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Daring Deeds - real stories, expeditions, road trips and adventure

Lip Project

By Ramon Marin
05, Jan, 2012

Ramon Marin is joined by Tim Emmett on one of the UKs hardest dry tooling projects

A few days later we were driving again in the dense Welsh rain. Are we going climbing, really? Yes, drytooling will sort you out in the grimmest days. My day started with hardly any sleep, London’s busy-career life has its pitfalls after all. Tim’s Audi decided to stop working right in the middle of the M6, the accelerator just wouldn’t work! So we pulled on the hard-shoulder and try to figure out what was going. It seemed that the electronic system was cutting off the fuel supply. After a few tries we were back on the road, but certainly apprehensive now that the weekend would be interesting…

We got to the crag and the triple espressos started flowing from the two caffetieres on the go. Tim sorted the gettho blaster churning up some sick tunes… and the psyche was up! After a couple of mandatory warm up laps on the M8 “Jaz”, Tim jumped straight on “The Finnish start”, an M10 put up by Rob with a fierce reputation. Tim had a good go at it before passing on the baton to me. I took all his beta and climbed fairly smoothly up to the crux. That route packs in some awesome moves, specially the inverted crack layback with a full-span reach to a tool cam in a parallel crack… So good! Then pulled a few fig-of-4 tricks out of the bag and i was through the hard bit. I dispatched the top bit with composure, and felt great to flash such a cool and stiff route. Tim got it next go with ease, making it look like piss, it goes to show how difficult to onsight mixed climbs is. Which takes me to the next point…

I took a look around what other routes there were left to do. “Ready steady hook” M11 is in dubious state as the bolts haven’t been checked since the big fire that happened underneath. “Left over goods” M9 was the only route left for me to do at this part of the crag. So i decided to go for the onsight, I thought it would be a good fair game. Some panting, screaming and what seemed like bleeding forearms, I got to the anchors… Just!

So we called it a day, or we thought so. The Audi decided to have a bit of giggle with us. A few hours of playing with the electronic system again, we gave up and call roadside recovery. The only option was to be taken back to Bristol. As we get dropped off in Wrexam to swap trucks, the Audi decides to incomprehensively work again. So what do we do? Abandon roadside recovery, drive back to Ruthin, order the usual winner curry take away, and go for a pint! The bizarre night was topped up by the fact that the only pub open nearby whilst we waited for our curry was a totally empty Conservative party members-only club. Do these things exist really? Well, we found one! After convincing the gorgeous bar tender to serves us a pint (the owner was Labour apparently), we collected our delicious curry and head back to camp, not before stopping at the White Horse pub for a few games of pool. Life with Tim is certainly entertaining…

Morning by the bonfire, more warm-up laps on “Jaz”, and more triple espressos. We turned our attention to the main event, the “Lip Project”, at the Power Pact cave. Now, this route looks quite intimidating, bolted at the edge of the hanging lip that traverses left pretty much the whole length of the face. Tim, being the psyche-machine he is, was mad to jump on it straight away. Finding the invisible hooks was the trickiest part, and Tim made very good progress for an onsight attempt until he came off. He got back on the route and worked all the moves, the best being the bridge across to the tree, which looks totally insane! But the fight is not over, you still have to climb the headwall to the anchors high up. Tim figured all the moves out and it was now my attempt. I was totally fired up, and as Tim would say, I pressed the “up-for-it button”. But as soon as I got upside-down on the main affair of the roof I just run-out of steam. I need to be fresher to tackle a route of this calibre. It was Tim’s chance now to dispatch the route, and with the quickdraws in place ow it should be a lot easier. He looked very steady across the roof and I thought it was in the bag, but just a couple of moves from the tree rest he dropped his tool. Game over then! He was gutted, but he’ll send it next time. We reckon it might go around M10+. But the route is such a cool creation that left us totally mad for some more. Unfortunately I won’t be able to get back on it until the new year. I reckon Tim will send it way before that.

I love this game of fools!

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