I've had a lot of work on these past couple of months which hasn't been too bad since the weather up here in the north has been very damp and deary. Even the mini heatwave wave was shortlived here and I missed it all due to work. By the Sunday we were back to rain!
At the end of July we headed down to Pembroke for a few days which turned out to be very frustrating as the crags didn't really dry due to mist/drizzle and no wind. We had a couple of sunnyish afternoons where we managed to get something done with the highlight being The Fascist and Me – amazing! Since then I think I've only actually done 2 routes, both of which I did 1st red-point Mr Nice 7c+/8a at Kilnsey and Body Machine 7c+ at Ravenstor. I loved Body Machine and quickly sorted the extension which I hoped to do the next day. However, the weather was foul and the mist and rain meant that end of the crag was wet so we drove home instead and haven't been able to get back yet.
We've been down to the North York Moors a bit as well, mainly bouldering or top-roping a few of the harder routes (some of which I need to go back and lead – hopefully next summer). However, I've mainly be grabbing sessions on my board when I can or heading to the wall for a couple of hours. The conditions in Yorkshire have been very unreliable and I didn't feel I could spare the time to waste 4hrs driving to a potentially wet crag. Fortunately I've got a trip to Spain coming up so I think a few route sessions at Sunderland Wall might be needed!
Following last month's plan of just ticking some routes I persuaded Steve that some weekends down in N Wales were needed. We've both done a lot of climbing down there in the past but prior to our weekend in June it was about 7 years since we'd been so it was great to get back. My main focus was Statement of Youth at LPT which I'd had a quick top-rope on in 2001 but had never got back on for various reasons. Emma's recent flash of this route was very inspiring and it's not easy, with good power endurance being the key. Conditions are always difficult to predict down there but I was pleased to get it 4th red-point, even if these attempts were spread over 3 days. I also had a couple of runs up Over the Moon Direct, another 8a to go back for, and one run up Musselbeach, which is not one to go back for! We also enjoyed a trad day on Excursion Wall climbing Clear White Light E3 6a, The Visionary E4 6a and Paint it Black E5 6a. It was great to get the wires out again and a couple of weeks later we headed back down with more trad in mind. This time we checked out the quiet Clogwyn yr Eryr in the Crafnant Valley, a great little crag with a clutch of excellent extremes. We climbed Phoenix, an outstanding E2 5c and Oriole E3 5c before the midgies descended and we made a rapid retreat. The next two days were spent at Scimitar Ridge where we enjoyed Rocnest Monster E4 6a, Killerkranky E5 6a/6 and the soaring arete of King Wad E5 6b, where we both climbed up and down several times before committing to the top move – a great route. The highlight of the weekend was still to come though when we headed up to The Cromlech. Although I've been up here quite a bit there were a few classics that I still had to do, so I queued for Cenotaph Corner E1 5c, which was well worth the wait, then I nipped up Cemetary Gates E1 5b, before psyching myself up for the big one – Lord of the Flies E6 6a. What an amazing route, my style exactly – loads of small, positive holds – although the start is pretty serious now and a fall is unthinkable. I was in my element though and thoroughly enjoyed it. When we headed down to Wales I hadn't even contemplated going for it, but after the first good day on Scimitar Steve sowed the seed then I couldn't get it out of my head. I'm still buzzing two weeks later. Fantastic!