Pete Robins attributes his recent successes on the north Wales limestone to the arrival of "Spring fitness". On Sunday an in-form Pete Robins completed arguably the most compelling line in Parisella's Cave by linking Lou Ferrino (V10/Font 7c+) into Gaz Parry's Bonnie (V11/12/ Font 8a/+). The 25 - 30 move link-up follows the obvious central ramp running through the middle of the roof to the lip of the cave. Pete said: "I've even caught people who despise Parisella's eyeing this one up. It's absolutely mega, all ultra burly, without respite and with a crux near the end - totally epic!"
"I wanted to do this right after I did Lou Ferrino, about seven years ago, but even when I got strong enough to start trying it, I didn't bother as I thought it would always be there for another day. Neil Dyer, who has been just as capable and keen throughout this period, also strangely left it."
Another contender was Ben Bransby, who a couple of months earlier had climbed an extension to Bonnie, continuing up out of the cave clipping two bolts to join the top of Werry's Woof Route, giving the combo F8b+/8c - watch the ascent filmed by Ben Pritchard here.
Pete didn't see himself as the most likely of the trio to be the first to make the link-up and said: "It wasn't until Bransby came over a few months ago and cruised Bonnie and then started playing on the route-extension around the lip that we all started getting keen. I was definitely not the bookies choice but I did have Lou Ferrino absolutely wired from five years of Cave sieging, and in the end that proved crucial."
"We weren't set up with ropes for the extension. I had a half-arsed go at carrying on, high-ball, but knew really that ropes were required. I would have stood a chance of doing it all if a rope had been handy. The boulder problem is the main deal though. I reckon the link-up with the Bonnie extension will definitely go down soon."
Chris Doyle, writing about the ascent on his blog, reported Pete as thinking it to be of similar difficulty to the other two mega link-ups he's done in the Cave, Silk Cut and The Incredible Bulk, making it around Font 8b or French 8c+. He writes: "The breakdown of the numbers would suggest that this new line is perhaps the hardest of the three. Bonnie is a power problem with hard moves which makes for a very spicy link." It's reckoned the link-up/route hybrid would make for a F9a combo.
Elsewhere on the Great Orme Pete has also been enjoying getting involved in a load of old and new projects, spurred on by the planned publication of a new guide later this year. Pete said: "Hopefully we can bulk out the upper part of the graded list a bit. I've been out with Neil Dyer a lot and he is keen for the same stuff which makes a huge difference to productivity (somebody give this man a pair of rock shoes! - he is one of the strongest men alive and he can't even afford the kit)".
In Pigeon's Cave Pete added an extension to George Smith's superb and recently rebolted Stiff Upper Lip taking the grade from 8a to 8b. Pete commented: "I'm really pleased with the extension to Stiff Upper Lip, this has to be one of the best routes in north Wales now. George's original finish was so blatantly too low. Great effort to Big G though! Since George's name was meant for the whole route, I think this should stick."
Also in Pigeon's, Pete climbed a short distance past the belay of Koo to the obvious break, bumping up the grade from 7b to 7c and naming the improved route Koo Koo. You can download a short video clip of the ascent taken by Calum Muskett, here.
Pete Robins on the hanging rib of Lou Ferrino
, Parisella's Cave, Great Orme. © Ray Wood