On Saturday Pete Robins climbed the famous Bytilith Wall project, which sits on the Hell's Mouth side of the headland east of Porth Ysgo. This impressive highball line has seen sporadic attempts by various people over the last ten years and has long been recognised as one of the best unclimbed lines in North Wales. Until recently no one had made a significant impression on the final couple of metres were the 7A crack blanks out into not much at all.
Pete had briefly tried the line back in 2003 with Will Perrin and Dave Noden but until the recent surge of development around Porth Nefoedd and Trwyn Talfarach it had slipped off his hit list.
Last week he returned on a rather grim, damp day and tried the line with Oli Grounsell. Despite the showery weather Pete and Oli eventually sussed out a sequence on the baffling headwall and both came very close; Pete even got his fingers on top at one point. Unfortunately another squally shower barrelled in from the sea and called an end to the day.
On Saturday a return visit saw much better weather, but a pretty excitable sea, plus an incoming tide. Pete quickly got to work, conscious of the growing tidal threat. After a few attempts a big wave swept across the shelf below the wall and took one of the pads away into the waves. The tidal rip was immediately apparent as the pad quickly disappeared off towards Hell’s Mouth.
Although slightly unnerved by the possibility of being hit by another wave, Pete managed to refocus and had soon regained his previous highpoint. A crucial switch of fingers on the final mono edge gave him that extra 1 percent and he hit and held the top.
The drama wasn’t over yet – while packing up the pads, and passing them up the descent route at the left side of the wall, an even bigger, monster wave came crashing in. This time a huge wall of water pounded onto the shelf with frightening force. Luckily, Pete and Jamie King (who had been spotting) were stood just out of its reach – had they still been below the problem (like they were 30 seconds earlier) they might have been swimming! [Top tip: don’t climb here at full tide unless the sea is calm.]
When asked about the grade, Pete said: ”It felt borderline 7C+/8A, prob 7C+ for the tall and 8A for the short.”
Check out Si Panton’s films of best first day attempts from Pete and Oli, plus Pete’s successful ascent on Saturday:
R0031088 from Simon Panton on Vimeo.
R0031089 from Simon Panton on Vimeo.
Bytilith Wall 8A! FA V2 from Simon Panton on Vimeo.
An early attempt (about 10 years ago) by Sam Whittaker can be seen in Paul Higginson’s Aqua Marine film at 21.38; see the link below.