One of the main reasons I managed to rekindle my motivation and head over to North Wales yesterday was the sheer communal buzz emanating from the locals there recently. There are some seriously keen puppies heading out seemingly daily to make the most of conditions that have been proclaimed as the best since '97. After a 3.30am start I hooked up with Dave Evans and Mark "Baggy" Richards. Mark has been keeping a very good conditions blog http://wwwbaggy.blogspot.com/ which has been a real gem of information for visiting climbers. Together we headed into the Black Ladders hoping to try one of Chris Parkin's legendary routes.Western Gully in fine nick, which received a couple of ascents yesterday.
With the cliff in top nick we were spoilt for choice but eventually plummed for Scott Report. Given VI,7+ by Chris Parkin it seemed to be a contender for the hardest route in the Cwm but also more importantly wasn't reliant on ice, which seemed pretty thin on the steeper bits of The Ladders. The topo above shows the line we climbed in yellow, with the red arrow indicating where the first ascensionist might have gone on the confusingly described second pitch. The blue line is a not really formed The Somme. The route turned out to be excellent, with one very hard pitch involving committing climbing with decent but hard won protection on the hardest bits. Probably VII,7/8. Take a good selection of thin pegs and as much turf pro as you can muster.
Captain Keen himself Mark in a sea of turf at the top of pitch one