Now that his Talfarach campaign has drawn to a close Owen Hayward has shifted his attention to the Sheep Pen boulders in Nant Ffrancon. Over the last few weeks he has climbed a series of new lines up to 7A+ on a few blocks that had previously been ignored.
The Giant Turtle boulder can be found between the Klem's Arete and Klem's Bulge blocks. It now has a series of up lines and interconnecting traverses, including a number of grade 6 problems climbed by Owen’s young son, Finn and his friend Tom Jenkins. Most significant lines are Pacific Green 7A+, a great traverse which builds to a well positioned crux near the end, and Olive Radley 6C+ and its two 7A variation finishes.
Over at the back of the main boulder Owen dug out a good cave problem, The Diggingest Dog 7A+. As he explains: “Someone had been playing on the final part of it (i.e. there was chalk on the twin flakey edges) but I significantly lowered the sheep turd floor (3 hours of digging!) to open up a start from the back of the cave. Ended up with a surprisingly long and involved pumper.”
Owen also climbed Bee Cool, a sds 6C+ on the undercut dark block beyond the Diggingest Dog cave. Check out Owen’s topo for the full breakdown of all these problems.
“I'd looked at these blocks before and could see they might be good but had always moved on to the usual blocks. Turns out they've got some great climbing after cleaning and some significant groundworks.”
Finn, Tom and his brother Jamie also developed a neat little boulder down close to the road. The Shaun the Sheep block has eight lines up to 6C – check out Owen’s topo for full details.
Back in April Phil Targett climbed a few new lines, most noteworthy being Weight Restrictions Apply, a 6B sds on the steep little boulder which is passed on the approach walk up the hill. Sit start under the aręte. Big hold round to right for right hand and sloper left. Steep moves up and left leads to hard exit.
And finally, a mention should be made of a long forgotten problem. Back in the early noughties Sam Cattell climbed the obvious, harder sds line on this block at 7A+.
NB. it has come to light that some of the claimed first ascents in this news item had already been done by Phil Targett. The topo links have been changed to show the updated versions with the correct names and first ascent details.