Wolf Leeb-Redhead and Sam Nunn have developed the spectacular, but forgotten Noelís Boulder, which had a brief mention on page 231 of the NWB 3.1 Mountain Crags guide. This striking prow of perfect dolerite certainly caught the eyes of local activists back in the Ď90s but the less than friendly landing, coupled with a much poorer pad technology at the time meant that although a number of easier, peripheral lines were done (mostly by Noel Craine), the bigger, harder lines remained unconquered.
25 years later Wolf spotted the obvious potential and called in his mates, including Sam Nunn, to help carry pads and spot.
"I was buzzing...and bewildered when I saw it because itís so obvious next to the footpath and road, plus itís massive and very distinctive with the bushes on top.
The prow is a line you can't walk away from, but the whole thing is peppered with lovely friendly holds of Boysenís Groove quality dolorite."
Said Wolf, before adding:
"I spent five evenings up there in perfect conditions, with stunning sunsetsÖit was pure gold."
The rock quality is outstanding but the boulder is big and the landing certainly needs managing. A team of four with lots of pads seems to make it okay though. Most of the first ascents went to Wolf, but Sam also showed some steel to grab a few of the harder additions.
N.B.The top of the boulder has a nice little isolated plant habitat on it, so should be avoided Ė please traverse off at the upper lip and step down to descend.
The main lines, described from left-to-right, are as follows:
1. Valley of the Wind 6B+!
The rising left arÍte of the block. Amazing but bold!
2. Castle in the Sky 7A+!
From the starting undercut of Totoro snatch left to the juggy flake then power left off an undercut, roll to a positive sidepull and finish up the arÍte. The last few moves are bold! 6C+ from the flake start. [Wolf]
3. Howlís Moving Castle 7A!
A contender for the best 7A in the valley? From the starting undercut of Totoro snatch left to the juggy flake then head straight up to a committing pull for the lip from a slopey gaston. 6C from the flake start. [Wolf]
4. Totoro 7A+!
The Impressive central highball prow is a stunner! Start matched on a hidden undercut and climb straight up the prow. [Wolf]
5. Lord Yupa 7C+
A powerful eliminate version of Nausicaš. Forge a path straight up from the fat pinch to the slopey ledge. No arÍte. [Sam]
6. Nausicaš 7B
From the Totoro undercut, throw rightwards to layaways, before bouncing left to the big shelf (various methods). Finish direct past twin crimps to better holds up and right. [Wolf]
7. Pom Poko 6C
From the big juggy sidepull at the bottom righthand corner of the Totoro face, 3D climbing on cool holds leads upwards towards the daylight. The link into Nausicaš goes at 7B. Other grade 7 links sweeping leftwards have been done too. [Wolf]
8. Princess Mononoke 6B
The attractive arÍte facing the path on the block leaning on Totoro. From a sds move up to the shelf and follow lovely holds along the lip, rock over rightwards.
9. Nago 7B
From a sitting start on the lowest crimps under Princess Mononoke, move up and rightwards past two sets of edges to a jug and then the top. Rock it out rightwards. The arete is in for toe hooks only. Slightly spoiled by Totoro's backside. Moro, the burly 7C version, manages to avoid using the arete at all. Start with your right hand on a higher edge and your right foot on the Nago starting hold. [Wolf, Moro: Sam]
10. Porko Rosso 7B
This is the obvious line on the boulder underneath Totoro. Start sitting and avoid the foot blocks. 6C with the footblocks. [Wolf]
And last but not least, on the lower of the slabby tiers below Sam climbed 20 20 Slab, a fine looking highball 6C+.
Click here to see a video of Wolf on the stunning Totoro.