click to enlarge Most people were put off from visiting North Wales this weekend by a bad Met Office forecast. But the slate was good Saturday and Pen Trwyn was relatively busy under blue skys. On Sunday (24th June) the hardy runners taking part in the Carneddau Fell Race probably had to navigate because of low cloud and driving rain, but that didn't stop Jack Geldard from making a significant first ascent on Drury's Drama Buttress, 150m away from Dinas Cromlech, between showers.
Jack gives us the first hand account of Rocky E8 6c.
"Climbs the white wall to the left of James Mcaffie's fierce new route Swing in the Groove E6 7a. We can safely say that this is one hard E6. This buttress is mentioned in the CC Llanberis Pass Guide (page 111) with a HVS route up the centre and the intriguing note "the walls have been inspected but have not succumbed yet."
James' route was climbed after he had a quick session up there with me, I convinced him to make the slog up the hill to belay for me by offering another new line - that became Swing in the Groove. He took quite a few pendulums from the crux on our visit and nipped back up the next day for the successful ascent.
I was desperate to get Rocky finished off, as lots of people had seen me abbing the wall over the last couple of weeks, and James was also a strong contender. I had to borrow a crucial micro-Alien from Steve Mayers to protect the crux dyno. Steve told me that the Alien was in great condition - he'd only ever fallen on it once, on Great Trango, where it ripped straight out anyway!
I bagged the route just before the onset of rain, pre-placing the Alien and a micro wire. It would have been better to place them on lead, but with the time pressure I just wanted to get it over with. The recent weather has been extremely frustrating.
The route climbs the left hand side of the wall up to an obvious flake that takes cam runners (5b). From here a step down and right onto the centre of the wall to gain a technical 6c sequence on sloping side pulls - leading to a hanging crack and poor gear.
The crux of the route is using this crack as a flared finger-lock to hit the top of the crag.
A great little route on immaculate grey rock.
There is potential for other desperate routes on this wall, particularly hard direct starts to both mine and James' routes. Any boulderers out there?"
The route is named after Rocky Marciano, Jack's favourite boxer.
Thank you to Dave Pickford (www.davidpickford.com) for the photograph of Jack on his route.