The VS Challenge

by Mick Ryan Experienced climbers and mountaineers, Mark S. Lewis and Ian Blessley are attempting to climb 855 routes graded VS (Very Severe) in South and West Wales in the next six months and hope to raise £100,000 for Tenovus, Wales? Cancer Charity and The Welsh Independent Society for Climbing and Mountaineering Trust (WISCM Trust). They estimate that this challenge will involve 100,000 metres of climbing. You can view the full list of routes at Mark´s website They began on Monday 3rd September at Morlais Quarry in Merthyr Tydfil. On 5th of September Mark wrote on his blog: “We headed back to Morlais and have now finished on the lower tier. It was very different to the middle tier and I would recommend it to climbers. We had to clean our routes in order to climb them. We removed grass and mud along with weeds and such stuff. I would recommend that some of the local climbing clubs head up there and spend a day cleaning the whole cliff. We didn´t remove any trees or large grass ledges because they are referred to in the guidebook. This whole crag holds a host of great climbing and I reckon that there is a whole host of unclimbed routes here for the picking.” Sounds like hard work. So far they have climbed 3,009 metres of VS, not sure how many routes that is. You can keep up to date on Mark and Ian´s progress at To donate visit The VS Challenge is being supported by Zero G Climbing and Marmot.