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Pete Robins clinging to the steep aręte of The Big Orange 8A!, Trwyn Talfarach Photo: Si Panton

Yesterday afternoon Pete Robins climbed the awesome highball aręte which towers over the upper section of Areteland at Trwyn Talfarach.

The arete was fairly well known as a major project line but until last week no-one had taken the bait. (Pete had previously been sent a pic of it by George Smith, but did not act upon the tip off.) Rather mischievously Si Panton sent out some pics of it to a number of local climbers, hoping to stir up some interest. Once Pete realised that he might lose out on the first ascent he moved quickly and arranged a team visit with Si, Caff and Oli Grounsell.

Unfortunately the crag was pretty wet that day and despite a drying wind, some annoying seepage remained on the key holds. Nonetheless, Pete managed to suss out a possible sequence on a rope, and vowed to return on the next decent weather day.

On Sunday he came back with Si to find dry rock and a good breeze. A quick session on the rope allowed Pete to unlock a tricky part of the sequence and then he went for it. Buoyed by high levels of psyche, the ascent went smoothly and soon he was soloing off up the easy exit groove with a massive grin on his face.

Pete called the NWB office today and was still brimming with enthusiasm:

“It’s such a striking feature and the rock quality is amazing. It’s also really cool how the slots just open up enough as you get close to the aręte and you reach a jug just when you really need it – you couldn’t design a better problem. It’s probably soft for 8A but at that height it doesn’t feel like it.”

The Big Orange is certainly one of the most impressive 8As in the UK. The existence of unclimbed lines of this calibre once again emphasises the importance of the Porth Ysgo area to the North Wales bouldering scene.

Si managed to shoot a somewhat rough and ready film of the ascent:

The Big Orange 8A! from Simon Panton on Vimeo.

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