Indian Face | E9 Trad climb at Clogwyn Du'r Arddu (Cloggy)

UKClimbing.com

See also The Tormented Ejaculation.

The first E9 in the UK. Memorably described in Paul Williams' 1989 guidebook as follows:

It has been said that up the face to the right of A Midsummer Night's Dream, a pitch of such appalling difficulty as to be almost beyond the realms of human comprehension has been ascended without mechanical machinations or other insidious practices normally associated with a route of this calibre...

Protection is at best illusory; the whole sweep of rock affords not so much as a single nubbin on which the thinnest line may be secured, nor a single crack in which the most vestigal of chockstones could hope to gain lodgement. Should the leader fail to negotiate the crux, or be seized by a palsy high on the pitch, disaster must be imminent...

The successful leader, even though he be of a modest disposition, may relax, and justifiably award himself a 'pat on the back'. [1]

References

[1] Paul Williams. Clogwyn Du'r Arddu. United Kingdom: Climbers' Club, 1989.

Contributors: remus

Pics + Vids

Johnny Dawes
Added at 16:01 on 19 January 2021
Johnny Dawes
Added at 17:01 on 19 January 2021
Johnny Dawes
Added at 12:04 on 25 April 2024
Johnny Dawes
Added at 12:04 on 25 April 2024
Johnny Dawes
Added at 12:04 on 25 April 2024
Johnny Dawes
Added at 12:04 on 25 April 2024
Dave MacLeod
Added at 10:01 on 14 January 2021
James McHaffie
View this post on Instagram

Added at 12:02 on 03 February 2023
Angus Kille
Added at 21:08 on 07 August 2021
John Redhead
Added at 16:07 on 09 July 2021
© Paul Williams

Ascents

10 recorded ascents, including 1 unsuccessful ascent.

Climber Style Ascent Date Suggested Grade
Johnny Dawes Lead | worked 4th Oct 1986
First ascent.

I went for the crux, the motion startling me like a car unexpectedly in gear in a crowded parking lot. I swarm through the roundness of the bulge to a crank on a brittle spike for a cluster of three crystals on the right; each finger crucial and separate like the keys for a piano chord. I change feet three times to rest my lower legs, each time having to jump my foot out to put the other in. The finger-holds are too poor to hang on should the toes catch on each other. All those foot-changing mistakes on easy moves by runners come to mind. There is no resting. I must go and climb for the top. I swarm up towards the sunlight, gasping for air. A brittle hold stays under mistreatment and then I really blow it. Fearful of a smear on now-non-sticky boots I use an edge and move up, a fall fatal, but the automaton stabs back through, wobbling, but giving its all and I grasp a large sidepull and tube upward. The ropes dangle uselessly from my waist. Arthur Birtwistle on Diagonal, I grasp incuts and the tight movement swerves to a glide as gravity swings skyward ...

References

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JMX4NAw0NSE

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sNb5_PYRhQA

[3] Photos from the first ascent by Jonathan Reti. Jonathan was the only person at the crag that day with a camera. Later pictures of Johnny in white vest were not of the actual ascent. https://www.flickr.com/photos/30814373@N02/albums/72157712866661618/

That top crux was difficult for him and his method was pretty snatchy, which is why I moved out of the fall line in case he fluffed it. Shockingly bold.

Nick Dixon Lead | worked 1994
Second ascent.

There's one move where I got a left hand sidepull and my right hand was on some nobbles and I came out of my head space because I realised that I couldn't move from that position as freely as planned and pre-practiced as I hadn't accounted for the rope drag. I had to snatch for the next hold, some pebbles. There were about three seconds where I lost my calm a little bit and I had to collect myself. I think Neil had far more of a worry on it. [1]

References

[1] https://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/features/nick_dixon_-_indian_face_the_first_repeat-5756

Neil Gresham Lead | worked 1994
Third ascent.

Just days after Nick Dixon made the second ascent.

Dave MacLeod Lead | worked Jun 2010
Calum Muskett Lead | worked Jul 2013
George Ulrich Lead | worked Jul 2013
James McHaffie Lead | worked Jul 2013
Angus Kille Lead | worked Jul 2018
Morus Sanderson Lead | worked 25th Jul 2023

To my horror, just as I stood up on the crux, I discovered the seepage had drained much lower than anticipated; and the last twenty feet of hard climbing was damp at best, and soaking in parts. At this point I was beyond committed, and falling off was undoubtedly off the table, so I rubbed my palms on the upcoming footholds to try to dry them out. With my heart pounding I began moving up precariously. A few moments later I latched onto the jug - exhilarated, but very much aware that I'd danced with death. [1]

References

[1] https://www.ukclimbing.com/news/2023/08/morus_sanderson_climbs_indian_face_e9_6c-73423

John Redhead Lead | did not finish

John put in a solid ground up effort before taking a big fall. He then put in a bolt at his high point and named it The Tormented Ejaculation.

John pulled a flake off the route after Johnny Dawes had made the first ascent, he then painted a piece on the rock scar. This angered Johnny who then scraped the painting off.