New climbs in The Forest of Dean and The Wye Valley are becoming scarcer than hens teeth. With a new guide looming for the Symonds Yat area and its’ surrounding crags Ali and I decided to take a closer look.
First to fall at the start of 2008 was a very direct line up the wall to the right of Hole in the Wall at Symonds Yat. It climbs the middle of the wall past ok protection and finishes up the clean white wall above. We held a competition on the website to name the climb and decided on ‘The Penny Dropped’ from Robert Hargroves who won a day out with us. The grade has settled down after many ascents at E2 5c.
Still at the Yat in the beautiful Forest Of Dean we climbed a route up a shallow groove line to the right of Strathdon. We called this one ‘Tradnosh’ almost an anagram of Strathdon ! E2 5b.
The wall to the right of The Russian beckoned next and after a monster gardening session we uncovered the adventurous ‘Monsterific’. The grade of E2 5c tells the story.
The White Wall area at Symonds Yat in The Forest of Dean had a few gaps on it and we decided to investigate. We started off by climbing a nice direct line between The Last Valley and Run Robert Run. Excellent climbing and good protection. ‘Ego Warrior’ E1 5b was the result.
There was a tougher looking line in this neck of the woods that would cross other climbs to give a magnificent journey but could we link the pieces together. We started up Edward the First but left this at its’ peg runner and made a sweeping, right to left diagonal across the wall to finish up Motorway Madness. ‘Missing Link’ E3 5c was born.
Missing Link helped us realise that other improbable looking lines might be climbed and probably at a reasonable grade. There was an area to the right where 3 climbs existed but had become completely overgrown with ivy. After another long cleaning session a wonderfully steep line was exposed between these other climbs and although the rock is suspect in places we were able to climb a route at E2 5b. We called this one ‘Owl Capone’ after the owl who flew out at us from a hole in the rock where he or she had left a dead mouse.
A direct start to Mister Strathdon had been brewing in my mind for some time and after a quick inspection and the placing of two pegs for protection we decided to have a go. The moves through the overlaps felt desperate and although the pegs protected, it continued to be strenuous. We called it ‘Double Die Hard’ and gave it E3 6a. It has already seen many repeats and all agree on its quality and grade.
There were two more lines that needed our attention. Both at Symonds Yat in the Forest of Dean. The first of these was in the Bowlers hole area with the idea to take a very direct line up a hanging groove to the right of Lyndas Route. We climbed this on my birthday with my son Rob who is in the army and has served in Afghanistan. Although interesting this turned out to be serious and we gave it E3 5b and called it Afghanistan Bananastand.
Our final new route takes a very steep line above the tunnel exit in the Hollow Rock Area. Although short at E2 5b it packs a punch. We called it ‘Heroes’.