An Xmas Gift

It’s a satisfying feeling in any sphere of life to follow an idea through from conception to completion. The initial bubbling up into consciousness, via research – sometimes just finding out what to research, to carrying it out in action. Climbing’s no different.

I discovered the perfect dry-tooling crag on xmas day whilst out for a nosey based on hunches and a bit of research. As far as dry-tooling crags go this one’s the best I’ve seen in this country. It ticks all the right boxes:

High (30m+ in places), a variety of angles from vertical walls to horizontal roofs, with a predominance of slightly overhanging 30m pump-fests. Natural holds with interesting features, torquing cracks from baggy to thin, lovely sweeping visual lines crossing exposed walls. Quarried. Beautiful location with gorgeous views. Short walk-in. Close to home. Unsuitable for rock-climbing? – that’s debatable but it’s dark, damp and dirty. However, akin to Devil’s Gorge it could clean up to provide impressive long sport routes given a dry spell and a thorough scrubbing – it’s the sort of place someone like me would be all over cleaning and bolting as a sport crag except for a: it’s December and, b: I’m as keen about mixed climbing as I am about every other discipline. They could be dry-tooled every day of the year no matter the weather (it’s sheltered enough) and there are already enough sport routes in the region, but not enough amazing dry-tooling routes, so this is going to provide the most fun dry-tooling ever whilst I’m also hopeful the routes might make decent sport-routes in summer to give a truly unique venue!

Together with the climbing in the mines lower down the valley, this is going to turn Crafnant into a dry-tooling nirvana. How bizarre is that. That it’s going to come about in one of the quietest, most secluded and beautiful, and strongly traditional, of North Wales’s climbing venues makes it all the more special.

A gift that will keep on giving for years. Woot woot. All down to following through on an idea. 🙂

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New Routing Inside A Mountain

Back up to the mountain cavern today for round 2 of bolting across the roof. I like a lot of things about this place – the way the evergreens in the valley remind me of BC, how the silver colored, lichen-blotched Dolerite outer contrasts with the slate and iron-ore internals of the mountain, the attractive roll of the land. I’m also appreciating how spending time in this mineral-rich zone seems is rejuvenating my stock of shoulder-season depleted mojo.

Music blasting, aid bolting along a roof by myself inside this immense cavern feels like pure freedom – the freedom of a road trip in a wide open wild place. Joyous! An esoteric and ridiculous way to spend a dark December day which has me leaving in the dusk covered in grime and glowing. Hanging from 60mm of stainless the only decisions that matter here are my own – if I make a bad one I’ll be punished. Just how I like it.

Aside from the physical freedom I’m buzzing from creating. Something real and good which other climbers are going to buzz off, and something which will hopefully show up new possibilities to get pumped stupid whilst climbing brilliant lines in a wild place. The route we’ve started to create is going to be awesome – an overused, but in this case apt, word. And very cool. At this new Welsh dry-tooling-orama there’s a lot more potential waiting to be realised, but only by aid-bolting troglodytes willing to spend time alone hanging from the roof inside a mountain.