Today I nipped out for an excursion down to the Lleyn Peninsula. The route I had wanted to have a look at was Ugly, a George Smith masterpiece from 1992.
I had been intrigued by this particular route ever since Adam Wainwright told me that without question it was the hardest route in North Wales. This is from a man who spent several days toproping The Indian Face, cruising it on top rope, before (quite rightly) deciding not to lead it. Adam does know what he is talking about.
I drifted down to look at Ugly a few years ago, and a cursory glance over the top of the cliff revealed a soaking wet rotten chimney full of shitty bits of tat. I was a little disappointed.
However, with a sore finger and a sunny day, I sat on the loo and read the current bathroom guidebook (Lleyn) and thought “hmm, I bet there isn’t any crimping on Ugly”. So with renewed vigour I set off down the Lleyn.
There isn’t any crimping on Ugly, I was right. But – it is nails!
I abbed down it and snapped a lot of the pegs out with my hand, and ripped most of the tat off too. The route is just about protectable with a large selection of cams, so the rotten pegs won’t make too much difference. Warthogs would also be another possibility, but it seems a shame to hammer anything in to such a beautiful line…
I’m undecided as to whether it is worth another trip, as it might be beyond me. However with a strong team and a load of team psyche, who knows what is possible.
Imagine a severely overhanging offwidth filled with mud and bird shit, made from the loosest shale known to man (it makes Gogarth look like a climbing wall). Now dribble a green slimy stream down it. Make sure all the holds collapse instantly under load. You now have an idea of Ugly.
George Smith = Genius.
PS. I offer a pint to the first person to onsight flash this route.
Email: Jack.geldard ( at) gmail.com