I get to grips with those challenges and pull through them. Almost inevitably no matter how daunting the prospect or tortuous and convoluted the process to get there, the actual climbs and experiences that I've somehow ended up fixating on are really wonderful. But fuck me it would be easier if they were easier.... But then I wouldn't want to do them as much. FFS.

So this somewhat tedious post (yes, I'd much rather be writing about sandy troughs, but I am allowed to express these issues, just as you're allowed to "smash" the back button on your browser so quickly it counts as fast twitch muscle training, at any rate I'm hoping that expelling some of this discordant mental shit will be as relieving as when my bowels expel their discordant bacterial shit at higher and scarcely less readable velocity) bookends the summer with the more positive glimmers of hope I initially felt. It's been up and down, there's definitely been some good stuff, and definitely some bad stuff, most of it inside my head. I'm just keeping plodding on, trying to stay focused when I can, trying to stay accepting when I can't, trying to keep moving because that all adds up in the end. 


Source: Shadows of hope.

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#1139 fiendblogMini-Adventures #4
March 25, 2024, 01:04:55 am
Mini-Adventures #4

 
(Ab)normal service resumes??  They're getting mini-er and slightly less adventurous, but no less fun-spirited...



Fear Test, Rhoscolyn. A well-named wee route combining boldness with steepness, although thankfully not exactly at the same time. Hidden out of view just below me is an "alarmingly steep groove" that only partially lives up to that promise, having neither a good crack at the back nor enough angularity for good bridging at the front. It does have good holds which is quite welcome when fiddling in spaced and obtuse cams. Once this is dealt with, it is a matter of some elation popping through the steepest bulge out onto the biggest jugs and romping to the top. 

8b+ Reeve was trying to persuade me that this was a good option to warm-up and get inspired for Big Sunday E5 6a just to the left, equally alarming in angle but woefully lacking in any form of groove-based respite. Funnily enough 7b+ Fiend politely declined (okay, there was no politeness actually involved....).




Grazed And Confused, The Range. This is one of the mini-adventures of the year. One star, a completely wrong topo of an adjacent route, a hopeless description, and good potential to be lowered into the sea if you muff the crux. I was extremely close to backing off when the the last two factors saw me in a stable position but struggling to decide between a highly off-putting hard and protectionless roof above me or a highly offputting cramped traverse to swing blindly out in space to the right of me. Reeve was disarmingly cheery and encouraging on belay whilst I was sweating and stalling. Eventually the swing right was right and led to more comprehensible terrain and a feeling of "I'm not quite sure how I committed through that and ended up here but I'm bloody glad I did"

This route had it all packed into a compact size: interesting line, variety of climbing, essential Gogarth "hanging slabs" and "shuffling between roofs", funky rock, good gear where needed, the lurking zawn below... 

The correct description: 
From the palatial ledges, step down and traverse right on an easy slab until it is possible to pull up a blocky feature to beneath the main roof. Make an increasingly cramped traverse right and a committing swing around the corner to pull up onto easier ground on the grey corrugated slab. Climb through the weakness in the overlap above to finish up the yellow slab.



The Range at sunset - obviously the fantastic light came out just after all the climbing was finished!! This is mostly looking towards Emmenthal Zawn, Wensleydale Walls, and The Fortress on the right. Lurking out of shot are Housetrap Zawn, The Old Steam Piano, Curious Yellow, Daichotomous etc etc.



Cilan Head, looking North from Mur Y Fulfran. Cilan Main is partly tucked out of view just behind the brighter white patch that's just right of centre. Zawn Two is the shaded buttress nearer by with the diagonal top. This was taken from the very amenable (tidal considerations aside - yes it really is that bad for swell!) MYF - Cilan Lite at it's litest!


Cantre'r Gwaelod, Mur Y Fulfran. Silence Of The Clams climbs the chimney to the left, I'm Not Swimming Now climbs the stepped corner to the right. This is a rather fine route for anyone who is a fan of cranking through slabby bulges, as it mostly involves cranking through slabby bulges. This, and a couple of other cool little routes that we did, was disarmingly normal and conventional, despite the feeling of general wildness and "not like anywhere else" that the area has. Given the suntrap location there might be more mini-adventures here this autumn who knoweth....


Source: Mini-Adventures #4

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#1140 fiendblogSolace??
March 25, 2024, 01:00:07 pm
Solace??

 
So. I lost my confidence, I lost my motivation for organising away trips, I got depressed.

I came up with a cunning plan to deal with this: 

I delayed the climbing that I was struggling with, I put on hold the more complex trad challenges, relinquished them to next spring, and started to think about preparing for that in advance.

I gave myself a focus for training, taking a slightly longer term view to try to address my genuine need to have a bit more in reserve physically to tackle those challenges, and anticipating winter to be a good time for that.

I dialled my climbing back to something that was manageable but enjoyable and could contribute to progression: Logistically easy but physically challenging, mostly bouldering, often starting exploring Welsh limestone.

In short I sought solace in enjoying the physical aspect of climbing, whilst relaxing a bit and being patient and preparative.

...

Then I went bouldering on the top of the Little Orme on a bitterly windy day. One of the craglets had the cold wind raking along it and I had to wear a duvet jacket just to try to start climbing.  That was the sheltered crag - at the exposed one I could barely stand up to look at the lines and had to walk back at a 30' angle so I didn't get blown back to Manc. Back at the former I was looking for an autumn project to push myself on, and decided the best course of action was to warm up by vigorously brushing some holds (this did deceptively raise my core temperature), not tape my niggling elbow, and start working a 45' overhanging beyond-my-limit project move-by-move... 

Maybe I didn't notice how badly I'd aggravated my golfer's elbow because everything had gone numb?? Whichever way, I am a fucking idiot.

Solace - gone. Training plans - gone. Relaxation - gone.

Depression - back, with reinforcements and heavier anti-Fiend weapons.

The overall plan for this time had been: Get fitter, get stronger, get more powerful, get more confident physically, get better prepared for next trad season.

Now the imminent future is: Get less fit (and heavier?), get weaker, get less powerful, get more timid and much less confident physically, feel increasingly distant from any trad season.

...

What I'm doing of course is rehab (with good advice from Process), gentle climbing (at least gritstone bumblecircuits are quite pleasant, and indoor walls have plenty of slabs and non-pulling nonsense on them these days), keeping active by going out exploring, going to the gym, and focusing on the minimal things I can train: core, and especially flexibility. Interestingly since I've been doing less proper climbing and more of the latter, I've got all sorts of pains around my hips, buttocks, groin, knees etc. Nothing too inhibitive but extra physical niggles that actually I don't really need.

I still have the same cunning Plan B mentioned at the start of this post, but it's all pretty much delayed until I've healed my elbow to a manageable state. Thus any updates around here are going to be pretty sporadic, unless I find any ethics to rant about. Anyone seen any peg-bolted lower-offs recently??

Anyway here's a couple of things from the recent but very distant-seeming time when I only had mental inhibitions:

A nice little boulder problem.


A fairly mediocre video mostly due to the light and angles and forgetting my camera and using my phone fingertaped to a tripod, but it was only a few days before I properly aggravated my elbow and it does show I was pretty confident with both cranking up things and jumping off things (even though some of those drop-off landings felt as hard as the climber is heavy!!).



Source: Solace??

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#1141 fiendblogSolace Part 2
March 25, 2024, 07:00:33 pm
Solace Part 2


Maybe a post about actually climbing for a change??

(Edit, and warning: there now are a lot of words about climbing in this post, I got carried away)

It's still a struggle. I want to push myself. I want to be climbing at over 50% capacity. I want to train. I want to bivvy beneath the 30' board in the new Depot training room. I want to feel the cranking. Sigh.

But there's a little bit of stuff I can do, apart from easy circuits indoors and trying to work out why the fuck my pelvis and left leg are constantly aching and tweaky despite exercise and stretching. Mostly easy grit, slabs, and easy grit slabs. Thankfully all of those things are rather good so there's some pleasure to be had in the usual luck-based scrittle malarkey of sliding off smears, pinging off pebbles, being unable to reach holds, and moaning about skin / conditions. So here's a little tale about most of those...


M20 and I went questing off to Standing Stones. He promised me a Bonjoy 6C slab, and the chance to heckle him on a downsloping lip traverse just above the pads and then a large drop-off so if the climber fell and the precariously bridged spotter fumbled, you'd both end up plunging headfirst into a likely bottomless pit in the boulders below. I promised myself to get a decent walk, fresh air, and not aggravate my elbow, which is sometimes all I aim for these days.

I'd actually been for a recce last autumn (previous golfer's elbow AND tweaked MCL rehab...) and spotted a few things including this slab that featured one of the two defining characteristics of the extensive SS boulderfield: boulders that either don't have a landing, or are so wedged and jumbled that they don't form problems at all. Since this only featured the former, I decided to investigate further whilst M20 was brushing scrittle or looking lustily at grouse or something. 

The slab was indeed attractive, the terrain beneath it less so, consisting of an artisanal blend of holey bits and jaggy bits and finely seasoned by a suitcase-sized block jutting right out over it. It turns out that the latter was in a fairly relaxed state about it's current position and decided it's ultimate destiny in life was to roll down into one of the afore-mentioned holes in a position which initially seemed equally jutting and inconvenient but actually provided a useful centerpiece around which other unstable blocks could migrate towards and cuddle up next to. An hour or so later there was, miraculously, a landing. And it seemed that no mosses, lichens, ferns nor rodent nests were disturbed in the transition, indeed scarcely a displaced woodlouse was spotted.

...

After some stones had partaken in downwards motion, it was incumbent for the climber to attempt upwards motion. A lone excellent sidepull provided both the solution and conundrum, and it quickly became apparently that it's more obvious orientation naturally led the climber off onto the left arete rather abruptly, albeit after a very pleasant smear-stepping start (Solexit 6A). A more direct line didn't seem to work and I started to lose interest, and, somewhat prematurely, left Gritstone Jesus to take over. He worked out an extended smearing sequence that used the Hold to gaston back right and up, leaving a final smear and stretch to a particularly enticing pebble, at which point the gritstone decided to take revenge for all the downwards motion earlier on, and the pebble and climber joined the downward motion...

At this point the Gritstone Gentleman, after a half-hearted attempt discovering the remaining hole was a pale shadow of the pebble it once embraced, confessed that he was feeling a bit reluctant to fully go for it, as I'd put all the effort into fixing the landing and really I should be giving it a fair go. Gulp. So I did, and the climbing started to feel pretty damn interesting - a different extended sequence of smears led back to the same position, and a worse, higher pebble showed potential to reach the top. After a few tentative dismounts, I pulled on the pebble, bridged a foot onto a ripple and reached.... ....the bloody left arete, albeit a lot higher. 

This was something I hadn't intended nor desired. The problem was already a bit eliminate in that you had to move back right to avoid easier ground, and I wanted it to be a logical eliminate with a simple "avoid the left arete" description. I checked if I could reach the top directly (not really), tried a few more times, skidded off a higher smear, ran out of time and shuffled away. 

But it kept nagging at me, and inspiring me, and it's been a while since I've been able to feel inspiration or anything that motivational. I didn't think there was much to improve to do that last move more directly, just having more time to persist with it and hope the luck part of the luck based scrittle appeared out of somewhere. I bade my time, cleaned off an excellent project to tempt M20 back, and thought about smears. 

...

Eventually M20, MG and I went back - the closest Standing Stones has got to an actual send train! We downgraded the Bonjoy 6B+, did a new one move wonder undercut arete I found - Careless Pork - and I got back on the slab. And exactly the same thing happened, the best position I got into, the way for me to progress was rolling onto the arete. Again I tested the stretch to the top, this time with more diligence, to discover I'd have to be on tip-toes on the crucial ankle-down smear to reach it. Again I passed the baton on, and M20 stretched the very top of the arete and slab apex to match. With the team's support, the assessment was that where you reach from the final position wasn't the main thrust of the problem, and effectively I'd already done it last time. This was quite weird for me, closure of the inspiration not by success but by changing the goalposts.

Post-match analysis however revealed some logic, in which I was inspired by writings of the ex-Newcastle now Cymru captain Pantontino. It's nice for new things to make clear-cut sense: Follow the line from the bottom to the top. But sometimes they don't. Bits of rock impinge, easier ground impinges, features lead away from the best climbing. Guidance from a well-written guide nudges the climber to make the best use out of the rock, even if it means guidelines on what to do. In this case, matching the Hold and rocking back right locks you into the sequence of smears and pebbles until you're bridged higher and either slap the upper arete or the top. Yes you go back to the arete if you can't reach the top, but only after 6 tricky and delicate moves away from the much easier start-sidepull-arete problem.

So it's a flawed result, but there's now a feasible problem with good climbing. It's about 6C/+-ish maybe.

And the name??

Solace.



Source: Solace Part 2

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#1142 Re:  fiendblog
March 25, 2024, 07:06:06 pm
COMPILER GET A FUCKING GRIP.

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#1143 fiendblogA Very Secret Slab
March 26, 2024, 01:08:37 am
A Very Secret Slab


Seek and ye shall find....maybe....or just get lost in the woods. 


Paul's Peach Slab, Honley Old Woods - update.

Main problems thoroughly cleaned November 2021


Approach:


The old parking at the end of Hassocks Lane is no longer viable as it's now a public bridleway and even if you park very discreetly and sensibly you'll likely get some self-important twat in the last house / building site blocking you in and waffling on about road traffic act blah blah whatever shut up already you tedious bellend.

Instead, park carefully on the verge next to a gate on the south side of Meltham Road, halfway between Honley Livery Stables and the edge of Honley Village, 50m west of the footpath / farm track leading to Hassocks Lane. Walk north down this track to the woodland, go into the woods and diagonally left for 30m until a carved block points a path leading rightwards, i.e. directly away from the main road. Follow this path for 200m until it reaches the valley edge, and drops down beneath Old Honley Wood Quarry. Turn left onto the path above the edge and follow this for 300m or so until it intertwines with a path on the left, next to the fence on the left. At this point you should be directly opposite a strange silo in a clearing to the left, turn right and the top of the slab should be 20m down the valley slope.


Problems:


The description on the Kirklees climbing site isn't very clear and the update on UKC doesn't help much either! So maybe this will show the potential.... Apart from miscellaneous pebbles and smears, the centre of the slab has few features, but the two main ones naturally lead to distinct and good quality variants. The main holds are a head-height diagonal edge left of centre (with a good starting smear low down), and a very shallow flaky scoop high up with a useful rail at it's bottom.

? - A possible one move wonder up the left edge.

PL - Peach Lefthand 6C?
Shorter but still tricky and good. Right hand gaston the diagonal edge, right foot low smear, and climb straight up on pebbles, with or without the scoop rail to finish.

PP - Paul's Peach 6B+
The original and best linking of the features. Left hand sidepull the diagonal edge, left foot low smear, and reach and rock up right to the scoop rail before finishing slightly leftwards.

PSD - Peach Superdirect 7A?
Fierce pebble pulling to get the most slab value. Just right climb direct on pebbles to the scoop rail, match it and finish slightly rightwards. 

TS - Tentative Steps 4+
Link the lower diagonal runnel and a good flat hold above to gain the right crest of the slab.

Low Traverse - It would also be possible to do a rather fun traverse from the good footholds on the left edge all the way into Tentative Steps to finish.



Source: A Very Secret Slab

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#1144 fiendblogPen Llyn Corrections
June 06, 2024, 07:00:09 pm
Pen Llyn Corrections


Pen Llyn Corrections / Suggestions:
I sent a lot of feedback / corrections / suggestions to the guide authors, based on climbing at a similar standard to the routes in question (and not several grades higher), being both familiar with and enthusiastic for Llyn climbing but also not a dedicated master of the terrain, whilst also heeding the views of my partners. A bit of the feedback seemed to get in but a fair amount was ignored leading to various inaccuracies in the guide (particularly for accessible mid-grade routes, whilst Lovatt/Bullock E7 6as on Craig Dorys get full and extensive details, which is of use to at least 2% of climbers). I get the vague impression that like some other CC guides, the guidebook process is fairly "closed shop" where it's only a group of devoted locals who are heeded (same with inaccuracies in the West Penwith guides).  Thus I've re-written the most pertinent feedback here for reference.


pp 99-101 - Carreg Lefain

Possible intro text: "Carreg Lefain is a prominent steep knoll when viewed from the East, but is best approached from the West, where the Mynydd Nefyn carpark at SH320407 has space for several cars, and a 5 minute stroll leads to the crag. The rock is a compact granodiorite with many angular features and sometimes sparse protection. The right side of the crag is quite steep, especially around a mid-height nose, and the routes are harder than they look. Some harder classics take the nose direct, whilst some easier routes skirt around it via various ramps and grooves. All routes taper off into scrambling to finish.

The crag faces due South, gets all the sun and breeze, dries quickly and has a comfy base for lounging around. The panoramic view over the Llyn is exceptional."

Routes:
10. Atasia E1 5c
"A convoluted line with an exposed finish. Climb a short corner that's more awkward than it looks, then trend left up slabby ground to gain the next short corner. Climb this, also awkward, to get established on the main ramp. Follow this back right for a long way until a committing step right gains the top of the nose. Wander upwards to finish."
Given E2 5c **, but definitely not that. Rafe led it and it was fine at E1. Very disjointed so not worth 2 stars. 

11. Good Housekeeping E3 5c *
"Disjointed by ledges but with some fine steep climbing in between. Start just left of the central alcove and climb the first wall to a ledge. Climb the steeper wall above past a crucial small spike to gain the ramp of Atasia. Step right for a couple of metres, the cliimb steeply up the next wall with careful protection to gain the ramp of (Severe). Step left for a couple of metres and climb into a scoop above to gain a grassy ramp and easier route."
Topo line is wrong and shows it swerving much further left, when it actually climbs an obvious direct featured wall.

15. Coprolalia E2 5c
"A good line up the ramp right of the nose, but a rather pokey route. Climb fairly direct to gain a block and niche below the start of the ramp. Blind and bold moves gain the ramp proper, then follow this much more easily until near the nose. Pull into a scoop, and trend left or right to gain easier ground."
Given two stars but really it's only worth one, too imbalanced.

17. Psychopath HVS 5a **
"The easiest route skirting the nose is one of the best, with continuously interesting climbing up a strong feature. Start at the far right of the wall, bridge up the small gully for a few metres, then commit left onto the wall proper to gain a flake system. Follow this until it's possible to move right into the prominent slanting groove. Climb up until stopped by a smoother slab, step left under this and then up and back right (or direct at 5b), to gain a stance and easier ground. Scrambling remains."
Given only one star but really it's worth two, for reasons given.

Submitted topo

Guide topo with Good Housekeeping corrected


pp 117-119 - Trwyn Maen Melyn

The following details along with the topo here were submitted: https://fiendophobia.blogspot.com/2019/07/trwyn-maen-melyn.html  . 

The issue with ignored stars is particularly bewildering given the amount of sport routes at the Gyrn Ddu Quarries that get 2/3 stars and are hardly the finest Llyn experiences.

Approach: "From the main track that contours above the St Mary's Well zawn, continue West to a prominent brown rock, the crag lies just below and left of this."

3. Headstrong E2 5b (?)
"Start from the giant block (the white speckles are quartz not bird shit), and follow a line leftwards out to the edge of the wall. An easier lower line might be possible."
Given 2 stars but is clearly the least interesting line on the whole crag.

4. The Incredible Surplus Head E3 5c **
"Start from the giant block, climb steeply up to bisect TBR, continue even more steeply up via two blocks left of the larger "head" and finish leftwards with much pump."
Not given any stars, despite the face it's clearly a wild and spectacular line, described as "an excellent pitch", and was regarded good enough to be one of two routes featured in Ground Up's North Wales Rock

5. The Ideal Hom Experience E2 5b **
"A irresistable line. Ideally start at the base of the corner behind the blocks, or at high tide from the block itself. Climb the steep corner via the featured rightwall to bisect TBR, continue via an undercling to escape rightwards into a bay, the far corner being the obvious exit."

6. Isis In Orbit E3/4 5c **
"Another good, very direct and steep line. Bridge up between the boulder and the right wall of TIHE, then continue up the wall on various fangs and boulders to regain TIHE at it's crack and undercling. Climb direct into a well-positioned niche and pull out directly through the steepness to finish."
Still given E4 6a despite the fact it really isn't. Scarcely harder than ISH, definitely no 6a moves. Comments on the FB group support this.

7. The Bardsey Ripple E2 5b ***
"Brilliant and bizarre, traversing the intrusion to take in the best of the crag. Start in the cleft of QB, bridge up then drop down and swing boldly leftwards to gain a groove. Follow this then escape around the left rib to gain the intrusion, and follow this all the way to the left end of the crag with much exposure, elation, rope-drag etc."
See below.

8. Stoned Immaculate E2 5b 
"Superceded by TIHE and TBR, but enjoyable. Start as for TBR to the groove, the continue direct past a committing bulge to gain the bay of TIHE. A direct finish from this might be good, or escape rightwards"
Given a star, which is probably right.

(The "bouldery start" described in the book would be much harder and more serious (E4 6a and paddable?).)
Both still mistakenly described as "Make a bouldery start left of Queer Bar" which is clearly nonsense to anyone who has looked at this start.

9. Queer Bar E3 5c **
"A great line up the chimney, with entertaining climbing to match - giant cam and dry conditions needed. Pull on as for TBR and squirm upwards then outwards towards daylight and easier terrain. Continue to a wild final bulge and pull over via the biggest hold at the crag. "
Given no stars despite the fact it is an excellent line. The guide uses my intro line and then ignores the description and star rating. These sort of sea cliff clefts are usually highly regarded so why is this one any different?? 

10. The Ungradeable Donkey E3 5c/6a *
"A shorter route, but varied and interesting. Start a few metres up the ramp from QB, at an RP slot and high hold. Crank past the bulge onto the slab of rock that's escaped from Holyhead Mountain. Continue to the break then climb up the interesting crunchy groove to pop out rightwards. "
Given E4 6a and no stars which isn't right. At least the start was corrected.

11. The Eyes Have It E4 6a (*?)
"Climb the obvious diagonal break from right to left, with a very steep finish."
Given no stars which given the quality of the line, I doubt is right.

12. The Bardsey Shuffle E7 6b (**?)
"Wild and aesthetic. Start as for TEHI until the TUD groove, then break out left onto the very steep wall via the giant embedded eyes to finish up the crest."


pp 199 - Cilan Mur Y Fulfran

Approach: "Follow the new approach to Cilan via the top of Dorys. At the main bend in the coast path (post), continue straight on instead of turning right, and pass a prominent rock after 50m. Continue in the same line out towards the coast, and as the very South West tip of Cilan head is reached, bear very slightly right (a faint gully with dark rock on the right is a landmark). The abseil point to Mur Y Fulfran is where the rocky orange shelf at the cliff-top fades out into the hillside at it's Northern end, the tidal shelf is just below this, and it's a good viewpoint for Zawn Two. Good anchors here and the abseil goes down the line of the Grampus slab."

Cantre'r Gwaelod E2 5c * 
Agree with the grade, maybe worth a star for good rock and neat, dually cruxy climbing. Slightly bold but the tricky bits are okay.
Not given a star, which doesn't seem right given things are generally being highly starred on this wall.

Grampus E2 5b
It would be useful for the guide to clarify if this started up the slabby side of the arete (i.e. a couple of m left of the arete), or directly up the steep side closer to Bilidowcar. 
Clarified as the left side I think, but could be more clarified.

Bilidowcar HVS 5a ** 
Agree with the grade, although high in the grade overall including the bold moves right at 2/3 height. Worth two stars, good line and good, interesting, climbing.
Given the stars which is good.

Hop On The Sleigh E2 5c *
Agree with the grade, definitely worth a star, good value with 3 hard and awkward moves into, up, and out of the groove (felt quite like Lake District climbing!)
Given 2 stars which I think is probably right.

It's worth noting that a small block ledge and good anchor above the barnacles on HOTS can easily be gained by abseil and provides good access to HOTS, Mesora E3 5c, and maybe Donkey Derby E2 5c when the swell is prohibitive.
This wasn't added and there's space on the page to do so.


pp 214-249 - Craig Dorys

Votes For Dogs E1/2 5b *
Hard for E1 - E1 5a up to main corner (some delicate moves, the usual Doris rock scenario) into E1 5b up the final corner (stiff steep moves with the slab to clatter into). Definitely worth a star of two for the great line and interesting climbing.
Thankfully this DID get in at E2 5b *

Friendless E1 5c *
Currently 5c for the boulder problem start. Rafe had tried it previously with the pebbles lower and it was 6a then. E1 5b after the start. Great line, definitely worth a star.
Not given a star, despite the fact it's probably a much better line than some of the E7s nearby. I'd trust Rafe's judgement on this and he was easily contactable.

Carf Crack / Faltering Hand.
There is only one line and one route here, with a possible variation finish, so the original should be mentioned first and the later addition mentioned in the text as the variant. I think Rafe would definitely agree with the E1 based on his previous lead (which had his partner describing it as "dreadful" and "don't bring me here ever again" ).
Still described as two HVS routes which isn't right.

Jacuzzi Dive E2 5c *
Agree with the grade, worth a star because, although short, it's good compact rock and elegant wall climbing. 
Not given the star it deserves, and neither were the harder routes opposite which I'm sure were highly regarded on the FAs.


pp 258 - Pared Mawr:

Bendy Wendy E3 5b *
This was an experience.... A lot harder overall than any E2 I've done on the Llyn! In fact I did Communication Breakdown E3 5c at Red Walls two days before, and although that was slightly traumatic as injury has kept me well away from having good trad mileage this year, Bendy Wendy was at least as challenging a lead. I nearly backed off the start after pulling off most of the holds on the sequence I was using, the middle ledge shuffling was unnerving, and getting to the gear in the final groove was pretty serious. Albeit the final groove had great climbing and the whole thing felt worth it's star.
Still in at E2. God help the E2 leader who climbs Bardsey Ripple, Ideal Hom Experience, Rastus, Cantre'r Gwaelod, Jacuzzi Jive, Miasma, Wylo-The-Wisp, Strangers On The Shore, and then gets on this. RIP.

The Bees Knees E1 5a **
I don't think there's the possibility of anything having the normal adjectival-tech grade ratio here, and although this was a reasonable proposition, it's still serious to start with a hard move and then nasty fall potential, and plenty of classic Pared Mawr rock in the groove. I only seconded it, and had great fun on second, both the climbing and trundling several blocks and holds. I definitely think 2 stars for the crag, it's one of the best lines (admittedly there are several, aesthetically), AND at a manageable standard so it could actually get done, and it's actually pretty nice balancy climbing.
Still in at HVS which is nonsense, and no stars which is equal nonsense given the clear reasons given.


pp 274 - 283 Wylfa:

2. Scissors E3 5a ** 
Probably only 5a and the E3 5a grade gives a better estimate (HVS climbing, +1 grade boldness, +1 grade looseness, +1 grade sustained). I think worth two stars for the climbing and setting.
In at E3 5b which doesn't quite capture the quality.

12. Wylfa Corner E1 5b ***
Seconded again, I thought it was hard for the grade the first time (when I had a solid summer of multiple E4 leads under my belt) and I think it's just as hard now. Maybe more so after Rafe removed a few bits of "good rock" from the top. Still a 3 star classic though. Line, continuity, gear, tricky corner climbing, the works.
In at two stars which is fine.

13. Miasma E2 5b *
This was good despite being a bit intimidating. Obviously dangerous but easy to start, then the final traverse, well it wasn't hard but only had good gear at the start of it. I'd say more like E2 5b, the moves weren't hard but the end of the traverse was bold and falling off the spooky rock-over onto the arete would be an injuruous fall back into the corner. Great moves along the traverse though.
Given E2 5c which doesn't quite capture the feel of it.

18. South West Connection E? 5? 
The right side of the crack at the crux overlap has fallen away leaving a fresh rockscar and some highly off-putting mini-fins of rock instead of the wall, so the grade and star will likely change.
Seemingly ignored and still in at E3 5c which it was when I led it PRE-rockfall, and definitely won't be now.

4. Strangers On The Shore E2 5b **
Suggested as 2 stars due to good rock, interesting easier-than-it-looks climbing and a nice situation.
Thankfully this did get in at 2 stars. Albeit with a disappointing arse shot (photo updates in next post)


pp 298 -333 - T'yn Tywn Quarries:

Baywatch E2 5c **
Very good and well balanced - steep bold jug-hauling into a nice upper part into a tricky crux finish - definitely 5c. A good line when you look closely too. It's also more like 5m right of Microcosm. Probably worth 2 stars for the variety and overall experience.
(For context Rafe led SITR after me and found it stiff but managed it fine, but pumped out on the lower part of BW, and then on second - after I re-lead it - he found the top crux hard (in a sort of A0 way)).
In at E3 5b *, which doesn't capture that it's both fairly manageable for a steep bold route, but also fairly crux,  and 3m right of Microcosm which isn't right. 

Singing In The Rain E1/2 5b */**
Also very good with a strong finish. Serious to start with some hollow holds and a terrible landing (see UKC comments), and a stiff exposed move into the groove higher up. It's just 2m right of Baywatch.
In at E1 5b * and no mention of the start.

...

Next time: Submitted photos.

Source: Pen Llyn Corrections

andy moles

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#1145 Re:  fiendblog
June 06, 2024, 07:24:59 pm
Very frustrating when guidebook writers ignore precise and detailed feedback. Surely that's exactly what you want as a guidebook writer, and if anything usually don't get enough of? Of course they might just disagree with some of the opinions, but that list looks like far too many things to be accounted to that explanation alone.

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#1146 Re:  fiendblog
June 06, 2024, 08:12:40 pm
The “closed shop” is also a bit of a problem in Pembroke. It’s not exactly the CC’s fault, though splitting editing from authoring would likely help greatly.

My pet hate is authors writing authoritatively on routes/history of which they are, at best, hazy. I appreciate you can’t add endless qualifiers but the opposite leads to the revising of history or worse.

Also, authors not even trying to exercise impartiality (wrt their routes)

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#1147 Re:  fiendblog
June 06, 2024, 09:42:32 pm
I had similar issues with the CC West Penwith guide. Giving direct feedback to Don S about good routes that were daggered and unrepeated in the previous guide, to see them still daggered with no updates...

I don't know the mechanisms behind the Llyn book, and whether stuff was carefully considered and then dismissed with sound reasoning, but I do think I gave constructive feedback from a considered (and grade-relevant) perspective, and it seems a bit odd when stuff like the "excellent" Incredible Surplus Head gets no stars.

My post is only part grumbling, it's also partly trying to do share some useful info.

Other than that it does seem to be a great guide, especially the design, clarity, and comprehensiveness. Seeing happy cheerful informative topos to such deadly areas is really quite cool. But my background experience makes me a bit sceptical of some grades / stars overall.

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#1148 Re:  fiendblog
June 08, 2024, 10:17:43 am
Enjoy a good stars/quality rant.

I'm assuming the zero star status of Incredible Surplus Head is just a typo. It's described as an excellent route where other, 2-starred, routes aren't described in as glowing terms.

Here's an observation - don't climb on Craig Wen on the northern Llyn if over-starring irks you (as it does me). Craig Wen being a real-world example of when the logic falls down (a bit like the routes at Craig Wen) of defining 2 stars to mean: 'exceptional in the context of the crag*'... if the crag in question is pretty rubbish and its best routes would be zero stars on a half decent crag, then 2 stars becomes a basically meaningless tool for seeking out new good climbs on new crags - which surely is a big reason for buying a guidebook. Conned, I think is the word, for the feeling of ending up at Craig Wen in search of quality in the context of the local area.

And it just looks really stupid when, all of 25minutes away, there are genuinely brill 2-star routes on a good crag in the same local area (e.g., we bailed in despair from the Craig Wen 2-star experience a full 25 minutes to Tremadog to climb genuinely good 2-star routes that would need to be given 7 or 8  stars in the context of Craig Wen!). Perhaps I suffered a particularly jarring experience of 'climbing quality cold-turkey' on Craig Wen, having a couple of days prior climbed approx 500 metres worth of 2 star HVS's on the Cuillin... 

Context is everything..


* An alternative definition for Craig Wen, 2 stars: grassy and lichenous loose stacked flakes, slighty less grassy and lichenous than the neighboring route, with average and escapable moves, and a pleasant view to Harlech.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2024, 10:45:03 am by petejh »

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#1149 fiendblogPen Llyn Submitted Photos
June 09, 2024, 01:00:26 pm
Pen Llyn Submitted Photos


I think I submitted all of these to the guide?? Clearly some of them are a bit bland (but then are so are some of the used photos), but others I think do a decent job of showing off some areas / routes (including in comparison to used shots). Anyway they might provide some inspiration.

Coprolalia, Carreg Lefain

This is a bland shot with bad lighting (salvageable?) but there's not many shots of Carreg Lefain which is a pretty important inland crag due to sunny aspect, easy access, decent grade spread, good climbing, etc.


The Incredible Surplus Head, Trwyn Maen Melyn




Queer Bar, Trwyn Maen Melyn


Aside from a great photo of The Bardsey Ripple and a very small one of TISH, there's only one other photo of Trywn Maen Melyn, which seems odd given it's an important crag for access and great climbing, and has some strong lines like Queer Bar. 

This is the only other photo and while it's important to have Streaky in, a lineless Severe that is of no interest to a typical E2-ish visitor to the crag doesn't seem ideal.


Cantre'r Gwaelod, Cilan Head


Yes this is a plain arse shot (albeit with nice light), but there aren't many photos of Cilan overall (apart from multiple shots of the already well-known Vulture), and certainly not showing off the more accessible and welcoming routes.


Votes For Dogs, Craig Dorys

Yes this is a plain arse shot....but then it's very similar to the arse shot that was actually used - but with a slightly better orientation and much clearer clothes / ropes....



Scissors, Charlie's Point


Okay, I think thse are pretty cool shots, but then the double page shot of Pat on this route is even better, *shrug*


Tanya's Tenacity, Wylfa West



Boring shots but could have been useful??


Strangers On The Shore, Wylfa


I think these show the line, situation and rock architecture pretty clearly....

...unlike this??


Baywatch, T'yn Tywyn Quarries



Pretty good colour contrast in these...


Singing In The Rain, T'yn Tywyn Quarries


Again there's a semi-limited selection for this bay which includes 2 photos of Microcosm, but none on these more accessible but still very good routes just right.



Source: Pen Llyn Submitted Photos

 

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