Rimsky Korsakov | E5 Trad climb at Gravestones/Hidden Wall

Contributors: remus


2 recorded ascents.

Climber Style Ascent Date Suggested Grade
Johnny Dawes Lead (Unknown)
First ascent.
Leo Houlding Solo (Onsight) Between 1st Jun 1995 and 1st Sep 1995

A harrowing experience that put Leo off soloing.

Over multiple attempts, I climbed up and down, gaining height each time until identifying the point of commitment, what I thought was the crux of the route. It was too high up to fall. Spurred on by success and the relinquished difficulties following the crux of the E4 [soloed earlier that day], and full of reckless teenage courage, I rested for a long while before attaining my high point and committing to the crux. I did the moves and continued on better holds up slightly overhanging rock to a body length below the top of the crag. To my horror there was a final hard move. I tried all I could to find a hidden hold or secret move that would ease me to sanctuary, but there was none.

I had covered a lot of rock that day with repeated attempts at each route and my arms were beginning to give out. Not only was I free solo, 100 feet above a rocky landing, I was alone on hidden wall. Nobody even knew I was there, long before the days of mobile phones. Horrible thoughts ran through my mind. Even if I survived the impact how the hell would I crawl down? It is not a popular venue, far from any hikers' radar and even in the climbing honeypot of the Llanberis Pass it could be days or even weeks until somebody found me. The handwritten advice of Joe Brown, who lived just a few miles away, flashed before my eyes - "Don't solo." As the grains of energy ran through the hourglass of my forearms I was left with a simple choice: do or die. Summoning strength that seemed to come from beyond myself, I did. [1]


[1] Houlding, L. (2022). Closer to the Edge: Climbing to the Ends of the Earth. United Kingdom: Headline.