Ian Parnell and Rich Cross on Travesty, VIII,8 - © mynyddresident, 23 Dec 2009 On what has become Wales' premier mixed crag, Clogwyn Du, seasoned winter campaigner Andy Turner has made the second ascent of the feared test-piece Cracking Up (IX,9) and confirmed the grade.
Quoted on the DMM website, Andy said:
"It's an amazing three star route. I had to pull harder on Sassenach but Cracking Up is more sustained."
Clogwyn Du is situated in Cwm Cneifion above the well known scramble Cneifion Arete, above the Idwal Slabs in the Ogwen valley, North Wales. It is home to two winter routes from Nick Bullock, Cracking Up (IX,9) and Travesty (VIII, 8). Both remained unrepeated, until now.
As Andy Turner and Stu MacAleese were topping out on Cracking Up, Ian Parnell, partnered with Rich Cross, set off across the first pitch pitch of Travesty.
From Ian's blog:
"I eventually on my third attempt made it across the crux of Travesty, words to describe that pitch include committing, scary, pumpy, marginal, outrageous."
From Rich Cross' Blog:
"Things didn't start out too well as our intended new route blanked out after half a pitch, so after some time faffing and wobbling I bailed back to the belay. Ian's turn next, and he fancied a crack at Nick Bullocks route Travesty, an unrepeated VIII from 2006.
After a couple of falls he made it across the extremely steep and committing crux pitch, and reached the belay with the help of some power screams as his fingers uncurled from his tools – top effort. I despatched the easier finishing offwidths just as the light faded – a brilliant route, quite short but packs a big punch!"
The harder of the two routes Cracking Up follows the summer E1 of The Crack but adds a more direct and harder start and dispenses with the two points of aid described for the summer route.
Bullock climbed both Travesty and Cracking Up back in 2006. He was partnered on Cracking Up by top rock climber James McHaffie who said after their ascent that he was "totally shocked" by the level of difficulty and commitment required on the route. "It was totally desperate, I basically got dragged up it." he said. Bullock's ascent involved a huge fall from near the top of the route.
Andy Turner took two tries to climb the second ascent, falling after the crux on his first try and then returning the next day to finish the job.
Travesty follows the summer line of the same name (E1 5b) and takes a left to right traversing line across the steep crag, with the crux being the first pitch.
Both routes await their first onsight, no falls repeat.
Ian Parnell is sponsored by Arc'teryx