Ray Wood reports:
There were a few contenders vying for repeating Spinal Crack but it was Pete Robins (left) who wasted little time in tying on to the sharp end confirming a grade of E8 and the high quality.
The psych among North Wales activists at the moment is running as high as the 'dust-bowl' temperatures. Yesterday, DMM climber Pete Robins wasted no time in beating other climbers to nab the second ascent of Spinal Crack. A long standing project in Cwm Idwal only first climbed and reported here a week and a half ago.
Belayed by the first ascentionist, Jack Geldard, Pete described it as solid E8 and much harder than he remembered from having one go on it last year. The repeat had its anxious moments. Having worked the moves to get warmed up, Pete had two attempts at top-roping it in a oner: failing on the first slapping the crack but managing it on the second try at the cost of splitting a tip. Nonetheless he opted to go for the lead.
With just the sling on the spike and a poor, placed-blind flared DMM wallnut 1 out left Pete found himself slapping for the crack and having what Jack called a "Neil Dyer moment". (Dyer broke his back attempting this route). Jack had a flared wallnut 3 slightly lower but slightly better. Both placements are placed blind in an extremely strenuous position and are marginal at best.
Pete recounts: "When I first went for the crack I got three fingers into it but the jam wasn't seated right so I slapped again but this time only got two fingers in and thought I was off but slapping once more managed to get a secure jam. Third time lucky I guess."
Jack said: "I thought he was totally off but the boy held on. Awesome."
Marginal conditions in the mountains this winter have led to uncertainty and difficult decision-making when planning journeys... Read more
Sean Villanueva O'Driscoll, Siebe Vanhee and Nico Favresse have made the first free ascent of El Regalo de Mwono on the... Read more