/ Black Wall, Llanymynech
Tips, beta, experiences all happily listened too!
Not quite sure what happened between West Midlands Rock and Clwyd Limestone but the best route is Black Wall direct although give E2 5c (Clwyd Limestone) is very soft, and should suit. Seems to be the same route as Black Wall in the old Doug Kerr guide (E2 5b). The detour in Clwyd Rock at the top (E1 5b) is dreadful! Black Bastard E2 5c is also very good and a bit harder.
I remember it as ok. It's a long pitch (two ropes essential), but the gear is ok (good threads for the hard bit if I recall, slight run-outs on easier ground). I've done both the "Black Wall" as described in Rockfax, and the "Black Wall Direct", which has a harder finish (small wires to protect).
I did it very early into my e2 career and found it (technically) easier than a lot of E1's I had done.
A perfectly achievable goal.
I thought it was E1 5b in West Midlands Rock? But I don't have it to hand so may well have misremembered that... UKC has it as E1 though, and I need to believe that as I can't climb E2. I think Red Square is the only UK route that I've onsighted that sometimes gets E2, but I'm reliably informed it's really only E1 and, hence, I shouldn't get ideas above my station! :)
Shouldn't worry about it too much, if you found Red Square OK it's nothing like as strenuous or sustained. Yes UKC does have that particular version as E1 and it is; just wear a helmet and breath gently!
does mumbling "oh f***, oh f***, oh f***..." a lot under my breath count?
Sounds like I shall take some extra little nuts and skinny slings over to England with me to bolster my UK rack! :)
Don't forget Black Wall bird ban is on till end of July, probably over the top but best to avoid access hassles
Anyway did Black Wall a few years back, I led most of it(!) then backed off, then my mate led it in the rain and didn't seem to have too much problem. (He was good, but IIRC the pro is great.)
It really is a great route. I first climbed it about 20 years ago, then again last year. The weaving around version of the route is certainly no harder than E1 and lots of fun (except for the exit through the bush). There's a bomber ab from the top.
My version of Doug Kerr's West Mids Rock describes the direct version at E2. Either way there's a good wire before the hard moves and reasonable pro thereafter. Much less of a thrutch than Red Square!
Its ok at best but quite interesting. Looks impressive but on closer acquaintance a bit disappointing - a bit like the rest of the quarry....imo.
Thanks all - I will report back if I get chance to get over there and give it a go.
I thought it was an excellent route. Loose at the start and finish, middle bit is excellent. Interestingly thought it was bottom end E2, so did my mate at the time who seconded it. Whatever you do do not climb it on a single rope.
Did Black Bastard and found the easy looking top poorly protected with much clay and fine gravel in/on breaks. An ab and brush in advance will provide a more pleasant experience for you and those who follow.
To the OP, Black Wall Direct (superior to Black Wall and easier than Black Bastard) is a bit of a softie at E2 IMO, good gear, nothing to fear, get on it once the birds have flown.
Agree with Alan above. I found the toughest move the gravelly top out! If you can get to the top first to give it a sweep you might have a better experience, or bring a dustpan and brush with you!
By brush, I mean finishing ledge, rather than abbing down to brush the breaks, although Alan's advice may be sensible in early season.
Good route, not high in it's grade, I'm sure you'll be fine. The ledges are a bit gravely after rain and some of the clay in the breaks can be a bit slippy if damp.
I seem to remember WC Rock 2/3 wires being useful.
Back in the day of Gordon Cain and Co it was done in big boots with a couple of pegs.
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