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Screen grab of Jack on the first ascent of The Prodigal Son (7C+)

Crag layout - left side

Crag layout - right side

Gav Foster on Ella Grace (E6 6b) photo: Si Panton

Jack Pearce, Osian Parry and Gwil Tossell have extended developments up at Cwm Gwern Gof in Dyffryn Ogwen. Hardest of the new bunch is Jack’s The Prodigal Son (7C+). This can be found on the overhanging wall 50 metres further on from Wal Seren. The line starts sitting in the middle with your left hand on an undercut/side-pull and right hand on a gaston. Slow tensioney moves lead to a slap for the lip followed by a rock over.

”I first started trying this early on this year. Injury and sickness kept my sessions far apart from each other and lengthened the process somewhat. For me, the crux was finding a way to stay on the main smear foothold throughout the entire line.”

Said Jack, before adding:

“It’s got great rock, and tends to be protected from the rain. It also dries quickly.”

The line was originally climbed by Osian from standing with right hand on a small crimp and left on the big undercut, essentially just doing the slap into the topout: 7A for this.

Approach: After having passed through the gate that leads to Gallt Yr Ogof immediately turn right and follow the river up for 35 minutes. This is the least wet route. Eventually, there will be a small hill on the left and a leaning wall should be visible at a distance. That is Wal Seren. The Prodigal Son is just a minute further round the hillside. Following the river is also the best way to reach the rest of the problems:

5 Minutes on from The Prodigal Son you come to a majestic slab. Flying Against the Wind climbs the obvious central line at 6A/B. [FA: Osian]

On the left hand side of the video of Flying Against the Wind another slab with a crack in it can be seen a small distance away slightly higher up the hill. This is Jerusalem (6B). The landing is EXTREMELY sloping - sliding down the hill seems inevitable and may even be fun if you start the slide sitting. [FA: Jack]

Continuing around and up the hillside for another 5 minutes takes you to a cluster of 3 problems. The first is squeaky cheese (6C+). Start with hands either side of the block and compress up to the lip. The footblock on the left is in. [FA: Osian]

To the right is a two tiered face. Climbing the left tier is Nostalgia (7A). Cool holds and a handy heelhook take you to a deep jug over the lip. [FA: Jack]

Climbing the right hand side of the right tier is Spice is Nice (6C+). Named due to the sketchy blocks poking out from the right that are a bit close for comfort. [FA: Osian]

Walking up and left for 5 minutes takes you to a group of promising-looking blocks. Sadly there is only one decent line hidden in the centre of them. A phenomenal slab line on perfect rhyolite, The Bunker (6B+) starts with a couple moves on small holds followed by a big reach to a sloper. [FA: Osian]

Continuing another 5 minutes up the hill takes you to a slightly overhanging face. Going up the righthand side is Vicarious Satisfaction, a phenomenal 7A+ marred only by one of the holds being a tad sharp. A couple of squeezy bumps lead you to a big throw to a massive jug. ”Banger!” as Jack would say.

Dropping all the way back down to the same height as Flying Against the Wind but further along the hillside is the alluring sweep of Craig y Fridd (see page 70 in the CC Ogwen routes guide). Here the lads did a couple of impressive highballs. Technical Ecstacy (7A) climbs the tall wall right of Bad Faith with a pebbley section near the top. [FA: Osian] While Amnesia, which is just to the right, uses much larger holds giving a grade of 6B. [FA: Gwil]

NB. Although largely ignored this crag provides some high quality outcrop style routes. There has been a couple of interesting additions since the CC guide was published. In 2013 Gav Foster and Si Panton climbed the obvious attractive line right of Nausea. Ella Grace (E6 6b) is an immaculate pitch on perfect rock. This year James McHaffie climbed the line of grooves further right at E5 6b. Other unclimbed lines remain.

Finally, continuing around the bowl for another 10 minutes takes you to a dramatic, diamond shaped face. Climbing the righthand side and up the slab above is Towerfall (6C). [FA: Osian] The line up the left side of the diamond is a hard project.

See the links below for the FA footage videos.

Relevant links:
      New lines in Cwm Gwern Gof
      Technical Ecstacy video
      Wal Seren news item