Wow, what a crag!

Tirpentwys is an absolutely fantastic crag for those wanting to take the first steps into sport climbing outside or to push their grade from 6a/6a+ upwards with confidence.

Highlights:

  • Fantastic bolting.
  • Easy access.
  • 10/10 crag comfort.
  • Almost completely solid rock with little to no chance of falling rocks.
  • 45 minutes from Bristol.

Almost all of the routes have quick link lower offs adding more confidence to the climber. The routes are lined up in parallel,  so it’s easy to romp up a load of routes in no time at all, and with a less than 10-minute walk-in it’s perfect summer afternoon’s climbing.

Georgia Townend Climbing at Terpentwys

The climbing at Tirpentwys

 

IMG_9970

The climbing is great. Great moves on good holds – what else could you ask for!? With small edges to large in-cut pockets, this crag incites my favourite style of climbing.

Climbing at Tirpentwys is either vertical or just off (both ways). There is nothing too steep to climb at the crag. It lends itself to a mix of delicate climbing with the classic edges found on sandstone and the harder grades feature some big throw moves.

As I have said, the routes are well equipped and have chain and quick-link lower-offs.

Get climbing in less than 10 minutes.

From the car park, head up the shallow valley sticking to the fire-road. Simply follow this slightly uphill for around 10 mins before the crag appears. Easy!

Climb over the fence at the small style and ignore the signs saying no climbing (this is apparently there for liability issues) and you are there.

 

The crag layout at Tirpentwys

The easier climbs wrap the outer edges of the crag whilst the classic 6c and 7b routes can be found slightly to the left of the middle routes.

In my opinion, the best line of the crag is the 6c on the left-hand side of the main face. The route is absolute quality from start to finish. The crux is classic, with what seems like only one way to do it, no matter what your height!

There are plenty of great 6’s and a quality pumpy 6b+ on the LHS, along with lots of different and interesting climbing across the whole crag.

Its an absolute gem of a crag with fun and safe routes in abundance.

Climbing in south wales

How to get to Tirpentwys

From Bristol it takes around 45 minutes – almost quicker than Cheddar. It’s easy to get to and not far from the motorway.

The directions below are taken from UKC.com:

There are 2 ways to approach this crag:

1. If coming from Pontypool/Blaenavon. Turn off the A4043 into Pontnewynydd Industrial Estate follow this road to a T junction just past the Post office sorting depot. Turn left up the hill along the road passing the Plas y Coed pub on your left, continue straight on the road will become lined with ancient beech trees. About 150 mts further along on the right hand side are the 2 old entrances to what was Tirpentwys Tip. Park in either.

2.If coming from Crumlin. In Hafodyrynys turn left off the A472, then take the road that runs down the side of the chinese takeaway. After about 70mts fork right up the steep hill go round the hairpin bend and pass the Star inn on your left. Cross over a cattle grid, the road levels out, continue straight on crossing a second cattle grid, pass the houses of Pantygasseg on your left following the road down the hill. The 2 entrances to the old tip are on your left in about 250mts.

To the Crag. Go through the green metal barrier(top entrance) onto the tarmac road and follow this for about 200mts until it bends to the right, at this point go straight on following the gravel road you will pass a footbridge on your left after 150 mts, 50 mts after this cross the small drainage ditch on the right, the crag will now be visible approx’ 100mts on the right. There is a style fixed to the fence to allow easy access.

To coincide with the start of the new season(2009), it looks like the council are building a nice new car park at the lower of the 2 entrances, this will provide an excellent facility and make using the top entrance unecessary, thanks Torfaen.

The nice new car park has been closed because of vandalism, fly tipping and drug abuse, there is a new metal barrier in place which is locked. I spoke to the council, the car park will now operate on a key holder scheme, so if you are local and want a key contact torfaen they will send the forms to fill in so you can have your own key, please use this responsibly.

The deepwater soloing seasons has kicked off for me and kicked off strong, well I had a few wobbles along the way.

On-sighting the 2 classics, Animal Magnetism and Horny Little Devil, on the first session climbing above the sea this year has to be the perfect start to any DWS season.


Kicking off with the a low tide is never an encouraging start, we knew it was going to be that way but as we had the whole day we figured even if we ended up going for a swim until the tide we were golden. As the tide grew so did our confidence.

The Climbing

The first climb of the day was the Maypole, the classic warm up 6b a nice easy line with a slight sting in the tail, but as you are low and above nice (normally deep) water it’s a perfect intro.

A little traverse of the inner column at the end of the Maypole was another good little route, from there we went and checked out Horny little devil, after a few non starts due to fear we were away, 2 of the team were quickly in the water while I reversed and climb back 3 times and climbed out and around, the idea of possibly hitting the slab below during the first 4 moves did not inspire me.

Another go at the Mapole this time to get into have a look at Animal Magnetism. Another go at the climb, an incredible effort and solid climbing saw Roaly midway before the fear set in, his arms turned to stone and was shortly off the wall.

The tide was now high enough, yet I was still not as keen as I should be, the fact that I would most likely pull through the moves and find myself at the top was more worrying to me than falling off early on.

After a few ‘looks’ I again backed off and reversed the Maypole.

 

Turning point

A strong lunch and the promise to stop being a pansy saw me back round to quickly send Horny’, another send of a small 7a and I blasted around to Animal Mag’ to finish of the day on a strong footing that I should have started early in the day, but hey, thats deepwater soloing for you.

 

A little Cherry for the way home, we are athletes after all!

Climbing at Tirpentyws, wow what a crag!

We managed to sneak out of Bristol for a sunny climb this Sunday and it did not dissapoint.

A absolutely fantastic crag for those wanting to either take first steps into sport climbing outside or push their grades with confidence (if climbing at the 6b to 6c mark).

Well bolted, easy access, 10/10 crag comfort and almost definitely strong rock with little to no chance of falling rocks.

I went with intention of working, I knew there were a few newer climbers planning on being there and with it being a Sunday I was just happy to be out and even happier to help out, teach a little and set up top ropes.

The crag is perfect for training for those want to push their grade good bolts and quick link loweroffs , its easy to romp up a load of routes in no time, so of course in between helping I did managed to sneak in few routes. (can you call 10 routes “sneaking a few in”)

The climbing at Tirpentyws

The climbing is great, great moves on good holds, what else is there!? With small edges to large incut pockets this crag has my favourite style of climbing.

The climbing is either vertical or just off (both ways), there is nothing to steep to climb at the crag, it lends itself to a mix of delicate climbing with the classic edges found on sand stone and, in the harder grades, some big throw moves.

All the routes are well equipped and have chain and quick link loweroffs

The walk in to Tirpentyws

From the car park leave and head up the shallow valley sticking the fire-track. Simply follow this slightly up hill for around 10mins before the crag appears. Easy!

Climb over the fence at the small style and ignore the signs saying no climbing (this apparently is there for liability issues) and your there.

The climbing and crag layout at Tirpentyws

The easier climbs wrap the outer edges of the crag while the classic 6c and 7b can be found slightly left of the middle routes. I think the line of the crag was the 6c up the left hand side of the main face, the route quality line from start to finish, with what seems like only one way to do it, no matter your height.

There are plenty of great 6’s a quality pump 6b+ on the left along with lots of different and interesting climbing across the whole crag.

Honestly, its a absolute gem of a crag. with fun and safe routes everywhere.

[button link=”http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/crag.php?id=8695″ color=”default” size=”” type=”” shape=”” target=”_blank” title=”” gradient_colors=”|” gradient_hover_colors=”|” accent_color=”” accent_hover_color=”” bevel_color=”” border_width=”1px” shadow=”” icon=”” icon_divider=”yes” icon_position=”left” modal=”” animation_type=”0″ animation_direction=”down” animation_speed=”0.1″ alignment=”left” class=”” id=””]UKC logbook for Tirpenstwys[/button]

How to get to Tirpentyws

From Bristol it takes around 45 minutes, almost quicker than cheddar. Its easy to get and not far off the motorway the directions below are taken from UKC.com

There are 2 ways to approach this crag.

1. If coming from Pontypool/Blaenavon. Turn off the A4043 into Pontnewynydd Industrial Estate follow this road to a T junction just past the Post office sorting depot. Turn left up the hill along the road passing the Plas y Coed pub on your left, continue straight on the road will become lined with ancient beech trees. About 150 mts further along on the right hand side are the 2 old entrances to what was Tirpentwys Tip. Park in either.

2.If coming from Crumlin. In Hafodyrynys turn left off the A472, then take the road that runs down the side of the chinese takeaway. After about 70mts fork right up the steep hill go round the hairpin bend and pass the Star inn on your left. Cross over a cattle grid, the road levels out, continue straight on crossing a second cattle grid, pass the houses of Pantygasseg on your left following the road down the hill. The 2 entrances to the old tip are on your left in about 250mts.

To the Crag. Go through the green metal barrier(top entrance) onto the tarmac road and follow this for about 200mts until it bends to the right, at this point go straight on following the gravel road you will pass a footbridge on your left after 150 mts, 50 mts after this cross the small drainage ditch on the right, the crag will now be visible approx’ 100mts on the right. There is a style fixed to the fence to allow easy access.

To coincide with the start of the new season(2009), it looks like the council are building a nice new car park at the lower of the 2 entrances, this will provide an excellent facility and make using the top entrance unecessary, thanks Torfaen.

The nice new car park has been closed because of vandalism, fly tipping and drug abuse, there is a new metal barrier in place which is locked. I spoke to the council, the car park will now operate on a key holder scheme, so if you are local and want a key contact torfaen they will send the forms to fill in so you can have your own key, please use this responsibly.” – Taken from UKC

In this article IMG_0185I have tried to get across the main subject or teaching points that I use while coaching from a basic level all the way through to competition standards.

No matter what the level, it often seems that any one of these 5  simple points are the biggest stumbling block to progression in climbing.
These are my ‘go to’ concepts for any first time session with a client. Feel free to use them and/or share your thoughts/ideas with me.

The 5 points:

  • Look at your feet!
  • Climb with different colour footholds.
  • Try to pause before each hand hold.
  • Use your toes, not your mid sole.
  • The top is not the finish.

Using the concepts above…

With any of my clients I always suggest, as with most subjects, that breaking them down into manageable parts is a good idea. These concepts are such broad topics that it may be best to treat them as something to  consider while climbing, rather than a specific technical aspect. Just be mindful about them, allow the thoughts to float around in your headspace.

Take one concept, think about what it means and how you might implement it. Consider it through out the early stages of a climbing session, especially the warm up. When you start to get tired, don’t worry, just enjoy your session.

Try and keep one concept in mind for 5 or 6 sessions, until you can consider and climb with all of them at the back.  Remember to keep the concepts at the forefront of all of your climbing and movement reflections.

1. Look at your feet!

The simple nature of the title gives nothing away as to the depths that this concept reaches. It is a common thing that many new climbers are told and is obvious. But what it really means or what I suggest is to really look at your feet; take your time to focus on them and be mindful to watch you feet move until they are on a hold or in the position you want them to be. All too often a climber moves the leg and then foot, gets close to the required foot hold and then looks away at the last second. Looking away before the foot is properly connected to the hold will lead to inaccuracy, a lack of confidence in movement and thus excess pressure exerted through the hands.

It is better to place the foot slowly and accurately, weighting it confidently and thoroughly. This is only possible if the foot is observed for the entirety of movement.

Look at you feet and take your time. Slamming your feet onto holds is OK inthe lower grades and you mostly likely will get away with it, but as the foot holds get smaller and smaller as you progress through the grades, more accuracy is needed.

You’re going to have to learn mindful and precise footwork at some point, so why not learn now?

2. Climb with different colour feet

All too often new climbers (specifically indoor climbers) start off on the lower graded climbs and desperately try to get to the top, by way of grabbing the hand holds and smashing feet on the foot holds. While this might achieve the sole aim of getting to the last hold, it will instill very bad habits and look terrible.

A simple concept to improve this bad practise is to use any colour foot holds. In doing this, you will have to make decisions each time you move; decisions on balance and precision. Leaving the decisions of movement up to the route-setter (the person who put the holds on the wall) while learning to climb will hugely inhibit your movement progression.

This is often a hard task as it is so different to how most people climb, so to start with this try using the same colours along with different colours while forcing yourself to make at least 3 foot moves before every hand move.

3. Try to pause before each hand hold

Being able to reverse the move you have just done is a clear sign of a climber who understands good technique and balance. Being able to reverse movement can be the difference between success and failure.

Reversing movement requires an understanding of various different techniques, and the skill to be able to effectively combine them. Specifically the techniques that I have mentioned in the intro, but it’s enough just to think about them. Practise climbing slowly and attempt to pause for as long as you can before each hand hold is grabbed. At the start this may only be a second so try to find body positions that allow you to be in balance and pause for longer and longer. Aim for an eternity!

You can mix this exercise up by trying to pause with fewer and fewer points of contact with the wall e.g. rest with no hands at all.

4. Use your toes, not your mid sole

There are many advantages to climbing with your toes (or the toe part of your shoe) on the hold. The main one of these is that it allows you to twist your body while maintaining solid contact with footholds. Novice climbers will often begin by placing their midsole on the hold and effectively reducing the movement of the foot. As you try to rotate (which you should definitely be trying) your foot will pop off from the hold or you will need to lift yourself up/jump to allow the foot to move and this wastes a lot of energy.

Another reason that you should not be using the midsole of your shoe is that it makes poor use of the shoe’s engineering. Climbing shoe designers work hard to make shoe as supportive to your toes as possible and so shoes are often softer in the midsole.

You can improve your toe placement on the holds by thinking about climbing with your heels facing out from the walls. When climbing on smaller footholds this is absolutely crucial. So, to gain the most from your feet at this earlier stage of your climbing career try to make a habit of this technique now.

5. The top is not the finish

A fast and simple way to begin the journey of climbing slowly and effectively is to not think of the top of the boulder problem or route as the finish.

Try to climb each problem as if there is another 800 meters more climbing left to do, simply snatching for the top in any fashion is no good. After all, the top is arbitrary and if you visit another climbing wall that is lower or higher, do you always climb to the same point?

If you complete a problem, great, but climbing it more than once with these concepts in mind will greatly increase your efficiency of movement and will build up your database of muscle memories.

By climbing with the 800 metre mindset, you start to approach the problem differently. Energy is conserved, technique is considered, and rests are taken when they are available.

This concept is the one that most climbers see performance gains from. It requires a combination of all of these concepts, manifesting the loose thoughts and building better technique.

 


Thanks for reading

Please visit stevewinslow.co.uk  for more information or to discuss  climbing coaching in Bristol

07795633933 – Twitter.com/stevewinslow_

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Windy as hell and much much steeper than it looks we ab’ed in to the solid try ledge that graces the entire crag.

Ron and Dave climbed side by side Ron on a HS , his first trad climb for years and Dave on an smart but thin looking E1, all was well and calm for a time, then the holds quickly ran out and the sky hooks found them selves no longer on the harness and held into place with some trusty bluetac.

Cailean walked up Kitten Claws, well to us he seemed to walk up, to him he said swore a lot and promised us that if we said he had gone up the E5 he would believe us. Death he said, never to be repeated.

I climbed the classic E1 slanting crack line, the line climbed amazingly well, with bomber gear all the way, bomber gear and no feet, but you can’t have it all I suppose.

To escape after rescuing the bags and gear myself and Dave climb the great looking HS up the double laybacks, the only shame was it was not longer, a quality line to take a client out climbing on.

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