Another new E8 in Snowdonia

Dave Pickford reports from Wales: Hard on the heels of his new route in Cwm Idwal ?Spinal Crack? (E8 6c) back in April, on June 23rd Jack Geldard made another significant first ascent in North Wales. His new route ?Rocky? (E8 6c) is a tribute to the legendary boxer Rocky Marciano (with perhaps a tongue-in-cheek reference to Sylvester Stallone and ?Cliffhanger?!). It adds to an already impressive record of first ascents and repeats across the UK from Geldard.Here?s what Jack says about his route: ?Rocky? climbs the white wall to the left of James Mcaffie´s fierce new route  ´Swing in the groove E6 7a on the Drury´s Drama buttress, just 150m away from Dinas Cromlech.  (We can safely say that this is one hard E6!) The buttress is mentioned in the Llanberis Pass Guide (page 111) with a HVS route up the centre and the intriguing note “the walls have been inspected but have not succumbed yet.” James´s route was climbed after he had a quick session up there with me, I convinced him to make the slog up the hill to belay for me by offering another new line – that became ?Swing in the Groove?.  He took quite a few pendulums from the crux on our visit and nipped back up the next day for the successful ascent.I was desperate to get Rocky finished off, as lots of people had seen me abbing the wall over the last couple of weeks, and James was also a strong contender. I had to borrow a crucial micro alien from Steve Mayers to protect the crux dyno.  Steve told me that the alien was in great condition – he´d only ever fallen on it once, on Great Trango, where it ripped straight out anyway! Jack Geldard making the hard initial step-through move into the crux sequence of ?Rocky? I bagged the route just before the onset of rain, pre-placing the alien and a micro wire.  It would have been better to place them on lead, but with the time pressure I just wanted to get it over with.  The recent weather and poor conditions have been extremely frustrating.The route climbs the left hand side of the wall up to an obvious flake that takes cam runners (5b).  From here a step down and right in to the centre of the walls gains a technical 6c sequence on sloping side pulls – leading to a hanging crack and poor gear.The crux of the route is using this crack as a flared finger-lock to hit the top of the crag. ?Rocky? is a great little route on immaculate grey rock. There is potential for other desperate routes on this wall, with two particularly hard direct starts left to go to both  ?Swing in the Groove? and ?Rocky?. Jack reaches for the finishing jugs? just as the next shower of rain blows down from Cyrn Las! Jack headpointed his route last Saturday in far-from-perfect conditions, in a very short dry window between the showers that were constantly blowing over the top of Snowdon. The clock was ticking as Jack set off on the lead: another big grey swathe of cloud had amassed again above Cyrn Las. The perils of rock climbing photography were well-illustrated when, as I rushed to change lenses from a wide-angle zoom to a 15mm fish eye whilst hanging sideways on the ab rope, a gust of wind caught my camera bag and sent it plunging down to the ramp below the crag! Canon lenses evidently do not take kindly to 10-metre groundfalls off E8?s in the ?Pass, as the photograph shows!