The Meltdown 9a for Angus Kille

© Angus Kille

Angus Kille has made the fourth ascent of The Meltdown (9a), at Twll Mawr, in Wales.

The Meltdown - famous for being the UK's hardest slab route - was first bolted by Johnny Dawes in 1985, and was left unclimbed for almost three decades before James McHaffie made the first ascent in 2012.

Whilst the grade of the route remained unclear even after McHaffie's first ascent, it now seems to be established at 8c+/9a, which Angus has agreed with.

Johnny Dawes attempting The Meltdown in the mid 1980's  © Alun Hughes
Johnny Dawes attempting The Meltdown in the mid 1980's
© Alun Hughes

Since McHaffie's first ascent, repeat ascents have mostly been made by high-end trad climbers, including Ignacio Mulero - who climbed both Le Voyage E10 and his own 8c+ trad project in La Pedriza earlier this year - as well as Franco Cookson, who has multiple E11 first ascents to his name in Nothing Lasts (E11 7a) and Immortal (E11 7b), and whose ascent of The Meltdown meant that he had 'skipped' the entire French 8th grade.

Angus' own ascent came at the very end of the season, with the slate warming up and the tiny footholds becoming even less reliable, so much so that he fell multiple times after the final crux, on moves that he'd found '"easy"' in cooler temperatures.

As such, Angus was forced to find even more detailed beta, building in 'chalking-up points between the moves' and finding 'tiny adjustments that make feet stick a little better on warmer rock'.

Even the final ascent was bittersweet, with Angus hearing a dreaded 'pop' prior to the final run-out. Explaining in further detail on social media, Angus said:

'After falling off the final hard move of The Meltdown 8c+/9a five times, I opted for a strenuous but more secure finish. Last night I led the route smoothly through all the hard climbing, until an audible *pop* on this move'.

'Of course, I wasn't going to let go. I climbed the final run-out with one finger down, quite terrified of dropping it on my final chance to climb the route'.

'It's been an absolutely epic journey trying to master this curious bit of rock – I've got loads to reflect on and lots I've already learned. For now I'll be nursing my little finger and saying thanks to everyone that supported me'.

Angus reserved special thanks for the shoe resoling service Llanberis Resoles, who resoled his shoes on three occasions to make sure that they had sharp edges and stiff toes.

Sharp edges and stiff rubber from Llanberis Resoles were crucial for Angus' ascent.  © Angus Kille
Sharp edges and stiff rubber from Llanberis Resoles were crucial for Angus' ascent.
© Angus Kille

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Angus Kille is a British climber and AMI Mountaineering Instructor based in North Wales. Angus is famous for ascents of hard UK trad routes, including The Indian Face, and has also climbed sport 9a.

Angus's Athlete Page 15 posts 2 videos

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Congratulations Angus! Mega climb on a mega route!

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