Ben Bransby has recently added an extension to Neil Dyer's North Wales test-piece, The Brute, 8b, at the Diamond on the Little Orme. Ben has graded the route 8c and named it The Beast.
The Brute was first climbed by North Wales' darkest horse, Neil Dyer in 2011, after Chris Doyle handed the project over to him. It was then flashed by Aussie strongman Chris Webb-Parsons (UKC News Report). Ben spotted the extension and bolted it in 2012, but due to getting Labrynthitis/vertigo and poor conditions during the crag's short season (the crag is bird banned until late August), Ben didn't manage to climb his project.
This year however, Ben, still suffering some symptoms of Labrynthitis, didn't feel confident enough to get fully stuck into the Grit scene (though it didn't stop him making the 2nd ascent of Miles Gibson's E8, Superstition, see UKC News Report) and so he focused on getting fit for his Diamond project, so he could make the most of the full season. Commenting on his preparation, Ben told UKC:
"During the last winter I was still feeling a bit shaky with the Labrynthitis (I will probably have it for life to some degree) and found I was lacking the confidence to do bold gritstone climbing so instead decided to focus on getting fit for the Brute project. I spent a lot of time doing long circuits. These circuits would involve 20+ intense moves to a good jug where I would shake out and then do another hard section back to the jug, depending on how intense the climbing was I was doing circuits of 30 - 70 moves long for general stuff and also having longer versions where I could be on the wall for over 30 mins (most of the time recovering on the jugs!)"
As soon as the bird ban was lifted, Ben was straight down there, fortunately finding it easy to get a partner due to the small but dedicated group of 'Diamond Devotees' found in North Wales. Commenting on the redpointing process, he said:
"The route came together much quicker than I expected - I had planned for a really protracted siege and on only the second visit I linked from just past the start of the Brute all the way to the top.
The following session conditions were much worse with the sea grease well plastered on the lower section (the original Brute) - luckily the rock changes above the Brute belay and combined with the extra height conditions were better on the top. First redpoint, I was struggling much more on the Brute and ended up falling off this, I guess it took the pressure off and next go I did it all."
Neil Dyer making the first ascent of The Brute - 8b - The Diamond
UKC News, Sep 2011
© Chris Doyle (Still Shot from Video)
Ben also spoke about his thoughts on the difficulty of The Brute:
"The top is probably 8a+, but comes straight after a pumpy hard 8b, there is a pretty good shake out just above the old belay and I milked this as much as I could and left it feeling quite fresh - the top still took it out of me, with the last two boulder sections and even clipping the belay all being close. When working the route I was thinking 8c+ but after it coming together so much quicker I think it is probably 8c."
Jordan Buys then repeated The Beast a week later, to keep up to date with developments at The Diamond, check out Chris Doyle's blog. Also keep an eye out for Chris' forthcoming movie, Fresh Meat, which documents the significant additions that have been made on North Wales Lime in the last few years.