North Wales Summer! Featuring Central Pillar, Castell Y Gwynt

In the past year or so I've found myself making often making the pilgrimage along the A55 to the Limestone mecca of the Great Orme. More often than not the destination is LPT (Lower Pen Trwyn) or occasionally The Diamond. However the Orme does have many more sectors which I've yet to explore. This summer I'm keen to explore some lesser trodden parts of the Orme.

The crag Castell y Gwynt probably falls into this category, while not particularly hard to get to it certainly feels more adventurous then it's neighbours. A steep grassy descent followed by a little scrambles and rope assisted down-climb sees you at the base of the crag.

In my second session last week I managed to redpoint the awesome Central Pillar, a 25m/30 8a/ (+?). It's one of the best routes of it's grade in the area and climbs very different to the neighbouring routes at LPT. The route was originally given E6 6c and relaid on several rotting threads, last year a couple of extra bolts were added and Tommy climbed the route at hard 8a. I believe my ascent was the second ascent of the route in it's current state, when I was trying it a foot hold broke off on the crux making the setup a little more involved necessitating a heel hook although I don't think this made the route much harder. I thought hard 8a / soft 8a+ was about right.

The climbing position is amazing, the crux involves a wild large go-again move on a vertical wall with very poor hand and footholds, above this comes the red-point crux, technical and powerful moves to a small pocket then a big cross over sees you on on the finishing jug rail. The route took me about three red-points over two sessions of effort.

Castell y Gwnyn in golden evening sunshine

Central Pillar takes the sky-line in the photo, shame there was no photographer around to capture the ascent! 

Working the crux moves on Central Pillar 
Also of note is Cruella Deville 7a+ on Castell y Gwynt, another great three star route. 

As well as climbing on the Orme I've also been taking advantages of the dry and sunny weather in the mountains fitting in a few after work hits on Dinas Mot with Amy climbing Super Direct and Plexus which are both fantastic routes at E1. I also headed up to climb on Cryn Las, since the more popular routes were busy we opted for The Edge of Time E4 5c, a route taking the right hand arête of the crag climbing direct into The Overhanging Arête E2 5c. The climbing and position of the Edge of Time were amazing, it's just a shame it was so dirty! This excellent route could really benefit from more traffic, as-expected Overhanging Arête was simply amazing at the grade, most exposed heel-hook in the pass! 
The Edge of Time P1

Konrad on (/off!!) Overhanging Arete

The Edge of Time P1
Powered by Cliff Bar, really been enjoying reading the book Raising the Bar by Gary Erickson the founder and sole owner of Cliff Bar 

Amy on final steep pitch of Super Direct E1, Dinas Mot
I was totally blown away by the quality of the rock on Pleuxs on the West Buttress, well done Amy leading the crux 35m pitch

Happy Girl!  

Amy leading the long crux pitch of Plexus
Evening sunshine, we managed to climb till dark on the day after summer solstice, quite a feat!

Last week Trystan and I took a Nissan Leaf 100% electric car out for a test drive. We were super impressed with the way it drove, just like a normal car of it's class but turning Eco-Mode off the acceleration was phenomenal! With a range of 80 miles at a cost of 2p/mile this should be plenty for most commutes. We used the car to go climbing in the pass, it coped well with the hills around North Wales. The technology of the future has definitely arrived. 

Cruising up the pass in the Nissan Leaf electric car

Nissan Leaf test drive
This week with the sun continuing to shine we enjoyed another gorgeous sunny evening climbing on the Orme after work. I was pleased to onsight the route White Hopes 7b, it's a route I've wanted to get on for a long time. It did not disappoint. Clipping the chains at 9pm in golden sunshine was an amazing experience.  

Happy boy after on-sighting White Hopes 7b