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My first time in Parisellas Cave I did Right Wall Traverse…just. Three months later I hopped off the finishing jug of Left Wall Traverse scarcely able to believe I’d done a V8.

In fact I’d barely even glanced at LWT on my first visit, at the time I’d written it off as nails and something I’d never be able to do, probably because as soon as I heard V8 I balked and thought no way. But that first taste captured me, it’s a grimy little place that looks like a chalk explosion but never has a boulder venue inspired me so much.

Two weeks after my first bash I was back, another session yielded the Standing shothole start to LWT. Another session and we delved deeper, right to the back, opening the account with the cave apprenticeship; the boulder problem so long it gets a 7c+ tick. Standing at the end, looking down and in, I couldn’t help but think of all the places I could easily drop it. I knew every move from the shot hole perfectly, but knowing a move doesn’t mean anything. After E11 most people know the crux moves on Rhapsody. And I still had to work out the powerful, heel hook heavy start moves and not be totally wasted for the rest of the route. Another three sessions and I was close, the feeling of having something dangling in front of my face and being unable to grab it was excruciating.

Then it all came at once, after a 15 minute warm up and planning to go through the start to remember it, I got on the start and just kept going.

The overriding feeling of doing anything in the Cave is the group psyche. When anyone gets close to sending, the cave goes quiet. Everyone holds their breath. Then, a murmur of encouragement builds. I know for some this would be annoying, but the feeling everyone is rooting for you fired me up the last moves. So thank you to everyone in the cave on that dismal January morning.

Around the same time, Wales miraculously got some Winter conditions so I drove up the pass like an excitable child  and did a quick round of Crib Goch.


Crib Goch


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