Four pitch sport route added to Twll Mawr

07 July, 2011
The South Wall of Twll Mawr with the line of Supermassive Black Hole marked. © Ray Wood

Prolific local slate activist, Ian Lloyd-Jones, has climbed an atmospheric four pitch sport route from the base of Twll Mawr, taking the full height of the South Wall, to finish by the 'fin' on the rim of the huge hole, next to the main track through Dinorwig Quarry.

Around 75 metres in length, Supermassive Black Hole - think Muse song title - with the surprisingly amenable (relatively) pitch gradings of F7a, 6b+, 7a/6c+, 6b is likely to prove a popular route.

Sion McGuinness, Ian's partner for the adventure, suggested the grades while Ian added that the only way to really tell is by waiting for an onsight repeat.

Ian said: "I'd always wanted to climb a new route from the bottom of Twll Mawr and was curious why nothing went the full-height of this section of cliff. Cleaning the line and adding a further 35 bolts to the existing couple already in place took two full days of work but was well worth it. It has the whole quarry experience in one route - dark imposing walls, crux rockover and unlikely looking climbing when you're below it."

We're likely to see more new routes from Ian over the summer as he's only one week into his nine week summer break from teaching at St. Davids School in Llandudno and has plenty of slate projects in mind.


Ian Lloyd-Jones pocket-pulling on the F6b final pitch of Supermassive Black Hole, Twll Mawr, Dinorwig Quarry. © Ray Wood

Supermassive Black Hole 75m F7a, 6b+, 7a/6c+, 6b

Access is by two abseils from the top, a drilled thread at the base of the fin and fence post were used (ideally take an extra rope for the first ab) or by walking through the Peregrine Walls tunnel found a couple of hundred metres past the Golgotha slab (level below the Monkey Bar sector - Patellaectomy), taking the right-hand tunnel and walking down the scree slope (note threatening unstable boulder field above).

Pitch 1 25m 7a: Climb the obvious well-bolted groove with a blank slab/wall on its right between a hanging ladder and a Steve Mayers F7c+ route from the nineties. When the holds run out make a rightwards move onto the slab followed by some more technical moves to regain the groove (crux). Belay on the grassy ledge above.

Pitch 2 12m 6b+: The pitch that joins the two grooves has a technical and precarious (fall offable!) crux. Continue upwards/rightwards to gain the belay at the base of the 2nd groove.

Pitch 3 25m 6c+/7a: The second groove pitch is intimidating and in a similar vein to the first. Move rightwards onto the slab when the holds run out followed by some more technical moves to regain the groove (crux). Continue up the groove which looks desperate but climbs more easily to a belay where the groove ends and the dolerite slab begins.

Pitch 4 12m 6b: A change of character and rock type for the final well positioned pitch. Climb the black dolerite slab via some great quartz pockets to thankfully gain the ‘viewing ledge' having escaped the clutches of Twll Mawr!

F.A. Ian Lloyd-Jones and Sion McGuinness 7/7/11

Update: Ian returned a week later, again with Sion, to add a three pitch route just to the right of Supermassive Black Hole and In the Line of Fire, to give Black Hole Sun F7a+, 7a, 7a. Ian and Sion were followed by Phil Dowthwaite and Andy Scholfield who'd just made the third ascent of Supermassive Black Hole confirming it's three-star quality. Ian said: "Having sung the praises of Supermassive I was surprised that they thought Black Hole Sun was even better!"

Andy commented after his ascent that the top pitch of Black Hole Sun was "one of the best 7a's money could bolt."

Black Hole Sun 75m F7a+, 7a, 7a *** Another great and absorbing outing from the bottom of Twll Mawr. Start to the right of Supermassive Black Hole F7a and In the Line of Fire F7c+.

Pitch 1 25m F7a+: Climbs up to the blocky ledge to get established on the crackline which gets increasingly more difficult the higher you go. Gaining the ledge at the bottom of the clean cut groove is the goal. You'll gain more brownie points by stepping 'in control' across onto this rather than slapping and wildly swinging for it! Climb the groove or arete which is trickier than it looks to a bolt belay at the base of the next pitch.

Pitch 2 25m F7a: A great pitch with some reachy and balancey climbing following the line of the arete. Great moves from the ledge passing the final 2 bolts, especially for the vertically challenged, you may have to jump or commit to some thin technical climbing.

Pitch 3 25m F7a: A superb arete, again reachy and balancey climbing which will entertain and try to throw you off. Two belay bolts on the 'fin' above on the Watford Gap track level.

F.A. Ian Lloyd-Jones and Sion McGuinness 14/7/11