Pen Trwyn F8c+ project falls to Dyer

09 August, 2011
Strongman Neil Dyer on an earlier redpoint attempt at the F8c+ LPT project. © Ray Wood
Long serving Ormesman and unsung strongman, Neil Dyer, has completed the Lower Pen Trwyn (LPT) F8c+ project he'd been trying together with Pete Robins on Llandudno's Great Orme. Starting as for The Walking Mussel (F8b+) it breaks out at around two-thirds height on to the immaculate headwall between the crack of Over the Moon and Sea of Tranquility.

Neil, still pondering on a name for the route, said: "This line has some of the best rock on the crag. It's a beautiful climb that really captivated me. I was so pleased at the top. It was a totally different experience to anything I've ever known before with climbing. I knew I'd cracked something close to my limit. There was the pressure of Pete doing it first but what kept me going was because I found the climbing so enjoyable with no nasty holds."

For nearly two months Neil has been looking so close to redpointing the climb but would frustratingly drop the final big move at the top of the route - all he needed to do was latch it properly and success would be his. In the meantime Pete was having difficulty lower down on the six metre headwall at its first crux, but if he managed to find a sequence that worked for him, Neil knew that there was every chance Pete could go on to grab the first ascent. It made for exciting viewing down at the crag as they took it in turns to belay each other.

On the day of Neil's success Pete made the first attempt and then Neil got it first go afterwards. Conditions were ideal at the crag with cool temperatures and a breeze. Neil commented: "It was one of the coldest days I'd ever been on it. I'd had five days off and was a bit worried that was too long but clearly the rest and good skin helped."

He added: "There's not many battles I've won against Pete and I may not have stuck at it without him trying it with me. Mentally the headwall feels a lot longer than it is and about 65% of the overall route. The hardest move may be on The Walking Mussel but it's definitely not the redpoint crux. That final big move feels so easy on the dog but is so fall-offable on the redpoint - as I proved many times! I had to put about ten times more effort into getting up the project than any route I've ever done before."

Neil hasn't climbed any route harder than F8b in the UK before but thought the headwall on its own felt like Font 7b+ and looked to Pete for the overall grade, who reckons it to be F8c+. Pete is well qualified to make that call, having repeated Liquid Ambar 8c/+ in 2009, as well as finding the second ascent last year of both Infanticide 8c (after five sessions) and Sea of Tranquility 8c+ easier than this project; all at LPT. Neil and Pete bolted the route at the end of May finding the old studs from when Ben Pritchard looked at the wall some years back. In 2008 Neil made the first ascent of the impressive Silk Cut V14/Font 8b+ 'upstairs' in Parisella's Cave.