/ Black Wall, Llanymynech

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TobyA on 22 Jun 2013
So, has anyone done it? If so what did you think? I'm a West Mids boy originally, and the first West Midlands Rock was my first guide book - so I have had ambitions on this route for over 20 years. I'll soon be on my annual visit to the area and might have the chance to give it a go. E1 is my top grade, but I'm ok at long pitches and don't freaked out if I can fiddle in lots of gear. I've sport climbed at Llanymynech a couple of times now but never had the 'ummpth' to give this one a go yet. I ticked Red Square a couple of summers back and that leaves just Black Wall on my realistic-but-not-too-easy West Mids Rock tick list.

Tips, beta, experiences all happily listened too!

Cheers all.
jim jones on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to TobyA:
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.

Coel Hellier - on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to TobyA:

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).
Tommyads on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to TobyA:
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.
TobyA on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to jim jones: Thanks all. Jim - I have the Kerr guide, well actually 'guides' - as I have the first and second editions - but not the Rockfax.

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!
jim jones on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to TobyA:

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!
TobyA on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to jim jones:

Thanks Jim.

> just wear a helmet

always do.

> 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!

kevin stephens - on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to all:
Don't forget Black Wall bird ban is on till end of July, probably over the top but best to avoid access hassles
TobyA on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to kevin stephens: End of June it seems - just looking at exactly that on the BMC RAD https://www.thebmc.co.uk/modules/RAD/ViewCrag.aspx?id=877
Rob Exile Ward on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to TobyA: I'm from W Mids too, I first climbed at Llanymynech in 1970! The rock was only just hardening then... Also I used to climb with Tony Booth, a wacky character from those parts who was (probably) a spy in the pay of the USSR but did the 1st aided ascent...

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.)
RichieB on 23 Jun 2013
In reply to TobyA:
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!

Bulls Crack - on 23 Jun 2013
In reply to TobyA:

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.
caradoc - on 24 Jun 2013
In reply to TobyA: The ropework is one of the main issues especially at the start when, having completed the traverse, you have to decide if its better to go back and take out the gear on the left. The gear for the crux moves up the crack is bomber. Its a really good long involved pitch, two ropes essential.
TobyA on 24 Jun 2013
In reply to caradoc:

Thanks all - I will report back if I get chance to get over there and give it a go.
neilh - on 24 Jun 2013
In reply to TobyA:

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.
alan rosier - on 24 Jun 2013
In reply to TobyA:

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.
Owen W-G - on 24 Jun 2013
In reply to alan rosier:

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!
Owen W-G - on 24 Jun 2013
In reply to Owen W-G:

By brush, I mean finishing ledge, rather than abbing down to brush the breaks, although Alan's advice may be sensible in early season.

adam11 - on 24 Jun 2013
In reply to TobyA:

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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