Nick Bullock has been reading a lot of Lewis Carroll of late, probably while listening to Johnny Cash, or at least you could be forgiven for thinking so, judging by the names of four new climbs he's recently added to the sea cliffs of North Wales.
The most recent, The Frumious Bandersnatch E7 6c, at Rhoscolyn on Anglesey, shares the start of The Jubjub Bird before moving right up the arete to briefly join Godzilla, followed by some serious space-walking relying on dubious flakes to gain a small rail (gear) in the middle of the overhanging wall out left, finishing direct. The moves just above the rail are the technical crux of the route.
On his blog Nick describes this section as: "Make a few very hard moves up by using small sloping crimps until a final dramatic throw, slightly left, for a very good hold can be made. If you are still there, and haven’t plunged into outer-space, one final hard move, with peddling feet and screaming mind, will establish you onto a more sane angle."
On Nick's first lead attempt he blew the 'final dramatic throw' and took the fall onto the kit by the rail, made up of a skyhook, Baby Dragon (available end of Sept) and Alloy Offset. Pulling the ropes he got it second go. Nick had previously top-roped the line and placed a small blade peg on the snappy flakes section. Graham 'Streaky' Desroy a.k.a The Hippy, who followed Nick, said: "It's a tasty and spacey route with a hard technical crux that is easy to fall off and would be hard to onsight."
The other three new routes are all at Craig Dorys on the Lleyn Peninsula and were also climbed with Streaky. Dorys is a crag whose reputation for 'taking no prisoners' is fully deserved and always demands respect. Even simply abbing in requires care if you're not to have some of the crag land on your head.
Orange Blossom Special was the first of the trio to be climbed and taking the obvious horizontal break above Scintillating Stitches it heads across the Golden Wall with your hands in the break from about half-way up The Faltering Hand (HVS), to exit with care up Knowing Her (E2). Nick was pleasantly surprised to find it go at E1 5b with plenty of cams for protection.
Returning a few days later, the next break up although not as well defined, was also asking to be climbed. From a belay about three-quarters of the way up Knowing Her
Nick 'shuffled' back the other way with his hands in the break and footholds in Orange Blossom Special
. Nick writes on his blog
: "Good gear at the start fizzles out to give a stimulating exercise in crab like mind control before a cluster of gear which is mainly poor except for one very good small cam, convinces you that maybe you can continue the shuffle."
Continue he did, making pretty arcs of rope, between the occasional bits of poor gear before reaching The Faltering Hand, to give Walk the Line E4 5c, thirty metres.
For the third route it was a move to the crag's Upper Facet to take a direct line between Dorys Day and Absent Friends at E5 6a taking inspiration from Alice in Wonderland and the Mad Hatter's dance, Futterwacken, for the route name - a detailed description can be found over at Nick's blog.