Autumn

Alex Mason on Electric Blue © Oli Grounsell

Alex Mason on Electric Blue © Oli Grounsell

This time last year when I arrived in North Wales I had a great first couple of weeks before winter began to move in. All your options seem to be open and it feels like you are climbing anything and everything. This is the best way for it to be, and this variety is what makes climbing so great, in North Wales and in general. The weather was perfect last year and it felt like a really good time to be here.

This year it was just as good again.

On my first day back I headed to Rhoscolyn with Mason. On a bit of a new routing mission recently he’d spotted a line blasting straight up the wall to the right of Dreams and Screams. After a bit of the crumble and lichen was removed, the latter revealing some key little edges over the top bulge, we were left with a clean gently overhanging wall climb. The climbing is in the most part steady if a little bold, until the final bulge which has a few tricky pulls on the once hidden crimps. Alex wasted no time getting it done and adding another 3 star route to the wall. I followed soon after, just as the golden hour graced us.

Flashing Gimble in the Wabe E7 6b © Jemma Powell

Flashing Gimble in the Wabe E7 6b © Jemma Powell

Last year I managed to get one session in on the Diamond, and it wasn’t a good one. I tried the Brute but wasn’t able to do more than two or three moves before greasing off. The Brute has a reputation for it’s quality, and just dabbling on the damp sequences I could see why. It was a route I really wanted to do.

Returning this year, it was for obvious reasons high on the ‘to do’ list, but with winter and freshers week (yes, freshers week) looming it didn’t feel like I had much time. First session back and the rough sequences I had figured previously quickly clicked back into place, and before I knew it I was being spat off a slopey pinch, high on the redpoint. The sun then swung round and it was now a perfect Diamond evening, I felt strong and success almost felt like a certainty. With the sun now kissing the rock I was certain I wouldn’t be spat off again. But I was.

A few days later though it was done. Amid freshers week I felt considerably weaker, but with the moves wired in I was just about able to huff and puff to the top. Everything on this route works so well together, and it really is a joy to climb.

Release the Hounds © Howard Lawledge

Release the Hounds © Howard Lawledge

I’ve been putting off writing anything here for a while, trying to squeeze out the last routes of summer or more accurately autumn, but alas it feels like we are at the end. I had my first day bouldering of the ‘winter season’ the other day (it actually didn’t feel very wintery) when we headed up to the Mallory boulder. For me this is what bouldering is all about. An amazing, sizeable chunk of rock sat proudly on the hillside overlooking Snowdon, with a few brilliant problems taking proper lines.

Cosmic Wheels © Kieran King

Cosmic Wheels © Kieran King

Sophie on the unique Release the Hounds © Oli Grounsell

Sophie on the unique Release the Hounds © Oli Grounsell

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