Gav Foster has climbed the impressive left hand highball groove line on The Barrel in the Llanberis Pass.
Rhubarb and Custard 7A! has a hard lower section leading into a less frenetic, but still tricky upper half where a fall would not be recommended.
Gav checked out the upper section on a top rope prior to his ascent. This turned out to be a shrewd move as a prominent chicken head snapped off when he stood on it – luckily the fall was held on the rope.
The loss of the chicken head forced a new sequence on the lower crux using some holds on the left side of the groove. After a test jump onto the wedged pad stack Gav went for it and made it to the top in one piece.
A few weeks earlier Gav had climbed another quality first ascent, namely the superb higball line on the far left of the buttress. Charlie Brown rates 6C! and climbs up above the obvious diagonal starting hold.
He also repeated Johnny’s Problem, which sits between Charlie Brown and Rhubarb and Custard. This neglected line had been mooted - by Richie Patterson (in his Auntie Patta’s Problem page of 90s climbing zine, The Thing) – as a probable E6 solo. With a decent set of pads beneath it highball 6C seems a fairer assessment. Either way it is very good, especially now that a dangerously loose flake has now been removed from the upper shelf.