Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Black Mirror

Moving back to Wales just over a year ago I have been discovering the scale of the bouldering on offer. Growing up here I didn’t give the bouldering much attention, beyond the long standing classic blocs in Llanberis Pass and Ogwen. Since then the number of problems might have doubled or tripled with the development of so many new areas.

After doing Big Orange last year, at the top of my list was another spectacular highball on the same headland. I’d seen a video of Pete Robins on the first ascent of Bytilith Wall a few years ago and being high, vertical and technical it looked like my sort of thing. I went down with Simon and Pete for the first time this winter when Pete started trying Tylwyth Teg. I got another chance a month or so later with McHaffie when he made the second ascent, but still left without having climbed it and nearly got washed into the sea. It has a devious crux finale involving shitty crimps and barn-door foot moves. Third time was the one, cracked it using a combination of some slightly different beta and trying really really hard.

Left: attempting Bytilith Wall; Right: Pete on his new 7c+ right of Bytilith

Left: Tim Peck attempting Bytilith Wall; Right: Finally cracking the crux of Bytilith

Last summer on the way back from Clogwyn Gafr I walked underneath a tall wall just off the PYG track. I thought this looked good and like it could yield a couple of highball lines. I scoped out the area earlier this winter and we found that the wall was doable but hard, and did a few other cool problems in the area. Since then, over this winter, I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been up to the wall at the top of the pass. It might be about 11 visits. The flaky rock provides crimps, undercuts and small footholds, but most of the footholds fell off! This left just tiny smears that have to be fully weighted when using undercuts.

I’d gotten very close on my own one evening as it was getting dark, falling from the easier finish! It still took a couple of sessions after that to finish it off. I went back with Ray and Glyn and somehow fluked my way up on one of my warm up goes with my jacket on! I pulled on a few times after doing it, for Ray to get a few shots, but could get anywhere! Great problem I think, suggest font 8a, hardest I’ve ever had to try to climb a problem.

Attempting crux moves of Black Mirror
Black Mirror topout finally
New 7b at Seaveiw Walls

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