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Video screengrab of Ben on the FA of Big Leviathan (8B)

Ben Bransby has completed the full version of Leviathan at Bwa Gwyn, Rhoscolyn, Ynys Môn. Big Leviathan (8B) climbs the huge boat keel feature in its entirety, connecting his hard sit down start through the original 7C+ middle section (climbed by James Taylor and Sam Tolhurst in October 2022] and into Tim Blake’s higher finish (climbed in June 2023) to end matched on a juggy sidepull/undercut.

Photographs and film footage tend to compress this enormous feature, but when you walk back into the cave the true scale of it becomes apparent – it really is an outrageous chunk of rock and Ben’s effort is a proper Big Daddy line, and moreover quite possibly the hardest boulder problem on the island. It certainly had Ben fighting hard on the upper section, he even dry retched with the effort afterwards as he lay collapsed on the pads!

NWB.com had a quick chat with Ben shortly after his ascent on Tuesday, and this is what he said:

”So, first session back this year I did Tim’s one from the crouch start, as well as re-working all the middle section, checking I couldn't find easier ways. I then went back next time really to re-work the middle and sit start bit. I spent ages playing on bits and moves, and felt I had a good sequence for it all, except for the sit which I didn't look at until the end – but when I did that felt better than the other year. So, after climbing just the sit section a couple of times, I went for link. First go I fell off in the middle, and luckily landed on my feet as all my pads were at the end. Next go I did it.”

It felt pretty spicy today with no spotter and three pads – I put them all down for the end, which meant I had to do the whole problem to the old finish with no pads under me. Being horizontal above rocks was a bit nasty, didn't want to do a Pete on it...[editor’s note: in 2022 Pete Robins had a very painful fall onto his back at the cave section of Yr Arfordir Du]”

“The new finish of Tim’s adds some cool moves and a slightly more logical finish hold - it's still a sidepull and undercut, but the left hand is pretty much a jug. I didn't milk the finish much this time as I was pumped and was getting over the end of the pads, so didn't want to spoon it into the boulders.”

“I thought it would be 8B+ but it didn't quite feel that today, so maybe hard 8B, but then again I'm not so good at grading! I genuinely think the whole problem suits both my climbing style and size very well.”

Gwyllgi [Ed’s note: Ben’s 8B roof line at Yr Arfordir Du] took me longer, but I'm in better shape now and this suits me even better. So I would say for me it’s fairly similar in standard, but Big Leviathan is maybe a touch harder, and like I say, it suits me more. Obviously this is compared with the sequence I used on Gwyllgi not the easier [8A+] sequence Tim found.”

Footage of the first ascent can be viewed on DMM's instagram page.

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