Yesterday Pete Robins cleaned up an old highball project line on Craig Nant Bach, Cwm Tryfan in the Ogwen Valley. Les McQueen 7C! is the immaculate direct start to Soulstice, an E5 6c/7B/+! first climbed by Adam Wainwright in 2003.
The stream at the base of the wall was higher than normal so the first half hour of the session was spent building up a patio of rocks to keep the pads out of the water. Once in place Pete got stuck in but the sequence did not unlock easily.
Despite a sustained attack the obvious good hold at the base of the hanging groove stayed frustratingly out of reach. Eventually (and after some well timed barracking from the spotting team) Pete declared that he would have just one more go. Up he went only to fail once more - this time it was different though: the correct sequence was now obvious.
Next go up he hit the hold but didnít quite hang it. Then a final attempt saw him latch the hold. It wasnít over yet though as the right wall of the upper groove of Soulstice was wet and he still needed to push his way through a high stepping 6b move. A few nervous moments later Pete had managed to stand up on the good hold and it was in the bag.
ďItís a brilliant problem, as good as, and similar in character, to West Side Story at Burbage.Ē