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Rhiw Goch has become one of North Wales most popular micro crags over recent years. First discovered by Sam Cattell in 2002 it remained esoteric and largely unvisited until the YouTube generation took hold and its steep test pieces became more well known.

Sam's hardest addition was the low start to the popular 7A Ride the Wild Smurf. I remember watching Sam do the first ascent and it was blatantly a brutal affair with a ferocious first move off a razor crimp. Given 7C+ by the perennial undergrader, in recent times it has become apparent that it's blatantly 8A and it hasn't had many ascents, especially compared to its neighbour Lightweight. In fact Smurf low has got slightly harder over the years as the starting crimp has rounded off as people use it as a foothold on White Rider.

Orrin Coley recently gave Ride the Wild Smurf a more satisfying true sit down start. A violent snatch off two undercuts gains the sharp crimp and the original low start. Orrin actually found a cheeky toe hook out right which he believed to tame the crux move slightly. He reckoned this made the original 7C+/8A and his new sit down start 8A/+. Time will tell whether the new toe hook is actually a game changer or not.

Orrin also repeated James Squire's low start to Lightweight. Lightweight in retrospect probably should have come down to 7C+ in the guide as it is known as the softest 8A in Wales and has received several flash ascents. The low start, dubbed Heavyweight likely restores the grade to 8A for those trophy hunters out there.

Here is Orrin's video of his good day:

(NWB reporter: Chris Doyle)

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