Butterfly Buttress on Ruthin Escarpment has seen a wave of development of late. Over the last year this 8m high wall had a collection of short sport routes (including the brilliant dyno, Float Like a Butterfly F7a, situated just right of centre) added by Lee Proctor and Jamie Skates.
However, it was Andy Jones, Owen McShane and Simon Peters who really started to exploit the bouldering potential in September. The lads descended upon Butterfly Buttress and over the duration of four or five sessions worked out a collection of powerful sitting start lines on the central section.
“Whilst I did all of the first ascents on this section the lines were worked with Andy and Simon, and they both unlocked crucial beta which is why the starts to the problems are named after them.”
As 2012 broke Chris Doyle met up with Lee Proctor to see the new routes and check out the bouldering. Suitably enthused he gathered a team together (Danny Cattell, Gav Foster and Simon Panton) and returned the next day to meet Lee, Jamie and friends again.
A frenzy of activity (including an epic block moving exercise to improve the landing) occurred and by the end of the day half a dozen more lines had been added including the impressive highball, Another Million 7B! by Danny, the powerful traverse of One in a Million pt1 7B by Chris and the neat Clocks go Back 7A by Simon.
Sam Cattell, always one step ahead of the pack, then got in touch to say that he had climbed the line of Clocks go Back around a year ago.
The right side of the crag has a number of easier warm up lines and traverses, but the best bouldering is as follows:
1. The Butterfly Collector 6B This standing start is the first section of a F7b route. [Lee Proctor and Jamie Skates]
1a. Rumble in the Jungle 6B+ Sds on the obvious tufa up to good edges and then up the wall to a prominent jug. [Owen McShane]
2. Thriller in Manilla 6C Same start as 1a but finish up the flake on the left of this alcove, i.e the start of the route Fritillary Flake F6c. [Owen McShane]
3. Simon's Start to The Butterfly Collector 7A+ Sds on shelf (left hand) and pinchy tufa (right hand) move left hand up to sloper on lip, engage a right heel toe behind the tufa, match the lip use a small crimp to reach better hold and then continue up the wall. [Owen McShane]
4. Simon's Start to Fritillary Flake 7A+ Same as 3, but on reaching the good hold in the middle of the wall climb leftwards and finish up the flake on the left. [Owen McShane]
4a. Fritillary Flake 6A+ The standing start is the first section of a F6c route. [Lee Proctor and Jamie Skates]
5. Cassius Clay 7B Start as for 3, however once matched on the lip use only the two small crimps above to move leftwards to join the flake to finish. This is a bit of an eliminate as it is the same as Problem 4 without the cluster of good holds in the middle of the wall. [Owen McShane]
6. Andy's start to Fritillary Flake 7A Sds on the left hand side of the alcove just right of the encroaching block. With both hands on the shelf, put in a right heel toe make a long move up with the right to a good hold, cross over with the left and finish up the flake above. [Owen McShane]
7. Hooby's start to Fritillary Flake 6C Just down and right of the start jug of Another Million there are two good-ish hold on the lip at the bottom of the groove, from a hanging start here on the lip (no blocks for feet) move right wards and finish up the flake. [Owen McShane]
8. Hooby's start to Butterfly Collector 7A Same as problem 7 but instead of finishing up the flake keep on moving rightwards to finish up the middle of the wall. [Owen McShane]
9. Licking the Lollipop 6B Rock up to the undercut and continue up to good holds left of the top of the flake of Fritillary Flake. [Chris Doyle]
10. One in a Million pt1 7B Start as for Thriller in Manilla but keep traversing leftwards, reversing the traverse on Hobby's start to reach the start jug of Another Million. [Chris Doyle]
11. Another Million 7B! The stunning highball stand up line moving up from the large jug and side pull to some tricky pinches and a thankfully easier finish. [Danny Cattell]
12. Pity the Billionaire 7A From a sds hands matched on obvious hold below low, small roof lurch up to a good hold then make some surprisingly troublesome moves up and leftwards to gain a high jug. [Simon Panton]
13. 6C From a sds make a hard snatch from a right hand sloper to a left
hand edge/ L shaped hold and continue up to the same jug as Pity the Billionaire. [Gav Foster]
14. Penniless 6B From a sds move up past the prominent side pull feature to reach easy ground. [Simon Panton]
15. Clocks Go Back 7A Sds: left hand undercut side pull, choice of holds for right hand. Make a hard spin over the top to snag a good finger hold. Match and pull up to an edge up left then grab a jug to finish. [Sam Cattell]
16. 6B+/6C? Start matched on the lip of the roof; pull up right to a flat hold and make a tricky transition round the lip to gain a high hold. [This wasn’t actually done because just as we'd worked out how to do it the rain swept in – Si Panton].
The crag stays remarkably dry during wet periods, however a towel is useful to cover the occasional wet starting foothold. It gets the afternoon sun and is very sheltered.
Approach: Ruthin Escarpment sits opposite the village of Pwllglas which can be found on the A494 3 miles south of Ruthin. As you arrive in the village park immediately on the left in the layby. Walk 100m back up the road (in the direction of Ruthin) and drop down a small road/track on the right. Follow this across the river then around a left hairpin and up until just when the track turns up and heads towards a big house, a path is seen on the right – follow this path rightwards for a few hundred metres before cutting up through the trees to reach the crag base.
To view a topo of Butterfly Buttress click here.