The substantial and very dangerous loose blocks that posed an imminent threat of a serious and substantial rockfall on the first pitch of the popular route "One Step in the Clouds" at Craig Bwlch y Moch have now been removed however climbers are still warned not to climb the first pitch of this route until the area has cleaned up.
The climbing route 'One Step in the Clouds', a VS graded climb at the BMC-owned crag of Craig Bwlch y Moch, is one of the most popular and frequented rock climbs in Wales. However, the left hand retaining wall of the tricky groove on the 4b graded first pitch was in imminent danger of collapse. Inspections by the BMC and a number of experienced climbers identified a recent rockfall where part of the retaining block had fallen away and the remaining rock (approximately 20 tons in total!) while appearing sound, could collapse at any point.
Both routes can still be climbed but the advice is to only approach them from "The Fang Gully" on the left, thus completely avoiding the first pitches.
On Wednesday 23 March, experienced technical specialists inspected the blocks and due to the perilous condition of the remaining rock decided to carry out an immediate controlled removal of the blocks. The left hand side of the groove that made up the first pitch was effectively two large blocks (together weighing over 15 tons) perched on a detached plinth no more than 30cm x30cm in size. Using only an iron crow bar of one metre in length and little more than body weight both blocks were successfully removed.
As a result the area is now covered in soil and some loose debris still remains so the advice for now is that climbers are still strongly advised not to climb the first pitch of this route or the adjacent "Hail Bebe" route until the area cleans up naturally which should occur quick quickly after heavy rain.
Climbers are also warned that due to the debris from the fallen blocks the approach path to Vector Buttress is now slightly different and care should be taken due to fresh rock lying on the path. It's hoped that this path will be properly reinstated during this year's Tremfest in early May. (See photographs).
Craig Bwlch y Moch is a natural outcrop and as with all similar sites, rockfalls and loose rock occur naturally and climbers are reminded to be aware of this when climbing at such places.
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