Saturday, 28 March 2009

My First Bolted Route!

After a year of owning all the equipment, finally, I've created my first ever sports route! 

I got picked up early by Dave, a person I had only ever spoken to on the phone or by email, but who turns out to be a really nice Welsh geologist. We bunged all the multitude of crap I was carrying into the back and rocked on up to Taffs Well. Once we had parked in lay-by we walked on up into the woods to find this new crag Dave had been developing. And what a lovely setting it is in! High enough for the sound of the road to fade significantly into the background, the little quarry resides in a little dip that is filled with wild garlic so there is a permanent fresh smell to the place. 

Walking to the top, we set an abseil of a concrete fence post and abbed down the face. Dave showed me what to do; first you hit everything in sight with a big 'fuck-off' hammer just to find out where the hollow and loose bits are. Then you find the sight where you want to place the bolt, then you hammer the fuck out the area some more. Only then can you begin drilling, which is flipping difficult when you are wielding a massive drill and swinging around on a rope 30 foot off the floor trying to get enough pressure on the drill bit for it to bite into solid limestone. The process gets even more difficult when you abseil lines is in the wrong place and you have to place a bolt in an overhang! 

Once the drill has gone deep enough, you have to blow out the excess crap then brush the insides clean, then blow again, then clean; you get the idea. Well once thats done then you can back and insert the resin deep into the holes then once again hammer the fuck out of the bolt until it is seated deep in the hole, completely engulfed in resin. And there you have it, your new route! 

And it is tiring work, especially when you only have prussiks that keep slipping and you have to keep on jumaring up and down the route as vital bits of equipment keep falling out of your pockets! But I completed it, placing four bolts in total (a fifth bolt and the belay had already been placed by Dave). Now all I have to do is go back once they are set and whack the hell out of all the surrounding rock to knock down any loose stuff, then go climb it! 

Hopefully it wont take long, I'll keep any progress posted! 

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Dylan Thomas - And Death Shall Have No Dominion

And death shall have no dominion.
Dead mean naked they shall be one
With the man in the wind and the west moon;
When their bones are picked clean and the clean bones gone,
They shall have stars at elbow and foot;
Though they go mad they shall be sane,
Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again;
Though lovers be lost love shall not;
And death shall have no dominion.

And death shall have no dominion.
Under the windings of the sea
They lying long shall not die windily;
Twisting on racks when sinews give way,
Strapped to a wheel, yet they shall not break;
Faith in their hands shall snap in two,
And the unicorn evils run them through;
Split all ends up they shan't crack;
And death shall have no dominion.

And death shall have no dominion.
No more may gulls cry at their ears
Or waves break loud on the seashores;
Where blew a flower may a flower no more
Lift its head to the blows of the rain;
Through they be mad and dead as nails,
Heads of the characters hammer through daisies;
Break in the sun till the sun breaks down,
And death shall have no dominion.

Monday, 23 March 2009

Abercynon Bouldering

Once again not much to report, and with the weather as glorious as this Shame on me! Instead of writing lots about nothing in particular, I decided to put together another (very) short piece of footage to show the only thing I have been up to recently. compared to my last film it is rubbish and I know so. Please don't judge to harshly!

Abercynon Bouldering from Jamie Maddison on Vimeo.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Deliverance: A Journey to Failure

Deliverance: A Journey to Failure from Jamie Maddison on Vimeo.

The 100th Post!

Well firstly, my apologies for not updating this blog in a week, its been a very very, very hectic week helping out with Olly and Mark's campaign for Sabbatical positions within our Students' Union. To answer the question what has been happening climbing wise over this past week?  I would have to answer, not much! With the exception of the weekend, I haven't touched any rock at all :( I did however get contacted by a Niall Grimes who wished to use a picture I shot of the Roaches skyline (see below) for a double page spread in the new Staffordshire grit guide! Very exciting and I will have to buy it when it comes out! 

Apparently, Hannah and I are also on a Billboard somewhere in South Wales as an advertisement for Boulders Climbing Wall and whatever Hannah says, she is still very airbrushed in that picture! We will have to go find it and upload a picture of it, just so I can rub it my brothers face if for nothing else!  

Lastly, an awesome weekend was had by all in the Peak district this weekend, but you'll all just have to wait until the video is up before I write anymore. Especially seeing as I'm a bit hungover today and thus quite scatterbrained! 

Ciao, J

Sunday, 8 March 2009

The Best Weekend of the Year.

Yes without a doubt, CUMC's most recent excursion down south to ex-President Sallykins legendary barndance was by far one of the best trips away I've had this year. The occupants of the bus were Jess, Jamie, Mat, Naomi,Crumbles, Anna, Jonboy, Jack, Lucille and Manon and the trip started off as CUMC trips always do, with alcohol! A hazy fog of a minibus trip later brought us all to Sally's field to set up the tents whilst under the influence. Once this was done, (it did take a while for the girls to set up their huge palace of a tent) we did what CUMC does best, go to the pub! Where we met all our lovely friends, old and new CUMC members as well as a considerable amount of complete randoms. We had many a fine chat and wind up, such as when everyone kept on asking to Andy 'where is Laura?/when is she coming?' or when Rob promised to go dry tool Jamie's bouldering crag. At about one in the morning we stumbled back to our beds, mine cold and lonely; Dave on the other hand had a wonderful nights sleep surrounded by nine young single girls. The sly ol' dog.

The next morning we rose, we packed, we nursed our (mild) hangovers and we jumped into the bus ready for an action packed day of sports clipping at the Cuttings, Portland. After falling asleep for a little while I woke up jumped out of the parking bus and positively ran to the crag. The sun was shining, the weather was awesome and the cliffs were gleaming. Unfortunately in our haste Crumbles and I ran ahead of the group, thinking that Jonboy was following up the rear to show the stragglers where to go. Alas he went for a coffee with his missus instead and when the girls (and Jack) finally found us twenty minutes later they were not happy bunch of girlies they so usually are. Jamie had to apologize a fair bit for that blunder. But nevermind, the weather was good, so good in fact that Ella just had to strip to her bra just as our other lovely friends, Becca Ed and Lois rounded the corner, also followed by Azeem, Jack and Wil.

Spurred on by Crumbles bouncy bouncy bouncy enthusiasm Jamie and Crumbly hit the rock, not bothering with a guidebook and soon had ticked off an impressive collection of climbs which by the end of the day had amounted to:

Sting in the Tail F5+
Sunny Days F3
Juggernaut F5
Rock Lobster F4+
Amazonia F4+
The Great Hamburger Disaster F4+ *
Definitely Maybe F6a+ *
Little Chef F5+ *
The Sod F5+ *

The others were gunning just as hard, except for mat, who managed to go off route on very other route (apparently following the bolts isn't as straightforward as it looks) and then getting stuck on 4+ looking for the 'hidden hold ' that wasn't actually there. Becca had 'fun' learning how to thread the clips at the top, all the while wondering if she was going to do something wrong and plummet thud on her smiling but a little bit cold belayer of Lois. Ella lead a 2+ but I can't remember if she liked it or not. Jamie tried a 6a+ but then had to back off after getting tired, then crumbles lead it with one fall, so Jamie went back and lead it with one fall, so then Jonboy went and lead it with one fall and being unable to resist, Wil also lead it, falling once. what a stupid route! However round the corner The Sod proved to be brilliant, long and reachy moves up a gorgeous corner. Alas, Jamie did also have to contend with the marital abuse being spouted by his so called hussy of a spouse who called him every name under the sun. That bloody women!

Suddenly, it got cold, and I mean real cold, like I couldn't just wear a T-Shirt anymore, that cold. Brrr. so we went to the Tea room instead and Jack entertained us all with some very funny funny jokes, whilst Wil ate a chocolate fudge cake. With aching legs we returned back to camp to get ready for the barndance. By now over a 150 people had amassed at the field to send their celebration to sallykins. Faces old and new graced the busy field. The girls hid in the tent and car 'putting make up on' whilst the boys got cracking on what CUMC boys do best (can you guess it?) The barn, thanks to a lot of help from a lot of people, looked amazing but even more amazing was the whole hog being roasted by Dr Patterson which ultimately fed the entire ensemble of party goers later that night. We drank and we drank and we drank and then we finished our drink and so had to go get another one. Then the barn dancing music came on and everyone grabbed a partner and do-si-doed we did. (apologizes for speaking in generalities at this point but the mind is blank through alcohol abuse) I remember dancing with Nikki, Louise, Maddy and Ella, I think. Anyway the band were awesome. followed by another stirling performance from Sallys ex-flat mates who also played. Then the clubbing music came down proper, biggest Kudos have to go to Maddy and Rob Stitch for their insane dancing throughout the night. Also to Wil and some other people who I didn't know who provided amazing entertainment with fire poi and fire staff.

The night ends in a haze but the morning erupts with the biggest, most thumping headache ever devised by those nasty alcoholic drinks. Even simultaneously swallowing four painkillers (its ok says the medics) has no effect. It looks set to rain down south, it looks set to rain up north. After a bit of controversy we say goodbye to everyone at the campsite and with the new edition of Aliaksei we head to Cheddar Gorge in hope of finding some climbing. However it rains, then snows, on us so instead we are forced to go for a quick walk up and down the gorge, admiring the towering faces and awesome looking sports clippings as well as gravity defying sheep (actually there is a clear case of vertical delineation here, and thus it was probably a Shoop not a sheep we saw). Reluctantly we hopped back into the bus and headed home to Cardiff, abusing Jess on the way playing the yellow car game. *Nostalgic Sigh*

It was indeed a truly stunning weekend away.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Jamie's Bouldering Adventures...

Are now up on the South Wales Bouldering website ( click on the What's New Section) including the pdf to the Little Gap ( as well as directions to the lost crag of Ynysyboeth. Check it out all!

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Finding the Lost Crag of Ynysyboeth

"Possibly the most obscure crag on sandstone" (South Wales Guidebook 2004:478), Ynysyboeth is certainly one of the most inaccessible crags to find in South Wales. From Cardiff, one has to get a train for 30 minutes to Abercynon then walk another 30 minutes to the Gap. From here, ramble over the hill and then down the other side. A losing fight with a hill of bracken ensues; don't wear shorts! The crag is on the right.

Incline Top. Photo Jamie Maddison

Now that you have fought you're way here, you'll be wondering why exactly anyone would bother coming here; well, that is South Wales for you. The routes climbed by Goi back in 1992 have largely been covered in sheets of ivy and the remainder of the lines seems a bit broken at the top for traditional lines. After a bit of cleaning it could be an average grade sports crag but with such difficult access its is unlikely to see any immediate development in the near future.

An undeveloped face at Ynysyboath Photo Jamie Maddison

It may not have the best routes (or indeed any routes), however oddly enough Ynysyboeth does have a rare example of a good quality sandstone, freestanding boulder. On this, there is one route of quite exceptional quality on the leaning square arete;

Laughing and Forgetting , V4 (maybe even harder?) A short but powerful problem. From low crimps, position your feet very carefully, then dyno to the flake. Finish easily. To do this problem statically using the tiny crimps and pinches on the arete itself would be an phenomenal feat.

Jamie on Laughing and Forgetting, Photo Jamie Maddison

So, Conclusions? Goi sent these routes in 1992, perhaps in 2022 somebody will brave the bracken once again to try my own route there, somehow I doubt it. At least the wildlife is nice, I saw a fox, a kestrel and lots of sheep :)

By contrast; a place that should definitely see further development is Abercynon High Buttress. This outcrop is on the other side of the hill adjacent to the Gap and has a selection of low levels boulders that look ripe for some awesome problems. I will keep you posted about any further developments here!