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The Rock Bottom Line (130m, 7b+) at Twll Mawr in the Dinorwig slate quarry in Wales.
Photo by Simon Panton
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The Rock Bottom Line, the longest sport climb in the UK

05.10.2011 by Planetmountain

In Twll Mawr in the Dinorwig slate quarry in Wales Ian Lloyd-Jones and Sion McGuinness have established The Rock Bottom Line (130m, 7b+).

It may seem strange to some, but to reach the start of one of the longest sport climbs in Great Britain, you need to lose height. To be precise, you need to first walk up the hill opposite the little town of Llanberis and then abseil down into the immense, dark quarry called Twll Mawr by the Dinorwig Quarry miners at the start of the 19th century. Then, once on the floor, climb up "The Rock Bottom Line", the new 130m line established a few days ago by the tireless duo Ian Lloyd-Jones and Sion McGuinness.

So after their "Supermassive Black Hole" established in July, Lloyd-Jones and McGuinness have now chosen a line which takes the entire West Wall which became famous in the 1980's thanks to The Quarryman, the Johnny Dawes route rarely repeated due to the infamous, smooth corner. In June we announced that Steve McClure had managed to send the line and now for those who (like us) don't have McClure's power and technique, we recommend the new route immediately to the right which in five pitches (6a/b, 7a, 6b, 7b+, 7b) also boasts a Quarrymanesque corner.

After freeing the line Lloyd-Jones described the corner on dmmclimbing as follows: "It was the final pitch that first drew me to have a look, but then when I dropped a rope down it I was amazed to see the groove and that’s when I thought about a route taking the whole height of the wall. That groove is probably the best pitch I’ve ever added to the slate. I just can’t believe it hadn’t been climbed before as it is so obvious. It’s like a beginners Quarryman groove." Perhaps not for beginners, but at 7b+ it's certainly far easier that it's older neighbour... which McClure felt as hard as 8c.

For those wishing to climb The Rock Bottom Line we recommend the topo on the left, seeing that the ascent came about too late to be included in the beautiful new Dinorwig slate guidebook which hit the shops just the other day.


Rock climbing in Wales - a choice selection
- Dinas Cromlech - some of the best extreme rock climbs in the entire UK.
- Cloggy - Clogwyn Du'r Arddu - the shrine of British rcok climbing.
- Vivian Quarry - the most popular slate crag in Wales
- Rainbow Slab - arguably the jewel in the crown of Llanberis slate.
- Gogarth - one of the best sea cliffs in Britain. Fullstop.
- Lower Pen Trwyn - simply the best sport crag in North Wales.
- Huntsman's Leap - one of the most popular sea cliffs in Pembroke, South Wales.

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