The forecast for the North Wales area is RAIN with intermittent chances for bouldering! Last week a group of us headed to North Wales for a few days, my main objective was to do New Noise (8a/+). The line was established in 2007 by local climber Chris Davies and was yet to see a repeat. Being in Wales though we were just hoping that we would be able to climb, it must be one of the rainiest places in Britain!
Wet! Wet! Wales! by David Mason
Arriving in Wales we headed straight for the Malory boulder; a tall, intimidating bloc sat at the top of a rather large hill! The uphill walk took us the best part of 40 minutes and upon arrival we were all knackered! Not a good start! However there was a cool breeze and conditions felt good. I wanted to climb Will (8a) which goes from a sit start up the boulder through the least line of resistance. After a quick warm up of doing the stand start my fingers were numb and I was pumped! Great! I looked at the beta for the sit and after recovering from my warm up ordeal decided to give it ago. I should have done it first go but again my fingers went numb, with some refined beta I was ready to try it again. A few failed goes at the first move and then I stuck it once more and headed on up, the first few moves is where the hard climbing lies but then the pump starts to set in, not helped by numb fingers and damp holds at the top! I managed to keep it together though and top out. An amazing bloc, definitely one of the best in Wales!
Rain, rain, rain! We headed out anyway and managed to find some dry-ish rock at a place called Rhiw Goch. This is a small overhanging buttress on really good quality rock; the climbing is quite dynamic on small but positive crimps, a gym climber’s heaven. We were heading to New Noise later in the day so I didn’t want to climb too much but thought I would have a few goes at Ride the Wild Smurf (7c+). A few goes is all you can have as the crux hold is a tiny, sharp left hand crimp that destroys your index finger. After a brief warm up, I pulled on and nearly stuck the first move; I checked my skin and it have torn slightly already. I decided I had a maximum of 2 more goes; sandpaper out I filed my left index finger, a few minutes off and I was psyched. I hate small crimps but this makes me more determined to do hard moves that revolve around their use. Next go.... I ground my fingers into the crimp, put my right hand on the undercut and pulled on, placing my feet in a very bunched open position I tried to lock the move as I figured this would at least mean I had a smaller swing to hold when my feet did cut. To my surprise I stuck the next hold and held the swing, feet back on and a couple of easier moves saw me to the top! I was pleased, the move felt pretty difficult and I had used that crimp successfully.
A few more ticks and we got fed up of the rain and midges! We headed for New Noise as I thought this would stay dry. New Noise revolves around a really difficult dead point move off 2 small undercuts, pulling on is very difficult and on my last trip I hadn’t really managed it. However I felt much stronger today. I did the climb without the first move to re-warm up and familiarise myself with the beta; it was time to try pulling on. First go was not successful, second go I pulled on and was so shocked I didn’t even attempt the move, I just hung there! Third go I missed the slopey pinch on the lip but I knew I was going to do it. The move felt so static, I was really pleased as it showed my training was paying off. I took my shoes off and had a good rest. Fourth go and it all went down! I pulled on, hit the slopey pinch and climbed to the top. PSYCHED!
On the way back to the bunkhouse we stopped in Llanberis Pass and I did Barrel Groove (7c) too, a very technical fingery climb. It all revolves around a heel-toe that you have to continually adjust. The holds were small and sharp but another classic I was glad to have done.
Rain!! We went for a play on the Jerry’s roof boulder in the Pass as we knew it would be dry and my friends had some business to attend to! With nothing much to do I decided to try Huffy’s Problem (7c+); again the first move is where the difficulty lies, a very wide shoulder press using an extremely small and polished foot hold, it requires a lot of tension to say the least. A few missed goes and foot pops was followed by success! More rain and we decided to head home; Wales has some really good boulders but the weather is always a massive let down! However the trip had been a success for me, role on Fontainebleau, 2 weeks to go and counting!