BBC - Weather Centre - Forecast for Llandudno, United Kingdom
Tuesday, 5 March 2013
Pilgrimage 2nd Ascent
Alex Barrows has made quick work of Malc Smiths Pilgrimage in Parisellas. Pilgrimage (or The Big Link as it was always referred to) is a historic piece of Welsh climbing. In the early 90s long before the Cave was a popular and recognised bouldering destination an in-form Ben Moon got close to making the FA. The problem was written up in the first Northern Soul despite being a project and its legend grew in Cave circles. In 2004 legendary strong man Malcolm Smith invested considerable time and money (1000 pounds worth of fuel driving down from Scotland) and made the first ascent of the link at 8b+ or F9a. Over the years it has repelled would be repeaters such as Danny Cattell, Mark Katz, Gaz Parry and even Pete Robins who has done most of the links in there. Although all the moves are achievable for many the main undercut crux section is hideous after climbing the first half. Barrows has put the time into the Cave recently and has found kneebars on most of the links he has done. The rubber pads have resulted in the most minor of knee scums being utilised to bypass otherwise pretty burly moves. His sequence on Pilgrimage is quite something. He knees down on the arch to get into RA. At the start of RA he shakes out with a kneebar. The first serious move on Pilgrimage is getting your left hand into the penultimate pocket on Rocka. Here Barrows walks his feet round, gets a knee in and shuffles his left hand into the pocket. Then he rolls over to the Trigger Cut starting hold a la Malc and at the undercuts crux he walks his right knee into a knee bar and here he can get a almost no hands rest before the finish up Beaver Cleaver . Barrows reckons his sequence is worth 8c+. I think most people who have a affinity to the harder problems in the Cave will feel slightly saddened about these classic hard links being made easier. They've always been such meaty, inspiring challenges. It's not quite the same seeing them climbed with shakeouts at various points. Having said that they are still meaty bits of climbing and i for one still don't think the majority will take their kneepads to the Cave. The kneebars on Trigger Cut have been known about for years and still most try it without. Barrows kneebars in particular are so leg length specific and tricky that they will never be popular. All of this creates a nightmare for guidebook editors (poor Mr P). Anyway Spring has nearly sprung, its almost time to get the rope out!