Trauma E8/9 7a

Angus Kille | 12 September, 2018

For Angus Kille, his ascent of Trauma is the realisation of an ambition that began with a formative climbing experience on that same crag. Angus takes up the story.

I've had an on-off obsession with this iconic route for years. Back in the day, with Tom Fenwick when we were fifteen and almost clueless about such climbing, Dinas Mot was the cliff where I did my first multi-pitch climb.

Tom brought me up to the belay, I looked behind him and saw that all of his anchors had fallen out. We were in stitches with laughter. Looking up at the steep wall taken by Trauma, we wondered what on earth Leo Houlding held on to when he made the first ascent. Then afterwards, I remember seeing Ray Wood's black and white photo from that day which became my definitive image of hard climbing in the Pass.

Working in a climbing shop back in Shropshire I kept putting on the DVD of Committed to see James Pearson and Dave MacLeod climbing it. Sometimes it's your climbing heroes that make a route what it is, sometimes it's the iconic venue or often just the moves. This route has all of that.

Leo Houlding making the first ascent of Trauma (E8/9 7a) in 1999, Dinas Mot, Llanberis Pass, Wales. © Ray Wood
Leo Houlding making the first ascent of Trauma (E8/9 7a) in 1999, Dinas Mot, Llanberis Pass, Wales. © Ray Wood
Leo Houlding making the first ascent of Trauma (E8/9 7a) in 1999, Dinas Mot, Llanberis Pass, Wales. © Ray Wood
Leo Houlding making the first ascent of Trauma (E8/9 7a) in 1999, Dinas Mot, Llanberis Pass, Wales. © Ray Wood

Naturally, Trauma has been high up on my to-do list since moving to north Wales. I can’t count how many times I’ve looked up the Pass from my window, or looked at Pete Robins on the front cover of the Llanberis guidebook and thought about climbing Trauma.

Last year I had to lower off the hand-placed pecker during a lead attempt and it was a long time before I came back to it. I was often denied the opportunity by rain or all of the heat we had this summer, but it’s also just intimidatingly hard.

Finally, with summer fading to autumn I tied-in again. I took a number of falls on to the wire that protects the crux and thankfully not the Pecker below. Despite feeling really good on the route I was worried that it would never go – somehow blindly placing the crucial wire and going straight into the crux sequence without the chance to shake or chalk-up was just too much to link together.

On a cold day, desperate to get the route in while the weather allowed, I dragged some mates up to the Mot and managed a quick ascent as the gusty wind dropped for a minute. I think summer ended the next day.

There's an awesome flow to climbing the technical sequence when you have it really wired and it was an incredible experience executing all of that on the lead. As an 8a+ trad route in the Pass it's an absolute gem and has rounded off a big year for me. Together with The Indian Face, it has certainly made it a very memorable summer to look back on.

Epic TV has an interview with Angus about his ascent of The Ultimate High Consequence Climb: The Indian Face.