With the rain clearing and glorious cold and clear weather settling in Si Panton and Martin Crook were quick to return to a previously scoped area deep in the southern corner of Beddgelert Forest.
The Baboon block lies below the un-named but rather large crag beneath the summit of Moel yr Ogof. To reach it take the steep track left of Beics Beddgelert, then turn right onto the contour track; follow this until it is possible to turn back up leftwards. Follow this track to a higher contour level, then take the right fork where the track splits. Follow this track up and across as it traces the upper edge of the forest. After some distance the forest reappears above the track and finally a sharp right turn is reached; the large vegetated crag can now be seen ahead and up to the right, plus the obvious spires of rock in the sparse forest area below. The most prominent spire is the Baboon block. Ignore the right turn, instead follow the track straight ahead for 100m until a vague path leads off right to the first block. Martin did the obvious sitting start aręte here; Orange Crush rates about V2/5+. Continue up towards the Baboon block via the vague trail, stopping off on the left for the second block. (The undercut left aręte here was done by Si at around V2/5+.)
The main event of course is The Baboon V4/6B which takes the obvious sitting start line on the steep (20/30 degrees over) front face of the boulder. Start with lefthand on a flat block and right back handing a diagonal slot. A series of clean pulls on a selection of pinches and flatties leads up leftwards to a final nervey pull for the top of the boulder. This was climbed by Si, who also went on to add a direct start; Baboon Lefthand V4/6B+ powers up from an obvious sitting start (left hand: side pull, right hand: same flat block as above) into the same finish.
“Both versions are superb and would warrant 2 or 3 stars. This is a great addition to the forest circuit and quite different in character to the other established areas. The rock is finer grained and more blocky, but still gives some lovely holds.”
Explained Si after the ascent.
Martin then added Baboon Traverse V3/6A+, the obvious left-to-right line rising up from a sitter on the left aręte and rocking out onto the slabby side wall. Another fine problem on this splendid block.
It seems that Messrs Panton and Crook were not the first to sample the dlights of the baboon block. An email from New Zealand confirmed that Bryn and Rob Jones visited the block way back in 2003 when, as you can see from the pics, the tree growth was significantly lower (i.e. none at all!) The lads climbed the line from a sitting start, although perhaps missed a move from the current version as the start was slightly dug out by Panton and Crook.
Bryn and Rob also developed a nearby block with some harder problems - more details will be forthcoming once a very excited NWB.com editorial team have been for a look!