E6 6c/Font 7b First Ascent ‘The Kraken’ Video and write up

Wow what a weekend 🙂

I had been searching for my next new line and found the perfect candidate at Birchen edge.
Unlikely I know but here is where I found one. A nice overhanging prow/arete.
After seeing this I had wondered if it was possible for a while but weather had kept me away and annoyingly when there was good weather I was working.

On Tuesday the 12th I ended up with the day off. Not for climbing but it allowed me time to finally get out and play on this line.
Having invited my friend Joe Heeley out we headed to the crag and got on abseil, cleaned the route and got ready to play.

It took us a while to work out a sequence up the thing and surprisingly a different sequence for both of us.
Funnily enough we both tried each others way of climbing and didn’t like the feel of it so stuck to our individual ways.

So Sat 16th was the day for the go.
Both feeling pretty nervous about it as we knew the consequence of a fall would not be pretty.
Luckily I felt strong on the day and did not have any problems but Joe had some issues to begin with 😛 nothing to do with ability but all down to head space as he has not done hard trad before.
In the end we knew the moves, we knew we could do it, it was just down to ‘man up’ and give it a go.

We managed to fit a nut in on the back of the overhang which gave us confidence to go for the lead. It was not a good placement but we hoped it would hold in the event of a fall.
Either way we did not end up testing the gear until … my friend Danny Coleman gave the route a go. He fell from the penultimate move going up to the break.
Luckily he had decided to put all the mats we had with us (8 ish) down and this ended up saving his legs/pelvis.
When he fell the nut didn’t even hold for a split second and he was on his back on the pads with my arms under his armpits lol what a fall 🙂

Made us think what could have happened if we had fallen with the few pads we had down. “Not worth thinking about” we decided as success was there and the pub was calling.

I graded the route E6 as the nut placement we used could have a micro cam put in its place. It felt serious as dropping any of the initial moves is likely to do your back some damage and a fall from higher up on the insecure slopers would be easy and end up ruining your day.
For those of you so inclined it would be possible to put down lots of pads as my friend did and do it as a scary highball and would go at about Font 7b, though this is not the style it was done in.
Therefore this route has both a Trad and a bouldering grade as follows: E6 6c/Font 7b

First ascent of 'The Kraken' E7 6c

First ascent of ‘The Kraken’ E6 6c/Font 7b

Happy at success on 'The Kraken' E7 6c

Happy at success on ‘The Kraken’ E6 6c/Font 7b


Guiding my sister and her friends in Snowdonia to send children to school in India

The last couple of weeks have been ok. More training and competing than outdoor climbing due to the weather and work.

The first thing was guiding my sister and some of her friends on the 28/29th Oct in the Snowdonia region. In total I had 7 14 year old’s and two parents.
Their initial plan was to get to the top of Snowdown.

This was for a charity ‘Wings of hope’ that they have been involved in and just a small part of the overall thing.
I believe they managed to raise £800 ish pounds to send children to school in India. Because of this one trip 5 children will now be schooled for a year. Unfortunately through sheer bad luck they ended up in Snowdonia on the two days where the worst storm since the 80’s was around. What timing!!!
With a forecast of 50/60 mph winds at valley level and over 100 mph at the top I was left with the only option of aborting the initial plan.
I hated telling them that they were not going up there as their faces and group moral dropped.

My back up plan was to take them on a low level walk the opposite valley (Ogwen valley) where I felt it would be a bit more sheltered, it turned out I had made the right decision.
We walked from Ogwen cottage up the Llyn Idwal. Got a bit of height whilst walking around the lake.
It was lovely to see the whole group have a unanimous ‘wooow’ as they got their first glimpse of the lake and again when they hit their high point for the day.

My favourite comment from them while at dinner was ‘Kyle … can we do it again?’ Nice to know that they weren’t put off by the initial bad weather.


The second day was due to be the same weather so we had a late start and a plan to go to Llyn Bochlwyd. A little bit higher for them in the same valley.
After a good breakfast and a lay in we head off from the same car park with no wind …. not what was forecast.
As we got higher and higher the wind never hit more than maybe 25mph.

As they where resting at the lake I gave them the option ‘Right, I’m happy to try get you on a summit if you want?’
‘What actually get to the top of a mountain??’
‘Yes, that one there’ I point ‘the only mountain in Snowdonia you have to use your hands as well to get up, its called ‘Tryfan”
They all jump up exited at the prospect and so we head off.

(almost but not quite there)

The trip went well, slow and steady. Everybody got to the top, and for 4 of them it was the first mountain they had ever been to the top of.
A nice achievement for them and although it was not Snowdon it was nice that they all walked away having summited something.

Something however tells me that they were rather tired by the end of it all:

And a happy bunch at having done somthing: