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Leo on the new lower section of Skindog start (8B+) photos: Leven Rowan

…and latching the porthole on the original Pool of Bethesda crux.

Leo Skinner has completed perhaps the ripest of hard project lines in North Wales. Skindog start (8B+) is the direct sitting start to Pool of Bethesda in Dyffryn Peris. The original 8A+ stand up was first climbed in 2001, with Paul Higginson seeing off a persistent Jerry Moffatt in a tussle for the first ascent. In 2002 Malcolm Smith added a left hand 8B start - Ray Wood’s moody black and white shot of Malc, chalked up and ready to do battle, graced the front cover of the 2004 North Wales Bouldering/ Bowldro Gogledd Cymru guide.

The direct sitting start, firing straight up from the Jerry’s Roof tourist tick sds, has remained a glaringly obvious challenge ever since. A few gogs have come close to breaking down its defences, most notably Danny Cattell and Dave Noden, but in the end it has fallen to a strong youth from the south.

We asked Leo to tell us how it went down:

”I’d read about the project in the guide a while ago but had forgotten about it until Owen (Hayward) messaged me that I should go give it a crack. Since I’d done Pools earlier in the year I thought I’d go try Malcs and maybe try the proj afterwards. After thinking Malcs would go pretty smoothly, I ended up getting super close on I think my 2nd or 3rd session, but didn’t quite complete it. End of that session I figured out the moves to the proj but they felt pretty tough. I got back on Malcs a few days later in the stint of boiling weather but it was way too hot so I just repeated Pools and then left it for the day.”

”I ended up going home for a couple weeks, then drove back up here. I tweaked my finger warming up for Malcs on the first day so had to take some days off, then came back to it but the left sidepull was hurting a bit so I decided to go straight for the direct sit proj. After about 3 hours, and I think 6 goes from the floor, I ended up somehow pulling it out the bag, max effort!”

”Just after I topped out it started raining (typical haha!) and with basically no rest I decided to give Malcs a go and got ridiculously close. I then went back on it today and got it done, which was cool. I believe it’s the first repeat with the OG beta? I quite like to respect the history of stuff like this and do stuff with the original beta, even if it’s harder. It’s one of the things that draws me to a lot of problems, and is quite handy for bouldering in the UK since it means I can get psyched for climbing on some pretty appalling problems if there’s some history there haha! I finished off the day by doing the 2nd ascent of Luke Fletcher’s Mr Incredible. This to me felt on par with most 8Bs I’ve done. I can see someone that’s ridiculously tall maybe finding it a bit nicer but I’d go with 8B for it personally.”

The video footage of Leo doing Skindog start looks very impressive and will be appearing on his Youtube page very soon.

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