Gribin Wall Climb E9 6c at Clogwyn y Tarw (The Gribin Facet), Ogwen, North Wales. The route - first climbed by Nick Dixon in 1998 - has seen only a handful of ascents and has a reputation for seriously bold climbing at around 7c+, with ground-fall potential in the crux section.
This latest ascent is Angus' second of the grade, after climbing the neighbouring Rare Lichen E9 6c in October last year (UKC News Report). He also has unfinished business on A Thousand Setting Suns E9 7a at Nesscliffe - another Dixon route - but decided to take a break after taking some falls off the top.
Regarding his motivation to try such a bold climb, Angus told UKC:
'I was inspired by how intimidating and unachievable Gribin seemed. Rare Lichen seemed like the limit of what I was capable of, so its bold and harder companion seemed like an reasonable proposition. Naturally that's what attracted me to it. It's also one of Nick Dixon's routes and as a friend I'm always psyched to try his stuff.'
However, the ascent didn't go as smoothly as Angus would have liked. He commented:
'The crux is really poorly protected but some careful footwork and some blue-tack kept the skyhooks in place. On the lead my right hand got a bit tangled in the rope running from an RP and I had to change my sequence. It wasn't ideal and I was a little unsettled by the awkward slapping but I surprised myself by pressing on through the runout. You're left with little margin for error for these harder headpoints so it's interesting when things don't go to plan, I'm glad I pushed on this time.'
'Overlord is great, it's in an awesome position and a really cool line. It's surprisingly pumpy and poorly protected at the top, it really helped me prepare for Gribin.'
Relatively unknown until these latest ascents, it's clear that Angus is an up-and-coming talent on the British trad scene. What's his secret?
'I've improved recently because I've been in strong company, climbing with Ed [Booth] and moving into the Llanberis scene with good climbers everywhere and plenty of people to inspire me. The biggest difference really is that I've built a lifestyle around climbing, rather than fitting climbing into my lifestyle. Moving to Llanberis, working outdoors, sport climbing in the winter and hanging out with strong climbers have all helped a lot!'
'I climbed here a lot before and even more now! I think the variety of the climbing, the history and the reputation of the routes, the mountain setting and the scene around it all have drawn me to North Wales.'
Looking at Angus' UKC Logbook, it's clear that he is well-rounded in sport and bouldering, as well as being a good trad climber, but which is his preferred style?
'I really enjoy trad, sport and bouldering. I'm lucky that I have all three disciplines to keep me psyched. I think sport is the best 'type 1' fun and trad is the best 'type 2 fun!''
Next on the list for Angus is working towards his MIA, so he's 'going to practise climbing VS 4c.' Angus added:
'There are plenty of hard routes which I'm psyched for, I'll maybe go back to Nesscliffe for 1000 Setting Suns, but I'm going to try and focus on my trad onsights before a winter of travelling and sport.'
In other E9 news, Jordan Buys repeated Tim Emmett's Muy Caliente! E9 at Stennis Ford, Pembroke, shortly after making the second ascent of Dave Birkett's Talbot Horizon E9 6c on Scafell East Buttress (UKC interview). He told UKC: 'It took me a few tries to link it on top-rope and re-learn the gear from a previous attempt, but once I'd done it in a one-er I just came back the next day, and did it. It was a nice eight days, having also done Talbot Horizon earlier and it was nearly three E9s ticked, had I not punted off the top of one mid-week...'
Angus is sponsored by: High Sports