Tag Archives: climbing

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

Mindfulness Vs Body Awareness

Callum Nicklin blogging at TribeofC wrote recently on body awareness and what this means to him, I had discussed with Callum the idea of body awareness in relation to climbing many times and yet had never really considered what it really meant to me and how I would describe it to a group of students if or when the time came.

After reading his article it occurred to me that I did not agree 100% with Callum’s description of body awareness, I used to, but on reading and deliberating more I realised I was changing my opinion.

I have come to the conclusion that what I deemed to be mindfulness was closer to Callum’s, and perhaps many others, description of body awareness and vice versa.

For me, when I really wanted to describe and break down these terms while finding them similar I realised that they also had very different meanings,  It also occurred to me that they each would have very different effects in relation to climbing. That got me thinking… Which one would I choose as the most important trait to have as a climber, mindfulness or body awareness.

Firstly it is important to define the 2 words.

What is Mindfulness in climbing.

Mindfulness is the ability to think totally about one subject or movement, throughout its entire range and action time. It is to think solely about the action you are taking while also (contradictorily) considering almost everything at once, the feel of the hold, the angle, the strength needed, how tired you are, how strong you will need to be and so on.

It is the ability to consider/feel/be aware of/become one with nothing outside of the climb and also everything inside of it and at every stage of every movement.

What is Body Awareness in climbing.

If true multitasking were possible Body Awareness would be it at the forefront. Body Awareness is to know where and when each of your body parts (in active use or not) is moving and moving to where. However it is not only to know where it is also know what they can be used for and if this will be a benefit you and when.

For climbing it obviously a great deal of experience for the climb itself is needed but also the ability to command the body to move effectively.

Body Awareness is your mind making 1000’s of checks a second to calculate where your body is and feeding back what is possible for the next move or set of moves.

An example of this in climbing would be to ‘flick’ or ‘dyno’ for a hold while taking note of your trailing foot to use or catch an arête at the same time as catching the hold with your hand.

Mindfulness vs Body Awareness

What Mindfulness achieves in climbing

Being mindful of ones climbing and body is to enjoy climbing in its purest format, that alone can be the change a climbers often negative attitude to a positive one, even if grade improvements are not seen immediately. Being mindful it slows you down, it allows you to breath, to take stock of your ability and allows you to notice a mistake either before they happen or as they are happening allowing you a much clearer picture of how to correct this on the next attempt.

By aiming to be mindful while climbing, nothing else, simply aiming to be mindful you cannot help but become it.

The benefits of Body Awareness in climbing

Being able to judge moves and situations as they arise in a incredible short space of time can guide you through some tricky situations and more often than not can become the difference between success and failure on a climb.

Making mistakes on a climb, finding yourself swinging from a hold or perhaps you enjoy climbing that way can work well, but it only works if you can bring it all together, bring the whole body into play all at once. Being able to know where you body/limbs are can decrease the difficulty of moves be reducing errors and over compensation of swinging limbs.

If I had to pick one

Unfortunately even during writing this post I still cannot decided on which trait I would rather have in my bag of tricks.

Mindfulness would allow me to enjoy my climbing and all the movements at any level for hopefully a long life span, while improving on or having a high level of body awareness would lead me to climb harder grades and in an easier way.

Maybe they are inseparable, maybe they are simply one,  similar to mountains and valleys, troughs and peaks or dare I say yin and yang.


Last Tuesday I found myself at Brean Down. Gavin Edwards, a friend from Bloc, had never been sport climbing before, or rather, had not been hard sport climbing, knowing Gav was strong inside I was keen to take him onto the rock.

Gavin, with his military background had be a adventure based climber for many years but now with his grips in Blocs bouldering centre he was keen to make those hard moves outside to see how he got on.

We Left Bristol on a early Tuesday morning and headed to “Costa del Brean”, nicknamed due to its sun trapping cove and beach.

high tide while climbing at brean

Normally an easy walk in to the climbs is expected this time however the tide was high, very high, forcing us to walk around the top rather than across the beach. Gavin seemed unable to escape the adventurist part of climbing.

For more info on climbing at Brean Down visit UKC here



A happy Gav after a days climbing

A happy Gav after a days climbing

Varsity 2015 UWE vs Bristol UNI

On Wednesday the 25th of March I held the Varsity 2015 climbing competition in Bristol for the UWE and Bristol UNI.

It was a great event with everyone helping each other out. All the climbers, even from different teams, were helping each other throughout the entire event. I even found UWE helping to tally all the Varsity scores.

Someone had to win… this year it was Bristol UNI climbing teams turn to win varsity 2015

The varsity score was based on the the top 10 male climbers and top 4 female climbers of each team so no final was needed and even a draw at the top did not matter as long as one UNI team came out on top.

However, everyone loves a final so I knocked one together with the students helping to judge, score and brush the holds, it was definitely a team effort.

After the event to celebrate or drown their sorrows both teams stayed at Bloc climbing centre for a few beers and a BBQ that they were hosting themselves.

Nothing else to say except thanks to all those that came and made the varsity climbing competition such a classic.