The Cwm Face - New Cloggy E7 by Alex Mason

by Natalie Berry - UKC Jul/2017
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Alex Mason has added a high quality E7 6c to the popular and well-established crag Clogwyn Du'r Arddu (Cloggy), North Wales, which he has named The Cwm Face. The line is situated on The Far Far East Buttress, up and right of the start of Boomerang. Alex has described the route as being 3 star in quality and 'ripe for the onsight attempt' with 'almost good' protection. It sounds like someone already has their eye on it...

Alex Mason on The Cwm Face, 196 kbAlex Mason on The Cwm Face
© Charlotte Milner

Alex first spotted the blank face high up on the crag from a distance. He returned later with Mike Warner and made a beeline for the unclimbed line. Alex abbed in and cleaned mud out of the cracks, but whilst there seemed to be a good line emerging, most of the holds were still soaking wet and climbing it that day was off the cards.

The Cwm Face runs up the pale blank tower centre-left at the top of this image, 199 kbThe Cwm Face runs up the pale blank tower centre-left at the top of this image
© Alex Mason

Alex committed to going back as soon as possible and stashed a rope up amongst the boulders. He returned a few days later and found the rope had disappeared. All was not lost, though. He told UKC:

'The route was in perfect nick, even when most of the rest of the crag was wet. I found some pretty good runners and managed to climb all the moves on a gri-gri. Excitedly, I tried to book George Ullrich onto a train after work to come and give me a catch. Unfortunately, the Snowdon Railway doesn't take same day bookings, so I made my way back down, paranoid that James McHaffie might sniff out the cleaned line and nip in there before I could return.'

photo
Big exposure on The Cwm Face E7 6c
© Charlotte Milner

Alex was correct in his assumption that McHaffie was on the scent. He commented:

'I saw Caff at a party at Hendre Hall on the Saturday night and as he pulled up he threw a Cloggy guide out the car window at me as a birthday present. I thought, 'He's sussed it out' so I had to ask, inevitably revealing the new route in the process. I knew I'd have to recover from the night out pretty quick and get up there at the next opportunity.'

Alex Mason on the first ascent of The Cwm Face E7 6c, 196 kbAlex Mason on the first ascent of The Cwm Face E7 6c
© Charlotte Milner

Tom Ripley, Charlotte Milner and Alex headed up on Monday on a perfect, sunny day. Alex briefly top roped the line and practised placing the gear before abbing in to get on the lead and complete the route.

Alex sent in the following route description:

The Cwm Face (E7 6c), 30m

Brilliant, hard climbing with almost good protection. Ripe for the onsight attempt. Start boldly up a blunt rib in the middle of the wall (friend 4) until you arrive at the right-hand end of a ledge. Hand traverse this left (poor kit on L) then climb onto the ledge. Tricky moves up and right to a spike jug. Head up to gain the base of the diagonal crack. More hard moves guard entry to a superb finishing sequence on sidepulls. Nip up the short wall above to arrive on the sunny terrace.

Alex is no stranger to first ascents up to E8. He added Katie's Delight to Craig y Forwyn in May 2015 (UKC news report) and made earlier first ascents of Smear Campaign E7/8 at Red Wall Promotory, Gogarth (UKC news report) and Gimble in the Wabe E7 (UKC news report) at Rhoscolyn, both in 2014.

Alex is sponsored by: Beta Climbing Designs and Tenaya

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