September 27, 2009 George Foster


We’re streaming down the home straight now so down your Lucozade (other sports hydration fluids are available) and follow me as we plunge into the ever deepening abyss in search of the elusive CWIL No.4……que??

Okay i can now barely contain MY excitement, especially as this is my personal crag of the moment, so who knows how you’re coping! Crags What I Likes Part IV belongs to………North Stack Promontory, Gogarth…..

Ah mes qui!! I love this place…….it’s Gogarth for pussy’s, but not for pussy’s at the same time…if that makes sense?? I’ll explain…..North Stack Promontory (NSP) is single pitch and not directly above the sea, so therefore is not the full Gogarth experience BUT the easiest route there is a loose E1 so in reality if you want to get out, supposing you’re having a bad day and all, you have in effect 3 options….1) swim (and face the wrath of the sea monsters), 2)jug (fuck that) or 3)man up and give it boar on the next easiest route….E4. It’s quite a committing place, so deservedly gets ‘Gogarth’ in it’s title (as well as it being at Gogarth too….shhh, you get my point).

The climbing style is markedly different to that found on Main Cliff or Wen Zawn, being all about the crimp and precision footwork (deja vu somewhere here….i’m getting an S, and an L, and an ATE…..) though with the extra element of slightly snappy rock (ahhh back to Gogarth again). What i love is all the extra dimensions that you get on sea cliffs, snappy or loose rock, a big ‘feel’, commitment at every turn (maybe i am the marriage type after all?) and, at times, ludicrous boldness. NSP has all of this…..and you get to watch seals farting in the water and seagulls taking aim with their poo bombs whilst you’re at it. Yum. On-sight is the name of the game here….anything else and it’s just not cricket.

NSP, home of the first E7 in Britain, is the place to come if you’re addicted to the fear. Routes like The Hollow Man (you’ve all seen ‘Onsight’); The Bells, The Bells (photo above courtesy of Bangor’s best taxi driver – Giles); The Cad; The Clown; The Long Run; Wreath of Deadly Nightshade all, in their own right, stupider (is that a word??) than the one before, following lines of ridiculously thin ‘non’ holds. Entrance to the harder routes is, for the large part, via powerful, though well protected, roof climbing before you emerge gasping onto the meat of the wall clawing your way up the desperate face climbing that some people just eat up (Hollow Man pic below from Tristan Johnson – awesome eh?). Belaying on this bitch has more in common with holding a kite as you watch unhindered ropes flutter colourfully up to the mess of nerves and grip that used to be your mate….the only thing colourful now being his language. Therein however lies the fun, the climbing is rarely overwhelming provided a steady, cautious approach is taken. Confidence is key. Confidence in your ability obviously, but also the confidence that that RP you ‘placed’ was in a deep vertical slot and not left resting on top of a fluffy bit of lichen like you think you remember. Confidence perhaps that if you can just hang around long enough without getting cramped fingers and toes you might be able to make a jump for it into the water (good luck by the way).

Ahh North Stack Promotory….never before has bold and beautiful been more fitting in describing this place.

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