Angus Kille has made the fourth ascent of Neil Carson's Mission Impossible E9 7a at Gallt Yr Ogof, Ogwen Valley, North Wales. The route is adequately protected by old pegs interspersed with small runners.
'I tried Mission Impossible long enough to really understand the name,' Angus told UKC.
The line has seen few ascents over the years, likely because it requires various elements to come together at the right time. Angus explained:
'You need about a week without rain for it to be completely dry and that very rarely happens in Wales unless it's lockdown. Apart from the conditions, it's also relentlessly steep and after making it most of the way up the wall the boulder problem crux feels unlikely. Trying to align weather with the fitness I needed to climb about 8b on gear, and then trying to keep my head knowing I only had a handful of chances each year, was quite a test.'
To increase his chances of being able to tick his project within a shorter time period, Angus figured out a slightly contrived sequence. He said:
'In the end I found a tiny crimp that avoided the wet hold. Hazel (Findlay) and James (Taylor) thought I was daft as it was a bigger reach and a much smaller hold, but it tripled the number of days in the year I could attempt the route so I learnt to climb it that way.'
The line is perched high above Ogwen Valley beside the classic E7 Heart of Stone. Describing the climbing, Angus told UKC:
'The moves in the crux are wild and run-out, you're doing long slaps between side pulls and jamming in slots on this perfect mountain rock. It's also safe, you just need to be fit and psyched. It's definitely one of the best hard routes in Wales.'
When Angus eventually made it to the top move, he was 'so pumped and adrenalised' from the crux run-out that he took a heart-breaking whipper with his hand on top of the crag. He explained:
'I had to have a few words with myself (and Hazel) to not let that affect my next attempt, as I'd be lucky to have another chance this year. I climbed much smoother on the second go, sent the route and was actually really glad to do all those moves again, it's such good climbing. I think my head is often still the limiting factor on hard routes like this, even when they're dead safe.'