Pete Robins has finally won through to make the second ascent of Megalopa F8c+ at Lower Pen Trwyn on the Great Orme. After the ascent Pete said: "What an epic, took too long this time. Feels good now though."
Pete and Neil Dyer had bolted the unclimbed headwall between the crack of Over the Moon and Sea of Tranquility at the end of May and the pair then set about working the route, often belaying each other. But just over three weeks ago it was Neil that broke the stalemate, finally latching the last big move right near the top of the route to grab the first ascent (Pen Trwyn F8c+ Project Falls to Dyer).
Full marks though to Pete for sticking at it. Redpointing can be psychologically trying at the best of times. And to see Neil grab the first ascent while you're still struggling with a move lower down than where he'd been finding it hard, has to affect your drive to see it through.
Having spent more summers than Pete would care to recall at LPT and being the first climber to complete the crag's F8c+ trilogy of Liquid Ambar, Sea of Tranquility and Megalopa along the way, DMM put a few questions to Pete, to get an inside perspective on his achievements.
Out of the three F8c+ routes down at LPT which one took the most effort? Megalopa took the most effort. Its probably the easiest, which just shows what a mental game this is. When I did Liquid Ambar, it was all new to me, pushing quickly to new levels, which was all very exciting and motivating. Even so, LA took a huge mental effort, and I said I'd never go through that again. True enough, the next year I did loads of other stuff and, almost out of the blue, managed Sea of Tranquility without much effort - I thought I'd cracked 'how to red-point'. But this year I thought I was close on Megalopa when I was actually miles off, so I ramped up the pressure too early, making for a very intense 2 months. If you also consider my three F8c+'s in the Cave (which are all harder), then the Louie-Bonnie link took the most effort; I'd been gradually picking away at that for years.
Which of the three was the most special to you? LA was the real breakthrough for me, it felt fantastic to reach that level. Sea of Tranquility was the most enjoyable, I didn't get stressed out at all and it felt so good doing such hard moves on a rope. I love climbing sick hard moves, which you very rarely get on routes. Megalopa could actually be the best quality of the lot, the headwall is immaculate, and just far enough away from the Over the Moon crack to be completely independent. If it wasn't for the rest (where Walking Mussel goes off left), it would be the best route in Wales (it still probably is; obviously in my opinion!) I eyed up Megalopa years ago, so if I'd have got it first, it would have been special, but thats the way it goes, and I'm so made up that Neil is climbing to his potential, makes for a very special scene in Wales at the moment - no unclimbed rock is safe!
There seemed to be one move on Megalopa that gave you a hard time. Did it just not suit you? Yes, I got stuck on one move for a month! My bogey move was 3 moves from the top, whereas Neil's was the last move, which I found OK. Always being a step behind was quite hard to take, I think I climb better when its only my game I have to focus on.
After Neil got the first ascent was it hard to keep motivated and keep trying it? Very hard. I nearly got it next session, then I fell off after all the hard climbing, which haunted me bad! The next few sessions went terribly and it took a lot of re-psyching, and bloody-mindedness, to come back from that. In the end, it will always happen, sometimes its not pretty, but thats how it goes. I've got no regrets with the siege, its actually quite interesting when you have to dig that deep mentally.
When you repeated LA did you ever imagine that you'd continue to spend so much time at LPT? Well if you want to climb hard in Wales, you have got to be at LPT. Simple as that.
What are you going to do next? The Diamond or some trad? I assume you'll be having a break from LPT? Well there's still a project down there! France next, then some Diamond sessions before winter. I've got unfinished business in the Cave, but I'm really sick of that place, so I don't know what to do this winter. I'm sure I'll work it out. Caff [James McHaffie] keeps trying to get me out tradding, so I might humour him sometime. Thing is, Ray, trad is all too easy!