2011 was a vintage year for the North Wales coastal limestone crags. Much new development occurred with 11 new routes of 8a and above. Routes like Megalopa (8c+) at Lower Pen Trwyn (LPT) and The Brute (8b) on The Diamond were nationally significant. It was a big ask to replicate what will always be remembered a classic year in North Wales but no one could predict what an abysmal summer we were about to have.
In May, Neil Mawson made the quickest ascent to date of The Walking Mussel (8b+) on LPT. Impressively he climbed the route on his 1st redpoint after two go's up the route to try the moves. One of the new crags from last year - Dyserth Waterfall - has proved very popular and Pete Robins added a superb new link up line climbing Meatsville Arizona into Madness Reigns at 8a+. Pete (along with Jordan Buys) also made the first repeats of The Hole Truth (8b) also at Dyserth Waterfall.
I found some very nice new bouldery moves at Llanddulas Cave and linked Mudjekeewis into the top of Wirral Whip to give Nanabozho (8a).
Pete Robins returned to LPT and climbed one of the last obvious link ups. Paratrooper (8a+) climbs through all the hard ground on Parasite before finishing up Battle of the Little Big Orme with the harder left hand sequence.
In July, Ally Smith completed an old project on Upper Pen Trwyn. Badger Badger Badger (8a+) added a fierce direct start to the Orme classic Dive Dive Dive. The route features a bouldery and reachy crux and is a great addition to the small roster of grade 8's on the Upper Drive.
In mid-August Pete Harrison climbed another three star classic next to Red Meat on Craig Pen Gogarth on The Great Orme. Three Day Event is a 30 metre 7b+/c that will likely be another future classic. Expect a droppable finish just as the lactic is making your fingers uncurl.
Up on the Cutaway on the Upper Drive, Pete Robins re-climbed Rodney God and the Oral Twins at a tough 8b. The route had previously gone at 8a until a glued on hold fell off and it was left in a state of limbo.
In mid-August comes the lifting of the bird-ban, and hardcore LPT devotees switch allegiance and head over to the fantastic crag of The Diamond on the Little Orme. This lifting of the bird ban marks the start of the all too short Diamond season and one of the most impressive sport crags in Britain is open for business again.
Pete Robins kicked things off by giving Skip of Fools (8a+) a logical extended finish to the easier ground just above the original belay. Hopefully the Diamond will witness some significant feats before the onset of winter. Let's just hope that darned jet stream plays ball!
The fantastic limestone wave of The Diamond, Little Orme. The ban is off! © Chris Doyle
You can follow North Wales Limestone News on Chris's blog: doylosblog.blogspot