Continuing his exploration of Lower Pen Trwyn, 19-year-old Bangor-based Kieran Forrest has made the fourth ascent of The Big Bang 9a, just under two months after making the fourth ascent of the adjacent Liquid Ambar 8c+.
Kieran told UKC:
'Ever since I started climbing at LPT, The Big Bang was always there in the back of my mind. I always thought it would be cool to do it with it being at my local crag, but I'd always assumed it would be one I'd have to come back for when I was older. But after doing Liquid Amber I thought it was worth giving it a go and the clips were in on half of the route as Finn Hayward was working Infanticide which finishes out right.'
On the first session, Kieran worked all the moves to the headwall but was stumped by the slab at the top - at this time, the route felt well out of reach. Due to the tidal nature of the line, poor conditions can make or break an attempt. Kieran explained:
'Next session, conditions were perfect and I could do all the moves – I now knew it could go, but conditions had to be spot on. The headwall was definitely the crux for me as slabs are not my thing. The third to eighth sessions involved lots of falling off but each time it felt a little closer.'
Over a month later, Kieran returned with no expectations, simply wanting to re-familiarise himself with the moves. He commented:
'It was freezing that day, all the belayers had big coats and hats on, but it was ideal for me because my fingers weren't sweating when I hit the headwall. It all came together on the slab and before I knew it I was clipping the chains.'
Kieran is only the fourth ascensionist of The Big Bang after Neil Carson, James McHaffie and Emma Twyford's more recent historic ascent in September last year. Although he is predominantly a competition climber and a member of the GB Climbing Team, Kieran has grown up in a climbing family and has therefore had plenty of mileage on rock. Summing up his achievement, Kieran added:
'To have climbed one of the hardest routes in Wales just before I leave for university feels like a great end to an otherwise weird gap year.'